DZR H2O Review: Urban SPD Shoes

Last week we brought you a run down of some city worthy SPD shoes I have good experience with. I promised you an in-depth review of one of these pairs, the DZR H2O’s, so here it is.

What are they?

They are regular looking trainers but with stiffer soles and an attachment for cleats. This means they blend in well with whatever clothing you wear on a regular basis. They are also lined with a waterproof membrane, meaning they keep your feet completely dry. Couple that with a raised, snug cuff and your feet will be very happy all winter.

Before I got the shoes, I thought they were going to be like a very expensive, but still somewhat cheap version of Converse or other type of trainers. Boy was I wrong. The leather on these shoes is buttery soft and gives them a really classy look. They are clearly well made, and they really do keep your feet dry. At £140 this is good to hear!


The soles are nice and stiff for peddling, but not too stiff for walking around. The cleats are pretty recessed, as you would expect from a pair of city shoes. However, I had high hopes that they would not grate on the ground but they do. You can certainly hear these are cycling shoes, even if you are not at risk of falling down.


These are roomy shoes, probably because they are unisex and therefore a little wider than I am used to. This is good for wearing winter socks and having lots of toe room. However, it makes them a little cumbersome. I have pretty skinny feet and so have to tie the laces completely tight to stop my foot moving around too much.

This was made even worse for me as I got the sizing slightly wrong when ordering. DZR suggest going up a size, and I am between sizes anyway, so erred on the side of caution and went up a size and a half. Wrong plan. they do not come up that small. Not a huge deal, just something to bear in mind. Even if they were not a little too big for me length wise, they would still be mighty generous on volume. For many of you this will be great, for others not so great.

The good

They are really good looking and feeling shoes. They are obviously well made (for the most part, see section below for tiny quibble). I like the way the leather has been layered and stitched, they really look just like a regular shoe. I also like that the rubber material around the side of the shoe is dark grey and black as well – too often black winter shoes are let down by having highly contrasting material.

Reflective heel

I really like the reflective shape on the heel. It is a small detail but having a reflective element down there, moving around with every pedal stroke, really attracts attention from motorists.

The grip on the soles is really great. Sometimes in heavy traffic I prefer to keep one foot unclipped just in case. In the rain this can be a bit slippy on the platform side of my pedals in other shoes. In these it was not a problem and my foot felt almost as stable as if I was clipped in. The sole also looks to be of the unmarking variety, which is good for those of you with fancy marble foyers to travers on a regular basis – nothing worse that scuffing that up!

The bad

Whilst they look great and really look like trainers, they are somewhat masculine. Obviously for half of the population this is not a problem. Personally I am not a particularly elegant or refined female and therefore it does not bother me. However, if you prefer your shoes to be delicate, these are not for you.

I don’t like the fabric in the cleat mount at the bottom. It is on the underneath of the shoe, so not something you see very much, but there is some white felt material down there. This may be fine in the long run and it probably isn’t going to stay white for long but it looks kinda fragile. It also just looks a little odd and unfinished, which is not something you expect for a pair of shoes costing over £100.

Odd white stuff

Review Conclusions

These are a very nice pair of shoes. I am still taken aback by how beautiful they feel and how soft the leather is. For such a robust burley looking shoe, they sure do feel beautiful. Luckily the beauty does not seem to equate to delicate. They will get scuffed but they can be polished and oiled and restored again and again., also some scuffing adds character.

They are a great choice for winter. As they are waterproof they are warm and completely windproof.  The unisex fit is great in some ways, otherwise the shoe would probably only be available in men’s sizes. However, they are roomy if a little short.

If you want your own pair, you can pre order them on The Cycling Store’s website for £140 and they will hopefully be having a pop-up shop in the next few months if you want to try some on.

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