Being the bike nerdy face that I am, I am constantly looking at websites and magazines about bikes. I’m not really sure when or how it happened, but I started noticing these adverts for a company called Chrome Industries. I saw the black shoes with red trim and highlights. The first couple of times I noticed but paid no further attention. It was kind of like seeing a girl walk down the street and think, “Oh there’s a girl walking down the street.” No big deal. After three or four times you start noticing different details. It wasn’t too long and I was thinking about these slip-ons on a regular basis. I knew that something was going to happen.
Back in May I was in a happy 24 year relationship with Vans slip-ons. I never really looked at other shoes, let alone going to a website to look at sneakers made by another company. I found myself doing just that to look at these shoes by Chrome Industries. I had to try these Chrome Slip Ons named the Tobruk.
It was Tuesady June 14th 2011 when a pair of Tobruks by Chrome Industries showed up on my doorstep. That night when I got home from work I eagerly opened the box to look at these shoes in real life that I had only seen in the pages of magazines and on the internet. My dream shoes were here. I wondered if they’d be shallow and only pretty on the outside. I had to open the box.
Upon first inspection I was struck by a number of different things about these shoes. The cordura was extremely stiff for one. The insoles are really substantial. When I removed it I was impressed by the detail on the inside of the shoe. The midsole ia a nice lite board (think hard cardboard) material which adds quite a bit of durability to the shoe. They named the midsole the propulsion plate. There is a nice rubber gel heel pad called the “Crash Pad” For a simple slip on there is an amazing attention to detail on the inside of this shoe. The size of the shoe is screen printed on the inside and there are three grommets just behind the arch of the shoe. These allow the shoe to breathe and also help to cut down on odor, by keeping the fresh air flowing, not allowing the bad bacteria that makes the icky stinkies to multiply when not wearing your shoes. The cherry that tops this podiatric sundae really are the insoles. Maybe these weren’t going to be hollow shoes that looked good, but had no comfort to offer. In short the Chrome Tobruk with all of it’s attention to detail screams quality, but how do they feel?
When I first put these on I knew that the break in period was going to be rough on my bursitis ridden heels. They are stiff but surprisingly soft, again the quality insoles. They looked great! I knew that these shoes were going to drive a wedge between me and my Vans. Walking around they felt great, my beloved Vans slip-ons didn’t hold a candle to these on long walks. I could feel them on the back of my heel but thankfully they weren’t cutting in. I credit this to the rolled padded top edge of the shoe. They feel great and look good. The looks of these shoes are really what drew me in. I didn’t expect them to be constructed so well, or be so detailed. After all they are just supposed to be simple slip on shoes, right?
These shoes were coming along quite nicely and you could see that I was liking them after one day. I had a great test for these. Not only am I crazy about bikes, but I have this little thing for music as well. Every month I DJ the Y-Town Soul Shuffle at Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti Mi. I break out the classic soul 45’s and rock the hard soul jams for three hours. This is three hours on my feet, what a perfect test for these shoes. I am a big guy and when I DJ shoes are important and I usually wear my running shoes. On June 15th I donned my one day old Tobruks. I am pleased to say that it was a great decision and they held up well. My feet didn’t hurt at the end of the evening. SCORE!!! How would they do on a bike ride?
Well, I have put almost 56 miles of riding on them in these past 9 days. I have to say that the propulsion plates aka the really stiff midsole really does make a difference. I still love my vans, the way that you love something that you’ve stuck with for a long time, but really they can’t hold a candle to my Trobuks. After longer rides my feet aren’t sore anymore. Yesterday I did about 21 miles on my bike between the Lower Huron Metropark bike trail and cruising around Ann Arbor. Then I walked about three miles in them. I had no back pain or leg pain during or after my walk. After about five days the shoes broke in but alsomaintained enough stiffness to support my feet. These shoes are a winner.
The bottom line is this. The Trobuks look like simple slip on shoes. They are,but beneath the surface the minor details make a major foundation for a comfortable shoe that offers enough rigid support to be great casual cycling shoes. They look great, actually they look better than great. I have been wearing them for nine days straight and am in major love with them. I may wear my Vans again, but not like I wear these. At 70 dollars they are 25 dollars more than the classic vans slip on, but are three or four times the shoe. The comparison stops after the part where you say, they both have no laces. Sorry vans you have been replaced. Tobruk, you are a shoe rack home wrecker and I love you.
Look here is a neat picture of why these shoes work so well. It’s not hype it’s fact!
Okay here is the deal with reviews. Some products I buy, and some I am given to test. Either way if they suck I am going to tell you.