The Parley Road Cycling BOA shoe is an update to the Adidas road shoe, the German brand’s first cycling shoe in 15 years when it launched in 2020.
This new shoe sets another precedent by being the first Adidas road cycling shoe with a Boa dial instead of laces.
As on the Adidas road shoe, the midsole is made of nylon and reinforced fiberglass rather than carbon. No arch insert is provided.
The switch from the laces to a one-way Boa dial helps bump the price up from £130/€150 to £170/€180.
The Parley Road Shoe BOA’s flexible upper gives it the look and shape of a sneaker (or sneaker, for our North American readers).
But after a while in the saddle, it feels like riding in sneakers. This means that the Parley Road Cycling BOA shoe fails to meet several of Adidas’ claims.
Adidas The Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe Specifications and Options
Adidas doesn’t rate the Parley sole for stiffness, but since it’s not carbon, it’s pretty flexible.
The sock-like interior makes the shoe easy to put on and take off and ensures a comfortable feeling.
The unique Boa Dial also simplifies putting on and taking off the shoe. However, since it only rotates one way, you will have to pull upwards to completely release the tension if you overtighten it.
Adidas says the shoe is unisex and is available in size EU36 (UK3.5) up to EU55 ⅔ (UK19). The shoe is available in half sizes up to size EU49 (UK14), but in one width only.
Both color options are black on black or green and white, with three reflective stripes that double as signature Adidas branding on both.
My pair in size EU46 weighs 776g. It’s heavy compared to the Shimano RC7 (580g in EU45 size), and especially compared to the Fizik Tempo Decos Carbon (540g in EU45 size).
Unlike the similarly priced Shimano RC7, the Parley Road Shoe Boa’s three-bolt cleat holes are non-adjustable. This gives less wiggle room when installing and adjusting bike cleats.
Adidas The Parley Road Cycling BOA fit shoe
When you put the shoe on, the extremely comfortable synthetic lining stretches around your foot.
The upper, made of a yarn that Adidas says is a 50/50 blend of Parley Ocean Plastic and recycled polyester, is very soft and has no pinch points.
However, I found the interior to fall short of the brand claim of being breathable and supportive (more on that later).
While these soft materials make for a comfortable shoe off the bike, they contribute to an overall lack of stiffness – more on that shortly.
Heel security is good though, thanks to the textile collar, which prevents the back of your foot from lifting when you’re out of the saddle.
The Boa dial adjusts the laces of the cord, which run down the tongue of the shoe, and ensures that the tension is evenly distributed over the top of the foot.
The lack of a Velcro strap or other tightening mechanism lower in the shoe means you can’t specifically increase the tightness on the toe box like you can on the Giant Surge Pro shoe.
As a result, I found that my forefoot and toes tended to lift off the insole when pedaling in an aggressive position.
Performance of the Adidas Parley BOA road cycling shoe
The flexibility of the Adidas Parley Road Cycling BOA shoe creates a shoe that is more comfortable than on the bike and much easier to walk in than stiffer road bike shoes.
As a result, I found the shoe to be the best for shorter (up to an hour) journeys – for example, when biking to work involves getting on and off a train.
But on more strenuous journeys, unfortunately, the Parley Road Cycling BOA shoe performs well below its average price of £170/€180.
By pressing the pedals, the sole flexes considerably.
Although I didn’t notice a slowdown in average speed, increased tension in my leg muscles and tendons resulted in a strange pain, which I can only attribute to the shoe.
Also, the Parley Road Cycling BOA shoe is a bit unstable when you get out of the saddle.
Because you sink slightly into the sole, it took me a fraction longer than usual to regain balance.
I also felt my foot slip from side to side when standing, I believe, due to the lower stiffness offered by the flexible upper.
When it comes to ventilation, longer rides proved a game of two halves.
Until two hours, I didn’t notice the absence of gauze or mesh in the upper, or vents in the sole.
But things quickly got quiet on hot or hilly days, as my feet sweated and the sweat had nowhere to go but into the spongy top layer of the sole.
On the other hand, rain is slow to seep into the Parley Road Cycling BOA shoe. However, once through, it stays there and the shoe dries slowly.
Adidas The Parley Road Cycling BOA Bottom Line Shoe
Despite my criticisms, the Adidas Parley Road Cycling BOA Shoe isn’t a bad shoe, and I love its clean, timeless aesthetic.
The adjustment system makes the shoe easy to put on and take off, while allowing fine tuning of the tension.
If you want a comfortable road bike shoe for short rides, and for walking and sitting, the Adidas Parley Road Cycling BOA shoe will do the job.
And there is also the style, of course, which may interest you. But for £170/€180 there’s not much substance to go with if you’re serious about performance.
You don’t get a carbon sole, there’s poor ventilation and foot support is lacking in and out of the saddle – something all other shoes in this price range offer much more competently.
If weight is an issue, the shoe also weighs 200g per pair more than its rivals.
That means I couldn’t justify spending so much on a shoe that doesn’t cut it on faster, longer rides. It is likely that other shoes will ride much better for the same price or less.