The Mavic Cosmic Ultimate SL shoes are lightweight and comfortable, well vented and equipped with an exceptionally thin, but extremely stiff sole which offered excellent feedback and left me feeling very connected to the bike.
I received a pair of Mavic Cosmic Ultimate SL road shoes in mid-season and have raced in them only a few times, saving them for my hill climb campaign, which is the most important part of my season.
Every gram counts when racing uphill, and while the Cosmic Pro shoes I’ve worn since the start of the season are great all-rounders, the extra performance of the Ultimate SL might help to make all the difference in the battle to regain my British hill climb title.
In races like the Bole Hill road race, which is widely regarded as one of the hardest National B fixtures, and an especially grim edition of the Ryedale Grand Prix, the final round of this year’s HSBC Grand Prix Series, the Cosmic Ulimate SL shoes performed flawlessly (I kept them well protected beneath my Velotoze shoe covers in Ryedale!).
From the moment I took them from the box, I noticed that the Cosmic Ultimate SL shoes are extremely light, which is very important to me as reducing rotational mass makes a huge difference, in my experience.
I’m a firm believer in the 3:1 ratio - that the mass of any rotating component is three times as significant as one that’s fixed. For that reason, pedals, shoes and wheels matter a massive amount. This instinct has been borne out by the performance of the Cosmic Ultimate SL shoes in the recent hill climb victories I’ve enjoyed.
The shoes are very well vented, which on my first ride kept my feet cool, even though it was a hot day - an excellent start. There are two vents in the carbon sole, which not only reduces weight but allows air to flow to the ball of the foot, which is the most important part, especially during a long ride. The breathable mesh of the upper helped venting too.
I was impressed by the fit of the shoe, especially around the top of my foot, where it felt firm but very comfortable. The BOA ratchet pulled the tongue tight, reassuring me that my foot would remain in situ on all parts of the pedal stroke.
At the bottom of the upstroke, when you’re pulling upwards with the pedal at 180 degrees to the crank arm, it’s crucial to maintain pressure. I tend to lift my heel as I pull up, so my foot is horizontal, and I rely on a secure fit to prevent me from pulling my foot from the shoe. The Cosmic Ultimate SL’s BOA closure mechanism delivered.
For a racing cyclist, it’s extremely important to be able to adjust shoe tension easily within a race. Foot temperature is very different when you’re sat in the team camper, and while the excellent venting of the Cosmic Ultimate SL's fabric upper prevented swelling, it’s been comforting to rely on a mechanism that adjusts in increments of even 1mm.
Mavic say the carbon sole is just 6.5mm deep and the Cosmic Ultimate SL certainly offered the lowest stack height of any shoe I’ve tried. The effect was to make me feel a part of the bike and increase my sense of control.
Carbon soles have developed very quickly. While early designs were based on a single, flat sheet of carbon that only supported the heel and toe, the latest generation are usually heavily moulded, and these shoes from Mavic offered support all the way around my foot. Mavic provide a choice of insoles, so you can find the perfect fit.
As an added bonus, the shoes were very easy to clean. I used baby wipes to take off the worst of the grime and then furniture polish, which adds a silicone layer that prevents penetration. Overall, I’m extremely happy with how the Cosmic Ultimate SL shoes feel and perform. Even after long, gruelling races, my feet do not have any hotspots and feel comfortable, which is very rare in my experience.