Lake Cycling - born through innovation
- by Robert Thorpe, September 15, 2022
The History Behind Our Brand
In 1982, Giuseppe Saronni won the UCI Cycling World Championships, with Greg Lamond coming second. The Tour de France was won by Bernard Hainault, and in California, mountain bikers were enjoying the first fat tire mtb - the Specialized Stumpjumper, although the rubber tread shoe for mountain bikers would have to wait until 1983 – from us here at Lake of course. The world of cycling was alive and was about to change forever, thanks to a guy named Lee Katz from across the USA, in Evanston Illinois.
Lake Cycling was also born when Lee started to design and create something equally new and as exciting as the fat tire bike - but something that would be far more comfortable than falling off an early rigid fork mtb. The Lake MXZ303 (winter boot) was created, as necessity became the driver for innovation, with a very cold climate that hit Lake’s headquarters every year, along the icy shores of Lake Michigan. This northern extreme of the USA, where temperatures are quite possibly the coldest in North America, can test the best athletes and provides the ultimate environment for crating great outdoor clothing and footwear.
The First EVA Foam Insole
Obtaining a truly comfortable cycle specific, performance shoe, with a firm and stable sole to remove rider foot fatigue simply wasn’t possible for cyclists in 1982. When you think about the shoes that you as a cyclist wear today, they’ve evolved over time, as science has led our technical design team, working hard to produce shoes that always take cycling performance and comfort forward. However, in 1982 the innovation was the first EVA Foam Insole, designed to fit inside the nylon sole cycling shoe. Interestingly, even as other brands began to follow with the foam insole int their own nylon soled shoes, it was us here at Lake that who addressed the comfort issue, including the foam insole. From that point onwards, every product that Lake made was purely for the comfort of cycling – and it’s been our DNA ever since.
Yes, we’re extremely proud to have been the driving force of many advancements in form, function - and other manufacturers have followed where we at Lake have led. We’ve worked hard to be the trailblazers, always looking at cycling shoes in new ways - helping you, our cycling customers to set your own trails on fire, by maximising your cycling performance.
Taking a Reflective Position in Shoe Design
Yes, we know that you can get your very own custom designed Lake cycling shoes, but did you know how our distinctive white cycling began its life? It was 1987, and Andy Hampsten wore the first completely white Lake, road cycling shoes (white uppers and soles). Battling the heat, the completely white shoes reflected the rays of the sun and prevented the shoe from absorbing the heat and swelling the foot. Once more, our drive for comfort looking at every possible innovation.
Our sporting heritage, a thirst for adventure and our passion for excellence and innovation have been the foundations from which the Lake brand has grown, ultimately creating the standard for all cycling shoes. And, we’ve remained at the forefront of cycling footwear, as we continually strive to produce the very best shoes across the wide spectrum of cycling sport, ensuring that our designs recognise the innumerable differences between cyclist's feet. We believe in your own uniqueness, and we’re extremely proud of the fact that you continue to choose ours.
The First Triathlon Specific Shoe
Everyone knows how popular triathlon is today. From the world's finest athletes, to the regular enthusiast, it’s a sport that challenges and tests everyone. Did you know that back in 1985, Lake created the first pure Tri shoe, worn by Mark Allen, and in doing so we changed the perception of what’s fast for a triathlete. We haven’t stood still either, and today our TX 322 Air Triathlon shoe comes with an enlarged toe mesh window, to aid airflow, and has a profile specifically designed for very high-cadence riding & higher pressure, using our Competition last which features a more curved profile than the Sport last.
Making the Fit as Close as Possible
In 2005, the CX 400 was born, from our own innovation called ‘Thermoforming’ (today called Custom Fit Carbon CFC), which allows the cyclist to shape the shoe around the rear and heel of the foot too, adding stability and our signature comfort, and giving stability through the entire pedal stoke – and increased performance. It also meant a reduction in muscle fatigue, being a leading innovation that we’ve continued to develop to this day.
Our CX 241 Road Cycling shoe is another cycling footwear first, with the articulated microfiber upper and Nufoam lining panels, allowing the dual BOA system to bring the shoe upper around any foot shape and to literally wrap the foot in comfort, like a second skin. And, many other innovative designs within the cycling shoe world have come from the Lake shoe collections that we’ve produced with pride over the years.
The First Cyclocross Specific Shoe
Did you know for instance, that here at Lake, we were the first to design and produce a Cyclocross specific model - the MX 331 - supporting the needs of the rider in this toughest of cycling sports; and today it remains the “holy grail” of cyclocross shoes.
Yes, like those first mountain bikers, driven by passion and innovation, to create excellence that performed at the highest level, our pride has grown out of a simple fact: that we are first to market with many if not most new developments in cycling shoes. We are first and foremost, the cycling shoe brand that others follow, remaining true to our core value, and that is to produce the best fitting, highest quality cycling shoe on the market - and we’ve been doing that now for 40 years.
Lake's mission is now, and always will be, to create premium cycling shoes that are innovative, made with the highest quality materials, and superior comfort, while maintaining cutting edge technology. And, we do it with comfort in mind and in style, because ultimately, we want you to remain as dedicated to our brand as we are to the welfare, comfort and performance of your feet.
I bought those White and Red Lakes because Andy Hampsten was my guy as a Junior racing in California. Still to this day…whatever that material was and the shape of the sole it was and is my all time fave fitting shoe. I have actually looked on EBay hoping to find someone with a NOS pair in the world in a 44.
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