Cyclists are raving about the DHB Dorica Road Shoe but is it all hype, or is the Dorica as comfortable and functional as it has made out to be?
Well we got a chance to find out for ourselves and we were pleasantly surprised how good these cycling shoes actually are.
Key Features of the DHB Dorica Road Shoe
The DHB Dorica is what we would call a “value” shoe based on its lower price point, but do not let that fool you into thinking that this is a cheap shoe. We would rate this as a solid, comfortable middle of the line option for indoor and outdoor cycling.
One of the biggest draws of this shoe is the cost. Compared to other similarly performing shoes, the Dorica is very fairly-priced. Obviously, we cannot compare this shoe to the top-of-the-line cycling shoes, but when it comes to your midrange performance gear, the price of the Dorica is hard to beat.
They come in at around £70 ($95).
The DHB Dorica Road Shoe is a three-bolt cleat compatible synthetic upper road cycling shoe that is available in black, gray, and white. Although the shoes are very monotone, they do have a stylish design with an Oxford-style opening and sleek profile.
One thing worth noting with this shoe is that it does not have any reflectors. So, if you are an outdoor rider, you will need to add a strip yourself or don reflective strips on the ankles and calves of your trousers.
You are limited in the color choices for the Dorica, but if it comes down to comfort, budget, and color option, this shoe ticks the two most important boxes of the three.
Is the Dorica all style and zero comfort? Surprisingly not!
The laces on the Dorica combined with the elastic lace retainer make this a very versatile shoe. Whether you have flatter feet, oddly shaped feet or something in between, the lacing system makes it simple to fit the shoe to your foot shape. The only hesitation we have is with the toe-box.
The Dorica description advertises an extended width toe-box, but by our measure, it is still a little narrow for the wider foot. The toe-box of this shoe is wide enough to accommodate the average width foot comfortably, though.
The Dorica is also very easy to walk around in if you need to hop off your bike for a pitstop.
The tongue of the Dorica is nicely padded along the centre that helps evenly distribute tension. The tongue of the shoe also keeps it fitting comfortably on the top of your foot without needing to overtighten the laces.
Lastly, although the fit of the shoe can be adjusted quite dramatically with the laces, if you have high arches, you will need an insert. The bed of the Dorica is as flat as they come.
Temperature & Ventilation
The lightweight perforated exterior of the Dorica offers a nice level of ventilation. This ventilation is perfect for indoor training or warm weather use. The ventilation pattern covers the full length of the foot and behind the heel though, so it can be pretty chilly in colder temperatures.
We would not recommend these shoes for winter use unless you size with thick socks in mind.
If you are a fan of longer rides, you will welcome the ventilation of the Dorica as it keeps your feet from getting overheated and uncomfortable.
Some riders suggest ordering the Dorica true to size if you plan to wear thick socks, but we recommend sizing down.
Ordering true to size in this shoe will mean that you cannot comfortably ride in a regular sock. That means that every ride you take will need to be with thick winter socks – which is not great come summer.
I’m a size 9 UK in normal shoes/trainers but dropped down to a size 8 in these and the fit is absolutely spot on!
Snug and comfortable.
As we mentioned above, the Dorica is advertised as being suitable for a wider forefoot, but we disagree. If you have a slender foot, an average width foot, or a slightly wider foot, this shoe will be a good fit. If you have a much wider foot and regularly wear wide with shoe sizes, you will still find this shoe to be too narrow.
The Dorica might remind you of trainers from the 1980s based on the slim and streamlined design, but there is no doubt that a fair amount of research went into this riding shoe.
One of the first things we notice with this shoe is that it is nicely rigid without being too firm or constricting. So, you do get a nice level of support around your foot without your riding being impacted by unnatural or even painful posture. Even on longer rides, the structure of the Dorica does not cause hotspots or unnatural aches.
The overall comfort of the Dorica is unexpected. Judging from the external appearance and the feel of the shoe, you might be inclined to think that longer rides would start to get uncomfortable, but surprisingly, the shoe is very well balanced between structure and support and comfort.
The sole of the Dorica is nicely flexible which makes peddling comfortable while still being efficient. Overall, this shoe makes for a pleasurable ride with smooth pedalling, nice ventilation, and just the right amount of structure.
If you are someone who prefers the rigid carbon sole shoe, you will notice a difference in the Dorica, but in our opinion, the Dorica is the more comfortable shoe particularly for longer rides.
The power transfer of the Dorica is excellent, perhaps not able to measure up to the more “top shelf” brands like Giro, but certainly more than we would expect from a shoe in this price range.
One aspect of the Dorica that we are a little unsure about is the long-term cosmetic durability. The surface of the shoe does scuff easily, and scraping can be a problem if you are not cautious. Overall, though, it seems like if durability is a concern, it will be limited to a cosmetic issue because the interior of the shoe remains comfortable after a few months of use.
It’s also worth pointing out that multiple users have claimed to have over a thousand miles on their Dorica shoes with no real wear or loss of comfort. We have yet to put that many miles on them, but so far, we can attest to the ongoing comfort the Dorica offers.
Perhaps our favourite feature of the Dorica is the elastic lace retainer. If you have been turned off laces before it is likely because your laces caught. If that is the case, the lace retainer on this shoe makes that a non-issue. In months of use, we have yet to have the laces on the Dorica snag at all.
If you are looking for a cycling shoe that gives you performance but stays within your limited budget, you will not find a better value than DHB – something they have shown time and again.
Who Would We Recommend This Shoe For?
The Dorica is a good option for any indoor or outdoor cyclist looking for a midrange shoe at a fair price point. We would also recommend this shoe for anyone looking to begin cycling as a hobby because they are affordable while offering the comfort and support to keep hotspots and ankle aches at bay.
These shoes are better suited to indoor use, but they can be used outdoors – and in our experience, they stand up well to outdoor use.
We do not particularly recommend this shoe for cyclists used to top-of-the-line performance shoes because – in most cases – it just will not measure up. With that said, some users of the Dorica have claimed that it outperformed their more expensive “top shelf” brand shoe, so you may want to consider giving the Dorica a try anyway.
Pros & Cons
Some Final Thoughts
Before you decide whether or not the Dorica is for you, we have a few more final thoughts to share that might help your decision.
- If you are a diehard user of ratchet or boa fasteners, do not let the laces on these shoes turn you off. These are not your traditional laces, and they really add to the comfort of the fit of the shoe.
- If you fall between sizes, you would be better ordering the smaller of the two sizes.
- Not compatible with three-bolt mounting for Speedplay Zero.
- It can be difficult to source pontoons.
- If you are considering shoes in this price range, you will be hard-pressed to find a better shoe than the Dorica. Like most DHB shoes, the Dorica gives you just that little bit more compared to similarly priced shoes.