The Yellow Princesses

The Velominati would not exist if it weren’t for The Rules. Of the current 79 Rules, only two, Rule #34 and Rule #69 stipulate anything about shoes. Perhaps that is all that is needed. However, I do have a set of personal Rules that I’ve been living by and developing for nearly ten years now. My own personal Rule #1 is No Red Shoes. And as a strict disciple of my own Rules I have no red shoes.

This is partly why I was so relieved that I could title this article The Yellow Princesses and not the Red Princesses. Because if Mavic made the Zxellium in red, I would simply have to break my own rule. These shoes are sublime.

I’ve gone through a few pair of cycle shoes in my relatively short time as a dedicated road cyclist and Velominatus. Nalini 2004’s, Cat-1 Gavias, and an old pair of Frank’s DMT Ultimax’s have all graced my gunboats. I’ve also tried many a pair on in hopes of finding that glass slipper. Sidis heel cup is too narrow, Shimanos toe box is too wide, Pearl Izumis weren’t my cup of tea, and so on and so forth.

That is until I purchased a pair of Mavic Razor mtb shoes for riding my cyclocross bike. The Razors have many miles of gravel under them. They are durable, perform well, are stylish, and easily the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn. I was sold on Mavic shoes since buying them.

So after riding Frank’s retired DMT’s into the road after he made the switch to the much bally-hooed White Ladies this season, it was time for me to go shoe shopping.

At first, the yellow put me off a little bit. I considered if wearing yellow at all would be considered a Rule violation. That, as we all know, only applies to jerseys. Riders regularly wear non-team issue and personalized shoes. The Zxelliums do also come in white but since the White Ladies was taken I had to make a different plan. Then I saw this guy wearing them in this year’s tour.

That did it for me. Being a fan of Chris Horner and seeing how the Zxelliums seemed to at once stand out and tie his kit together riding up the Tourmalet this year made me think I could pull them off too.

Whether or not I can pull them off remains to be seen. But I may not ever want to take them off. Damn if they’re not like bedroom slippers. And light! Oh the lightness. In my hand, not on a scale mind you, they are lighter than the DMTs. And that’s with the cleats on the Mavics and not on the DMTs. The muted sole is also cause for carbone.

At any rate, I’m stoked about the shoes. I thought about filing this article under the Reverence folder but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. There’s no doubt these shoes will be held in reverence one day but I must go put many kilometers on them first.

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84 Replies to “The Yellow Princesses”

  1. Like the Mavics. I’ve been pleased with their more entry-level shoe (befitting my cycling status): the Avenir. Which is French for “I’ll need yellow shoes in the future.”

  2. You coulda put up a photo of pretty much anything and I’d have thanked you for getting rid of that photo of Tom and his ageing blue labrador. But (albeit in a slightly garish yellow kinda way) they do look cool. Certainly cooler than the slip-ons Horner appears to have abandoned prior to donning his Princesses. (Hey, Frank – has Horner stolen your casual shoes?)

  3. Can there be a rule about not ever pointing to American cyclists as justifications/references for bike style?

    Horner – whilst a fantastic domestique and seemingly all round nice guy (even Cadel used to like him as a teammate for crissake!) – is still an American. In my book that diqualifies him from being used as a style barometer – isn’t he a redneck too? Those shoes look hideous Marko.

    And before you say it, yes, Aussies are disqualified too (although Phil Anderson’s pioneering with Oakley wasn’t a bad collaboration between two unstylish countries).

    So maybe just exclude all non-europeans?

  4. @Marcus
    Wot, you’d rather be assaulted by a picture of Lemelsmurf? Yellow they may be – but at least they don’t talk. And talk. And talk.

  5. Marko – Those Mavics are great. I have a humble, silver pair of their Avenirs – dubbed “The Silver Clouds” – and I am very happy with them; but i have to say, the yellow looks really sharp, and I now regret that I didn’t splurge and get me-self a pair of those princesses…

  6. You’re a brave man, Marko, very, very brave. I mean, to come out in public like that, with no sense of shame, and proudly parade your admiration for something so, well, shit.

    But the shoes are ok…

  7. Two years ago I spotted these shoes being paraded around Le Tour by a select few riders and I instantly wanted. A few months later when they were finally released I tried a pair on and they were like slippers and I decided to get matching road and MTB shoes. But I waited for some reason, and waited and now I’ve gone off the Yellow Shoe. Perhaps I felt my performance was never going to match up to a yellow shoe, I’ll get something else when I finally get back on the bike.

    @Marcus +1

  8. The back and forth on here cracks me up. It’s like that Sex in the City show I’ve heard about with the shoe fashionistas

    Yeah, I like Horner, so what. I think his interviews on the little veloTV thing are funny. I like that he doesn’t seem to take anything too seriously. I was also happy to see him bury the COTHO on the GC this year.

    As for the shoes, they could have Leopard spots and I’d probably still wear them. They’re that good. It’s got to have a lot to do with the burrito wrap upper, as opposed to a traditional taco. It swaddles the dogs.

    Silver Clouds, it’s good. We’re starting to compile a long list of shoe nicknames for the Lexicon. I’d have gone with those had I not picked these up for such a fantastic price. There’s no way I’d pay $300 for shoes.

  9. Regardless of ones feelings towards Horner, those shoes look awesome. They always catch my eye in the peloton.

  10. About the yellow. Back in my basketball days, if you came on the court wearing some blinged-out Jordans, you had better have a game or face merciless mockery (I stuck to modest white).
    Perhaps, then, the shoes are best seen as they are on Markos: from behind, either rapidly disappearing up the road or through the brown-out of ever-increasing lactate levels, optic nerves turning into useless twigs as off the back you go.

  11. @Marcus
    Better be careful, there mate. Horner is a class act and local boy. And, while the Philminator definitely rocked the EyeShades, he had nuthin on Hampsten. I mean, the guy is PINNER. Those shades covered up his entire face and he STILL rocked that shit.

    As for Horner, I have one image to present:

    In a word, “Stud”.

    But he makes riding a bike look miserable, I’ll give you that. Head all cocked to the side, like Popeye.

    On to the shoes, until my heart went the way of the White Ladies, my eyes were firmly planted on the Principessa è Gialla. I think they have just a totally rad look, but no one pulls them off better than LL Cool J.

  12. @frank
    LL Cool’s pic is probably the closest approximation to the kit/bike/shoe look to me in the sacred garment on my black/red/white bike. Now don’t get me wrong, I look nowhere as badass and am much fatter but the colors are close.

    and where’s the pic of Horner giving the buck from? i’ve seen it but don’t know the context. was that in a race?

  13. G’phant :Certainly cooler than the slip-ons Horner appears to have abandoned prior to donning his Princesses.

    To be a complete pimp you MUST wear Vans slip-on’s sockless when not clipped in.

  14. Yep, those Gialline have caught my wanton glance more than once. I picked up a pair of Mavic Pro Road’s on sale a few months ago (I’m always trying new shoes, numb toes dammit), and got a pair of Mavic Chasm mtb shoes into the deal. Funny thing, they seem almost identical except for the lugged soles on the Chasms, but the Pro Roads are not nearly as comfy as the Chasms. Staying with the Sidi 6.6’s for now (black/white/red), but on the lookout for some White Ladies on sale.

  15. @frank
    Think I haven’t made myself clear Franky boy. I reckon Horner is one of the few true “Riders To Be Admired” in today’s pro ranks.

    i)I reckon he squandered a bit of his early career by not making the most of his early Euro-racing years (not really the point of my mention of him, but since you mention him…); and

    ii) he definitely cannot be looked to as a cycling style icon.

    To wit, this quote from an article I found in 10 seconds of googling:

    “Before the final stage of this year’s Vuelta a España, Horner made an announcement at the breakfast table to his younger teammates. He told them that what they really should be focusing on for the remainder of the season was finding the Starbucks in every town the team visited and reporting back to him about it immediately.

    To quote the NZ Bruthas, “Starbucks, like fuck.” Horner is a cool rider, but still a redneck yank Frank and thus cannot be a reliable style maven.

  16. @Marcus
    Well played. I stand corrected. Starbucks? LIKE FUCK! Being from Seattle, rife with excellent coffee shops on every corner, I cannot understand a fellow PNW-er liking Starbucks. LIKE FUCK!

  17. @Marcus
    Interestingly enough, those DMT’s Chris is wearing in the first pic on that link look very similar to Frank’s old ultimax’ that I just retired. Horner and I must be on the same shoe arc, albeit mine is certainly way behind his.

  18. @Marko
    Just stay off Horner’s coffee arc and Peter Garrett’s political arc and you will be fine. The shoes aren’t too bad actually, but like your Freddie Mercury comment, I just wanted to start something (Freddie was a true ROCKSTAR by the way).

    On a completely different issue, just read that the World Champs course has over 3,000m of climbing in the last 180kms. A sprinter’s race???

  19. Now the picture of the shoes has been up there for 24 hours I now want a pair. I can’t ride a bike, but I just want to wear them around the house.

  20. i am with xyxax on this. Do you fella’s feel like when you softpedal into a group, that others look at you expecting you will pull an eternal 50kph into a headwind? Those shoes just exude ‘PRO’, so do you fella’s find a ‘self fulfilling’ prophecy with these things. Personally, i was glad to see the new Zxellium ultimates which are in my favorite black. i know i know, you guys don’t like black, but at least i can softpedal once in a while and nobody cares.

    I just know for me, if someone comes up along side in those shoes, they better be ready to go.

  21. @Souleur

    Totally. I think the Average Joe can pull off a unified, dialed-in kit/bike combo w/o being expected to generate 500 Watts per hour but show up with some fancy dancin’ shoes and there WILL be expectations. But if you can pull the look off – more power to you.

    I like my shoes in all colors as long as it is black. I did have some Time’s bitd that were red and white but that was a special Employee Incentive deal so I got the pedals and shoes for like a hundred bucks or something.

  22. I dunno guys, I look at it this way. Do your time in the front and Rule #5 it when you do. That’s the only expectation. I could give a shit less what other people think. Gear does not make the cyclist. That said, gear can obviously be a huge help/advantage. But Rule #5 is between your ears and in the guns. Most days I show up at the group ride I’m feeling pretty good and do what I can to push the pace. Some days I’m not feeling it or other dudes are on form. That’s how bike riding works isn’t it? For me, the expectation is not to tear the legs of everyone, it’s to Rule #5 it. If that means tearing dudes’ legs off because I feel good, fine. If it means putting my nose out there for a few minutes and trying to hang on the back, that’s fine too. I do what I can.

  23. @Jarvis

    Cyclops: I did have some Time’s bitd that were red and white but that was a special Employee Incentive deal so I got the pedals and shoes for like a hundred bucks or something.

    Jarvis, I think we might have to pull a little trick out of our sleeves, no?

    @Souleur, @Cyclops

    Those shoes just exude ‘PRO’, so do you fella’s find a ‘self fulfilling’ prophecy with these things.

    That’s what the White Ladies did for me. They look so damn good…I look at my feet, and see a Pro’s feet, stroke perfect, power flowing from the shoes to the pedals like a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force.

    Nothing wrong with black, mind you, but once you discover the Power of the Ladies or the Principessas, you will see the light.

    Assuming, of course, that there are already some Rros out there rockin’ that shit and making it look cool. Because otherwise you’ll just look like an idiot who bought reject shoes from the bargin bin.

  24. @frank: ok…I am in. White Ladies…wow, that brings a tear to my eye, like when I shaved my legs the first time, then I KNEW I was in.

    @Marko: thats all so true, its just some times I like the show and go and going unnoticed and out-performing the pussies that buy a $7k bike they don’t know crap about, or show w/duds they shouldn’t be wearing. Ultimately, your spot on, it matters none, its what is in your head.

    And your attitude on ‘I don’t care what they think’ is quinessentially cycling too, we are a tad bit narcissitic at our core, the colours, the gear, and all. Isn’t it about a little getting noticed? If we all are honest, it sure doesn’t hurt.

    So, I am in on the DMT’s, yellow isn’t for me yet.

  25. Don’t get me wrong – like I said, if you can pull it off, more power to you. It’s probably the inner pussy in me not thinking I could rock the Princesses. Now once I get my Velominati kit, and if we could get Mavic to make some special edition “Velominati Orange” ladies then all bets would be off. That’s the prblem with black shoes – they go with any kit.

    Speaking of kits – is it just me or do others out there find it impossible to ride in anything but a complete kit now? So now I got $200 Assos bibs that never get used. The only not kit jersey I ever wear now is my Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here jersey.

  26. but all the more power to the dudes that pull it off….hands down in respectful Cognoscentia bow

  27. In that case:

    Free to good home: Used size 46 DMT Ultimax (as worn by Chris Horner, Ivan Basso, Frank Strack, and Marko). These ones were actually worn and used by the latter two, one of which actually rides a bike well. They have soul, can tell stories, and demand Reverence. Contact Marko for shipping information.

  28. Souleur :but all the more power to the dudes that pull it off….hands down in respectful Cognoscentia bow

    no doubt there. if one can look good, Obey the Rules, and rock some sweet shoes all the while bulldozing blokes into the pain cave, then I say: A-Merckx

  29. @Brett
    I’d be weary of Cyclops’s chamois creme; tread carefully. Love the crazy fucker, but he seems just a tad *this* side of ordinary. Just sayin’.

  30. Did you guys see what Sylvain Chavenel was wearing in the Tour? Now, I’ve never liked Carnac shoes ever and not even the silly expensive ones they’ve come out with in the last year. Expensive and devoid of style however, you really wanna check these out, oh my gosh

    carry on

  31. Ugh. I just soiled the princesses on a distaster of a ride. Heading toward one of my favorite climby roads, huge blow-out 45 minutes out, shredded tube and tyre. No shoulder, walk into the ditch to survey the damage and sink into mud. FUCK. No can do on the tyre as it’s fucked, no phone along (like the only time I don’t bring my phone), start walking back in bare feet as to not tear up my cleats and/or heel and toe pads on the princesses. One guy finally stops to pick me up, which was cool because my feet are raw by this point and the dude works in the same field as I do and so we made a professional connection.

    Now I’s got to clean the shoes.

  32. Jarvis :Did you guys see what Sylvain Chavenel was wearing in the Tour? Now, I’ve never liked Carnac shoes ever and not even the silly expensive ones they’ve come out with in the last year. Expensive and devoid of style however, you really wanna check these out, oh my gosh
    carry on

    But who will be the first to rock these babies with their Sacred Garment? I’m being sorely tested by this thread…

  33. I refer to my black Sidi Ergo IIs as the Dark Knights.

    1. Because Batman doesn’t dope (have superpowers) and he still kicks everyone’s ass.
    2. Because they’re black.
    3. Because the Dark Knight comes home from a day’s dispensing of Rule #5 and tells the White Lady to go get him a beer and make him a sandwich.

  34. @Marko

    those are actually the only shoes I’ve seen that match the sacred garment well

    True. The only problem being that they look like a Kindergartener with a bad cold ate too many oranges and puked all over some nice, gray shoes.

  35. @frank
    Hey imagine dishing out The V in bitter, steaming scoops to your mates rocking those togs and the SG… The stuff of legend…

  36. Those Carnacs are SICK! If I hadn’t just bought new Ladies, I’d be all over that shit… perfect match for the Sacred Garments. But the ladies are cool too.

  37. I’m liking the look of the new F:izik shoes. A lot better looking than the conservative shite that Giro have come up with

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