Product of their environment: Q36.5’s Italian-made Unique shoes

Fresh road and adventure shoes see Q36.5 covering every contact point

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Hailing from Bolzano in the heart of the Dolomites, Q36.5 is an Italian company whose products draw inspiration from nature. Their core principle is that the human body is a perfect machine. With roots in mountaineering and winter sports, its designers believe that great performances come from maximum comfort alongside maintaining a regular temperature. It’s where the digits in the firm’s name come from, what with 36.5°C being the perfect working temperature for the human body.

Founded in 2013 by Luigi Bergamo, a technician and designer with more than 20 years of experience making performance clothing, the brand has allowed him the freedom to further pursue his craft. In this ambition, Q36.5 has also been aided by the region’s textile makers, many of which are among the most advanced in the world.

Since releasing its first jerseys and bib shorts, the Q36.5 range has steadily expanded to cover the rider’s every need, with the possible exception of their feet. Now, Q36.5’s Unique shoes aim to also provide this last key piece. Taking the same design approach as the rest of the range, the Unique shoes have been developed through the use of advanced body-mapping and the study of elastic energy storage. The goal, to create a pair of shoes as comfortable as they are efficient.

Efficient by design

(All photos: Ourea Productions)

Befitting a premium racing shoe, the Unique’s design begins with an outsole made of aerospace-grade carbon fibre. With a structure inspired by the form and function of the human spine, this aims to guarantee an efficient transfer of power along with the right level of flexibility. Q36.5 claims to have spent significant time studying the biomechanics involved, with its resulting design able to create a degree of elastic return that allows its shoes to rebound with maximum efficiency when pushed down onto the pedals.

Holding the shoes perfectly to their wearer, the shoe’s Power Wrap structure then encloses the foot in a single piece, tongueless upper. The harmony between footbed, upper, and sole within their exoskeleton should in turn make for a natural and effective pedalling experience. Aided by twin BOA dials, these can rapidly tailor both the volume and grip of the shoes, allowing for the expansion of your feet, or dialling them down as the finish line approaches.

Made in Italy

Again aided by the expertise native to the region, Q36.5’s Unique Shoes also take the firm’s body-mapping concept and expand it down to the rider’s toes. Meaning that Q36.5 now provides both a full range of clothing, along with items covering each of the three junctions with the bicycle, their design draws upon the firm’s existing research.

Aiming to create a shoe with excellent thermoregulation and breathability, among the areas this can be seen is in their radical footbeds. Designed in conjunction with local chamois-maker Elastic Interface, these incorporate the supportive high-density foams also used in the inserts found within 36.5’s shorts. Applied to the inside of the shoe, here it aims to achieve much the same job as when applied to the saddle; namely to evenly distribute and relieve pressure while also absorbing micro-vibrations from the road. Resulting in reduced peak pressure, the foam also has a memory-style function allowing it to form itself to the wearer’s foot.

An equal amount of effort has been expended on designing the unique lasts upon which each shoe is based. Encompassing the expertise of the development team, several of who are experienced performance shoe pattern makers, an extensive selection of riders were canvassed to collect measurements along with their personal preferences.

The result is a modern take on what constitutes the perfect cycling shoe, something with a snug heel, waist, and instep, but also a greater amount of room in the toe box to allow the rider’s foot to move throughout the pedal stroke.

Tarmac and beyond

Selecting its collaborators for both their ability to produce the highest quality materials along with their proximity, this geographical closeness has allowed Q36.5 to rapidly evolve its designs. Resulting in a product informed by the incredible environment of the Dolomites, the entirety of the firm’s range, including its shoes, is 100% made in Italy.

Coming in Road and Adventure versions, the Unique shoe is available in three colours. Suiting them to both conventional and off-road type pedals, each promises the same comfort and performance, whichever route over the mountain you choose.

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