While they might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of what you need to go faster on a bicycle, cycling shoes hugely contribute to performance. Sole stiffness is a big factor when it comes to power transfer, while comfort is important when it comes to long days in the saddle. A good cycling shoe strikes the balance between these two things, having high levels of power transfer without compromising on the overall feeling of the shoe.
The Macha Pros from Liv aim to reach this harmonious point with a range of technical features that have been added to the latest iteration of the shoe. A ExoBeam outsole with a dual-beam carbon fibre plate is said to reduce overall weight, a greater toe-heel stiffness aims to improve power transfer, while the brand’s Motion Efficiency system should encourage a smoother pedal stroke and balance throughout the foot.
When it comes to comfort, the shoes have a removable sock liner with tunable arch support so each rider can dial in their specific fit. This is combined with a grippy SharkSkin material on the heel of the Macha Pro to ensure that the foot stays firmly in place, and a double Li2 Boa ExoWrap closure system to distribute pressure evenly across the foot. These features are all packaged up within the polyurethane coated mesh wrap-around upper of the shoe, which features laser cut micro-perforations aiming to achieve both ventilation and durability.
The Liv Macha Pro shoes are women’s-specific, coming with a narrower heel cup and different colour options than the Giant’s Surge Pro men’s equivalent. Made for racing and high-performance, the Macha Pros shoes are being proven in the 2023 Women’s WorldTour by the likes of Jayco-Alula and Liv Racing TeqFind, so we were excited to put these to the test to see if they were also suitable for the everyday rider.
There’s no denying that these shoes are made for racing and going fast. That’s evident just by looking at them: they have that sleek, seamless construction that’s common in most of today’s most aerodynamic, modern cycling shoes, with Liv opting to go for welded seams rather than sewn in order to keep them supple and lightweight. Keeping on the theme of aesthetics, I can’t not mention the stunning, unmissable purple colourway of the Liv Macha Pros that I tested. The shoes pop in the sunlight and are a beautiful addition to any cycling outfit, though Liv does offer a white version for those out there who prefer to keep their shoes a little more understated.
This purple colour that adorns the whole shoe is printed onto the mesh upper that is made to be breathable and well-ventilated. While my time wearing the Macha Pro shoes has admittedly been during the British winter, I have never had issues with my feet overheating in them, even while using them indoors on the turbo trainer. I would say that water does seep through the holes more than on shoes that have a solid upper, but this is something that I’d be willing to accept given the breathability benefits that the small holes on the shoes bring.
When it comes to the fit of the Macha Pro shoes, the aforementioned race-style means that they have a tight, locked-in fit. The toe box is quite narrow, but I didn’t have any issues with rubbing or numbness in my toes (although this could be something to keep in mind if you have wider feet.) I liked the feel of security that the shoes gave without being restrictive, especially when doing sprints or harder efforts. The grippy SharkSkin material on the back of the shoe also helps with this locked-in feel, it keeps the foot firmly in place with no risk of movement.
Arguably the most important element of a shoe when it comes to achieving that comfortable fit is the Boa placement, and I found that the Liv Macha Pro shoes tick this box. The routing system means that there aren’t any pressure points on the foot, while the Boa Li2 system is easy to adjust on the go to ensure that the fit is perfect. Rather than pushing my foot downwards to hold it in the shoe, I found that the ExoWrap closure system meant I was secured in by all sides and angles which led to a much more comfortable feel. Unlike many shoes which use wire, the Macha Pros feature a Dyneema lacing to hold them in place. I was sceptical about how flimsy this looked at first, but I have since been impressed by its durability and the added flexibility it gives compared to a wire or plastic cable.
Down at the bottom of the shoe, the ExoBeam design on the carbon sole is extremely stiff and I found that I could really feel the benefits of that while climbing out of the saddle or going full gas in a sprint. If you’re not used to a shoe with such a stiff sole and upper, this could take some time to get used to and I didn’t feel like I fully got to grips with the feel of such stiffness until I’d done a couple of rides, but once I did, I was a big fan of this feature. The incredibly light weight of the shoe also is an asset of the Liv Macha Pros, ensuring that there are no unnecessary grammes of weight being carried when slugging up climbs.
When it comes to the price, the Liv Macha Pro shoes retail for £299.99 – a significant investment. However, this is inline with what most brands are charging today for a high-performance, flagship shoe which features all of the modern technologies in cycling shoe design. If you are looking for a road shoe that will give you every gain while out on the road, the Macha Pros are a great investment, especially if you have a narrow foot and enjoy a stiff, tight, race-ready fit. If you are looking for a shoe that’s more suitable for long-range, endurance adventures, these might not be for you, but I struggled to find many faults with the Liv Macha Pro shoes when it comes to looking for a pair of shoes that are going to assist me in going fast.