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Vittoria Shoes: The Hora and The Old School
Vittoria shoes are one of those iconic Italian brands. From the start in 1976 to their Giro win with Roche in the 80’s to the Pirate’s Tour/Giro double in the 90’s, Garzelli’s cracking the millenium winning the 2000 Giro and lately on the feet of guys like Thor Hushovd, Jose Serpa, Dan Martin, Vittoria are still producing in Italy. We get their latest sets.

What’s better than new shoes at your door step?

That’s easy… Two pair.

And as I’m in process of building up a project that is the pinnacle of new tech combined with the best in classic material and craftsmanship, it’s damn fitting that Vittoria decided to send me a pair of their latest along with a pair of their old school…

The Hora and the 1976 Classic

Click the thumbnail at top for the BIG view

The shoes themselves come from people who are at their heart, cycling shoe makers…

And for the last 35 years or so, they’ve been developing a combination of traditional craftsmanship…

… and more modern manufacturing tech…

to produce an Italian product that continues to meet the changing demands of cyclists.

It’s not everyone’s taste to go back in time, or in tech, so I’ll start this off with the new Hora (say “or – uh”).

This is the newest top line kick, with a combination closure system of both ratchet/buckle and MicroMetric cables…

The MicroMetric system is pretty well known at this point and Vittoria use it for the lower 75% of the shoe, where the shape of your feet changes the most and creates a lot of uneven pressure on closure systems.

This is a simple twist to tighten, twist to loosen thing with the push button option on top of the dial as a quick release. No pop up required for the mechanism (other than the little arch tab) and it stayed in place with no movement through daily use for months…

The top closure’s main feature is a large padded strap that was designed to “float” a bit as you tighten it and find the right angle of rest so that it sits flat against as large an area as possible…

It came out pretty much as planned. It moves several degrees up and down your arch and the pad is also adjustable for position. And the whole thing is replacable.

The strap itself is fairly rigid and very secure feeling once closed, but the fact that it has that float and settles in flat makes for a soft feel without binding.

The padding on the strap helps the comfort…

as does the padding on the tongue that is more substantial than a lot of shoes (but is required to allow for the MicroMetric buckle to be placed on the arch.

The large strap plugs in to a straight forward ratchet buckle…

Just plug in the end of the strap and lift the metal tab to add tension…

And press the red button to release…

You can release a bit of pressure with a quick push and or hold the button down and pull the strap out completely…

As with the strap, the buckle is also replaceable…

And those vents you see on the buckle platform (the 3 little ducts with the silver mesh, just to the left of the screw) are functional.

the three big lights upper left are the buckle closure vents…

The heel has large functional venting as well…

Since today marks one of the dozen or so days we have full cloud cover in Phoenix, I had to settle for the flashlight-on-counter method for these vents.

The shoe’s main body has lots of perforation and a couple of small mesh openings for venting.

And the Soles also feature open venting.

But I punched my own holes into the stock insoles, as their perfing didn’t line up.

Overall airflow here is good. It’s more than adequate well into 90 degree plus days here in Phoenix and works into the hundreds though not as well as some shoes with larger total volume venting in the uppers and perforation through the tongue. BUT, poke a couple of holes in the footbed to line up with the sole venting and the ventilation seems to double, making these suitable to pedal into hell (or what we here in Arizona call central Scottsdale).

Back to the sole…

Vittoria’s UD Carbon “Air System” sole, as mentioned, works as advertised in the air department.

The next question on lots of minds is sole movement and people like me that prefer more flex to a shoe sole versus “the stiffestestest” thing available will like these. The counter will be that people that genuinely want a very stiff sole might not find a home with the Hora.

The toe box for the Hora is what I would call medium volume. They’ll allow for up to “mid” thickness orthotic foot beds without a problem but are neither super roomy nor are they as snug as some past versions that fit the “skinny euro” footwear description in the past. Width seems to be roughly D which will work for the vast majority of folks.

As with most top line shoes today, the craftsmanship with the Hora is very good. There’s not a stitch out of place and the finish quality (albeit a bit glossy for some tastes) is perfect. The Boa system is nice and refined and when coupled with the monster top strap, it makes for a very secure fit without binding.

Now Let’s Go Back…

Vittoria’s Classic 1976 are just slicker than slick…

And the review for these might be as easy as the old Bryers ice cream Commercial, where they have people read their ingredients and instead of a whole bunch of “Polyjunkaplasticolosys 69” type things, it was something like, cream, strawberrys and cold air…

That’s the Classics… Strawberries, cream and plenty of cold air.

These are the best ventilated shoes I’ve ever worn.

Talking tech takes a couple of seconds tops…

The uppers are a durable microfiber and thread… Some of the latter in the form of a little national pride…

The soles are composite and they’ll take any 3 hole standard cleat and or you can use a more original pedal standard…

There are also vent holes in the toe and heel…

But there isn’t any hole through to the inside as there is in the Hora. But it doesn’t matter because there’s already enough air flowing through the shoe as is…

No need then to punch holes in the foot beds (which are the same as the Hora).

There are a couple of versions of the classic / vintage line of shoes through Vittoria and there is a UD carbon soled version (the same sole as the Hora) and the most popular version is actually the more city bike oriented SPD comp tread.

The roadie version is what I chose, but the rubber side down is both stiffer and more practical for a lot of folks.

Speaking of stiffer, that’s really the clarifier here. These are a very flexible sole and while simple laces seem to do a better job of conforming to your foot than damn near anything described as a “closure system”, these won’t do for all out performance. While the UD Carbon sole will stiffen things up, laces simply won’t give a lot of people enough confidence… Hard core action is probably better left to the Hora and other racing models.

But in the case that you want to spend what could still be a quite aggressive hour or two enjoying your ride (in boat loads more style), these are a great set of kicks.

Both pair are what I would have expected from a business that was started by a pro bike racer and is still family run.

Another example of Vittoria being cycling shoe makers rather than a mega factory where shoes are just incidental is the fact that I was able to order two different sized shoes.

It’s just not required by a lot of people, but if you have a little patience, Vittoria can fill a split order like this… Your shop needs to work with Vittoria to set it up, but there are very few places with this kind of capacity versus just churning things out as fast as possible.

The Hora are a top line shoe that would be at home any place in the pro tour and the Classics are at home on any road where loving the ride takes priority over absolute speed.

The Hora have an SRP of $425 while the 1976 classics with the Nylon Sole and or the Rubber walking/SPD sole will run $180 and an upgrade to the UD Carbon sole will go for $225.

Grab a little more information at

Have Fun,
Charles Manantan


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