I don’t care what site or magazine it is, 90 to 95% of published reviews are based on gear that a writer get’s for free — it’s a little ugly, but that’s just the business end of the matter. Sometimes it works out and we’ll test a product that we actually like, and sometimes the product totally sucks and we don’t even bother reviewing it. And on an even more rare occasion, a writer will actually buy a product for personal use, and loving it so much, will feel compelled to spread the word. Today, I am that writer, and today, that product is the DMT Lynx.
For total clarity, I purchased these with the intention of cyclocross and gravel riding. Along these lines, I was looking for a shoe that blurred the lines between road and mountain in terms of weight and stiffness, and at 372 grams per shoe (size 43), the Lynx hit the mark. At this weight, they’re actually around 16 grams lighter than the SIDI Drako (size 44, 388g) per shoe. Impressive, indeed.
And then there’s the aesthetics. The Lynx just looks, excuse my bro’iness, badass. Streamlined, aggressive, minimal — they definitely stand apart from the pack. In the box, DMT provides a pair of thermo-moldable insoles and a shoe bag for clean transport in a travel pack.
If you’ve read my reviews before, you probably know that I rank shoe function according to a pretty set list of criteria: weight, stiffness, comfort, and quality. And not surprisingly, the Lynx ranks highly along these lines. Let’s address these in order.
The Lynx are damn light, if not one of the lightest mountain shoes on the market. Well, the Giro Empire MTB is certainly lighter, weighing in at 363g with cleats (size 42.5). But if you don’t feel the need for the little fangs, a couple of quick twists would shave a few grams off of the overall.
The rigidity of these shoes borders on the absurd. Unlike most mountain shoes, there isn’t a great deal of give and take at the outsole. In a pure mountain setting, this lack of forgiveness could easily be viewed as a drawback, yet on the gravel and ‘cross circuits, it’s a definite highlight. But this isn’t to say that DMT set out to punish your foot.
Upon closer inspection, you’ll actually notice that the outsole was molded with a bit of contour from the middle of the arch up towards the tip of the toe box. Surprisingly, this little detail relieves a great deal of the ground’s vibratory assault on the foot. I found that the base of the heel cup is also rather stiff, but it lacks a definitive hold — more on this later.
DMT’s thermo-moldable insoles are an obvious plus, but prior to molding, they feel weird as hell. There’s a very noticeable ridge that runs vertically from the arch up through ball of the foot. It redistributes itself after the molding, though, and the result easily exceeds the Giro Supernaturals and matches my gold standard for insoles, the Fi’zi:k 3D Flex Moldable insoles.
The tongue of the Lynx is only stitched at the bottom and attaches to the shoe at the top via a small patch of Velcro. This arrangement allows you to position the tongue in a manner that would accommodate a rather high volume situation. And of course, the dual BOA retention system works effortlessly.
As for the tread, the pattern is substantial, soft, and tacky. In fact, it has more lift and surface area coverage than say, a Dominator Fit, and is placed a little more inward from the perimeter than on the Empire MTB. The tread also extends further along the arch of the foot, while the two fangs are well positioned at the toe box. So, if you’re doing a decent amount of race running, you’ll find the Lynx far more suited for mid- to forefoot striking with a rather neutral pronation. In other words, all of this rounds out to better up- and downhill grip, comfort, and overall performance.
Ordinarily, I would address fit before drawbacks, but the fit was the only drawback to me, so there you go. As you can gather from the pictures, I’m ratcheting the hell out of the BOAs on these shoes. Why? Because DMT doesn’t offer the Lynx in any half sizes. I typically wear a 42.5, but I was consciously weary of going down a half size with an Italian manufacturer that has a reputation for long and narrow road shoes. It’s hard to tell if I made the right choice, though. In the 43, my foot fits perfectly length wise (so a 42 would have been cramped), but the overall volume of the shoes feels abnormally high to my “normal sized” foot. Thus, I have to ratchet the living hell out of the BOAs. And when coupled with a rather flimsy upper end of the heel cup, the feeling of the shoes being a bit oversized is compounded. When walking, I do experience a bit of heel lift, but oddly enough, I don’t feel it through the pedal stroke. Ultimately, this sensation could be easily eliminated with a cat’s tongue or extension of the reinforced heel cup up to the opening.
If you’re in need of the holy trinity of low weight, fierce aesthetics, and stiffness, these are the shoes for you. Outside of the heel cup, I feel that you get more features for your buck than with the top-tier Drako, not to mention that you won’t be spending $460. My parting advice to you is to size down and let it rip.