By Brandon Bilyeu
- Generous venting allow tons of air to move through the shoe
- BOA IP1 dial allows fine tune fit adjustments
- Replaceable heel pad
- Good stiffness from the Polyamide/Carbon sole
- Comfort lasts all day long
- Deep heel cup with aggressive grippers for a strong hold
- Vented shoe bag included
- Pricey for a shoe without a full carbon sole
- Aftermarket insoles will be required if you need arch support
How obtained: review sample from company
Available: online, retail
Colors: White/Black, White/Red
Website: Time Osmos
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 50+ hours
Sizing: 39-46 (41.5-44.5 half sizes) and my 44.5’s fit true to size
Time Re-Enters the High-End Shoe Market
After years of sitting out of the shoe game, Time has returned with the Osmos cycling shoes. During their footwear hiatus, Time was bought by Rossignol, which is probably best known for ski products, but also owns the bike brand Felt. Time took advantage of Rossignol’s extensive 40 years of experience with athletic footwear to help them reenter the high-end shoe market.
Over those years Rossignol amassed a database of over 3000 three-dimensional foot scans. Time used this data to create their own last and upper structure to provide the best fit for the widest range of feet sizes and shapes. The result is the Osmos shoe line that consists of three models with the entry level Osmos 10, the mid-range Osmos 12, and the high-end Osmos 15. Time is not shy about calling the entire product line high-end, so even the entry level model carries a premium price tag. I tested the mid-range Osmos 12, but for reference below is a quick overview of the major model differences.
Osmos 10 – Polyamide with 20% carbon fiber
Osmos 12 – Polyamide with 20% carbon fiber and 100% carbon fiber forefoot insert
Osmos 15 – 100% carbon fiber
Osmos 10 – Synthetic upper with micro-perf venting
Osmos 12 – Synthetic upper with extensive open mesh venting
Osmos 15 – Synthetic upper with extensive open mesh venting
Osmos 10 – One Boa IP1 dial
Osmos 12 – One Boa IP1 dial and one Velcro strap
Osmos 15 – Two Boa IP1 dials
Osmos 10 – $200
Osmos 12 – $275
Osmos 15 – $350
Sole Balances Comfort and Performance
The sole of the Osmos 12 consists of Polyamide with 20% carbon content and a 100% carbon composite plate at the forefoot. The carbon plate at the pedal-to-cleat interface ensures the pedaling forces are spread out over the entire forefoot and I can report no hot spot sensations.
The standard three-hole pattern accepts cleats from all the major road pedal brands and there are grid lines to help with cleat placement. The holes in the sole are fixed locations so all adjustment comes from the cleats and I found the holes to be well located for my setup. There is no surface texture treatment to help with cleat retention, but I had zero movement issues with my SPD-SL cleats.
Time does not list a stiffness index for their soles but the 12 is quite stiff with just enough flex to add comfort for long days in the saddle. If you are looking for an all-out race shoe you are better off checking out the 15, but the 12 is a nice balance of performance and comfort. I found hard efforts and sprints were rewarded with great power transfer and just a little more compliance as compared to full carbon soles on other shoes I have used. I certainly didn’t feel like I was wasting any meaningful effort flexing the soles.
For walking, there are permanent toe and replaceable heel pads. They have held up very well, so I’m not worried about the longevity of the non-replaceable toe pad. As always with road cycling shoes, walking is awkward, but the pads are a little softer compound than most shoes I have used and grip slippery surfaces quite well. Venting is moderate with two vents forward of the cleat and one behind. The sole doesn’t provide any appreciable arch support and the insoles are flat and thin, so if you are looking for arch support aftermarket insoles will be required.
Excellent Fit and Retention
Using that database of 3000+ 3D foot scans Time came up with a fit that doesn’t feel drastically different than any other shoe on the market, but shoe fit is very personal and Ryan Green, Global Brand Manager for Time, summed up the footwear business nicely saying “Every brand has a different fit and there is a need for each fit. This is why usually people stick with a brand of shoes . . . that brand’s last fits their foot”.
For me, Time’s last fits well and provides a secure hold. Forefoot width feels a little above average which my slightly wide feet appreciated, but without being too cavernous for the skinny feet crowd. At the other end of the shoe is a super deep heel cup with a well-padded upper half to cradle the achilles. The entire heel cup is covered with grippy dots that do a super job of locking the heel in place, though they also snag your feet on the way in which can make for a minor struggle to get everything in place. The result was my heels were locked in place and I never felt any slipping.
While many newer shoes use a wrap-around upper Time has stayed with the classic symmetrical design using a central tongue. Locking the foot in place is an IP1 Boa dial laced to the ankle and midfoot while a single velcro strap is used at the forefoot. The tongue alignment is held in place with a simple fabric loop around one of the Boa wires and is a nice touch to keep the tongue from falling to the side.
A foam pad is bonded to the underside of the tongue and does a great job of distributing the pressure from the Boa wires. This pad contributes to a very cushioned and comfortable feel, but on upstrokes during sprints I could feel the foam compressing. The result is that even though the sole is quite stiff on the downstrokes the shoes feel a little ‘soft’ when pulling up during hard efforts.
The foam pad is so soft and comfortable I initially found it very easy to overtighten the Boa dials because it still felt good. Thankfully the IP1 dials are super easy to adjust on the bike since that overtightening led to my feet falling asleep after 15 minutes of riding. I also had to readjust on bike as one of the Boa cable guides was not letting the wire tighten properly, but I discussed this issue with Time and it seems to be an isolated incident. About the only other complaint I have is that the tongue base and velcro strap intersection is a little lumpy with too many seams and material all in one location. Depending how tight you pull the velcro strap you may create some lumpiness on the top of your foot.
Air Conditioning for Your Feet
Using a reverse mullet concept, the Osmos 12’s are all business in the back and all venting in the front. The numerous open mesh panels offer almost no resistance to air coming through which makes for exceptional cooling on hot days. Your socks are clearly visible behind the mesh so be sure to pick some snazzy colors to show off and if you don’t wear socks I would seriously consider wearing sunscreen on your feet. The mesh itself is very robust plastic material, not a fabric. It offers no discernable stretch and seems up to the task of lasting the life of the shoes. Dirt is hard to clean out of the white mesh, but a small price to pay for the ventilation.
Toe covers do a good job of cutting off the airflow on cool rides and while probably not ideal as deep winter shoes I have used them comfortably on cold days with full shoe covers. The excellent ventilation also makes the Osmos a good candidate for indoor training shoes.
With previous experience in the shoe industry and the added expertise of Rossignol, Time has come to market with a well-designed and executed shoe. I think the fit will appeal to many people and the balance of high performance with a good dose of comfort is the perfect recipe for most riders. At this price point a full carbon sole would be nice to see, but stiffness is still very good.