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Mavic Cosmic Boa SPD gravel shoe review – slick, stiff but not secure

Mavic’s new Cosmic Boa SPD mixes an MTB style upper, cleat fixtures and walkable tread with a road/race rigid sole but it’s the single dial fit that dominates performance

Mavic Cosmic Boa SPD
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Mavic’s Cosmic Boa SPD shoe is light and comfortable with a powerful sole that you can still walk in. Slack single-dial fit undermines performance potential though.

Pros

  • +

    Lightweight

  • +

    Stiff road sole

  • +

    MTB cleats and walking tread

  • +

    Easy to get on and off

Cons

  • -

    Inadequate heel security

  • -

    No micro dial loosening

Mavic’s new Cosmic Boa SPD gravel shoe mixes the CrossMax Boa MTB shoe upper and SPD cleat slots with a road stiff sole. It then blends both worlds with a walkable tread cleat for short totters off the bike. 

That’s potentially a great mix for fast gravel or tour riding, but the single Boa dial fit can’t deliver the security needed to compete with the best gravel bike shoes out there.

Mavic Cosmic Boa SPD

Single piece synthetic leather upper with gloss Mavic logo gives the Cosmic Boa SPD stealthy looks (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design and specifications

While Mavic saves the Cosmic name for premium road products, the upper of the Cosmic Boa SPD is essentially the same as its CrossMax Boa MTB shoe. It uses a single piece of perforated synthetic leather material with a subtly sublimated Mavic side logo and a reinforcing T piece up the heel seam. The ankle collar is generously padded, the tongue is lightly padded, and you get a soft foam ‘Ortholite’ insole. The single Boa Fit System L6 dial on each side pulls its cable through six webbing tabs to help distribute tightness equally.

Rather than using an MTB sole with a lighter tread, the Cosmic Boa SPD gets a carbon-reinforced glass fiber sole in the flatter broader format of a road shoe. It’s slotted for twin bolt SPD style cleats rather than three-bolt road cleats and gets a horseshoe of relatively deep rubber tread around the front and a cloven hoof at the back as well.

Mavic Cosmic Boa SPD

MTB upper and cleats meet roadie style sole plate for a great gravelling balance (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

The pull-to-open dial and easy slide-through of the tensioning cable make putting the Cosmic Boa’s on super easy. Mavic’s new shoe form is much wider across the toe. That makes them much less likely to pinch or hot spot fatter feet and the Boa dial tightens in 1mm increments. There’s enough padding to be immediately comfy but they stretch to fit even better over time as well.

The plasticky tread is much harder than the Contragrip rubber used on Mavic’s MTB shoes and there’s not much bite on the toe. Together with the stiffness of the sole that means they need care when walking on wet or otherwise challenging surfaces.

The breadth of the forefoot tread and rubber strips under the mid-foot makes them much less likely to roll an ankle or slip on an unexpected ridge. That makes them way less stressful than a road or narrower tread gravel shoe at coffee/shop/toilet stops. Despite being usefully light, the stiffness and broad support of the sole are also obvious when you start putting the power down.

That should make them a great option for gravel racers or anyone who wants a road-feel shoe with walking versatility and double-sided pedal convenience. Unfortunately, the Cosmic Boa SPD suffers from the same easy heel lift as all the other single-dial Mavic shoes I’ve tested. Even with the dial uncomfortably tight, I could still pull my foot out of the shoe and that looseness makes it hard to pull up or back for a more circular low cadence power stroke. The ratchet in the Boa L6 dial is an all-or-nothing pull release too so you can’t loosen them incrementally to fine-tune fit.

Verdict

In true gravel fashion, Mavic’s Cosmic Boa SPD shoes are potentially the best of both cycling worlds. Comfortable, durable off-road proven uppers with a surefootedly broad walking tread and the convenience of double side MTB pedal compatibility. 

All matched to stiff, wide, lightweight firm pedaling soles for efficient power delivery. You definitely need to try before you buy though to see if the single directional adjustment and inherent looseness of the solo Boa design undermine security and potential performance as much as it did for me though.

Tech Specs: Mavic Cosmic Boa SPD gravel shoe

  • Price: £140 / €140
  • Sizes: 36 - 48.5
  • Weight: 584g (size 44 without cleats)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg