Afton Cooper Flat Pedal Shoe
For those who ride flats, there have generally been one “Holy Grail” of shoes. In recent years with buyouts and manufacturing changes, there has been a big hole in the market and plenty of products trying to fill that space. With plenty of options to choose from, buyers are seemingly spoilt for choice – yet trying to find that “right shoe” has also become even harder.
That’s where the Afton Cooper steps in. No, not the character from Dallas, but with all the poise, grit, and determination of an 80’s soap star, these will no doubt be around for a long time to come – longer than Dallas? I think so!
Who Are Afton?
Based out of Los Angeles, Afton is a fairly new entry into the MTB shoe market in Australia. Currently making three models of shoes (Cooper, Vectal, Royce) plus casual apparel and with an impressive lineup of athletes already on their roster. We reviewed the original Vectal and the now discontinued Keegan shoes, shoes some time back.
What we like about Afton is their approach to building shoes from the ground up, and trying things other manufacturers haven’t done, and so far they have been making a big splash for such a newcomer to this scene.
When I first opened the box, I was impressed with the clean lines and subtle style of the Afton Cooper. The synthetic upper gives a feeling of durability and protection, without being too heavy, while the Intact™ rubber outsole and grip pattern promise solid support and connection to the pedals.
The reinforced toe section flows into the lacing pattern nicely and the lace keeper on the tongue is a nice touch to help keep the ends in check while on the bike, and the lightly padded tongue offers comfort to the upper foot.
Afton’s NEW and proprietary rubber blend sticking you to pedals probably more than you want.
Cleanable, durable, Afton has hand-selected their materials to optimize looks and durability.
Harnessing technology to create casual looking, comfortable, progressive MTB shoes.
- All new Intact™ Rubber formula that is traction at its finest. Sticky, durable, confidence inspiring.
- Brand new cupped outsole lug pattern. You’ll be planted in high speed rock gardens, muddy conditions, and hiking.
- Mono-directional interior shank supports your foot on the pedal during impacts, assists in energy transfer when pedaling, and reduces vibration yet flexes to allow normal walking.
- Materials are important. Afton have selected durable, cleanable materials that will last the lifetime of the shoes.
- Mid-ankle height to support, protect and secure your ankle.
- Toe is reinforced and printed with coarse, abrasive resistant material to protect the shoes.
- Tongue rain gutters keep out dirt, water, and foreign materials.
- Lace Caddy to hold the laces out of the when riding.
- Thick Ortholite™ insole to cut smell and improve comfort.
On The Trails
We tried to avoid all the usual buzzwords, but to be honest, that’s difficult as the Afton Cooper is all of those. Sticky, supportive, and comfortable. After almost two decades of solely (ha! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!) riding with my preferred brand, there was always going to be a bit of trepidation when using a new shoe. Will it fit? Will it be comfortable? And, very importantly, will it grip?
Once laced up and on, the Afton Cooper was very comfortable right away. The inner padding around the heel and ankle, combined with the moderate volume in the forefoot meant my foot was snug, but not constrained. They’re a stiff shoe compared to the previous footwear I’ve been running [Five-Ten Freerider Pro] but not so much as the full DH shoes from other brands [Five-Ten Impact]. I’m happy to report that after a few rides they began to soften and shape up nicely and now, after a couple of months, they feel like an extension of my feet. They fit true to size, but best check the size guide if you have any concerns.
So, do they Grip? That’s what everyone really wants to know. Well, “insert your favourite joke about sticky things” here. The grip levels were superb out of the box, that locked-in feeling when placing the foot was very reassuring, and they have only gotten better as time has gone on and the shoe has broken in even more.
The shank in the footbed was very noticeable on rocky descents, providing plenty of support and yet still giving a great feel of what was happening underfoot. That level of grip extends all the way through the shoe, as a few lazy leg days gave me the unexpected chance to ride some rock gardens with a heel on.
In mild and medium rain and they haven’t given up any of that grip. The synthetic upper is very water-resistant and while I didn’t get them completely soaked, they had the feeling that my feet wouldn’t be getting heavy any time soon. On the pedal back up, the weight isn’t noticeable, but the shank certainly is, giving plenty of power transfer through to the pedals.
Often grip is a combination of shoe + pedal and what can feel great on one pedal doesn’t feel as good on others. I’ve had the chance to try these on 3 brands of pedals, each with a different platform size & pin pattern and for my US10.5 foot, there was plenty of support on all platforms. For reference, these were (in order of platform size) the Raceface Atlas, Burgtec MK4 Composite, and the Raceface Chester. Previously I haven’t gotten on with the last pedal as it felt a bit small for my foot, but with the Afton’s I didn’t have a worry on any of them.
If you’re looking for a new pair of shoes and seeking a great balance of grip, support, sensitivity, and comfort, these are great shoes that will bring more happiness than an episode of Dallas does for your Gran!
Overall I’ve been incredibly happy with these shoes and I can’t see myself going back to my previous brand any time soon.
Where to Buy / Price
Afton Cooper Flat Pedal Shoe: $159.95AUD
You can pick up a pair of Afton shoes from Bicycles Online or ask your local bike shop if they stock them.
Imported by KWT.