It’s been awhile since Time had road shoes in their lineup, but the timing was right to launch their new Osmos line. With three shoes in the line, the Osmos 12 is the sweet spot as far as stiffness, fit and breathability is concerned.
Time Osmos 12 Features:
- Breathable mesh forefoot
- 80% composite / 20% carbon sole
- Full-carbon insert in the forefoot
- 3-bolt cleat attachment
- Boa IP1 and single Velcro closure
- MSRP: $325
Osmos 12’s are airy and responsive
You don’t have to be an expert to notice the biggest feature of the Time Osmos 12’s — the breathable mesh uppers. Having spoken with several people who complain of sweaty, hot feet during the summer, the Osmos 12’s are a clear option for those riders or anyone else who needs as much breathability as possible. On the road, all that mesh offers fantastic airflow with the Osmos 12’s being the most breathable shoes I’ve worn.
With that out of the way, let’s go through the rest of the shoe. For starters, the cleat attachment bolts are to be treated with care and not just tightened as tight as possible. Trust me, you’ll want to get out that torque wrench and follow the instructions in the manual (which I believe is 6 nm). I just did the standard “tighten them as tight as possible” and ended up loosening up one insert inside the insole. Luckily, it’s securely in place, but it will be something I’ll have to deal with when the cleats wear out and need replacing.
My testing period began during the long winter of indoor Zwift training aboard the CycleOps H2 Smart Trainer. Once again, all that breathability came into play indoors without airflow as my feet always remained comfortable. With a single Boa IP1 dial and a Velcro lower strap, I was always able to get the shoes to fit perfectly.
It’s no secret that Boa IP1 is my favorite fit system for road and mountain biking shoes (and, it should be yours too). That ratcheting dial is intuitive to tighten or loosen both on and off the bike. I find myself tweaking the fit throughout my ride nearly every time — try that with laces or Velcro.
That lower Velcro strap passes through the shoe with a reinforced metal ring. Unfortunately, that material adds a pressure point just on top of my big toe. It’s initially noticeable, but isn’t so noticeable once the miles tick away.
While I’m being nit-picky, the tongue tends to fold over itself at the base when I put my feet in. I often have to unfold the lower corners by sticking my finger in there to sort things out. It’s odd and hasn’t gotten any better with use. One trick I’ve found is that it helps to rotate the tongue outwards before sliding your foot inside. Doing that, allows that lower edge to stay put and then you can rotate the tongue back in place before cinching. It took me some time to figure out that process, but it works like a charm.
Time has done some great things with these shoes aside from the breathability. The outsole is stiff and responsive with excellent power transfer. I’ll call the stiffness “just right” for most riders. You don’t feel any flex ever, but the outsoles aren’t so stiff that your feet feel fatigued.
The heel cups hold your feet in place like glue. It’s like my heel is on lockdown. it takes noticeable effort to peel them out of the Osmos 12’s at the end of a ride. But during the ride, my feet feel united with the shoe. Every pedal stroke is instant and the uppers cradle my feet with precision.
The tongue and cuff of the Osmos 12’s is spread out more than other shoes. With that spread comes the ability to cinch these down for narrow feet with plenty of room to spare. My feet are regular-to-narrow and some shoes require maxing out the tightness, but I’ve got plenty of extra room to go tighter (though I don’t need to). I’ll add that the toe box is roomy as well so my toes don’t feel crammed into them.
- Supreme breathability
- Heel cup locks your feet in place
- Boa IP1 makes for comfortable fit
- Wide tongue accommodates even the narrowest feet
- Just right sole stiffness
- Lightweight feel
- Over tightening the cleats may strip out the threaded insert
- Loop where the Velcro strap passes through the shoe can be felt atop the big toe
- Lower tongue folds over itself when putting your feet in (unless you rotate the tongue outwards before entry)
- Hard to swallow the price point
The Bottom Line: Time Osmos 12
The Osmos 12 is a great shoe for even the most demanding riders with excellent breathability and a locked-in fit beyond compare. That said, there’s enough kinks with these shoes to give me pause — particularly at $325. Comfort is superb, but, like a fine Italian sports car, there are some quirks you’ll have to deal with to enjoy these.
Buy Now: Available on Amazon