Rouleur Classic

Desire: POC AVIP Toe Cap

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Photographs: Benedict Campbell

Sometimes a product is synonymous with its producer. Who but POC Sports would imagine a silicone toe cap?
Add orange to the equation (though they are also available in a more understated black) and the toe caps become more POC-ish still.
As such, they’re an obvious inclusion in POC’s AVIP range (Attention, Visibility, Interaction, and Protection). It gets dark early in Sweden. Very dark, very early.
POC founder Stefan Ytterborn finished the 2013 Gran Fondo New York with wet feet. “It was like having an aquarium on either foot,” he says, laughing.
He returned to Stockholm with silicone in mind: POC were already using the material in pads for their shorts and tights, in preference to gel or foam.
“It’s like shock absorption for vibration,” explains Monica Lindström, POC’s clothing head. “Silicone is really healthy for the body, and also it offers support in a different way to foam or gel.”
Might it also be used to protect the feet? Perfectly, as it transpires.

“It wasn’t a long analysis,” Ytterborn admits. “It was very much, ‘We need to do something and we’ve got this silicone manufacturer.’ We made a POC-ish design, and then it showed up at the office.
“To me, it’s super simple and often super simple products are the most lovely. This is one that I absolutely love.”
Silicone is a radical departure from the traditional textile covers that serious cyclists will know and loathe for their willingness to tear at the earliest opportunity.
Talk of a “design language” can seem highfalutin, but the toe caps fit the POC aesthetic as well as they fit a cycling shoe.
“You should never say that things are easy, but in this case, it was kind of easy,” Lindström says with a smile.
“The colours come out very well in silicone, and the shape was so good. We are lucky to have the POC ‘language’ when it comes to shapes and curves and so on, and this was a product for which we could easily use the POC heritage.”
For someone used to seeing prototypes in different colours and fabrics from the finished article, the toe caps represented a refreshing change for Lindström.
“We had this moulded piece [of silicone] and knew that we could do this kind of ‘level’ shape to create extra protection for the toe, that you’re not able to do just by using fabric.
“It was an idea that started from the material and the need that we had, and the result was a really good combination.”
Ytterborn concedes that the toe caps wouldn’t have saved him from the deluge he faced in New York, but in more typical conditions, they have proven to be just the ticket.
“It’s one of my favourite items,” he says. “Wearing these, I feel proud, and I know that if it starts raining, I’m going to stay dry, to some extent at least. They’re perfect.”
POC Sports

High quality bikes deserve high quality cover

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