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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-01-11, 09:09 AM   #1
hurley81388
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Walking in SPD Cycling Shoes?

I was wondering when you guys run errands (grocery store, target, wal-mart, etc.) if you wear cycling shoes to walk around inside of the store. It's a pain to carry a pair of shoes just to walk around a store for maybe 15-30 minutes and then get them to fit in my cheap crappy pannier stuffed full of groceries.

Besides accelerating cleat wear (I have mtb shoes so the cleat is kind of recessed), does walking in cycling shoes harm them in any way? Such as wearing on the stiff sole, etc.?

The shoes I have are these:
http://bontrager.com/model/09152

The only reason I'm so worried about them is they were super expensive (90 bucks from LBS). I know there are much cheaper shoes online, but these are my first pair of cycling shoes ever and I wanted to try them on before buying. Thanks!
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Old 07-01-11, 09:58 AM   #2
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The reason you get SPD shoes ( and pedals, of course ) instead of SPD-SL or Look or whatever, is because you want to walk in them.

You won't wear the cleats down, because they're recessed, unless you're walking on very uneven, rocky surfaces. Otherwise, they don't make contact with the ground. Also, the cleats are $20, and last a few years, so even if you do wear them down, it isn't the end of the world.

On some surfaces, like freshly cleaned smooth tile, the shoes can be a little slippery, probably because the contact area with the ground is small - those ridges along the edge that surround the cleat. I saw a cyclist slip and fall once in a restaurant in bike shoes.

I wear my SPD/MTB shoes when I bike to the store, and to and from my desk at work. I keep a pair of old hiking shoes under my desk, although when I take a late lunch I sometimes don't bother getting out of the bike shoes.
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Old 07-01-11, 10:19 AM   #3
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The reason you get SPD shoes ( and pedals, of course ) instead of SPD-SL or Look or whatever, is because you want to walk in them.
I agree with you. If you are never going to walk in your shoes, or do only very limited walking, then go ahead and get SPD-SL or some other road pedal as the platform will have a bigger surface area and will be more comfortable over longer, more intensive rides.

SPD is what you would wear if you want to walk in your shoes. They are not as comfortable as normal shoes, but still quite usable actually.
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Old 07-01-11, 10:45 AM   #4
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Back before I was into cycling, I had a friend who would stop by during his ride. He was always decked out in Lycra, with Cycling shoes, and he walked hunched over, never figured out if it was the lycra, shoes, or just spending so much time hunched over the drop bars.
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Old 07-01-11, 10:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by hurley81388 View Post
I was wondering when you guys run errands (grocery store, target, wal-mart, etc.) if you wear cycling shoes to walk around inside of the store.
Yes. That's exactly the point of commuting in walkable cycling shoes.

Up until last year, I worked one afternoon a week at a particular branch library. It wasn't worth leaving shoes there, and I didn't want to use the panniers because of carrying shoes, (my clothes all fit in my trunk bag) so for years I worked in my SPDs that one afternoon a week.

The only issue was that eventually the backing plate pulled out through the sole. I traced it back to squatting down on the balls of my feet to access the lower shelves. Bought new shoes and stopped squatting down. Never a problem since.
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Old 07-01-11, 10:54 AM   #6
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I get around just fine on errands, commutes, etc. with MTB shoes and Eggbeater cleats. Typically, the only thing I notice is the stiffness of the soles.
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Old 07-01-11, 10:58 AM   #7
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I had a pair of Shimano MT31s which were great for walking. After about 3 years, though, the sole wore down enough to expose the cleat, so they were no longer so great for walking. I recently replaced them with Shimano M77s, which are also great for walking.
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Old 07-01-11, 10:59 AM   #8
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The only reason I'm so worried about them is they were super expensive (90 bucks from LBS). I know there are much cheaper shoes online, but these are my first pair of cycling shoes ever and I wanted to try them on before buying. Thanks!
REI has a store in Cranston, according to their site. You should think about getting cycling shoes there. They won't have the ones you're looking at, or any Bonty shoes at all. But they will have similar SPD shoes at the same price. More importantly, if you're worried about whether they'll work out or not, REI will give you your money back for any reason, even 20 years from now. Normally I wouldn't suggest going to a big box store instead of a local bike shop ... but for something important like shoes, and something you aren't sure about ... actually using them on the road is much better than reading about them online, and putting them on for a minute while you sit on a bench.
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Old 07-01-11, 12:24 PM   #9
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I was wondering when you guys run errands (grocery store, target, wal-mart, etc.) if you wear cycling shoes to walk around inside of the store. ...
Besides accelerating cleat wear (I have mtb shoes so the cleat is kind of recessed), does walking in cycling shoes harm them in any way?
I wear mine inside the stores. FWIW, I doubt that you'd even notice any added wear from walking around in stores given the smooth floors.
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Old 07-01-11, 01:26 PM   #10
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Are Sidi Dominators worth the money? I'm also looking for a pair of SPD shoes that I can wear while commuting to work, and then I'll have shoes to change into at work
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Old 07-01-11, 02:02 PM   #11
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I don't have my shoes handy, but I think they're MT-21's (something Shimano and cheap at any rate)--and I sure don't see what you guys are with respect to the recessed cleat. I have to walk funny on concrete if I don't want the cleats to scrape. Maybe they're set up wrong, or maybe the more expensive shoes are better.

My next pair might not have laces, though--that's getting annoying. Trying to find the happy medium between "looks good with street clothes" and "doesn't look out of place with cycling-specific clothing". Like my bicycle, I prefer to only have one pair of cycling shoes.
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Old 07-01-11, 02:34 PM   #12
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I use a shoe by Specialized that has a normal rubber sole with a recessed clip...similar to these...except mine look more like street shoes with laces.

http://s.wiggle.co.uk/images/spec%206127-13%20med.jpg

They work very well. I can wear them around and you have no idea they are cycling shoes. I also have pedals with flats on one side and spd on the other on my comuter/town bike. I can jump on with tennis shoes, I can ride without clipping in with my Specialized shoes or I can choose to clip in.
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Old 07-01-11, 03:45 PM   #13
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I have a pair of Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seeks that I've pretty much work every day for the last year, they're almost like my cross-training shoes. They don't have a high degree of added stiffness that tends to come with cycling shoes, but there is a small patch on the ball of the feet where they have very poor grip. I once slipped out at the bottom of a staircase in front of my co-workers. Otherwise, fantastic.
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Old 07-01-11, 05:13 PM   #14
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i just bought a pair of those bontrager shoes you mentioned and i don't really like them.

the tongue is way too short and makes the top velcro strap cut into my instep, in addition the soles are made of very hard plastic and have a way too aggressive tread. i should have tried to find something similar to my way nicer, but worn out shimanos. live and learn...
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Old 07-01-11, 05:38 PM   #15
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When walking side trips aren't planned or are very minor, as when I commute, I wear my road shoes and the limited walking is no problem.
When I know I will be walking a fair amount, as for a specific shopping outing, I wear my mountain shoes and they are almost like street shoes for walking.
Both are SPD, BTW, even though I don't use cleats, just old school toe clips & straps, but that's most of what's on the market these days.
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Old 07-01-11, 06:35 PM   #16
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I walk around in Specialized SPD shoes (very similar to the bontrager ones pictured) in grocery stores, at work, etc for a year now, and have never had a problem. Sometimes I can feel the cleat grinding on concrete, but I seriously doubt it's doing significant damage.
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Old 07-01-11, 06:44 PM   #17
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I have a pair of Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seeks that I've pretty much work every day for the last year, they're almost like my cross-training shoes. They don't have a high degree of added stiffness that tends to come with cycling shoes, but there is a small patch on the ball of the feet where they have very poor grip. I once slipped out at the bottom of a staircase in front of my co-workers. Otherwise, fantastic.
That's what I'm using. They're so comfortable that I used mine as workout shoes in the gym before I got my SPD pedals and installed the cleats. I haven't slipped in mine, don't find them uncomfortable at all, even with the cleats installed, and the only time they make any noise is walking on concrete pavement (just concrete -- they're nice and quiet on blacktop, and on indoor flooring).
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Old 07-02-11, 06:57 AM   #18
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I only use cleats for long days on the road, not around the city.

Marc
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Old 07-02-11, 07:22 AM   #19
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The reason you get SPD shoes ( and pedals, of course ) instead of SPD-SL or Look or whatever, is because you want to walk in them.
I got Shimano MTB shoes (the expensive $130 ones) and I can attest that once you remove the toe spikes (I didn't have the correct tool, so I did so destructively) they handle pretty well.

Quote:
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You won't wear the cleats down, because they're recessed, unless you're walking on very uneven, rocky surfaces. Otherwise, they don't make contact with the ground. Also, the cleats are $20, and last a few years, so even if you do wear them down, it isn't the end of the world.
Grind the hell out of 'em on the sidewalk, though. Always uneven... mine still work.

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On some surfaces, like freshly cleaned smooth tile, the shoes can be a little slippery, probably because the contact area with the ground is small - those ridges along the edge that surround the cleat. I saw a cyclist slip and fall once in a restaurant in bike shoes.
Yoga, or some other stuff. I have such a sharpened sense of balance that I can walk on ice. Sometimes I don't look like I'm connected to the ground--because I'm not! On sheet ice, if my balance shifts because my foot slips out from under me, my core corrects without my notice. As a result, I'll float sideways while I walk: my movement is not correlated entirely with my steps. You have no idea how many times I've slipped in the bath tub, blind by soap, and snapped my body into a Johnny Bravo pose or something even more ridiculous to maintain balance; sometimes it just takes all of it.

The balance games on Wii Fit Plus, by the way, really do help. Not because they're good exercises, but more because they force you to balance. Snowball Fight is crude, but you're quicker if your balance is easier to snap around; the table tilt balance game though... the one where you're rolling balls around into holes by leaning your body to tilt the table, that one will teach you subtle core manipulation. You have to shift your weight underneath you to shift the pressure on the balance board; but your core and upper body have to shift opposite to keep you from falling on your ass. To actually pass all levels and navigate some of the more difficult, subtle twists, you have to do this with great precision; you can't just wobble and stay up, you have to move fluidly. If you can do that, you can wander freely on slick, slippery surfaces.

If you fall, you're doing it wrong. Learn2Balance
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Old 07-02-11, 04:24 PM   #20
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Mountain bike shoes are designed to be easy to wear off the bike.
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Old 07-02-11, 04:38 PM   #21
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I use the mountain-bike style of SPD shoes and find them very comfortable for walking. Before I retired I frequently wore them around the office all day unless we had a meeting where more formal attire was expected. And I have no issues at all wearing them when shopping and similar utility trips. The ones I use look like pretty normal sneakers with regular laces, so people don't usually recognize them as cycling shoes.

I did experience some issues with the cleats when hiking in them on sandy and rocky trails. The cleats are recessed which protects them on smooth, flat surfaces, but on rough rocks found on hiking trails the cleats do get some extra wear. So now I usually pack another pair of shoes when bicycling to a hiking trailhead.
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Old 07-02-11, 11:35 PM   #22
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Thanks everyone for all of the replies.

Because the shoes I bought aren't the lace-up normal looking mtb shoes, I wasn't sure if there was any extra wear on the stiff, plastic sole by walking on them.

But it looks like the majority consensus is I'm good to go walking around stores and everything in them without doing any damage. Thanks!!
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Old 07-03-11, 05:18 PM   #23
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If you have SPD pedals and are only going to ride to the store and back, try asking your LBS about Decksters. I have a pair and they are great. You will need to get a second set of cleats for them as they do not come with cleats. Decksters are aluminum platforms that have a cleat on the bottom and you just snap them into the pedal and ride. They twist off and you are back to full clipless. I use them on both my bikes when I do my Saturday club rides in the city. There is way too much stopping and unclipping and since we aren't going that fast, I don't need the advantage of clipless pedals. I have seen some riders with a homemade version made of plywood and covered with self-adhesive non-skid. Mount the cleats on the bottom and you are ready to go.

Photo's of Decksters on my hybrid.




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Old 07-03-11, 11:38 PM   #24
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Using shimano everything (SPD "walkable" shoes, mountain pedals ,etc), I found walking in clipless shoes to be horrendous. The cleats would scrape and grind on any concrete surface like a sidewalk, and didn't let my foot curve naturally as I walked. YMMV, but platforms are a much better trade-off than swapping shoes for a 3 mile ride.
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