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  1. #1
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    Need some basic info on cycling shoes

    I found a great deal on Craig's List for a pair of shoes that are advertised as clipless MTB shoes. They are my size and the seller is local.

    http://southcoast.craigslist.org/bik/1300778975.html

    I've been considering buying cycling shoes but don't know enough about them; hope someone can enlighten me. What is the difference between mountain bike shoes and road bike shoes? I am only a recreational rider and wanted these for use with my road bike.

    My other question is concerning the 'clipless' issue. I thought most cycling shoes were useable with or without clipless pedals...or am I mistaken about that?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Mountain bike shoes have recessed two bolt cleats which means it's easier to walk in them. They only work with pedals such as Shimano SPDs, Crank Brothers, and similar. I suppose you could use them on flat pedals, but they wouldn't work with standard clips.

    Road shoes are designed for three bolt systems for which there a bunch of brands. The soles are slick and smooth so they're not good for anything other than riding with road pedals. They're not commuter shoes as a rule for that reason.

    Generally most n00bs are happy with the mountain shoes. On group rides around here with experienced cyclists I'd say about 40% of the cyclists use MTB shoes.

    I don't know anything about the shoes in question. They looked OK.

  3. #3
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    I had looked at some shoes this spring and I thought I remembered the LBS suggesting that MTB shoes might work well for me. I don't plan to use clipless pedals (making cleat configuration a moot point) and I'd like to be able to walk in them a short distance if needed.

    Thank you for your insight on this. The seller wrote back and offered to sell me a set of clipless pedals-and the shoes-for $45. However, going clipless is not on my bucket list; I'm getting occasional foot pain wearing sneakers while riding and thought I should invest in proper footwear.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Red Baron's Avatar
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    Price sees right. Good reviews if you google "Specialized COMP MTB Clipless Shoes reviews" Once you get past the learing process (weare a helmet & ride in grass as you will fall if you stop).
    **Fate is a fickle thing, and in the end the true measure of a person is not fate itself, but how they master it**

  5. #5
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    The cleats on MTB shoes are not all that good with flat pedals. If you buy the shoes, buy the pedals as well and learn to use them. It isn't difficult. I don't know what the soles are made of on this shoe, but entry level shoes typically have hard plastic soles that tend to slip off flat pedals.

    If the shoes are BG (Body Geometry) they have a slight camber to the insoles which laterally levels your foot. This helps prevent injury to the joints from the knees down.

    Specialized makes great shoes and MTB shoes are best if there is a walking component to your ride. Give them a try. It isn't a huge investment, even with the pedals.

  6. #6
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I have both road and MTB shoes. Not only are MTB shoes way easier to walk in, they are more practical for the casual cyclist. You don't have to have clipless pedals to use them. If you have clipless, and you miss clipping in at a start you can use the rubber tread to hit the pedal and keep on pumping, just try to do that with the hard sole of road shoes and this feature comes in handy when you're in traffic, a car is coming at you and you miss clipping in. True, they don't work on all brands/types of pedals, who cares? Unless you're in the 22MPH average club, the clipless pedals available for MTBs work just as well on road bikes. I use SPDs on all my bikes so that I don't have to have a specific shoe for a specific bike. I have both MTB shoes and road shoes. My road shoes look brand new because I rarely use them, the MTB shoes are just more practical.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by roccobike View Post
    Unless you're in the 22MPH average club, the clipless pedals available for MTBs work just as well on road bikes.
    Opinion stated as fact. You may find this true for you and your riding, but it is certainly not a universal truth. The speed one rides has little or nothing to do with what pedal type a person would prefer. I don't think I've ever done a 22mph average ride but whenever I ride my road bike when the intention is just to ride, I want my Look road pedals because of the larger contact area and the resulting more solid connection between the shoe and pedal. When I plan to do more walking around than just a quick rest stop, I prefer MTB shoes/pedals or regular shoes and flat pedals.

    MTB shoes work very well on flat pedals with or without toe clips as long as there are no cleats attached to the shoes. Most MTB shoes come with a removable cover over the cleat attachment area. If the plan is to always ride without cleats, don't remove the cover.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Opinion stated as fact.
    Yea - we all do it don't we...
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  9. #9
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    You do not have to use clipless pedals with proper cycling shoes. The mtb type of shoe does mean that you walk around in them even once you have taken the first step to joining Club Tombay. But cycling shoes have an attribute that sneakers will not have----A Rigid sole. The more rigid the sole- the better it will be for cycling- and the normally the price will go up aswell. Only problem is that they are like a normal shoe. They do need wearing in so wear them about the house and short trips by foot to stop the aches that will come.

    One word of warning though- going clipless works. It is not as fearsome as some of us make out. I haven't fallen due to the pedals in oh---- weeks.-- In fact it is at least 3 years but the last fall I had was when I was not clipped in- put pressure on the pedal and the foot slipped. If I had been clipped in- I would not have worried the old dears that were by the side of me when I fell.
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  10. #10
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    You might consider a pedal with a platform on one side and clipless on the other.... like the Shimano A530s which I have on my Surly. I have MTB shoes (Sidi Dominators) with recessed cleats.

    I recommend trying on a similar (or the same) Shimano shoe in your size before buying on-line, just to be sure they will fit.
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  11. #11
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    I use a similar Shimano double-sided pedal, the MTB version. Getting them right side up is an occasional nuisance, but not worse than toe clips. And worth it since I like to have the clipless system available once in a while, although more often than not I'm using the Chaco sandals I'm more or less living in this summer. The Chaco's have a very rigid sole and still manage to be the most comfortable things I've had on my feet. They give plenty of support and grip for most of the riding I do on roads and trails (I'm a recreational, not a distance rider). But sometimes the mtb shoes are just a better choice. As a couple of folks have said, learning to use clipless pedals is not such a big deal, and worth it, I think, if you have the cycling-specific shoes anyway. The Rivendell Bikes site has an interesting screed on this whole question of footwear, but that's more controversial than I'd care to get on the subject.

  12. #12
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    I have SPD mountain on my commuter. As stated, it's easier to walk in the mountain/spd shoes
    I have 3-bolt cleats on my road bike. I like to connection to the peddle better. When you are clipped in you are really clipped in.
    I have cages on my fixed gear, which i ride in sneakers and like least. The cages are fine, but cycling on quill peddles with sneakers doesn't work for me. I'm looking for a good street shoe to ride in.

    Basically, it all works.
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  13. #13
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    I have SPD mountain on my commuter. As stated, it's easier to walk in the mountain/spd shoes
    I have 3-bolt cleats on my road bike. I like to connection to the peddle better. When you are clipped in you are really clipped in.
    I have cages on my fixed gear, which i ride in sneakers and like least. The cages are fine, but cycling on quill peddles with sneakers doesn't work for me. I'm looking for a good street shoe to ride in.
    Here: http://reynoldsshoes.co.uk/

  14. #14
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    Thank you everyone, for sharing your experience. (I didn't even know that there are pedals that are platform on one side, clipless on the other. That might be be a workable solution for someone like me who is on the fence.)

    Most clipless users have been telling me it's no big deal to get used to them. I'm mainly concerned about my own klutziness. I ride alone most of the time and try to keep additional fear factor/risk out of the equation.

    Obviously, this may end up being a moot point if these shoes don't fit-or if they have been sold in the meantime.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apologist View Post
    I use a similar Shimano double-sided pedal, the MTB version. Getting them right side up is an occasional nuisance, but not worse than toe clips. And worth it since I like to have the clipless system available once in a while, although more often than not I'm using the Chaco sandals I'm more or less living in this summer. The Chaco's have a very rigid sole and still manage to be the most comfortable things I've had on my feet. They give plenty of support and grip for most of the riding I do on roads and trails (I'm a recreational, not a distance rider). But sometimes the mtb shoes are just a better choice. As a couple of folks have said, learning to use clipless pedals is not such a big deal, and worth it, I think, if you have the cycling-specific shoes anyway. The Rivendell Bikes site has an interesting screed on this whole question of footwear, but that's more controversial than I'd care to get on the subject.
    I got tired of dressing up to ride a bike..so I now ride in Teva sandals and they work for me. Clipless pedals
    can be very nice and easy to disengage. In the end it is a personal choice and only through trial and error will you find put what works for you.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=Fern53;9409089]Thank you everyone, for sharing your experience. (I didn't even know that there are pedals that are platform on one side, clipless on the other. That might be be a workable solution for someone like me who is on the fence.)

    Most clipless users have been telling me it's no big deal to get used to them. I'm mainly concerned about my own klutziness. I ride alone most of the time and try to keep additional fear factor/risk out of the equation.

    QUOTE]

    My spouse, experienced cyclist, was very sceptical about clipless cycling shoes/pedals for the same reason you mention - didn't want any additional complication, and had ridden a lot over the years without any interest or perceived need for them.

    But one bike shop visit, she was interested in a shoe with a firmer sole than the trainers she'd been using, so I suggested a pair of Nike MTB shoes, which fit and looked good - so we bought them. And, on the basis of 'no pressure, try 'em, see if you like 'em, I'll pay' we added a pair of those double sided pedals, spd clips one side and flat platforms the other

    AND sometimes this subject sounds black or white, freedom to get foot free of pedal or firm attachment requiring complication to get free. I set her clips to almost the least release pressure, and now (and from the first ride) she's a convert, uses the clip side all the time, and has never had any release problems nor any unplanned unclipping. It's a very versatile system

    My tuppence worth, try 'em, and set the release pressure to almost the loosest - the technology these days makes it very unlikely that even on this setting you'd have an accidental release, but they'll be very easy and immediate to unclip when you want to

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