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Old 08-11-09, 08:13 AM   #1
AdrianL
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Road vs MTB Pedals / Shoes

OK - I really hope this does not get me run off this forum but I cannot find anything to answer my question.

Why would someone want a road shoe / pedal vs a MTB shoe / pedal?

Yes, I know the MTB shoe gives you the freedom to do some walking around while you would have to walk on the cleat of the road shoe but that is all I know.

I ride a road bike. I don't burn up any speed records - I normally cruise between 14 and 15mph with some up around 17 to 19 for awhile. I am currently using Frog Speedplay pedals with a mid range Shimano MTB shoe. After 15 or 20 miles, I have been having a real problem with my feet going to sleep or maybe what I have seen described as hot spots - I'm not real sure.

I am not inclined to go out and spend 200+ on new pedals and shoes just to see what happens.

So - the question is - why does someone want a road pedal / shoe vs a MTB shoe / pedal?

Or is it just personal preference?

Thanks for your patience with this question that I am sure has been beat up many times over the years.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:24 AM   #2
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One would suspect that issues you mention would be related to the fit of the particular shoe rather than to MTB vs road. I would go to a store with a wide selection of shoes of both kinds and try different brands and sizes for fit issues.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:30 AM   #3
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When I went out on training rides, I used road shoes/pedals. But these days I'm mainly a commuter so I switched to mtb shoes/pedals for two reasons:
1. I can walk in mtb shoes
2. The MTB pedals I have are double-sided clips, so it's easier to clip in after stopping at the numberous traffic signals and other obstacles I encounter.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:41 AM   #4
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Oh yes, this might be a long thread - or maybe not, as there are quite a few similar ones

But, to add a little to what I expect to be a long one -

- Why would anyone want X over Y? Marketing beats utility. Fastest riders wear road shoes, and lots want what the fastest use

- Is there a difference? Maybe, but discernable to the experienced only. Many surveys suggest that only a small minority can tell Scotch from Brandy in a blind test, or box wine from vintage

- What reduces hot spots? Maybe MTB contact points are smaller than road shoe contact points, and so there might be earlier hot spots

My view, greater utility of SPD shoes for the cycle touring I do outweighs possible advantage of road shoes and pedals for the speed and distance I don't do

However, pedals x2, shoes x2, seems to be the law
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Old 08-11-09, 08:43 AM   #5
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My road shoes breath better, and are lighter than my MTB shoes. Both being Adidas. The Mountain shoes are more of a "relaxed" normal looking laced shoe than a competitive type mountain shoe. Then again, the road shoes are low level too. The soles of both are equally as stiff... though I've heard many say that MTB shoes are softer/more plyable, which causes the hotspots.

Both shoes used on crank brothers egg-beater pedals.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:49 AM   #6
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Road shoes and pedals are made so the rider can be more efficient during road rides. Good road shoes have a stiffer sole and usually a larger platform to support more of the foot during the various phases of the pedal stroke. MTB shoes and pedals were originally designed for mountain bikers who needed to get into and out of the pedals quickly and to provide traction to the rider when they were off the bike. Touring shoes are a compromise between the two styles of shoes and allow more comfort both on and off the bike than the specific designed shoes. For the kinds of rides and speed you describe road specific shoes and pedals are not critical. If you will do some walking in your riding shoes you should look into a touring shoe. A good pr of mountain biking shoes will also have a stiff sole when compared to a touring shoe.

I suspect your hot foot is the result of your shoe fit, cleat placement, type of socks worn, or flex in the sole that islolates the cleat. I need a wide shoe and when I first started riding, my low end Shimmano shoes were too tight in the box and I would get the same symptons you describe. The problem in getting a wider shoe is that they are only available in the higher quality shoes.
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Old 08-11-09, 09:05 AM   #7
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If you can, suggest you move your cleats as far back as you can...made a big difference for me with hotfoot/numbing issues.

This time of year, because of all the rain that I ride in, I prefer the Schimano MTB Sandals.
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Old 08-11-09, 09:28 AM   #8
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Just to echo some of the comments above - I have always worn MTB shoes and used SPD pedals on my road bikes, but a year ago after experiencing continuing foot pain on long rides I consulted with my LBS and decided to switch to Look pedals on the bike I ride for long distances. It did seem to help...though I also suspect my prior SPD shoes were sized too small, as I went up 1.5 sizes in my new shoes (same brand - Sidis).

Also moved around my cleats, got different socks, etc.

I find the road shoes more effiicent and comfortable for long distances *on* the bike; obviously lots less convenient *off* the bike.
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Old 08-11-09, 09:45 AM   #9
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I started on mountain bikes and had MTB pedals and shoes. I saw no reason to change when I went road----EXCEPT for the hot spot as mentioned. I cured it by getting Shimano A520 pedals. They use the same cleat but the pedal has a longer platform to support the foot.

I then became convinced to stay SPD when I needed some new shoes. The shop had some road shoes that took the 2 bolt SPD cleat (Aswell as the 3 bolt fixing) Looked them over and they were vitually the same as the SPD shoes I had almost settled on. The sole on both pairs of shoes was stiff- stiffer than my old pair and this is a + point for cycling shoes. Tried them on and they were comfortable and then stood up. Then tried walking and took them off. No way was I going to be able to walk in those shoes and that was without the cleats fitted.

So I use SPD mountain bike shoes but use two different pedals for road or MTB bikes. That longer platform on the road pedal works.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:52 AM   #10
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Why do some people ride road bikes and others ride hybrids? Why do some people ride carbon fiber bikes, some titanium, some aluminum and some steel? Why do some people drive large sedans while others drive subcompact hatchbacks? Why do some people like New York strips and others like rib-eyes or T-bones?

People go with what suits them best. I like Look pedals for my road bike because their larger cleat to pedal interface is more comfortable and gives me a sense of better control and power transfer. Others have different priorities and different experiences. None of us are wrong until we say others are.
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Old 08-11-09, 02:57 PM   #11
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Road shoes and pedals=less rotational weight, larger cleat contact, stiffer sole.

MBT shoes and pedals=easier to walk in.

Road shoes and MBT pedals= your feet sliding out from under you when you walk and scrapes on the back of your ankle when you miss the clip in and you foot slides right over the pedal.

MBT shoes and road pedals=frustration when trying to attach the cleats to the shoes because it aint gonna happen.
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Old 08-12-09, 06:45 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone -

I had not thought of moving the cleats back or moving them around on my shoes - thanks - I will try that today.

Meanwhile - why one vs the other responses - pretty much what I thought - there is really no clear advantage of one type over the other unless maybe in weight. It is a personal preference.

My current shoes fit pretty good as far as the feel of the shoe when it is on my foot. I probably need to play around with cleat location and perhaps how tight I am making the closure straps. That could possibly be contributing to the problem.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 08-12-09, 11:23 AM   #13
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>Road shoes and pedals=less rotational weight<

Amount of rotational weight is of no consequence - only total weight counts.
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Old 08-12-09, 11:39 AM   #14
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>there is really no clear advantage of one type over the other unless maybe in weight.<

Road shoes don't work well for walking. The clear advantage goes to mt. bike shoes for those who want to walk as well as ride - like me. (On the other hand, people in road shoes don't seem to have too much trouble walking into a Starbucks after their Sunday ride.)

Mountain bike shoes and pedals, used on a road bike, mark a cyclist as a less than serious roadie. Just as a serious tennis player usually doesn't wear cut-off jeans to a tennis match, so a serious road biker tends not to wear shoes designed for mt. bikes. Lance Armstrong, e.g., wears mountain bike shoes on his mountain bike, not his road bike.
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Old 08-12-09, 02:40 PM   #15
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I used to travel to Mexico to ride in Masters-age stage races. The guy who sent me there initially, Jose, was an old guy who lived in Vancouver (in an apartment with walls just lined with cycling trophies), but had lived in Mexico City for much of his life. He travelled down there with me one year, and he liked to travel light.

One day, after a stage, Jose was looking at my modern equipment, the technical racing shoes made of leather and ballistic nylon with big cleats that matched the clipless pedals and made the shoes unwalkable. He showed me his own rather modest shoes. They were the very old, archaic Detto Pietro-style shoes made of thin leather, but without any holes. The soles were quite thin in comparison to the plastic soles on my shoes, and they were quite flexible. They had leather cleats attached (he still used toe clips), so he was able to walk around in them. It was the only pair of shoes he had brought with him!

I think I had at least brought a pair of Adidas track sandals I could walk around in. Especially on the sandy beaches!

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Old 08-12-09, 06:38 PM   #16
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I think the "unwalkable" nature of road shoes and cleats, while based on fact, is usually greatly exaggerated. I would not want to walk around in my SIDI road shoes and Look cleats for a long time, but it is no problem to walk around a rest stop, into and out of a store or restaurant or around a parking lot. It helps to put cleat covers on for walking to protect the cleats and avoid slipping. I wonder how anyone who can't deal with a little duck walking can manage to ride a bike.

This is not to suggest that road shoes/pedals are best for all people and all riding situations. I only use them when I ride my road bike for the purpose of riding, when the ride is the destination. That is when their comfort and large contact area far outweigh their awkward walking.
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Old 08-15-09, 03:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icyclist View Post
>Road shoes and pedals=less rotational weight<

Amount of rotational weight is of no consequence - only total weight counts.
When I switched from a Campy triple crank set to a lighter Campy double carbon crank set (no other changes to equipment or me, same exact gearing) my feet felt like they were released from concrete boots. Suddenly I was spinning the pedals much faster with less effort. I'd say that was consequential.
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Old 08-15-09, 04:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
I started on mountain bikes and had MTB pedals and shoes. I saw no reason to change when I went road----EXCEPT for the hot spot as mentioned. I cured it by getting Shimano A520 pedals. They use the same cleat but the pedal has a longer platform to support the foot.

I then became convinced to stay SPD when I needed some new shoes. The shop had some road shoes that took the 2 bolt SPD cleat (Aswell as the 3 bolt fixing) Looked them over and they were vitually the same as the SPD shoes I had almost settled on. The sole on both pairs of shoes was stiff- stiffer than my old pair and this is a + point for cycling shoes. Tried them on and they were comfortable and then stood up. Then tried walking and took them off. No way was I going to be able to walk in those shoes and that was without the cleats fitted.

So I use SPD mountain bike shoes but use two different pedals for road or MTB bikes. That longer platform on the road pedal works.
The A520 is an excellent compromise pedal with some of the best from both worlds. It has a large contact area just like a road pedal to distribute the load. It is single sided and much lighter than an MTB pedal, much like a road pedal. It accepts SPD cleats and works with MTB shoes so you can walk (a little easier). It is not a very expensive pedal to buy.

I can see the advantages of both styles of pedals and shoes. My final reason for the A520 pedal combo is that I can use the same pedal and shoe on all of my bikes.
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Old 08-15-09, 05:28 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
The A520 is an excellent compromise pedal with some of the best from both worlds. It has a large contact area just like a road pedal to distribute the load.
Not quite true. On a road pedal, the primary large contact area is the cleat itself. On the A520 pedal above, the cleat is small like on any other SPD. There is a platform around the cleat contact point which can provide contact with the surface of the shoe.

SPD-SL road cleat vs SPD MTB cleat
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