I'm going to ask this here instead of the roadie forum because I want the perspective of 50+'ers vs that of 20 yr old racers, or racer wannabes.
I'm 50, and I want to ride a century. I've not been able to do it yet due to mostly my body's inability to stay on a bike for enough time. I have a bad back that protests when I'm in the saddle for too long. But recently, I had to replace my shoes, and my feet are now the 1st thing that starts hurting (at about the 1hr point). Well, actually, one hot spot on one foot, so my feet are apparently not symmetrical. I'm not a racer, but since I want to be able to ride a century, I AM interested in long term comfort and efficiency. My new shoes are Shimano R087's, which I think are about as good as I'm going to get in terms of fit, because of my wide feet. I bought them at a shop, and tried on several different brands, and these Shimano's were the widest and best fitting. So that likely means finding an insole that works. After a little research, I find that this could be a $200 proposition, if I have to try several different brands. As an alternative, I've considered just using platform pedals and sneakers, which I use with no problem on my commuter. So the questions become:
1) How much efficiency do you gain with stiff soled road shoes vs softer sneakers & platform pedals?
2) How much effort will it likely take to find a suitable solution to get my shoes comfortable enough? Keep in mind that I'll likely need something that I can custom form to my foot, or something adjustable.