I'm new to biking, other than tooling around on an old mountain bike for the last 18 years. I picked up a year old Specialized Tricross Comp cyclocross bike last month, which I love. I've been on a few 30 mile rides (20 miles of road + 10 miles of sand/cruched limestone/rocks/high grass trails) and have really enjoyed both on and off road riding. So far I've picked up a PI jacket on eBay and have ordered a Topeak Road Morph pump. I have borrowed pedals and am currently using sneakers. So the next To Buy item is bike shoes (and pedals). Based on what I've read here, I'm leaning strongly towards Crank Bros. Candy C pedals ($40 at jensenusa). I definitely want to get MTB shoes, but am thoroughly confused. There are about a million to choose from!
I went to a couple of stores today and tried some on. At REI, I tried Shimano M121s ($100). The 44s were slightly tight, which they said was a good fit for bike shoes, and the 45s fit like a pair of regular casual shoes. I also tried PI Vagabond M4s ($85), which fit ok in a 44. Neither shoe knocked my sox off, but were ok.
Then I went to a bike store and tried Sidi Dominators ($229). The 44.5s fit great. The salesman there said that bike shoes should be a bit on the large side because your feet expand when you ride and you want to be comfy. The Sidi's are $229 and I'm new to the sport and I will still need shorts, etc., etc., etc. This is adding up!!!!
So my questions are:
1) Should I buy shoes that are a bit snug, or a bit loose, or just right?
2) Are there any deals I should be looking at on line? I can see that I can get the Sidis for $180 or so, but that's still a hell of a lot of dough for biking shoes, methinks. I've been checking out Perf. Bikes (I went there and they had very little to try on), Nashbar, Sierra Trading Post, but all the "deals" are for odd sizes.
3) How do I go about finding decent shoes at a good price in my size? there must be 200 MTB shoe styles and I have very little idea about what would be a good choice for me, other than the Sidis seem real nice and real expensive.
Any advice appreciated!