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  1. #1
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    Looking for thick sole cycling shoes to add standover height

    What cycling shoes have the thickest soles? Without shoes, my boys are just 1mm above the top tube and don't touch. So the thickness of my shoe is my standover height. I was hoping for a 1" sole. If there are decent MEN'S shoes even thicker I'll consider them. I ride hybrid & cyclocross bikes in paved paths and light trails. This is not a thread of being afraid of standover. I just think we can all agree that having extra clearance isn't a bad thing. Thanks for your help!

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    Yes, we can all agree that having adequate clearance is important. And we buy frames that allow for that instead of trying to add on to our shoes! I've never seen cycling shoes with thick soles, sorry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    Yes, we can all agree that having adequate clearance is important. And we buy frames that allow for that instead of trying to add on to our shoes! I've never seen cycling shoes with thick soles, sorry.
    Fair enough. Thanks, I'm a newbie so I don't know much about cycling shoes. No problem...this is my first bike, spent only $400, I can straddle over it fine, and I ride paved surfaces only.

    However, this is something to keep in mind for my next bike where I'll spend more money. I'm 5' 9", 30" inseam (measured to the jewels and not PBH), the 19" Fuji hybrid is spec'd with 75.4 cm standover. I want my next bike to be a cyclocross bike with 1.5 - 2" clearance. If my shoes are 1/2" thick, I'll need a spec'd standover of 75.4 - 1.5 * 2.54 = 72 cm or lower SO height for my next bike. I'm fully aware that different manufacturers have different geometries & methods of measuring but we won't get into that.

    Yet, look at the Trek XO1 - their XS 50 cm bike has a standover of 75.2. Same with Fuji Cyclocross Pro - 75.2 for the 49 cm size! My hope is when I go to the LBS to try them in person, the numbers will be meaningless and I'll have OK clearance at the shop. I was hoping to follow the school where we get the correct size without concern for the SO. The shoes could help compensate. That doesn't seem to be the case.

    Oh well, thanks for the help.

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    I had to buy some cycling shoes with very thin soles to increase my leg extension while pedalling. My seat post had rusted in so solid it was never going to budge.

  5. #5
    Can't Re Member Nerdanel's Avatar
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    You might look at mountain biking shoes with thicker tread. Also, adding insoles might give you a little more height.
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    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Thick-soled shoes aren't the right approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by common man View Post
    I was hoping to follow the school where we get the correct size without concern for the SO.
    Usually, standover height is only a concern (or guideline) when the bike's top tube is horizontal. That's how they used to get a good enough size, too—stand over it, and if you've got a couple inches to spare and no more, it'll be fine. Another guideline was, if you had your saddle set for your legs to get a proper extension, you'd have about a fistful of seatpost showing; lower than that, the frame was too big, and if it was higher, it was too small.

    Those guidelines have all but evaporated thanks to all those frames with sloping top tubes, though. If someone doesn't have enough clearance, they're either riding the wrong size of bike or they have an unusually short inseam for their height.

    If they've simply got a bike that's too big, the solution is to get a smaller one. But, if their inseam is short, they also likely longer torso for their height than usual, which kinda complicates things a bit. Their saddle-to-crank distance would need to be closer than the average person's, while the saddle-to-bar length (cockpit) would be a little longer. You'd accommodate this by either using a frame with the right cockpit length and being careful about straddling the top tube, or getting a slightly smaller frame and using a different stem to get the right cockpit length.

    Yet another option would be a custom frame. I've got a friend who pretty much needs custom frames -- she's got unusually short legs.

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Standover height is not a good measurement for bike size. When sitting on my saddle at the correct height I cannot touch the ground. My legs are 2" too short. I do have standover clearance on some bikes- but not all. I just lean the bike over before I put a foot down and yet to have a problem.

    I am short and I do use Compact frames- but for some of us- that will still give negative clearance. But my bikes fit me and they ride well.
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    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Standover height is not a good measurement for bike size. When sitting on my saddle at the correct height I cannot touch the ground. My legs are 2" too short. I do have standover clearance on some bikes- but not all. I just lean the bike over before I put a foot down and yet to have a problem.
    Just so we're clear (and I think both you and the OP know this anyway) -- standover height is what you'd get if you're off the saddle and standing flat-footed over the top tube of the frame.

    Indeed, some people can't quite straddle the top tube of a bike that fits while riding.

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    And FWIW, I don't think there is any way that a 50cm Trek cyclocross frame will have too little stand over height for the OP who is 5'9" tall. I think he doesn't need as much standover as he thinks and once he wears cycling shorts to keep his "jewels" from hanging down, he'll have like 4" of room on that frame!

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    Just so we're clear (and I think both you and the OP know this anyway) -- standover height is what you'd get if you're off the saddle and standing flat-footed over the top tube of the frame.

    Indeed, some people can't quite straddle the top tube of a bike that fits while riding.

    I ride small frames- even compact frames- and I have never had Crotch clearance on a top tube- and I am 5'6" short with a 30" inseam. But if I do go down to a smaller frame-The top tube is far too short and putting a stem on that is "Too" long will affect the handling of the bike.

    Pic of me on the Tandem- and I can ride on the front or the back of this with only a change of seat height. It is comfortable in both positions but even the pilot who is 6' tall has to lean the bike to be able to touch the ground flat footed. And this Tandem is not too large- We both have the seat post near maximum extension on the standard length of post and reach for both of us is perfect.

    And the OCR is a bike that was fitted to my standover height- Top tube is too short by 2cms. Cured by raising the bars to give me a more upright position and this stem also gave me 1cm extra reach. Last pic is of a 51cm boreas that fits perfectly-but negative standover height

    I dont regard myself as being abnormal on body sizing- but getting the bike to fit is an art. If that means I cannot go by the convention of being able touch the ground without the top tube getting in the way- then so be it-But I still say that standover height is not the main measurement to go by on sizing a bike. Top tube length is more important.
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  11. #11
    Cycling afficianado keesue's Avatar
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    My SS fits me exactly like this. I can straddle it safely but my crotch is right above the bar. All my straight top tube bikes fit me like this. I have never found that to be a problem. I would not worry about trying to find shoes to add to the clearance. If you clear it - you clear it.

    Quote Originally Posted by common man View Post
    What cycling shoes have the thickest soles? Without shoes, my boys are just 1mm above the top tube and don't touch. So the thickness of my shoe is my standover height. I was hoping for a 1" sole. If there are decent MEN'S shoes even thicker I'll consider them. I ride hybrid & cyclocross bikes in paved paths and light trails. This is not a thread of being afraid of standover. I just think we can all agree that having extra clearance isn't a bad thing. Thanks for your help!
    Ridin' the back streets of San Fran on a Lemond Zurich, Torelli Tipo Uno, Cannondale F600, Specialized Enduro, a Dawes SST and Puch MTB to fetch beer .
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  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Standover height doesn't matter. What matters is the distance between the pedal and the top of the saddle.

    When you sit on the saddle, and rest your heel on the pedal, is your leg straight? It should be either straight or almost straight. That's an approximate measure which you may want to adjust slightly for the terrain and type of cycling you do, but it is a good place to start.

    Here are several sites on bicycle fitting. Before you buy your next bicycle, you might want to have a look through those:
    http://www.cyclemetrics.com/Pages/Fi..._fit_links.htm

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    This topic has come up before, and after considering it a bit I've concluded some things.

    Bad News: When the worst happens it probably won't matter if that toptube is an inch or two one way or the other (upward or downward). We are instinctively going to try to prevent contact but circumstances may not allow it. Things happen fast and it's wishful thinking to think we are going to hop off the seat and gracefully land flatfooted straddling (but not touching) the toptube.

    Good News: The "jewels" have a "squishy" quality about them. Even if you land hard against the pubic bone, I imagine the soft parts will do a "matrix" move that will allow them to escape acute trauma.

    ...Now...let us never speak of this again.

  14. #14
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawtangent View Post
    Good News: The "jewels" have a "squishy" quality about them. Even if you land hard against the pubic bone, I imagine the soft parts will do a "matrix" move that will allow them to escape acute trauma.


    You're not a male, are you?


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    Quote Originally Posted by mawtangent View Post
    This topic has come up before, and after considering it a bit I've concluded some things.

    Bad News: When the worst happens it probably won't matter if that toptube is an inch or two one way or the other (upward or downward). We are instinctively going to try to prevent contact but circumstances may not allow it. Things happen fast and it's wishful thinking to think we are going to hop off the seat and gracefully land flatfooted straddling (but not touching) the toptube.
    in my first few days of riding the bike (not including riding it as a kid), i did some things characteristic of someone inexperienced. you know how an inexperienced cyclist slams the front brakes, doesn't use his arms to brace himself back, and therefore almost flips over the handlebars? that kind of thing. well i slammed the front brakes for a quick stop and hopped off the seat onto the TT of my brother's 17.5" Trek 7.2 FX. no damage done there and i landed gracefully on both feet with plenty of clearance. so i'd disagree with you there. an inch (definitely 2 inch) of clearance definitely adds safety (as it thankfull did with me). now had i very little clearance, even a slight bend of the knee from the sudden hop could be disaster its true that it's not such a big deal these things rarely happen, especially with experienced riders who know how to properly make sudden stops / dismounts or prepare for crashes.

    anyway, as i tried to indicate in my first post, i did not intend for this thread to be about the importance of standover. i don't want to take up the forum member's precious time with a topic that has 20+ threads with lots of posts via search results. this popular topic has several sides: those who don't care and care only for riding fit and then those who do care and then those like me in the middle who see merits of both sides. then there's the argument of how to measure standover (rivendell says PBH whereas others feel more comfortable with jewels). so those arguments have been beaten to death, we all know the merits of each aspect and will decide ourselves how to approach it.

    however, i do appreciate that re-assurance about not worrying for further clearance since my boys clear the top tube (albeit only a millimeter or so). my original question for the thread was for the shoes, it is clear that cycling shoes have stiff soles for pedalling but have no reason to have very thick soles. my question has been answered. i thank you all for your helpful posts and re-assurance
    Last edited by common man; 09-20-09 at 06:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post


    You're not a male, are you?

    Yes, I am a male and do not like thinking about taking a shot "down there" (that's why I didn't want to "speak of it again", my weak attempt at humor)...I just figure there is not a widespread occurance of men having their privates irreparable destroyed on toptubes (although I could be wrong). I have never seen any discussion of it here on BF. We know hard contact would hurt and we fear it , but probably more than we should.

    To the OP, you wanted thick-soled shoes, and I couldn't help you with that, so I should have keep my thoughts to myself. I'm glad your wish came true (I mentioned wishful-thinking before) when you dismounted without incident...My worse case scenario is a total lose of control resulting in a crash, it would seem bike and rider could interact and end up in all kinds of unpredictable positions as a result. I've been back into cycling for a few years and a few thousand miles without a crash (It seems I had quite a few as a kid, I guess I'm more careful now). I used to think it was inevitable that I would, at some unexpected time, crash (and I came really close recently). Now I think maybe I don't "have to" crash, but I still know it might happen. Anyway hope you solve your problems with the bike and you enjoy your cycling.

  17. #17
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawtangent View Post
    Yes, I am a male and do not like thinking about taking a shot "down there" (that's why I didn't want to "speak of it again", my weak attempt at humor)...I just figure there is not a widespread occurance of men having their privates irreparable destroyed on toptubes (although I could be wrong). I have never seen any discussion of it here on BF. We know hard contact would hurt and we fear it , but probably more than we should.
    To paraphrase Eddie Murphy (because I can't remember the exact words), "You don't have to KICK a man in the nuts... All you gotta do is GRAZE 'em."

    *fwoof* "Wait a minute.. That didn't... uh..." *doubles over in pain*

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by common man View Post
    its true that it's not such a big deal these things rarely happen, especially with experienced riders who know how to properly make sudden stops / dismounts or prepare for crashes.

    this popular topic has several sides: those who don't care and care only for riding fit and then those who do care and then those like me in the middle who see merits of both sides.

    however, i do appreciate that re-assurance about not worrying for further clearance since my boys clear the top tube (albeit only a millimeter or so). my original question for the thread was for the shoes, it is clear that cycling shoes have stiff soles for pedalling but have no reason to have very thick soles. my question has been answered. i thank you all for your helpful posts and re-assurance

    The only reason to have some clearance with standover height is to aid in mounting and dismounting the bicycle. Having ridden many bicycles that were too big for me, I can attest to the fact that it is a whole lot more comfortable to straddle the bicycle at a set of lights when the bicycle fits.

    I crash a lot, but none of my crashes has ever involved the top tube (knock on wood it won't). I tend to fall sideways onto my left knee. My left knee has taken a beating over the years but I'm still not worried enough about it to wear a knee pad for protection.

    The fit of the bicycle, the entire bicycle, is the most important aspect of cycling. You can get away with a bicycle that doesn't fit if you're only going to be doing very short rides, but once you start building up your distance, you NEED a bicycle that fits you properly. And standover clearance isn't one of the aspects of fit, except maybe to generally establish an approximate ballpark of sizes from which to choose the one that does fit.

    If, however, you are deeply concerned about clearance, go with a compact frame. You can get a bicycle that fits AND one with lots of clearance.

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    ^^

    I am still learning some basics. For example, I've come to realize that if I need to make a sudden stop, it is pointless to jump off onto the top tube. The best way to stop is to hit the front brakes hard. There's no faster way to stop. If I jump off I still have my momentum to deal with and now I can't even use the breaks! So stay on the bike, brace myself, and slam the brakes for an emergency stop.

    If I am cornering and about to hit the side curb (which will wobble my balance), maybe I should not stick a foot out (and make my boys vulnerable). That just screws up the balance and doesn't help. I should maintain my position with body lined to the bike & steering access (as Sheldon Brown says). This will give me best control and worst I'll fall to the side (as you mentioned) and that shouldn't hurt my boys. My shoulder is tough enough and I always wear a helmet. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by mawtangent View Post
    To the OP, you wanted thick-soled shoes, and I couldn't help you with that, so I should have keep my thoughts to myself.
    No, no, don't get me wrong. My prior post was not a lecture or anything silly like that. I do appreciate your thoughts. It's an open forum and you are free to share your thoughts. Everyone is free to discuss anything, even remotely related. I just wanted to make myself clear so that forum members aren't dragged into a beaten up discussion on my account Although I must say, something interesting always does come up with each time this topic is brought up.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You also want to try to plan ahead, and pay attention to what's going on around you, so you don't have too many emergency stops. I might have something I consider an emergency stop maybe once or twice a year. In fact, I can't even think of the last time I had an emergency stop.

    And planning ahead will also help with those turns too. Slow down, take it easy, and don't get so close to the side curb.

  21. #21
    On the big ring deanp's Avatar
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    40 Miles In Heels!

    Maybe this user can help you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    And FWIW, I don't think there is any way that a 50cm Trek cyclocross frame will have too little stand over height for the OP who is 5'9" tall. I think he doesn't need as much standover as he thinks and once he wears cycling shorts to keep his "jewels" from hanging down, he'll have like 4" of room on that frame!
    Maybe. When I put on cycling shorts like normal shorts than the clearance is 1 mm without shoes. However, if I pull the boys up...NOT as high as the guys below but up...then there's 1.5 - 2" clearance with shoes. Shucks, its just I do casual riding so I don't dress like a racer. In either case, I suppose my standover issue isn't an issue after all. So perhap the question of measuring standover with pubic bone or jewels is a question of how you dress. If one dresses like these racers below, pubic bone is indeed the undisputed way to do it. If one dresses casually then they'll have to deal with that.

    Edit: removed photo because I thought it wasn't needed. Sorry about that.
    Last edited by common man; 09-22-09 at 02:02 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Oh, man, you had to go and post THAT.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

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  25. #25
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    you can find thick-soled street shoes. maybe you could just wear them and use regular pedals.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

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