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Old 01-09-10, 02:40 PM   #1
jrich179
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Stiffening Shoes?

It's currently not in my budget to get cycling-specific shoes, or more than that, if I were to get cycling shoes, I'd probably want to go all out and get cleats and clipless pedals, which is definitely not in my budget at the moment.

I've been using a pair of shoes that are pushed as a lightweight camping/hiking shoe- grippy sole, super thin, light, and fast-drying, and easy to cram into a hiking pack with limited space...which = flexible.

I appreciate the grip and lightness, but am completely aware that the flexibility of the sole is counterproductive to efficient pedaling. I'm pretty crafty in the shop, so I'm wondering if anyone has experience in making rigid insoles- I could scroll-saw something out of aluminum plate, but I could see that eventually taking on a curve if I walk around on them for long enough. Maybe thin veneer plywood (I could choose the veneer strategically and laminate it myself).

Lately I've been considering getting a fiberglass repair kit- fiber mesh and resin: trace the existing insole onto the fiber mesh and make several cutouts; resinate each piece, building up layer by layer, until I have a lightweight, rigid, shoe-shaped plate, ~1/8" thick.

So I ask- any suggestions, or anyone with enough fiberglassing experience to tell me if I can get rigid enough in 1/8" thickness?

thanks
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Old 01-09-10, 09:08 PM   #2
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I posted in this forum because it's one that I check regularly, and it's not entirely irrelevant. If it's deemed more appropriate somewhere else, I'll roll with it if it'll garner some replies.
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Old 01-09-10, 09:16 PM   #3
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You could try a set of these:http://www.mcmaster.com/#5208t1/=5b2q1s
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Old 01-10-10, 01:43 AM   #4
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I am just wondering if the gain is worth it. I bet if you work on your leg muscles and breathing, you may gain more performance out of the ride. Perhaps switch to slick tires.
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Old 01-10-10, 01:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrich179 View Post
I appreciate the grip and lightness, but am completely aware that the flexibility of the sole is counterproductive to efficient pedaling. I'm pretty crafty in the shop, so I'm wondering if anyone has experience in making rigid insoles- I could scroll-saw something out of aluminum plate, but I could see that eventually taking on a curve if I walk around on them for long enough. Maybe thin veneer plywood (I could choose the veneer strategically and laminate it myself).
Perhaps simpler to make grippy flat platforms for your pedals, and leave your shoes as-is? Like the platforms some triathletes used to use so they could ride in their running shoes.
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Old 01-10-10, 04:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mikewille View Post
You could try a set of these:http://www.mcmaster.com/#5208t1/=5b2q1s
Holy crap, those are hardcore- stainless steel!! Minimize the flex issue, that's for sure- heavy, I bet. One thing about my shoes is that they're exaggeratingly narrow in the arch area, so an insole designed for a wide work boot would have to be doctored heavily by yours truly. I'll remember these for my work boots though.

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Originally Posted by wunderkind View Post
I am just wondering if the gain is worth it. I bet if you work on your leg muscles and breathing, you may gain more performance out of the ride. Perhaps switch to slick tires.
I do wonder about the gain, and at what point should I just bite the bullet and get new shoes, even if they're not bike-specific.
However, I do work on breathing and muscle use, but I kind of feel I should try to get everything right, lest I "mis-train" other body parts.

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Perhaps simpler to make grippy flat platforms for your pedals, and leave your shoes as-is? Like the platforms some triathletes used to use so they could ride in their running shoes.
That's an interesting thought. I could see that being good for indoor training, which I'm relgated to for the winter months (I don't feel equipped nor ready for icy road riding yet), but for street riding, I'd expect the plats to flip toward the street and perhaps catch the road- easy to rectify, but could get tedious? And admittedly, vanity is kicking in, and I wonder if these wouldn't look a little goofy? Then again, I'm the self-proclaimed crafty shop guy, so I can make them as sexy as I wanna.

Last edited by jrich179; 01-10-10 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 01-10-10, 09:44 PM   #7
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TThe stainless insole is only .019 thick and they say it is flexible, but it may provide the stiffness if glued into the shoe.
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