"Walkable" cycling shoes versus more stiff-soled shoes - opinions?
I've got my eyes on some Specialized Primo shoes
I've been looking for lace-up shoes because I get instep discomfort from 3-velcro-strap cycling shoes and two-strap shoes just don't fit nearly as well. I also want something that has a walkable enough sole so that I don't feel like I'm clomping around in a pair of wooden clogs when I'm off the bike. I'm just wondering if I'm going to regret shoes with a more walkable sole when it comes to getting better performance on longer distance rides. I figure with most of these walkable shoes the toes are typically more flexible than on the more hardcore mtb-type shoes, but that the sole should still be sufficiently stiff to maximize power transmission to the pedals. I also want to stick with mtb-type shoes, again for the sole which promotes more natural walking, versus the toes-up duck walk that you have to do with most stiff-soled road shoes. However, I'm wondering if the more casual type shoes are going to be a bit of a liability in terms of performance on longer rides. Any thoughts?
Flying and Riding
Keen makes a cycling/touring shoe that I've come to like a lot. Good compromise between stiffness and walkability. It is a 3-velcro strap style though.
i think the duck walk is largely a consequence of the exposed cleat rather than the stiff sole, but i could be wrong.
a recent experience has shown me that a trade off exists between a stiff sole and walkability.
a nice pair of recently purchased comfortable (walkable) bike shoes bruised both feet within 50 miles. from the cleat i believe. i returned them to the LBS and the owner was more than happy to return my money. i bought a different pair that had harder soles and all is well.
As mentioned, walkable doesn't necessarily imply flexible soles. Many "walkable" touring and mtb shoes have extremely stiff soles. Shimano makes a two strap touring shoe. The sole is pretty stiff and fine for walking around, but not going for extended hikes or anything. Check it: http://bike.shimano.com/publish/cont...road/2/SH-RT31
Mud, Gore & Guts
If you're having instep problems, it's probably the footbed that you have a problem with. You either need different and possibly custom insoles, or your shoe is too narrow. My feet are dreadfully finicky about shoes, so I have to try them on before I get them. If they hurt anywhere, I have to try a different pair. When I went clipless earlier this year, I ended up trying on about eight different shoes and settled on the Shimano MT087 which are quite walkable, but stiff at the same time. You feet sound fairly similar, but possibly wider.
It also sounds like you want to go with a mountain bike or touring shoe, rather than a road shoe to give you some walkability.
The closure shouldn't matter for your instep. Any shoe no matter the closure system should be adjustable to conform to your foot and comfort level.
Long Distance Cyclist
I'll answer over here, rather than in the Long Distance forum, because apparently this forum (or maybe the Road forum) is more applicable for the type of riding you currently do.
I use Lake Mtn Bike shoes for all my riding. I find them very comfortable both on the bicycle and off. I've even done hikes in them when I've been on tours. I've done everything from quick after-work rides, to 1200K randonnees, to 5000 km tours in my Lake Mtn Bike shoes.