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  1. #1
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    Walkable-shoes versus super stiff-soled shoes - whiich is better?

    I've got my eyes on some Specialized Primo shoes

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=56865

    I want 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. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    The link seems not to work.
    Regardless, sounds like you've got your mind made up so go for it.
    I've not had the instep discomfort, but I would think that's more a function of the shoe shape than the lacing method.
    I don't use bike shoes to visit the mall or walk the dog, and walking into a 7-11, it's never been an issue with the "clomping around" or the "toes up duck walk", it's just not that big a deal.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Actually, SH, even though he phrases things in the form of a question, I have concluded that he is actually doing a form of blogging, where he informs all of his research and conclusions (and does accept comments).

    Besides, with a long ride of somewhere around 16 or 30 miles, how walking around can he be doing?

    On the other hand, since his long ride is only 16 or 30 miles or so, his ratio of walking around time to actual ride is likely pretty high -- I mean, it is NOT as if he were getting on a bike and riding 50 or 75 miles non-stop to the next control.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    If you are going to ride your bike get riding shoes, if you are going for a walk get walking shoes. Pretty simple...If you are talking less than 100mile rides you are in the wrong forum.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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    the Eastern Pennsylvania brevets usually feature a walk across the Delaware. The bridges require that cyclists walk across. I have had no problem in cycling shoes, in fact I like it because it allows me to stretch a little.

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    You may also want to consider the Keen SPD sandals. I read a ride report about a guy doing the Hoodoo 500 in these.

    I have stiff unwalkable shoes but I found that cleat covers really help with getting around. Depending on your pedal system, covers may be an option to consider.
    Check out my UltraEndurance blog for ride reports, equipment reviews, and philosophical ramblings...

    "I just assume I'm not invisible. I assume I'm wearing fluorescent clothes, and there's a million-dollar bounty going to the first driver who manages to hit me. And I ride on that assumption."
    -- Zodiac, Neal Stephenson

  7. #7
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    are you sure the instep discomfort isn't from having the straps too tight?

    typically over the course of a long ride i will need to loosen my shoes up a little as my feet swell.

    i like stiff carbon mtb shoes for the efficient power transfer but being mtb shoes they still have a little bit of tread on the soles that alllows moderate comfort while walking. softer soles give me "hot foot" after a while from the cleat digging into my foot.
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

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    I'm not thinking so much about walking around for an extended period of time, although were I to do some touring (versus hardcore competition riding), it'd be nice to have shoes that would be at least somewhat comfortable to walk around in when off the bike for more than a few minutes. As far as walking into a 7 Eleven or where ever, I've not had much difficulty with my current fairly stiff-soled mtb shoes, but even with them and the design of the sole and treads, I've still narrowly avoided some nasty spills when just walking and having the "sole" deprive me of traction. Most recently I almost fell on my can going down some stairs to our apartment building bike room. They may be walk-able, but they sure as hell aren't slip resistant. As for instep pain, I get it because the bone that projects up on the instep is very prominent on my feet and even some lace up normal walking shoes will give me difficulties. I find that every three-strap shoe I've tried on has had that middle strap going right over that bony projection. And finally, no, I have not made my mind up. I was seeking some insight into whether anyone knew if these shoes had soles that would flex too much for someone planning to be in the saddle for a lengthy amount of time.

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    I reposted this with a bit of editing over in the general cycling forum. I think I'll probably need to stay away from here until I've actually biked more than 100 miles in a day. Guess I better earn my dues before coming back in here eh?
    Last edited by kiltedcelt; 07-01-11 at 10:39 PM.

  10. #10
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    I also use carbon-soled MTB shoes for long-distance road riding (Shimano M225 to be precise) and one-sided SPD pedals (Shimano A520 or A600). The shoes are plenty efficient, don't cause hot-spots on my feet (like my previous, more supple MTB and touring shoes did), and I can walk around very easily in them (which includes running up and down stairs carrying the bike for a train that I'm in danger of missing).

    Warning - do not mount the toe studs that come with many models of MTB shoes, or remove them if they are already mounted and are removable. These studs/cleats often have metal caps which make the shoes slippery on all surfaces except mud and grass.
    Last edited by Chris_W; 07-04-11 at 01:35 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    I've always cycled with very stiff-soled road shoes for precisely the reason that Homeyba gives. I ain't going for a walk! At stops I'll take my shoes off and walk around in socks or bare feet, if necessary. I know LD cyclists who intentionally select more walking-friendly shoes so that they're comfortable when walking around. To each his own, but I struggle to understand that one: especially on a log ride, how much walking versus riding are you doing, anyway?

    If walking is a big part of your plans, then pack walking shoes in your bag. I put shoes in my drop bags. And when I rode the Janesville Grade fixed, I was afraid I might be in for a very long walk indeed -- this was new territory for me -- so I carried a pair of sneakers with me. Turns out I didn't need 'em

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
    I've always cycled with very stiff-soled road shoes for precisely the reason that Homeyba gives. I ain't going for a walk! At stops I'll take my shoes off and walk around in socks or bare feet, if necessary. I know LD cyclists who intentionally select more walking-friendly shoes so that they're comfortable when walking around. To each his own, but I struggle to understand that one: especially on a log ride, how much walking versus riding are you doing, anyway?

    If walking is a big part of your plans, then pack walking shoes in your bag. I put shoes in my drop bags. And when I rode the Janesville Grade fixed, I was afraid I might be in for a very long walk indeed -- this was new territory for me -- so I carried a pair of sneakers with me. Turns out I didn't need 'em
    I think I independently hit on the same conclusion that you mention. I think I'd be better off not restricting myself to those shoes with the walk-able tennis-shoe-like soles and instead looking more closely at the the more hardcore mtb shoes. I have a pair of stiff sole mtb shoes right now but they're not the highest quality or the best fit. I was thinking pretty much the same thing that you mentioned, in that if I was doing some long ride and felt the need to walk around off the bike at a checkpoint for a lengthy period of time, or camping out overnight or something, well then it seems logical that I'd just bring along a pair of sandals or something to switch into. Now it's off to examine all the mtb shoes again and try to find something with laces.

  13. #13
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    Do whatever is most comfortable for you, stiffer isn't always better for cycling. Pete Penseyres set his solo and tandem trans-USA records using comparatively soft Avocet touring shoes. Jan Ullrich avoided carbon-soled shoes for slightly softer models.

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    I used mtb shoes at first for road biking because I only had mtb pedals, found that I loved being able to walk around like a normal person.

    The soles really werent stiff enough to prevent hot spots on long road rides, though, so I bought stiffer road shoes that were spd cleat compatible, and made pontoons out of various kinds of rubber that i superglued around the cleats. Superglue will hold whatever rubber is used to the soles forever.

    Ive used brake shoes as pontoons, but any kind of rubber will suffice.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Trek Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    I think I'll probably need to stay away from here until I've actually biked more than 100 miles in a day. Guess I better earn my dues before coming back in here eh?
    I'm suprised I saw his comment as I thought I had him on ignore. He will be again now, my advice is to do the same. Some people should not be seen or heard. Pay no attention to people like that, most folks on this board want to be helpful.

    I use mtn bike pedals and shoes for all my rides, I like to be able to walk around in them.

    Edit:
    I wasn't signed in so I saw his post, that explains it.

    Al
    Last edited by unterhausen; 07-03-11 at 11:21 AM.

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    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    You may be right, but in this case he may just be ignorant as to the purpose of topical forums, with a dash of insecurity thrown in.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 07-03-11 at 11:21 AM.

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerstg View Post
    but in this case he may just be ignorant as to the purpose of topical forums, with a dash of insecurity thrown in.
    A surprising number of people don't seem to be aware that the forum is divided into sub-forums/topics/groupings. I'm not sure why because when I open the forum, it opens in sort of an index page showing a list of the sub-forums. Perhaps there is another opening view I'm unaware of. And a lot of people seem to wander in here rather than in the Touring Forum or Road Forum.


    Anyway, if the poster is not a long distance cyclist and is interested in shoes for shorter distances, perhaps the mods can merge this thread with the one the OP started in General.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    A surprising number of people don't seem to be aware that the forum is divided into sub-forums/topics/groupings. I'm not sure why because when I open the forum, it opens in sort of an index page showing a list of the sub-forums. Perhaps there is another opening view I'm unaware of. And a lot of people seem to wander in here rather than in the Touring Forum or Road Forum.


    Anyway, if the poster is not a long distance cyclist and is interested in shoes for shorter distances, perhaps the mods can merge this thread with the one the OP started in General.
    I originally posted it here because while I don't currently ride ultra distance rides, I'm trying to build up to it. So, it makes sense to me to ask long distance riders what they think in terms of what kit works best for long distance. It would seem to be logical to say that if something (shoes) is comfortable for riding over 100 miles, then they ought to be fine for shorter rides as well. I re-posted the shoe thread in the General forum because I figured, "Hey, if I'm gonna get crap here because I'm not a balls-out ultra cyclist then maybe I need to post this somewhere else." I would've just deleted this thread if there was a option to do so, but there isn't. I'm sorta wondering if my initial reaction was correct in that maybe a bunch of you are elitist jerks and maybe I don't have the right to post in here until I've logged a few 100+ mile rides. I just figured if I wanted to get into this kind of riding it might be helpful to pick the brains of people already doing it rather than figuring everything out the hard way. At least a handful of guys have provided helpful responses, but then again I detect a certain amount of non-inclusive elitism in some other responses. Maybe the mods should just merge this into the thread in the general forum. Since maybe you're supposed to figure all this crap out yourself then maybe I'll come back to this forum once I've gone through a few different pairs of shoes, handlebars, saddles, etc. then I can hang around with the rest of you and lambast other newbies who stumble in here looking for advice but haven't actually ridden 100+ miles yet.

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    I don't see anything wrong with your OP. Granted, general might have been the best place for it just from a practical viewpoint. This forum gets a number of posts from people that should post in touring, or that think 35 miles is a really long distance. I tend to move those. We also get a lot of "I've only ridden short distances but want to ride a century in a month" posts that would be better off in general too, but we don't move those.

    100 miles really isn't that long of a distance, but you have to make a cutoff somewhere. I think people that ride longer distances than that have a lot of problems with their feet. Or else we notice it more because we're living with it for more hours. Nothing worse than having hot foot for 15 hours, just as one example I'd like to forget. Whatever you get, make sure the shoes have room for your feet to swell a little and that they don't push on your toes at all. Most of us tend to ignore the outside toes when it comes to shoe fitting, and that can be a real problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    Whatever you get, make sure the shoes have room for your feet to swell a little and that they don't push on your toes at all. Most of us tend to ignore the outside toes when it comes to shoe fitting, and that can be a real problem.
    Going by those shoe fitting gizmos, I don't have what would qualify as wide feet. However, I wear typically a 10 1/2 to 11 in most non-cycling shoes/boots. Most cycling shoes that are supposed to be that equivalent size tend to either have no room in the toes to where my toes are actually pushing at the very end of the shoes and thus would be uncomfortable after a couple minutes on the bike. The other issue is that for whatever reason, most of the shoes tend to feel too narrow across the ball of the foot area. And of course there's the issue already mentioned about pressure across the top of my instep from the middle strap on most three-strap shoes. I still prefer lace up shoes because the laces can be run or tightened in a variety of ways to compensate for fit and to accommodate issues such as my instep problems.

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    maybe you're supposed to figure all this crap out yourself then maybe I'll come back to this forum once I've gone through a few different pairs of shoes, handlebars, saddles, etc.
    That's how the rest of us figured it out.

    I responded in your General Cycling thread that I like Lake Mtn Bike shoes ... but I tried other shoes before Lakes, and even with the Lakes it has taken a few tries to get the sizing just right ... not that my first pair of Lakes was uncomfortable, they were so good, I bought another pair, but because of the swelling feet issue on long distance rides, and because I wanted to use them in the winter, I had to go up a size ... and then up another size.

    But while I really like Lake shoes, other cyclists don't find them as comfortable as I do and they prefer other brands.

    And that's the way it is with many things in cycling. You can try a particular brand of shorts, or saddle, or helmet, or shoes, or whatever because some cyclists recommend it because they are comfortable with it ... but you may discover that you're not comfortable with it, and you prefer something else.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Trek Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    But while I really like Lake shoes
    I find Lake shoes and sandals to be comfortable for whatever distance I ride. My legs tire long before my feet do.

    Al

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trek Al View Post
    I find Lake shoes and sandals to be comfortable for whatever distance I ride. My legs tire long before my feet do.

    Al
    I've seen a couple different types of Lake shoes that I like the looks of. They only appear to make a couple lace up models now, but then again lace-up cycling shoes seem to be pretty thin on the ground anyway. There is a model of touring shoe that Lake used to make that a few retailers still have some stock of. I'm looking at those as well as some of the Specialized and Mavic models.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    I've got my eyes on some Specialized Primo shoes

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=56865

    I want 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. Any thoughts?
    I have found that there are no shoes which work good for both riding and walking. Generally the hybrid shoes are the worst of both worlds. Not good for cycling and not good for walking. You can get by with them for short periods but for long bike rides they don't work for most people. Unless you are using large BMX platform pedals. Then the softer soled cycling shoes or running shoes can work but they are still not that good for walking or long distance riding. I think a better option is to buy a good fitting stiff soled cycling shoe either road or mountain biking shoe. Whichever works best for you. As long as it fits properly the lacing system doesn't matter. You may have to find a brand that works for you or get some custom made if your foot is too far out of the average size and shape. If I am going to be doing some serious walking on a bike ride I will carry some cheap water sport slippers that only weight a couple of ounces. I got some at Wal-Mart for 10 bucks that have a kind of fairly good sole. They can still be rolled up or put into a medium size seat bag or handlebar bag. Very natural feeling to walk in though not enough support for long walks. If your going to be off the bike for long hours you will probably be carrying a small knapsack or bag and can take along some really lightweight running shoes.

    If you are trying out cycling shoes for the first time remember that how comfortable they are to walk in at the store does not translate to comfort on the bike. Generally, the better they fit but seem uncomfortable to walk in is a good sign that they can work good on the bike. You don't want much sole flexing on the bike. The opposite thing that you need for a comfortable walking shoe. If they feel OK just to stand in with no pressure points then they probably fit OK.

    Also, don't forget that feet continue to grow as you age. If you think your a 9.5 because that's what you were 10 years ago you may find if you have your feet remeasured that they are a little larger. So make sure you get a current measurement and don't try to force your feet into a size that you think they are. If you have a really wide foot and high instep you may have to use oversized wide width shoes to get the right size and only a couple of manufacturers make them. Sidi and Lake I think. Most cycling shoes run small and narrow so don't expect an exact carryover for size. You will have to get bigger than you think.
    Last edited by Hezz; 07-04-11 at 04:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    If you have a really wide foot and high instep you may have to use oversized wide width shoes to get the right size and only a couple of manufacturers make them. Sidi and Lake I think. Most cycling shoes run small and narrow so don't expect an exact carryover for size. You will have to get bigger than you think.
    Good, this is the kind of info I'm looking for. A person at one shop did mention that Sidi shoes tended to run a bit wider than other brands or that they made wider versions. Can't remember which. Anyway, I'd never really seriously considered Sidis because of price. I'm not a cheapsake but I just don't have that much disposable cash. However, I have been hearing some good things about Lake shoes on here and asking around elsewhere. I'm going to look into seeing if any of the local shops carry Lakes so that I can actually try some on versus buying online sight unseen. I think the general consensus is to get a stiffer soled shoe and for a bit more walking comfort then the mtb shoes will be somewhat better than road shoes.

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