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Thread: Pedals/shoes

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    Pedals/shoes

    I did two double centuries with Mavic platform pedals (Look / SPD-SL clones) and cheap Performance Bike shoes and, while I made it to the finish, I was too much out of it by the end in both cases to discern the effect of pedals and shoes.

    After that, I did a double and a 150 with eggbeater 3's (cleats near identical and possibly compatible with SPD) and Mavic Tempo MTB shoes. This combination was more walkable and had far fewer failed clip-ins. However, my feet got pretty tired, especially around the contact area, which led me to suspect either the small contact area of the eggbeater/SPD cleat or insufficient stiffness of my shoes. (But then, my shoes were almost as high end as it gets in MTB land.)

    I'm wondering if I should give platform pedals another shot, possibly with new road shoes, next time I try a 150+ mile ride.

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    Randomhead
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    to most of us, platform means no clipping mechanism at all. I know a number of randonneurs that use platform pedals with sandals.

    One thing that can make a difference is the insoles. My insoles are custom made, so I can't make recommendations there.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I for one don't think that being attached to the pedal matters very much, from a performance perspective, on long rides.

    Comfort can go either way. An insufficiently stiff sole and a small cleat might be an issue, but it could also be cleat position or keeping your shoes too tight.

    The Ergon PC2's might be worth a look. They're a little expensive, but they offer a large contact area, and are tilted a bit for some varus correction.

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    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    I did two double centuries with Mavic platform pedals (Look / SPD-SL clones) and cheap Performance Bike shoes and, while I made it to the finish, I was too much out of it by the end in both cases to discern the effect of pedals and shoes.

    After that, I did a double and a 150 with eggbeater 3's (cleats near identical and possibly compatible with SPD) and Mavic Tempo MTB shoes. This combination was more walkable and had far fewer failed clip-ins. However, my feet got pretty tired, especially around the contact area, which led me to suspect either the small contact area of the eggbeater/SPD cleat or insufficient stiffness of my shoes. (But then, my shoes were almost as high end as it gets in MTB land.)

    I'm wondering if I should give platform pedals another shot, possibly with new road shoes, next time I try a 150+ mile ride.
    I personally would approach this step by step:

    1. Cleat positioning: You mention getting tired feet around the "contact area." What do you mean by "tired" -- soreness, hot sensation, falling asleep? Are your cleats by any chance positioned in the "racer" position meaning by right around the metatarsal (a.k.a. ball) of your feet? If so, try bringing the cleats all the way down toward the center of your feet. This is considered by many as the most suitable for long-distance riding.

    2. Shoes: I've had good experience with Specialized BG MTB shoes with stiffer sole which range between $150-$200. I researched a lot before buying. I went with these when I read that this brand allows more room to place the cleat further down the shoe. They also have extra wide shoes that my feet seem to like better. The MTB shoes at this price range are so stiff that I can barely call them walkable, but they come with a couple of extra cleats at the front for off-road traction. I also bought the special sole insert that was about $40-$50 bucks to contour nicely around my feet giving them better support. I went to a store that had a trained Specialized fit specialist.

    3. Pedals: I would be really surprised if 1 and 2 above do not take care of all of your foot issues. Should those fail, then invest in clipless pedals with a wider platform.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Rando folks around here mostly use Sidi Dominators and SPD. It's been years since I've seen platforms on a rando ride.

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    Just to clarify, by "platform", I don't mean pedals with no attachment to the shoe whatsoever. I mean pedals with large flat pad that clips onto the shoe, like the one racers use - SPD-SL and the like. Maybe that's not the correct use of the word.

    What do you mean by "tired" -- soreness, hot sensation, falling asleep? Are your cleats by any chance positioned in the "racer" position meaning by right around the metatarsal (a.k.a. ball) of your feet? If so, try bringing the cleats all the way down toward the center of your feet. This is considered by many as the most suitable for long-distance riding.
    I guess I'd describe it as "hot sensation". Yes, cleats are under the metatarsal. I can only move them back about half an inch, shoe design does not allow them to go any further. But I'll give it a try.

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    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    It's pretty common for long distance riders to have the cleat as far back on the shoe as possible. I know people who've drilled new holes in brand new shoes to move the cleats back. Mine are as far towards the heal as they will go. I've tried the smaller platform pedals and had hot spots too. It may be that you just need the larger platform pedals. Also, road shoes are typically stiffer than mtn bike shoes. You may need that. I've seen insoles help as well.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    I guess I'd describe it as "hot sensation". Yes, cleats are under the metatarsal. I can only move them back about half an inch, shoe design does not allow them to go any further. But I'll give it a try.
    Sounds like you're experiencing metatarsalgia ("hot foot".) I had the same issue with my Pearl Izumi MTB shoes. They work fine for MTBing, but for long distance riding I couldn't slide the cleats too far down. I went with the Specialized BG MTB shoes and cycling insoles - problem solved. For pedals I use the Shimano MTB clipless pedals. I believe the most important thing is to move the cleats way down mid-foot and to wear cycling shoes with stiff soles.

    I was just looking at the the Specialized catalogue, the Specialized Elite road shoes look awfully close to mine and for much less than what I paid last year in Austin. Not sure if they're still making the same shoe for MTB, but either way it should be OK.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 11-09-13 at 06:27 PM.

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    I got the cleats moved all the way back, about 1". (There were two pairs of holes and they were screwed into the front pair. I put them into the other and pulled them back to the limit.) We'll see how it works. Shoe soles appear very stiff, I can't bend them by hand.

  10. #10
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
    2. Shoes: I've had good experience with Specialized BG MTB shoes with stiffer sole which range between $150-$200. I researched a lot before buying. I went with these when I read that this brand allows more room to place the cleat further down the shoe. They also have extra wide shoes that my feet seem to like better. The MTB shoes at this price range are so stiff that I can barely call them walkable, but they come with a couple of extra cleats at the front for off-road traction. I also bought the special sole insert that was about $40-$50 bucks to contour nicely around my feet giving them better support. I went to a store that had a trained Specialized fit specialist.
    +1 to Specialized carbon-soled MTB shoes (I wear the "Experts"). I can walk completely comfortably in them for a half-mile or so, and could walk a lot longer if necessity arose, although they're stiff enough that they wouldn't be my first choice for walking shoes. I don't have the special insoles. Sidi shoes aren't the same shape as my feet at all, and would never work for me, personally.

    I did have hotspots (and numbness) in my old shoes, which were softer-soled and women's (narrower), although they were also Specialized. The width was more important than the stiff soles, but both help. (My winter shoes are Specialized Defrosters, which aren't as stiff but are men's width.) With the new shoes, no issues at all, even when I did the risky thing of wearing them on a 200K permanent as their first trip longer than around the block to check the cleat angle.

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