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Old 06-02-09, 04:21 PM   #1
mhelmuth
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Touring Shoes and Sole Flex

I'm considering some new shoes to do the transamerica ride. I'm about 215 pounds with size 13 feet and I ride with SPD clipless pedals which I want to use on the trip. I'm a little concerned about sole flex.

For a long time I've been riding in a paid of Sidi Dominator shoes which I really liked due to the very stiff soles, but I'd really perfer something a little more versatile both for this trip and commuting. A while back I bought a cheap pair of touring shoes and found them to be unusable do to the fact I could feel the cleat pressing through the sole into the ball of my foot. That's exactly as pleasant as it sounds. I realize that a touring shoe is a compromise, but this was just unworkable.

I've been considering a pair of the Keen Springwater shoes, Keen commuter sandals, Cannondale Touring shoes or something from the Shimano MT line (sh-mt60 or maybe sh-mt-41g). Are there any 200+ pounders out that can give me an assessment of these shoes or other possible options. I'm concerned about feeling the cleat or any annoying flex as well as any other issues.

Thanks

Mike
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Old 06-02-09, 05:57 PM   #2
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Wear the Dominators or get another pair of Sidis. The lower end Sidi Bullet 2 model is fine as well. That is what I used on the TA. I carried a pair of Crocs to give the feet a break from bikes shoes when in camp.

My daughter used a new pair of Shimano MT somethings and they barely made the TA. They were shot at the end and she complained about them all the way across the US. In fairness I will say that the complaint was mostly the fit though. She bought some Sidi Bullets when she got home and is much happier with them.
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Old 06-02-09, 06:17 PM   #3
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+1 on keeping the Sidis.

I use Specialized MTB shoes and carry a pair of Teva ripoffs for wearing off the bike - this seems to work fine. My only bad experience with bike shoes is Diadora Piccantes. I don't know if these are even made anymore, but their soles were ridiculously flexible.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:27 PM   #4
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I ride sidi dom 5's on tour. The stiff sole is very nice for my feet. I've tried soft soles and they did so suck.
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Old 06-02-09, 10:09 PM   #5
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Yep keep the Sidis. Get flip flops and bungee them to your bike.
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Old 06-03-09, 07:36 AM   #6
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specialized tahoe
stiff enough for riding and comfy enough for walking.
I commute with mine and wind up just wearing them for work, too.
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Old 06-03-09, 08:29 AM   #7
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specialized tahoe
stiff enough for riding and comfy enough for walking.
I commute with mine and wind up just wearing them for work, too.
If you really need stiff soles, these are not stiff enough.

I have some shoes like this for commuting and they really don't work for me after about 20 miles.

Short rides, OK; longer rides - I wear Sidis.
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Old 06-03-09, 09:22 AM   #8
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If you really need stiff soles, these are not stiff enough.

I have some shoes like this for commuting and they really don't work for me after about 20 miles.

Short rides, OK; longer rides - I wear Sidis.
Ah! Understood. Since these are my first cycling specific shoes (been wearing stiff soled regular shoes until now) I've been so impressed and relieved by the increased comfort, that I assumed they were about normal stiffness for a MTB shoe.

If stiffer = more comfort for the ride I'm sold on getting better shoes. (I'd still like to be able to walk in them though)


Geez! I may have to give up my platforms for clipless, too.
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Old 06-03-09, 10:23 AM   #9
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Ah! Understood. Since these are my first cycling specific shoes (been wearing stiff soled regular shoes until now) I've been so impressed and relieved by the increased comfort, that I assumed they were about normal stiffness for a MTB shoe.
I think they may be about "normal" stiffness for a MTB shoe, but all of the soft-soled MTB shoes/sandals in my experience still have a bit of "give" in the soles. They are stiffer than "normal" walking shoes, but still not as stiff as the hard-plastic SIDI-type shoes (there are other brands, too).

I am really, really sensitive to sole stiffness I guess, and have tried on (and bought and returned) any number of shoes looking for the right balance among walkability, ridability, and comfort. As noted, I can wear shoes like the Specialized Tahoe's or Sonomas (which are a lot like the Shimano MTB shoes) for short-ish rides.

However, I start to feel they aren't stiff enough after about 20 miles.

My BG Defroster SPD boots are good up to about 50 miles.

My Sidi SPD shoes are good up to about 80 miles.

My Sidi Look Keos are good to over 100 miles.


My personal opinion is that shoe stiffness is a personal issue, like saddles. What works for one person doesn't work for someone else. It's *extremely* painful for me to get caught in the wrong pair of shoes on a long ride.

Last edited by BengeBoy; 06-03-09 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 06-03-09, 11:16 AM   #10
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For touring I use this combination: IndoorSoccerShoe (has stiff sole, and flat), BMX type platform pedal (good surface area), with 'Power Grips' attached (to hold shoe to pedal). Shoe is good for off bike activity as well.
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Old 06-03-09, 11:58 AM   #11
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Maybe you got a defective set or something? I'm 240 pounds, and the Shimano MT21's I got work fine. There's a plastic insert in between the (fairly soft) sole and the inside, so I don't feel the cleat at all. They're comfortable as hell to walk on, although I'm obviously losing something in terms of power transfer over a more racing type shoe.
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Old 10-05-09, 05:16 PM   #12
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I did a transamerica ride in Specialized carbon sole road bike shoes and they were great. Once I figured out that Speedplay pedals gave me hot-spots after 80 miles or so and switched to Look KEO's, I had zero issues as we pushed along at about 550-650 miles a week. It was a fully supported tour and all I had to push was a 16 pound road bike. I'm new to touring and trying to figure out shoes as we speak, but I am inclined to buy the stiffest soled shoes I can find and accept the fact that they'll make lousy walking shoes. I'm guessing that a loaded touring bike will make shoes an even bigger issue than a lightweight road bike. No?

The one thing I wish I'd done differently is to have worn carbon sole mtb shoes. Walking in those road shoes with exposed cleats was a Pain in the butt and it was really hard on the cleats- wore out a set of Look cleats in 7 days. After that I got religious about wearing covers on the cleats when I was off the bike- but that was inconvenient.
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Old 10-05-09, 06:32 PM   #13
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I recommend Lake shoes. I wore a pair of Lake MX 165 ("Any terrain, any weather, any day") on a cross country tour.

The best thing about Lake is you can order direct from their website, www.lakecycling.com, and get exactly the size you need.
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Old 10-05-09, 07:12 PM   #14
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I have a pair of Shimano mt60s and plan on getting either the Springwaters or Sidi Giau Megas when they are dead. I have no experience with stiff road shoes, but have done plenty of walking and hiking in the Shimanos. I'm looking forward to a better pair of shoes.
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Old 10-05-09, 09:01 PM   #15
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If you feel the cleat through your sole, maybe the problem isn`t in your shoes.
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Old 10-05-09, 11:08 PM   #16
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Maybe you got a defective set or something? I'm 240 pounds, and the Shimano MT21's I got work fine.
I'm 165 and my Shimano MT31 shoes are barely acceptable. I can ride forever in my Specialized BG Comp mountain bike shoes. The MT31s, however, are only good for 3 or maybe 4 hours. And that's with a stiffer after-market insole. Take off the cleats and they're a great walking shoe, though.
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Old 10-06-09, 05:04 AM   #17
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I'm 165 and my Shimano MT31 shoes are barely acceptable. I can ride forever in my Specialized BG Comp mountain bike shoes. The MT31s, however, are only good for 3 or maybe 4 hours. And that's with a stiffer after-market insole. Take off the cleats and they're a great walking shoe, though.
My daughter had the MT 31's on the Trans America and hated them. Part of that was probably a fit issue, but they didn't hold up well and when she replaced them with a pair of Sidi Bullet 2's she said the difference was like night and day.

To be fair we met at least one guy with the same MT 31 shoes who loved them.
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Old 10-06-09, 09:13 AM   #18
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My daughter had the MT 31's on the Trans America and hated them. Part of that was probably a fit issue, but they didn't hold up well and when she replaced them with a pair of Sidi Bullet 2's she said the difference was like night and day.

To be fair we met at least one guy with the same MT 31 shoes who loved them.
I really love the MT-31... as a short-distance/commuter shoe. They're comfortable, walk well, and look like a "normal" shoe. Mine have worn well. The only problem is that the sole flexes too much for my liking; after 3-4 hours of pedaling, I really start to feel the pressure from the SPD cleat. I did wear my MT-31s on my recent Pacific Coast tour, but they weren't ideal. By the end of the day I was really ready to get out of them and I found I needed to take a decent lunch break about half-way through the day to let my feet recover. With the stock insole, even that would have been difficult...
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Old 10-06-09, 03:04 PM   #19
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I use the Shimano MT-32 shoes on tour, combined with Time ATAC ROC pedals. I have had no problems with them after consecutive long days.
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Old 10-06-09, 03:17 PM   #20
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I really love the MT-31... as a short-distance/commuter shoe. They're comfortable, walk well, and look like a "normal" shoe. Mine have worn well.
I am curious how long they have held up.

FWIW... My daughter's were shot before 5000 miles.
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Old 10-06-09, 04:56 PM   #21
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I am curious how long they have held up.

FWIW... My daughter's were shot before 5000 miles.
Mine probably only have 1500-2000 miles on them. Soles, tongue, uppers, laces... pretty much everything looks new. I did replace the stock insole before my Pacific Coast tour. The stock insoles were junk from Day #1. I was in-between sizes and went with the larger size, so I had room for a SOLE medium-volume heat-molded footbed.
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Old 10-06-09, 09:44 PM   #22
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I ride on Sidi mega dominators, have used these shoes for 4-5 thousand miles. I have been using Sidi for 25 years (back in the toe clip days) Used Carnac, Shimano's but the Sidi's fit me best. I like the mega size since I have wide feet. I like the thin material I think it keeps my feet cooler, the shoes that look like cross trainers look too hot for me, and I don't like hot feet.
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