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  1. #1
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    Long distance spd sandal for wide foot?

    I'm going on a big ride through Mexico/Central America in a little over a month, and I really want to use a clipless sandal. I just tried out a friend's Keens, and at size 13 they're just too long and narrow.

    So it sounds like my options are Shimano, Nashbar, and Lake. Anyone tried any of these sandals? I usually wear a 46-47, so extra points if you've tried my size!

    And the more general: How do you like sandals for long distance touring? Right now I'm a little in love with the idea of them, being able to ride and walk and stay cool all in one shoe sounds perfect. But ideas often don't translate well into reality, so if someone has some experience with these I'd love to hear about it.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    40 yrs bike touring
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    I have happily used the Shimano SPD sandals since they first appeared. I use the 47/48 size. They have been durable and comfortable for riding and walking although the cleat can slide or slip on debris while trail hiking. The cleats have been very durable lasting years of daily use.

    The latest model is an improvement over the original one with a better tread pattern and more comfortable foot bed. They are much stiffer than other normal shoes but not as stiff as my biking shoes but quite adequate. The three Velcro straps hold the foot to the pedal very well with little lost effort even standing up.

    My feet sweat so I find that using a short thin sock makes for a more comfortable ride and prevents sunburn on the top of my feet.

    I used them on the Divide Ride as an alternative to my mtn bike shoes. I have not toured solely with the sandals but see no reason why they would not work well for you.
    Last edited by arctos; 08-06-09 at 10:13 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
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    I own a pair of Shimano sandals (size 48). I haven't worn them much lately, but I wore them exclusively when I rode around Lake Erie a couple of years ago.

    I find them very comfortable for walking, great for short(ish) rides, and just ok for long distance touring. The sole isn't very stiff. That's why they work so well for walking. Since my feet are so much wider than most pedals, the lack of stiffness allows the sole to curve around the pedal and irritate a nerve near the ball of my foot, especially when I'm tired and mindlessly mashing on the pedals. That makes my middle toes go numb. It was at least three months after my Lake Erie tour before I had full feeling in the middle toes of my right foot.

    I bought a pair of high-end Pearl Izumi SPD shoes and discovered what a very stiff sole can do for you. Now, I tour with my PI shoes, even though they are just ok for walking. My toes are happier in very stiff shoes after hours hooked into the pedals. My tendency for hotfoot and numbness has almost disappeared.

    I always wore the Shimano sandals with black Smartwool micro socks. That's an unbeatable combination for comfort. No slipping around or chafing because of sweaty feet. The open nature of the sandals keep your feet cool, even in 100 degree heat with black wool socks.

    The one area where the sandals beats my PI shoes hands down is riding in (and after) a rain. The open sandals dry out quickly, even while being worn. The rubber sole doesn't absorb any moisture either. It's a pain in the ass to dry out my PI shoes after a day in the rain. I'm not always completely successful and I end up riding in damp shoes for the next day or two.

  4. #4
    Have Beer Will Travel cupsal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arctos View Post

    The latest model is an improvement over the original one with a better tread pattern and more comfortable foot bed. They are much stiffer than other normal shoes but not as stiff as my biking shoes but quite adequate. The three Velcro straps hold the foot to the pedal very well with little lost effort even standing up.
    For me the old shimano sandal was great, it lasted me years. The new one felt more like a shoe then a sandal, and since one size fits two, it did not fit my feet well.

  5. #5
    human bigfo's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Lake sandals that are a couple years old. They are 46 wides. They are great. I just rode RAGBRAI using only those. The only thing I made sure of was to put plenty of lotion on my toes so they wouldn't burn!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupsal View Post
    For me the old shimano sandal was great, it lasted me years. The new one felt more like a shoe then a sandal, and since one size fits two, it did not fit my feet well.
    Yep, same opinion.

    The newer Shimano sandals are so confining you might you may as well be riding in shoes.

    My old 2 strap Shimanos are now starting to split at the leather connector on the instep area.

    Also, all the bike sandals are made for walking - they're heavy (+800g) and flex a lot. I think it may be better to ride in stiff (carbon?) shoes and carry a light second pair for off bike.

  7. #7
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Lake sandals in a size 48, I got them because the shimano's were still too small in their largest size. The lakes run wider as well. These sandals tend to chafe the sides of my feet after a couple of days on tour. I have to wear socks on about the 3rd day, then they are fine. I have been on 2 week tours where they are the only shoe I have and as long as I have socks along, it works out fine.

    Does anyone know if the new shimano's come in a size 48-50 (size 14 us)

    Also a question about the keens, I'm wearing my regular non-biking keens right, but they fit pretty loose and don't think they would work well for cycling. Unless the biking version can be tightened up better. Opinions?

  8. #8
    It's true, man.
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    The Keens I tried on felt tight, so I passed on them. However my friend bought some, and said they don't feel tight after 5 miles of riding and loves them. We usually like similar shoes, FWIW.

  9. #9
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    From other reviews online, it sounds like the new shimano sandal has been converted into something like a shoe, with the fully enclosed three-strap top and increased stiffness/weight. That would make it hotter and less comfortable for walking, so...

    The Lake is the top choice then. The one criticism I've heard is that they're not very stiff - is this true? Should I get a fuller platform pedal (like the Crankbrothers Mallet) for the extra stiffness?

    Thank you all for the help!

  10. #10
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theWretched View Post
    From other reviews online, it sounds like the new shimano sandal has been converted into something like a shoe, with the fully enclosed three-strap top and increased stiffness/weight. That would make it hotter and less comfortable for walking, so...

    The Lake is the top choice then. The one criticism I've heard is that they're not very stiff - is this true? Should I get a fuller platform pedal (like the Crankbrothers Mallet) for the extra stiffness?

    Thank you all for the help!
    They seem plenty stiff to me. I would suggest a two sided pedal for touring anyway, spd on one side and platform on the other. Gives you the best of both worlds. I have had good and bad experience with eggbeaters. On my road bike they have been great and I could rebuild them when they started going south. But the platform models that I used for touring did not last long and always "ticked" FWIW>

  11. #11
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    I love my Shimano sandals. They are the only think I cycle in - whether I am on a long distance tour, a century ride or a week long state ride! I would never go back to anything else! Get them, you'll love them!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by theWretched View Post
    From other reviews online, it sounds like the new shimano sandal has been converted into something like a shoe, with the fully enclosed three-strap top and increased stiffness/weight. That would make it hotter and less comfortable for walking, so...

    The Lake is the top choice then. The one criticism I've heard is that they're not very stiff - is this true? Should I get a fuller platform pedal (like the Crankbrothers Mallet) for the extra stiffness?

    Thank you all for the help!
    None of the sandals are stiff compared to decent cycling shoes.

    The pedal doesn't make the shoe stiffer, unless you're riding in converses with toe clips.

  13. #13
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    None of the sandals are stiff compared to decent cycling shoes.

    The pedal doesn't make the shoe stiffer, unless you're riding in converses with toe clips.
    None of the sandals are as stiff as a decent cycling shoe, but if they were you wouldn't want to walk around in them off the bike, which is what I'm looking for in a touring shoe / sandal.

    "The pedal doesn't make the shoe stiffer" Not so, if you have any of the mountain pedals that have a platform surrounding the clip, you shoe can only flex the tiny little bit till it's then supported by the platform. The platform is as big as the ball of your foot, so there is plenty of support.

  14. #14
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    I have the large Lakes and love them. I like the two staps over the Shimano's three. FYI, my feet are size 11, standard width with a low-mid arch and I ended up having to shorten the straps 3 inches.

    Just used them for a 1300 mile tour with no problems. Do remember to apply sunscreen to your feet!

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