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  1. #1
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Carbon shoes for touring - stupid?

    Never toured before and am planning my first tour next year. Was looking at shoes and heard complaints about soft soles, as well as 'hot spots' with the goretex, and sneaker kinds of shoes.

    Is it stupid to use carbon sole shoes?

    MTB carbon shoes - will the cleats touch the ground when you walk?

    Saw these on a good deal:

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/...-shoe-ec019866

    This is the other popular shoe I see. The Specialized Tahoe, but I also see complaints of hot spots if the hours are long.

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/...-shoe-ec019811

    Any idea about them? Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Lots of people wear regular carbon road shoes when touring. I wear the same shoes while touring that I do when riding locally, I just have to switch into a pair flip flops or sneakers when I stop and have to walk anywhere.

  3. #3
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    Do you plan to buy these shoes without having tried them on?

  4. #4
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    Lots of people wear regular carbon road shoes when touring. I wear the same shoes while touring that I do when riding locally, I just have to switch into a pair flip flops or sneakers when I stop and have to walk anywhere.
    Thanks for the thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Metzinger View Post
    Do you plan to buy these shoes without having tried them on?
    Its what I have to do with all cycling stuff - bikes, shoes, jerseys, bibs etc. Where I live nothing is available locally.

    I've ordered my touring bike [like I did my road bike] without trying it for sizing. Just no options.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with a stiff shoe for touring. Personally I like Sidis and wear the Bullet 2 on tour. They aren't carbon, but are quite stiff and work out well. No reason not to wear carbon at least in my opinion. I think that MTB shoes do have an advantage over full road shoes in walkability, but I could get by with road shoes and cleat covers if I had to.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    I wore a pair of Specialized carbon sole road shoes cross country and would say this:

    1. It was a fully supported tour, so I'm sure I was spared some walking that I might otherwise encountered had the tour been self supported.

    2. I wore out a set of Look Keo cleats in the first week. Became religious about putting on cleat covers before my foot touched the ground after that. Subsequently I wore out cleat covers about every 3-4 weeks.

    3. I enjoyed having the (very stiff) shoes for the riding part (60-120 miles/day). I would have had major problems with hot spots if I hadn't used those shoes (which I trained in for a year/9000 miles prior to trip).

    4. In a large (70) group I could see how others fared...the best set up was MTB shoes (protected the cleat)...much more comfortable off the bike (cleat's off the ground, shoes have heels and toes, a bit more flex in the sole) than what I was doing. Walking any distance in carbon road shoes is a pain (my record was 6 miles with an unrepairable wheel....ugggh). And you can get MTB shoes with soles as stiff as you'd like (just bring money).

    Bottom line, for pure riding- single purpose road shoes with stiff soles rule. For touring ( and being on and off the bike) go MTB.
    Last edited by bobframe; 10-28-09 at 11:47 AM.

  7. #7
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    Not all MTB shoes are created equal, though. I have some extremly common Shimano ones, and the cleats protrude ever so slightly too much. Fine for dirt or grass, pretty damn annoying for concrete. Why they couldn't have added a few more millimetres of rubber is beyond me.

    To answer the OP, I wouldn't tour in carbon road shoes, but it seems other people would, so make up your own mind. I guess it depends how highly you value speed and distance over comfort and side trips.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    Not all MTB shoes are created equal, though. I have some extremly common Shimano ones, and the cleats protrude ever so slightly too much. Fine for dirt or grass, pretty damn annoying for concrete. Why they couldn't have added a few more millimetres of rubber is beyond me.
    I've tried Shimano and Specialized MTB shoes and have yet to find a model where SPD cleats didn't scrape on the ground. Crank Brothers cleats, on the other hand, are thin enough that they very rarely scrape. For extended walking, I find that removing the cleats only takes a couple of seconds and makes things much more enjoyable.

    deepakvrao: the only disadvantage to carbon shoes is that they aren't especially comfortable to walk in, because the soles are so stiff. You can walk around a grocery store without trouble, but if you're planning to hike for miles they're not great. If you're not planning to do a lot of walking when you're off the bike, or if you can afford to pack a separate pair of shoes for that purpose, then I'd say there's no reason not to use a carbon shoe.

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    I guess it depends how highly you value speed and distance over comfort and side trips.
    Not sure I get the comfort part of that. Maybe that should say comfort on the bike vs comfort off the bike?

    Some people wear stiff shoes for comfort on the bike. Some wear flexible shoes for comfort off bike. Some manage to find comfort for both with one or the other type shoe.

    Personally if I only had one pair of shoes on tour my first choice would be a stiff shoe with recessed cleats. That said I like to have some Crocs or flip flops for a break when off bike. While not ideal I can hike a few miles in either Crocs or stiff bike shoes without serious discomfort and I typically spend way more hours riding than hiking.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 10-28-09 at 09:14 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    .

    deepakvrao: the only disadvantage to carbon shoes is that they aren't especially comfortable to walk in, because the soles are so stiff.
    A slight variation on this theme:

    To me, what makes a carbon road shoe uncomfortable to walk in is BOTH the inflexible sole (and of course for riding this is what you want) AND the lack of a heel coupled with the cleat itself that you must try to walk on. Clearly a carbon road shoe is a very poor walking shoe-uncomfortable, noisy, slippery and it's hard on the cleat to boot.

    In contrast, a MTB shoe's sole is structured much more like a walking shoe. I believe that one could buy a carbon soled MTB shoe and it would be a better walking shoe than almost ANY true road shoe- not ideal, mind you, but better than a road shoe.

    So, the issue is not so much "carbon vs. non-carbon"... as it is the design of the shoe and what it's intended purposes are.

    BTW, I chose a non-carbon soled MTB for touring. The main reason I avoided a carbon sole MTB shoe was cost. I'll give these shoes a try, but at the end of the day I may go to a carbon soled MTB for touring.
    Last edited by bobframe; 10-28-09 at 03:35 PM.

  11. #11
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    Bike shoes are like saddles; what works best for you might make someone else miserable.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with touring in carbon sole shoes. I tour in Pearl Izumi SPD shoes with very stiff (but, not carbon) soles. I like the SPD cleats because they're walkable and I only carry a pair of lightweight flip-flops as a second pair of shoes. I'm on and off my bike quite a bit when I tour and I don't like switching shoes back and forth all the time.

    Another consideration for touring shoes is how well they dry after a rain. I always seem to ride in the rain for a day or more during my bike trips. At one point, I was touring in Shimano SPD sandals and they dried very quickly and easily after being wet. I eventually moved on to my PIs because I have a bit of a hotfoot problem on my right foot and a stiffer sole helps my foot.

    Whatever shoes you decide on, consider wearing wool socks, even in the summer time (especially in the summer time!). Once I discovered SmartWool micro socks, my feet have never been happier.

    Edited to add:

    One other consideration is shoelaces. I don't like them on bike shoes because of the possibility of a dangling lace getting wrapped up in my pedal spindle and causing me to crash. It happened to me when I was about 10 years old and I've been wary of the shoelaces on bikes since then. I know lots of people wear them with no problems. Fortunately for me, there are lots of good choices for bike shoes that don't have shoelaces.
    Last edited by xyzzy834; 10-28-09 at 12:26 PM. Reason: additional info about shoelaces

  12. #12
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    > I don't like them on bike shoes because of the possibility of a dangling lace getting wrapped up in my pedal spindle and causing me to crash.

    Out of curiosity, how did it make you crash? It's probably happened to me a couple of dozen times over the years, but all that happens is your foot gets trapped against the crank until you pedal backwards and fix it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    > I don't like them on bike shoes because of the possibility of a dangling lace getting wrapped up in my pedal spindle and causing me to crash.

    Out of curiosity, how did it make you crash? It's probably happened to me a couple of dozen times over the years, but all that happens is your foot gets trapped against the crank until you pedal backwards and fix it.
    Yeah, it's an irrational fear. When I was 10 years old or so, my bike had coaster brakes. Pedaling backwards wasn't an option. As I recall, I braked and panicked when I couldn't get my foot off the pedal and fell over. Not unlike forgetting to unclip when you first start riding clipless pedals. Oddly, I prefer clipless pedals because I like the connected feeling.

    It's not really a big fear. I've owned laced biking shoes. There are just so many good bike shoe choices without laces, I always choose one of them.

  14. #14
    One legged rider
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    Carbon soles are mainly about weight savings for racing, or rather making it more stiff than a plastic sole without adding weight. A bit of overkill in my opinion for touring. I prefer regular old Sidi MTB shoes. But then again I road race too and don't wear carbon soled shoes for that either, mostly because I don't want to spend the money, but I do see the value in them there.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    Carbon soles are mainly about weight savings for racing, or rather making it more stiff than a plastic sole without adding weight. A bit of overkill in my opinion for touring. I prefer regular old Sidi MTB shoes.
    I pretty much agree....although I am withholding my final judgment (as it pertains to my needs) until I see whether hot spots become a problem or not. If they do become an issue I will reconsider going to a carbon sole MTB shoe.

  16. #16
    LMLN Turd Ferguson's Avatar
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    I use Shimano MTB shoes because I can walk and ride in them. For a long,loaded tour carbon soles seem a little silly to me.

  17. #17
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Okay guys, thanks for the feedback. Anyway, the 'good deal' is no longer available in my size. How do Sidi shoes run for sizing? Say compared to Scott?

  18. #18
    One legged rider
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    I think of it like this...cause I do alot of mountaineering and backpacking too. Would you wear "climb Mt Everest" style boots on an Appalachian trail thru hike? Most likely not, cause of the walking around towns, and the fact you are living in them for 5 or 6 months rather than a few hours, etc. Same goes for top end racing shoes versus more standard fare. Most higher end racers don't do training rides with the same gear they race in, as the best racing gear is rather fragile, just really light.
    You have to think about living the life around the activity when you are talking about touring, same as long distance hiking. Durability is a big factor too and carbon is not known for its durability in rough conditions.

  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    Most higher end racers don't do training rides with the same gear they race in, as the best racing gear is rather fragile, just really light.
    I doubt that is true of shoes, at least the fragile part. Carbon soled shoes are not particularly fragile. They are not a necessity by any means, but there is no reason they won't hold up fine. In general good bike shoes like Sidis or similar last a very long time and carbon soled ones should be no exception.

    If my shoes were carbon soled I wouldn't hesitate to use them for touring, but I am not inclined to buy a carbon soled shoe. I am a bit of a cheapskate and think you get the most bang for the buck in a good brand but lower end model (like the Sidi Bullet). Lesser brands have not held up well for me and higher end models just don't offer significant enough advantage for me to spring for them.

    That is all just my opinion though.

    There is also the question of suitability to the type of trip you are doing. If you will be on the bike all day then the bias has to go toward riding. If on the other hand you ride 30 or 40 miles a day and spend most of your day hiking or walking around, either walking takes priority or you need two different pairs of shoes.

  20. #20
    Hooked on Touring
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    I worry about the carbon footprint that carbon shoes leave.

  21. #21
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    I worry about the carbon footprint that carbon shoes leave.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    I think of it like this...cause I do alot of mountaineering and backpacking too. Would you wear "climb Mt Everest" style boots on an Appalachian trail thru hike? Most likely not, cause of the walking around towns, and the fact you are living in them for 5 or 6 months rather than a few hours, etc. Same goes for top end racing shoes versus more standard fare. Most higher end racers don't do training rides with the same gear they race in, as the best racing gear is rather fragile, just really light.
    You have to think about living the life around the activity when you are talking about touring, same as long distance hiking. Durability is a big factor too and carbon is not known for its durability in rough conditions.
    I think I read about Shimano at least offering a walkable road shoe, same technology as MTB shoes, but lighter and looking like a road shoe. CF can be damaged if the fibres are broken, this can happen to a frame or fork after it goes sliding along concrete and the outer layers of fibres are abraded off.

    I think most "Carbon" shoes use the carbon fibre as a stiffener between the inner and outer soles, much like work boots use steel plate. I think some green patch shoes and boots are using CF instead of steel now, because the steel plates more then double the weight of the shoe. Since the CF plate is buried deep within the shoe, it's unlikely to get damaged in the same way.

    As for walking, on tour I think most people will carry another pair of shoes, for in camp use at least, if you need to walk and it's going to be more then say one kilometre or two, then simply switch to your other shoes and walk away.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    Durability is a big factor too and carbon is not known for its durability in rough conditions.
    Welcome to 30 years ago! These days carbon is used to make Formula 1 race cars, Boeing 787 aircraft, and Brian Lopes' downhill mountain bike. All three operate in pretty rough conditions, I'd say. I'd worry more about getting swept up in a tornado, then struck by lightening in mid-air than I would about a carbon shoe failing...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
    Is it stupid to use carbon sole shoes?
    No. They are just expensive.
    Quote Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
    MTB carbon shoes - will the cleats touch the ground when you walk?
    SPD might grind a bit. Bike shoes are not walking shoes but the MTB shoes are better than road shoes for walking!

    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Personally I like Sidis and wear the Bullet 2 on tour. They aren't carbon, but are quite stiff and work out well. No reason not to wear carbon at least in my opinion. I think that MTB shoes do have an advantage over full road shoes in walkability, but I could get by with road shoes and cleat covers if I had to.
    I think that is what I use as well. The MTB shoes are going to be more convenient off the bike. If I was going to do a lot of walking, I'd probably carry shoes without cleats.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 10-31-09 at 05:56 PM.

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