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Thread: Touring shoes

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    Touring shoes

    I'm sure threads on this already exist, but the forum's search function is so ineffective that I don't feel bad just making another one.

    Basically, the general recommendation seems to be to get mountain bike style shoes and clipless pedals, because those are easier to walk in than road-style clipless shoes. My question is, what brand or model of shoes has a good reputation for comfort and durability (or more than one)? Also, what should I look for in terms of water resistance, and what do people do to keep their feet dry on wet touring days?

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    I've had good luck with Pearl Izumi X-Alps. They look more like sneakers than bike shoes - the soles are somewhat knobby but not really aggressive like typical MTB shoes - and allow you to look "normal" while off the bike. They also keep the cleats off the floor, so you won't be scratching up anybody's hardwood. They're not even slightly waterproof, though. You'd have to use some kind of booty with them for that.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Depends...I have a high volume foot (tall arch) most of the MTB shoes don't fit very well. I have an ancient pair of Avenir touring shoes that require toe clips, actually have two pairs. I don't have clipless pedals (well actually all of my pedals are clipless...as in block or rat trap pedals ) I use block pedals or toe clips on my bikes. It allows me a lot more choices in foot wear. IMHO the loss of efficiency is minimal.

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    Senior Member pasopia's Avatar
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    I really like the Specialized BG comp mountain bike shoes I have. They are very stiff, so they are comfortable for riding all day. I don't like the more casual style spds shoes, they give me hotspots if I ride in them all day. I don't have any problems walking around in my BG's, but I do switch to another pair of sneakers when the ride is done. They also dry really quickly if they get soaked, which is a big plus.

    Also, a more effective way to search bike forums is with google. Type "touring shoes site:bikeforums.net".
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    Jude,
    Let me throw a monkey wrench into the discussion. I have found that, for touring, a cycling sandal works best. I use Lake and Keen sandals, they both work well. You can respond to the weather conditions by changing socks:

    Sunny and hot- no sock (sun screen)
    Warm- thin sock
    Cool- wool sock
    Cold and rainy- Seal Skins

    The straps of the sandal adjust very easily, they tend to be lighter then most shoes, very easy to walk in, and they're versatility is unmatched. They are the only “shoes” that I bring on tour.

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    Interesting idea about the sandals!

    Assuming for a minute that I want to go with the traditional mountain-bike-shoe route, what type of pedals works with those shoes? A different type than road pedals, right? Also, what might be a good pedal with clipless on one side and flat on the other?

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    I have a pair of Pearl Izumi X-Alp "drift" mountain shoes. They are cool and comfortable. They fit my high-arched foot (with a Superfeet "yellow" insole in as well). They are not too bad to walk around in. The velcro straps make them easily adjustable.

    BUT those same velcro straps don't stay stuck down very well. It is not dangerous or uncomfortable, just annoying.
    If I ever manage to wear out these shoes (not soon, I think) I'll be looking for laced shoes. Other folks I've talked to (and reviews I've read) mention this same problem.
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    Shimano SPD's and Crank Bros. Egg Beaters to name a couple. There are more out there, best thing to do is check out a few bike shops. Most of these companies have a clipless one side flat the other option. FWIW I like the Crank Brothers but my wife likes the Shimano, go figure.

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    Sidis are great. The Giau model is not as expensive and has a less "space alien" look than the Dominator. They come in a Mega model for wider feet as well. Sidis are comfy, well designed, and durable.

    I usually just use a shoe with plenty of mesh and a sock that is ok when wet and dries fast. I am used to trail running year round where feet are always wet. If I were going on a tour that was expected to be wet and really cold, I might consider shoe covers.

    Personally I prefer to use a pedal that is SPD on both sides. I do like a pedal with a platform on one side for my folding bike that I use to go a mile to the store and other short hops at home, but on tour I don't. I find that for short hops in camp or whatever I can use the SPDs even with my Crocs.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 12-03-11 at 01:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    I've had good luck with Pearl Izumi X-Alps. They look more like sneakers than bike shoes - the soles are somewhat knobby but not really aggressive like typical MTB shoes - and allow you to look "normal" while off the bike. They also keep the cleats off the floor, so you won't be scratching up anybody's hardwood. They're not even slightly waterproof, though. You'd have to use some kind of booty with them for that.
    I approve this message.
    X-Alps are great.

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    Is there a certain type of clipless pedal I need to look for? I.e. was I wrong about there being different kinds for mountain and road bikes?

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jude View Post
    Is there a certain type of clipless pedal I need to look for? I.e. was I wrong about there being different kinds for mountain and road bikes?
    Yes and no...How's that for a definitive answer?

    Shimano makes both road and mountain clipless pedals. Then you have other brands each requiring it's own specific cleat. To the best of my knowledge you could mount road cleats on mountain type shoes and vice versa. I believe the cleat mounting points on the shoes are pretty much universal.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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    ....So how do I make sure the pedals I get are compatible with the shoes I get?!

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    You just have to figure out what pedals you want. Then make sure the shoes are advertised as compatible. If you stay with mainstream pedals, you'll have no trouble. If you're thinking about some kind of boutique pedal, you may want to ensure suitable shoes are available.

    I'm no kind of Shimano fanboy, but one nice thing about their stuff is that you can count on everything else being compatible. There's probably not a bike shop in the country that doesn't have SPD spares on hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jude View Post
    My question is, what brand or model of shoes has a good reputation for comfort and durability (or more than one)? Also, what should I look for in terms of water resistance, and what do people do to keep their feet dry on wet touring days?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jude View Post
    Is there a certain type of clipless pedal I need to look for? I.e. was I wrong about there being different kinds for mountain and road bikes?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jude View Post
    ....So how do I make sure the pedals I get are compatible with the shoes I get?!
    You should consult the pedal maker's web page for compatible shoe list. However, most mtb shoes will fit most mtb pedals - there's a limited number of holes they can fit in the sole's cleat mount area.

    I've used Speedplay Frogs for over a decade, I highly recommend them. They make for a reasonably good walkable cleat/shoe system, plus they don't restrict normal foot and leg movement as much as other pedals when cycling. I use the Frogs with an inexpensive Answer mtb shoe that's no longer sold.

    http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.frog

    As far as keeping your feet dry, I employ the usual combination of full fenders, mud flaps, rainwear and shoe covers. I have improvised shoe covers from Wal-Mart plastic bags and duct tape on occasion.

    Below are some explanations of cycling shoes and pedal/cleat styles:

    http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...ing+shoes.html

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...ingShoesPedals

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    Senior Member tourer78's Avatar
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    +1 for the sandals - we have had shimano sandals for nearly 3 years now and they are still in good condition. We wear them year round (neoprene sock in the winter). Wouldnt go back to regular shoes now. Wellgo make some nice double sided lightweight touring pedals which are worth a look. Hope this helps.

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    I made shoe covers from heavy clear plastic, duct tape, and velcro. Ugly, cheap, field repairable, and reasonably effective when done right. Light and pack well. You do gotta overlap the tops with rain pants. Use platform pedals myself, so no thoughts about clipless options.
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    So basically, I'm probably safe getting SPD clipless/platform pedals, and then there should be plenty of shoes to choose from that would fit that?

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    Yes.

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    I have used Shimano MT90 (now it's MT91) It's a boot, rather than a show, but it's great both for cycling and walking. It's waterproof and breathes well and I use it for commuting here in Iceland all year round.

    Magnus Thor
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    I highly recommend Time ATAC Roc pedals.

    I've used Shimano SPDs, many Crank Bros, and Times, and Times are by far the best.

    advantages over shimano:

    -smaller cleat, so they rarely scrape the ground when I walk, shimano spds always scrape, regardless of the shoe

    -more float, shimano pedals hurt my knees, Time pedals are much more comfortable

    advantages over CranK Bros

    -Reliability- Crank Bros pedals are made like crap, I've had 3 sets last less than a year commuting. Scan some MTB forums, people always destroy these pedals. Time has an excellent track record for durability. I have over 10,000 trouble free miles on one set, with zero maintenance.

    They don't have a platform combo though, but I wouldn't want one. The beauty of a good clipless system is that you just put your foot down and it snaps into the exact spot you want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasopia View Post
    ...shimano spds always scrape, regardless of the shoe...
    You didn't try the right shoe.

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    I prefer sandals. But I also bring along a cheap pair of MTN bike shoes that work well when it's cold out...like Rocky Mtn cold mornings. I have found that on a long day of riding it is also sometimes nice to change shoes mid day. I guess it gives my feet a different feel for a while.
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    FWIW, there are some SPD type shoes with out lugged soles ,
    Shimano's TO92, that I got, is an example,
    looks like a road shoe but the cleat is recessed.
    [ATAC Alium pedal , here]

    Also called touring shoes are those that are stiff soles , but no clipless
    pedal thing going on at all , that works fine..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-04-11 at 10:45 AM.

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    djb
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    my suggestion is simply to try as many types of shoes on as possible and listen to what your feet are telling you. I too am super happy with my Specialized BG comp mountain bike shoes, got them a few years ago and how they fit MY feet was markedly better than many other shoes I tried (some cheaper, some more expensive) and so while they cost somewhere around 160 (I forget) they were worth every penny just because I knew right away that they fit my feet very well and give the right amount of arch support for me.
    As I dont really mtn bike, my shoes last a good long time (Im not schlepping through ankle deep mud or knee deep water with them) so while there were shoes that were pretty good that cost under a $100, over time the $60 or whatever more for these really isnt a big deal.

    another selling point for me was a shoe with good ventilation, and these are quite good, better than my old Shimano mtn bike shoes for hot weather, yet I put on wool socks and rain booties and I ride fairly comfortably at just under freezing. They are also really nice and stiff for excellent power transfer but still walkable--but not as comfortable for walking as many other more flexible shoes--I still prefer to put on another pair of regular shoes for extended walking or standing as the soles are stiff.

    hit as many bike stores as possible, take notes, listen to your feets.

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