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Shoes for Flat-Pedal Communting

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Shoes for Flat-Pedal Communting

Old 06-17-11, 12:46 PM
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Shoes for Flat-Pedal Communting

I have been commuting on a single-speed 46x18 coaster-brake bike. It has flat pedals, and I have been wearing Asics Onitsuku running shoes for the past four months. Are there better, more stiff-soled alternatives under $100? I'd take all options floated out there that simulate a stiff cycling shoe's sole. Thanks!
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Old 06-17-11, 01:31 PM
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IMHO keep wearing your running shoes. With flexible soles your feet need to work and exercising your feet helps keep them strong. Start wearing stiff soled shoes on most rides and certain foot muscles may atrophy and you may eventually HAVE to rely on cycling specific shoes.
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Old 06-17-11, 01:36 PM
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Lightweight trail or approach shoes are stiffer than running shoes.
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Old 06-17-11, 01:49 PM
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As long as your pedals have enough surface area you don't need an especially stiff shoe. The reason you need stiff shoes with SPD pedals is because the actual platform that you stand on is smaller then a Zippo lighter. That means that without super stiff shoes that small piece of metal would push very hard against the balls of your feet and cause severe pain. So to counteract this you need incredibly stiff shoes to spread the load from a very small area (the SPD pedal) to a larger surface area that your foot can comfortably rest on (the sole of a cycling shoe).

With a large pedal, the stiffness of your shoes becomes irrelevant.

Last edited by SouthFLpix; 06-17-11 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 06-17-11, 02:06 PM
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I wear Brahma low cut light weight boots from Wal-mart; about $30- Comfortable for my 12 mile ride before work, through the day at the office, and 12 miles home. I have "touring" pedals on my bike; so basically two knife edges with teeth.
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Old 06-17-11, 02:16 PM
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I wear sandals. They are fairly stiff and very versatile.
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Old 06-17-11, 02:34 PM
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My son and I each got a free pair of these from Chrome last year in a facebook promotion.(kursk)

https://www.chromebagsstore.com/shoes.html

They are designed to do just what you are asking for, they do have stiff soles. A lot of people like them, I think they are kind of uncomfortable, but I've never ridden in them as I only ride clipless pedals. Worth checking out. Running shoes are terrible for riding IMHO, along with the flex, the wide heels hit the chainstays and crankarms
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Old 06-17-11, 03:17 PM
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I wore walking shoes for years, and just switched to boat shoes. No laces to tie or get caught in the chain, no socks and they're easy to put on and take off.

Last edited by no motor?; 06-18-11 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 06-17-11, 03:23 PM
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winter i wear my LL Bean boots , maybe the slip-ons? 6" lace ups are a bit of a chore .

a stiff arch support insole can make soft shoes stiff.
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Old 06-17-11, 06:06 PM
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I'll vote for Sandals.
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Old 06-17-11, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BassNotBass
IMHO keep wearing your running shoes. With flexible soles your feet need to work and exercising your feet helps keep them strong. Start wearing stiff soled shoes on most rides and certain foot muscles may atrophy and you may eventually HAVE to rely on cycling specific shoes.
Way off base. The OP's feet aren't going to atrophy by wearing cycling shoes. Firstly, cycling doesn't exercise the muscles of the foot like running or walking do. Secondly, most people have lives outside of cycling where walking or running is involved. It's not just cycling and sleep, so his feet aren't going to atrophy.
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Old 06-17-11, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by SouthFLpix
As long as your pedals have enough surface area you don't need an especially stiff shoe. The reason you need stiff shoes with SPD pedals is because the actual platform that you stand on is smaller then a Zippo lighter. That means that without super stiff shoes that small piece of metal would push very hard against the balls of your feet and cause severe pain. So to counteract this you need incredibly stiff shoes to spread the load from a very small area (the SPD pedal) to a larger surface area that your foot can comfortably rest on (the sole of a cycling shoe).

With a large pedal, the stiffness of your shoes becomes irrelevant.
That's assuming your feet are free from pronation or supination, which are common, and weight/pressure is evenly distributed over the pedal.
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Old 06-18-11, 12:50 AM
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Technically, I think 5-10 makes shoes specifically designed to be grippy for riding with platform pedals. Probably overkill though.
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Old 06-18-11, 12:58 AM
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I usually go to the store and buy the stiffest soled skate shoes they have...and they are usually the cheapest!
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Old 06-18-11, 01:10 AM
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I wear Chaco flip flops with a set of BMX pedals. They aren't so much stiff as they are 'supportive' and they have about as much airflow as you would want to avoid sweaty feet when arrive at work. Vibram soles seem to hold well on just about any surface.

Last edited by cradduck; 06-18-11 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 06-18-11, 04:23 AM
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Due to an orthopedic injury I cannot use clipless pedals - I ride around 5-6000 km per year with platform or flat pedals. Have tried a lot of different shoes. In winter I like LLBean snow sneakers - a good balance of light weight, warmth and pedaling comfort. Rest of the year I have the Chrome shoes - their lower cut model in both tie and slip on. Not sure why - use the tie more in sping and fall, slip on more for summer. The Chromes have worn well, feel good with the various pedals I use, comfortable off the bike. Their only drawback- they are a little warm on hot days. Another good choice was a "Simple" with the sole made from used car tires- sole lasted longer than the canvas tops.
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Old 06-18-11, 11:02 AM
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I wear a pair of Specialized Tahoe BG MTB shoes and they work very well on my platform pedals. They're stiff enough that I don't feel the pedal on my feet as much as with walking shoes and they're soft enough to be able to walk fairly comfortably.
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Old 06-18-11, 11:43 AM
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I ride in Ecco sandals, Vans, Chucks, hiking shoes, sneakers, etc. Get a wide MTB DH pedal like the Kona Wah Wah or a BMX platform and it shouldn't be a problem I ride metrics this way, no issues.
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Old 06-18-11, 04:07 PM
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Teva Omnium sandals (made for river rafting?) work good for me. I use MKS Lambda flat pedals, and the Teva have good grip in wet and dry weather. I apply shoe goo on the bottom sole once a month or so in a few places where the pedals dig in or scrape into the shoe. I have used these for over 2 years. I commute every work day about 25 miles round trip. They are also fine on longer weekend rides (40-50 miles).
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Old 06-18-11, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by shouldberiding
...The OP's feet aren't going to atrophy by wearing cycling shoes. Firstly, cycling doesn't exercise the muscles of the foot like running or walking do. Secondly, most people have lives outside of cycling where walking or running is involved. It's not just cycling and sleep, so his feet aren't going to atrophy.
I didn't say his feet were going to atrophy, I said some muscles just may. Don't make the mistake of thinking that running uses the same foot muscles as cycling... especially since everyone's technique/style can vary greatly. If you are a cyclist who wears cycling specific shoes, try riding in water shoes and platform pedals and notice the difference after a fifty miler or a century. It's only common sense that what you don't use, you lose and stiff cycling shoes are no different for your feet than leg braces are for your legs when walking.

In the late 80s I gave up the competitive aspect of cycling and simplified my cycling experience by riding like when I was a kid... whatever bike was available and in 'street' clothes. That's when I realized just how much a decade of wearing cycling specific shoes weakened my feet. I had trouble doing 20 miles in Chucks yet that was something that wouldn't phase me in the least as a kid. For the past 20+ years I've been riding in whatever shoes I happen to be wearing. I can do a century wearing nothing but my Chucks or water shoes strapped to my clips and not have the tiniest bit of soreness. You give that a try and let me know how it goes.

I recently began training as a triathlete and having had poor success as a runner for over 30 years, I have witnessed what decades of buying the latest and greatest supportive running shoes have done to my feet in terms of running. It's been a slow and painful process but I've never been able to run as far, without pain, as I have since changing my technique and running in minimalist shoes a few months ago. A testament to the adaptive nature and strength of the human body after years of ignorant abuse.

That's just personal experience and my humble opinion... I'm someone who always thought that training was meant to make a person stronger, not better with crutches. Take from it what you will.

Last edited by BassNotBass; 06-18-11 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 06-18-11, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by martianone
Due to an orthopedic injury I cannot use clipless pedals - I ride around 5-6000 km per year with platform or flat pedals. Have tried a lot of different shoes. In winter I like ...Another good choice was a "Simple" with the sole made from used car tires- sole lasted longer than the canvas tops.
I have yet to try Simple shoes and I want a pair badly. As a kid in the 60s I used to wear fisherman's type leather sandals that were made from used nylon woven bias-ply car tires... I'd outgrow them before the leather or sole failed.
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Old 06-18-11, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BassNotBass
I didn't say his feet were going to atrophy, I said some muscles just may. Don't make the mistake of thinking that running uses the same foot muscles as cycling... especially since everyone's technique/style can vary greatly. If you are a cyclist who wears cycling specific shoes, try riding in water shoes and platform pedals and notice the difference after a fifty miler or a century. It's only common sense that what you don't use, you lose and stiff cycling shoes are no different for your feet than leg braces are for your legs when walking.

In the late 80s I gave up the competitive aspect of cycling and simplified my cycling experience by riding like when I was a kid... whatever bike was available and in 'street' clothes. That's when I realized just how much a decade of wearing cycling specific shoes weakened my feet. I had trouble doing 20 miles in Chucks yet that was something that wouldn't phase me in the least as a kid. For the past 20+ years I've been riding in whatever shoes I happen to be wearing. I can do a century wearing nothing but my Chucks or water shoes strapped to my clips and not have the tiniest bit of soreness. You give that a try and let me know how it goes.

I recently began training as a triathlete and having had poor success as a runner for over 30 years, I have witnessed what decades of buying the latest and greatest supportive running shoes have done to my feet in terms of running. It's been a slow and painful process but I've never been able to run as far, without pain, as I have since changing my technique and running in minimalist shoes a few months ago. A testament to the adaptive nature and strength of the human body after years of ignorant abuse.

That's just personal experience and my humble opinion... I'm someone who always thought that training was meant to make a person stronger, not better with crutches. Take from it what you will.
Let's look at the flip side of the coin here.

Muscles only get stronger when they have to work harder.

If your foot muscles have to work harder while wearing "regular" shoes that means your pedal stroke is less efficient.

If pedaling efficiency doesn't matter to you, wear regular shoes.

If it does, wear cycling shoes.

I find the notion that cycling shoes will weaken your feet to be a little off. They may not strengthen the foot, but I doubt the effect is somehow subtractive.

You said yourself that you'd been buying supportive shoes for decades. Don't you think your footwear choices and gait for walking/running have had an effect on the strength of your foot muscles or do you think it's just the cycling shoes?

I'm well aware the detrimental effect of too much cushioning in walking or running shoes has. At work we have these foam and rubber mats to stand on at different stations, some of them stacked two deep. I'd rather stand on the hard tile floor because all that cushioning just kills my legs and feet. They throw off balance and put stress on joints unevenly.
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Old 06-18-11, 05:52 PM
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I recently got some Keen Newport H2 sandals. I got them specifically so I would have sandals with a closed toe for riding. So far they've been great, including riding today in the rain.
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Old 06-18-11, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by shouldberiding
I find the notion that cycling shoes will weaken your feet to be a little off.
In the context of cycling... yes it does. We are cyclists... no? For training or just regular rides wouldn't it be beneficial to ride without support and then switch to supportive shoes for a performance advantage during competition, when it matters more?

Originally Posted by shouldberiding
You said yourself that you'd been buying supportive shoes for decades. Don't you think your footwear choices and gait for walking/running have had an effect on the strength of your foot muscles or do you think it's just the cycling shoes?
Decades of wearing dress shoes for the office and to meet business dress codes and fashion trends has certainly affected my foot shape and changed it from what I was born with. My dress shoes were no different than that of such fashion extremes as Chinese female foot-binding practices. It's only been a few months since I've changed over to wearing sandals, flip-flops or minimalist shoes exclusively and my feet have transformed dramatically in shape and strength. YMMV.


Originally Posted by shouldberiding
Muscles only get stronger when they have to work harder.
If your foot muscles have to work harder while wearing "regular" shoes that means your pedal stroke is less efficient.
If pedaling efficiency doesn't matter to you, wear regular shoes.
If it does, wear cycling shoes.
And how do you base the importance of efficiency? By ending up at the front of the pack of a bunch of amateur weekend warriors instead of in the middle or at the end of the pack... when your accomplishment is forgotten by your peers at the end of the day? Continue on your quest for efficiency if you need to impress your peers. Or ride for yourself and the pure joy of just riding and obtaining your personal goals.

Last edited by BassNotBass; 06-18-11 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 06-18-11, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by waynesworld
I recently got some Keen Newport H2 sandals. So far they've been great, including riding today in the rain.
Yes, many seem to think sandals in the rain equals a not so pleasant ride. However they are great. Comfortable, and they dry out quickly as well.
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