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Best bike shoes for flat pedals

Old 02-24-22, 08:28 PM
  #1  
markmdavis
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Best bike shoes for flat pedals

I would like to ride my '88 Bianchi road bike with flat pedals with the option of using pedal straps. I am not interested in clip-less pedals. What should I be looking for in a good supportive bike shoe? I see a lot of mountain bike shoes for flat pedals but wonder if there is a difference when it comes to road biking. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-24-22, 08:44 PM
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There is a difference. I have a pair of Sketchers that literally stick to my flats. I think it's the soft sole that creates the grip. But I have a feeling you're going to be overwhelmed with all the suggestions here because everyone has their own preference and what works for one isn't necessarily right for everyone. Good luck,
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Old 02-24-22, 08:53 PM
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If you are using clipped pedals the closest you will find are proper road shoes and cleats from Yellow Jersey however be warned it will be harder to get your feet out from them. That is why clipless was invented to make it easy to get out of the pedals but also provide the power and connectivity benefits of clipped pedals. You can leave them loose but then what is the point and it is another thing to catch either your shoe as you are trying to get out or have the straps catch on something while riding.

A mountain bike flat shoe could work quite well, they tend to have good grip but decent support as well if you just want to ride on a flat pedal and with the nicer wide MTB pedals that support your feet well they are a treat. With all the pins that can be adjusted my feet don't really tend to wander so I can get a secure footing without slipping and sliding and truthfully I can wear just about any shoe but some really soft stuff might wear into the pedals overtime.
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Old 02-24-22, 09:03 PM
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Five-Ten Freeriders. Sticky sole, long-wearing, and no velcro or boa mechanisms.

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Old 02-24-22, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
If you are using clipped pedals the closest you will find are proper road shoes and cleats from Yellow Jersey however be warned it will be harder to get your feet out from them. That is why clipless was invented to make it easy to get out of the pedals but also provide the power and connectivity benefits of clipped pedals. You can leave them loose but then what is the point and it is another thing to catch either your shoe as you are trying to get out or have the straps catch on something while riding.

A mountain bike flat shoe could work quite well, they tend to have good grip but decent support as well if you just want to ride on a flat pedal and with the nicer wide MTB pedals that support your feet well they are a treat. With all the pins that can be adjusted my feet don't really tend to wander so I can get a secure footing without slipping and sliding and truthfully I can wear just about any shoe but some really soft stuff might wear into the pedals overtime.
I like wearing toe straps for security but also because it is easy to get your foot out of them easily. I do not think I would like the added difficulty of cleats. I have been looking at the SYLVAN TOURING NEXT pedals which are compatible with toe clips and straps. The manufacturer says that this "pedal works well for a wide variety types of shoes, as the cage plate tooth profile is grippy but not particular aggressive." So I guess any good MTB bike shoe such as the Five-Ten? What other options are there?
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Old 02-24-22, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by markmdavis View Post
I like wearing toe straps for security but also because it is easy to get your foot out of them easily. I do not think I would like the added difficulty of cleats. I have been looking at the SYLVAN TOURING NEXT pedals which are compatible with toe clips and straps. The manufacturer says that this "pedal works well for a wide variety types of shoes, as the cage plate tooth profile is grippy but not particular aggressive." So I guess any good MTB bike shoe such as the Five-Ten? What other options are there?
I have never seen them easy to get in and out of, certainly easy to get caught up in them but clipless pedals are way easier a quick slight turn and I am out easily and I can adjust tension as well. The half moon clips are at least a little easier to get out of no straps. But hey if that is your jam go for it.

Five-Ten makes great shoes and knows rubber quite well.
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Old 02-24-22, 11:16 PM
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I used Five Ten Freerider for a while until I got caught in a rain storm and they absorbed water like a sponge and took 3 days in the sun to dry. I then switched to the Solomon XA pro, which worked out quite well. When those wear out, I am interested in the Shimano ET5
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Old 02-24-22, 11:23 PM
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Specialized 2FO’s are worth a look. They’re light, stiff, comfortable, and not too dorky looking.
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Old 02-24-22, 11:50 PM
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As I’ve aged, I abandon installing traditional cleats on my shoes. And typical road shoes are too slick to run with just straps. My solution has been to use a semi rigid touring shoe with a smooth rubber sole, but not one from the British Invasion.

I have tried a few and have settled on a Specialized Elite Touring. The toe box is a bit cramped, but I use shoe trees and that has helped, and the shoe uses Velcro straps and I’d like laces.

They are discontinued but I see them on eBay every now and then. It is more about an example of a road type shoe with a rubberized smooth sole so it doesn’t hang up.

John
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Old 02-25-22, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by markmdavis View Post
I like wearing toe straps for security but also because it is easy to get your foot out of them easily. I do not think I would like the added difficulty of cleats.
Flat pedals with straps are only easy to get out of if you're not using them the way they were intended... slipping your feet in and then cinching up the strap to hold your foot in firmly, and then loosening the strap when you're about to pull your foot out and come to a stop. But if you like the way you're using them right now, that's all that really matters.

That being said, if you want something that's casual and easy to walk around with after you finish riding, BMX racers have long seemed to like shoes with a waffle or honeycomb sole like Vans. If you want a stiffer sole for more pedal efficiency, touring or commuter shoes are indeed the way to go. Most of them have a full sole with the option to cut a chunk out to go clipless. Lower end mountain bike shoes have similar soles, but the tread blocks would be a pain to use with straps.
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Old 02-25-22, 09:30 AM
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I've never used clipless. I've been riding with toe clips for almost 30 years. Last year I bought a folding bike with plain platform pedals without pins and no toe clips. It's amazing to me how well my feet stay on the pedals.

I like to bike in skateboard shoes...sneakers with firm soles.

In fact, a few years ago I added inserts with semi-rigid arch support and that is what works for me.
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Old 02-25-22, 09:58 AM
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I haven't tried these but they look promising for flat pedal
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Old 02-25-22, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
I haven't tried these but they look promising for flat pedal
You might want to think about those laces, they don't blend well with chain rings.
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Old 02-25-22, 05:27 PM
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I'd stay away from Five Tens if you use clips and straps, because they seem to be too sticky to slip under the straps easily.

The 5-10s are great on pinned flat pedals. I believe that part of the pinned flat ideology is that you can use a wide variety of shoes on them without hotspots, because there's so much surface area that the pressure from feet spreads out; supposedly, sneakers work.

Personally, I like pinned flats (like DMR V12s, VP1s, Raceface Chesters, etc.) and 5-10s better than clips and straps, but if I had found something like the Puma touring shoes when my old ones disintegrated, I'd probably still be using clips and straps. I double-tie the bow to protect the laces, shoes, crank, and chain. I think I've ridden 6K miles without a problem.

Today's shoes seem to be either road shoes that are too slippery to stay on any traditional pedal or MTB shoes which are too tall for many clips and which have rubber-like soles that compress when pedaling.

*****

BITD, some people raced, some people rode for pleasure. If you raced, you probably used toe clips, straps, and cleats and tightened the straps. It was difficult to get out of that combo. Most people used clips and straps, but the straps weren't all that tight. They were a lot easier to get out of than 'clipless', IMO. I found the twisting needed to get out of SPDs to be a bigger problem than just pulling my feet back to exit clips & straps.

I would think it's getting into pedals, not getting out of them explains why the Look pedals quickly took over the peloton - it's much easier to clip in with Looks, etc., than with clips, straps, and cleats.
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Old 02-25-22, 07:04 PM
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I'm rethinking my Sketchers after checking these out. The Sketchers have elastic laces so no knots or extra string hanging loose, but these are interesting and waterproof. Heck yeah!
Are 5'10 shoes waterproof?

The Five Ten Trailcross GTX shoes are the brand's and industry's first waterproof winter cycling shoes for flat pedals with a Gore-Tex membrane. They've been built on the lightweight Trailcross platform aimed at blending flat pedal performance and grip, and all-day comfort on and off the bike.Nov 8, 2021
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Old 02-25-22, 07:23 PM
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I use the Specialized 2FO 2.0 for flat pedals. Most comfortable with these and flat pedals or even vintage Specialized MTB toe cages/straps.
It's what I grew up using.
I have a set of SPD pedals and a pair of Giro Chamber II's that I may try. I've never ridden clipped in.
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Old 02-25-22, 09:19 PM
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Here's what I use on my jump on and go to the store mountain bike.
They mount on the front of the flat pedals and hold the shoe nicely in place plus super easy to get out of.

https://www.amazon.com/Zefal-Cristop.../dp/B0048HWQKS
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Old 02-26-22, 10:10 PM
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I don't overthink it. On my commuter with VP City pedals I use any shoe/sneakers except leather sole ones - even Dr. Martens. Never had any problems, wet or dry.
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Old 02-27-22, 12:09 AM
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I don't have a lot of experience with a variety of shoes, but I bought a pair of Puma athletic shoes I wear all the time. I don't ever clip in, all my pedals are flat, and I've found these shoes to be pretty good for what I'm doing. I participate in triathlons and wanted a pair of shoes that were good for both biking and running. These are a really good dual purpose shoe if, like me, you're not interested in clipping in.
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Old 02-27-22, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
I believe that part of the pinned flat ideology is that you can use a wide variety of shoes on them without hotspots, because there's so much surface area that the pressure from feet spreads out; supposedly, sneakers work.
I agree that the larger surface area is great for hotspots, but I still want a fairly robust sole. A lot of sneakers like Converse and Vans are so pliable you can practically feel the pins through them. Good adhesion, but too soft.
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Old 02-27-22, 03:26 AM
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I have a couple pairs of five tens that I like so Iíll probably stick to those for flat pedals
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Old 02-27-22, 04:54 AM
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Trail running shoes
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Old 02-27-22, 03:14 PM
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Five-Tens for flat pedals here. I currently use Freerider Pros for mtb. I find ordinary trainers/sneakers too flexible and squishy for cycling.
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Old 02-27-22, 03:25 PM
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The short answer is that it doesn't matter a whole lot which shoes you use.

My personal preference is for a shoe that has very fine/shallow depth tread rather than lugs. A flat bottom shoe with little rise in the heel. A shoe that has a somewhat rigid sole rather than one that's overly flexy. Some modern shoes have a sole that is much wider than my foot where I make contact with the pedal. I avoid those shoes for riding. Don't worry about laces, they are easy to tuck away. I also prefer a lighter weight shoe. Weight can matter over the course of a longer ride.

Last edited by Paul Barnard; 02-27-22 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 02-27-22, 04:20 PM
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