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Tales of Woe From a Big Foot Cyclist - Part 2

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Tales of Woe From a Big Foot Cyclist - Part 2

Old 12-03-22, 12:04 PM
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Tales of Woe From a Big Foot Cyclist - Part 2

Almost two years have gone by since my original post of Tales of Woe From a Big Foot Cyclist - Part 1 post and my search for a comfortable cycling shoe that fits my wide feet might finally be over... at least as far as road shoes are concerned.

TL;DR

The Lake CX201 with the Comfort Plus last is a cycling shoe without equal. For cyclist that wear minimalist shoes off the bike and / or have wide, strong feet and splayed toes, the Lake CX201 is likely the first shoe you should try.*

* I have no affiliation with Lake cycling shoes and have purchased all shoes with my own money... Lots and lots of my own money.

The Long Story...

Having started the transition to actual foot-shaped shoes (Altra, Lems, Xero, Vivobarefoot, etc.) when off my bike, my already wide feet have gotten even wider which only exacerbated the issue I've been having finding a cycling shoe that fits. My Specialized Torch 2.0 wide road shoes no longer fit and my Lake MX237s bother my toes on both feet due to the rigid and pointy toe area. I have bunions at the base of my large and small toe on both feet, likely due to a lifetime of cramming my wide feet into narrow toe box shoes. As a result, my toe joints ache after a long ride due to the rigid cycling shoes not only pushing my toes unnaturally inward but also upward. I have no such toe issues when wearing minimalist shoes off the bike.

I an act of desperation to find a shoe that makes my toes happy, I ordered 5 different pairs of Lake shoes from BikeShoes.com (another company I have no affiliation with but highly recommend.) All of which were the wide models as my existing MX237s are regular width and I hoped that the wide width might provide a tad more toe room... which proved to be false.

From left to right in the photo below: Lake MX237 regular width (my current shoes), Lake CX238-X wide (road version of MX238-X), Lake MX177-X (offroad version of CX177-X), Lake CX201, Lems Primal 2 street shoe, and my ugly foot:



As I hope one can see in the photo, all of the shoes are very wide at what would be the base of one's toes. However, only the CX201 has a natural shaped toe box that is nearly identical to my favorite daily driver street shoes, the Lems Primal 2. In addition, the toe area on the CX201 is made of a very soft and pliable material that almost feels like a sock. If you have lumpy feet like I do, this is a blessing compared to the very rigid toe area of the other Lake shoes and of most cycling shoes in general.

In addition to a natural shaped toe box, another feature I like in the CX201 is that there is very little rise in the toe area. As the photo below shoes, the CX201's toe hits the wall at almost the same point my street shoes do. My current MX237s (far left) have quite a bit of toe rise and forcing my toes into that position for hours on end causes my big toe joints to ache. The MX177s (middle) have a surprising amount of toe lift which is likely due to the thicker plastic last versus the carbon sole the other shoes have.



Upon reading other's reviews of the CX201, many have mentioned that the heal area is very wide and loose-fitting for some. The heal is indeed wider on the CX201 than it is on all the other models I have. When the BOA laces are tight, I don't have any noticeable heal slip, but I think a good improvement in a version 2 of the CX201 would be to have a heat moldable heal cup and "cat tongue" material like the other high-end Lake road shoes have.



One more "plus" of the CX201 is that the toe area is extremely breathable, making these great warm weather or indoor shoes. It's currently winter here in Wisconsin while I'm typing this which means I'll be indoors riding Zwift for at least the next few months. Having a ventilated indoor riding shoe is a welcome change from my leather MX237s which make my feet sweat profusely.

The arch on the CX201s is quite low which happens to work well for my feet. Should you have high arches, you can always compensate with custom insoles.

Is there anything not to like about the CX201s?
  • I'm guessing that a lot of people won't like the look of the mesh toe area. When fully tightened on my feet, the mesh bunches-up and looks a little weird, but it's a trade-off I'm willing to deal with to have shoes that fit.
  • The shoes are only suitable for warm outdoor or indoor riding due to the highly ventilated mesh toe area. If you ride in the rain, cold, or dirty trails, I don't think these shoes will work for you.
  • The wide heal area might not work for some rider's feet.
  • No offroad version (i.e., SPD 2-hole cleat version). This is a bummer as I'd actually prefer to ride with SPD cleated shoes so I can walk like a human off the bike. I sure hope Lake makes an offroad "MX201" in the near future with the Comfort Plus last to compliment the CX201. Lake will introduce an offroad MX201 counterpart to the CX201 in January of 2023, according to their Facebook page.

Last edited by PoorInRichfield; 12-04-22 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 12-03-22, 05:15 PM
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Thank you for the tip and comparisons. I just purchased two new sets of shoes, one road, the other off road, therefore have no immediate need for replacements, however I will keep your experience in mind should I outlive my current shoes. One thing I have never understood is the designers that make the last force the toes upward. There are certain brands that do this and I am unable to wear them. Any idea as to why this is done?
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Old 12-03-22, 05:25 PM
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Thank you for these very interesting threads. The difficulty for women with wide feet -- and especially those in need of wide toe boxes -- is even greater!
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Old 12-03-22, 10:07 PM
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I don’t have long feet but they have become extraordinarily wide over the years due to the development of tailor’s bunions (outside of the feet). I bought a pair of Lake MX238 (I think) a couple of years ago as well as a set of Sidi Megas. The Lake’s stayed here at home and the Mega’s…which didn’t quit fit but were workable…went to Tucson. On a recent trip to Tucson, I found that the Mega’s simply wouldn’t work. A couple of miles in them was agony.

I ordered a pair of Lake MX332’s and had them shipped to Tucson on Quick Like a Bunny Express. Comparing them to the Sidi Mega’s, they are a good 3/4” wider. The Sidi’s are Italian wide. The Lake’s are an American last.

An added benefit of the MX332’s, at least for me, is that they use Lake’s competition last which is wider in the toe and narrower in the heel. The MX238’s are sport last which have a wider heel.
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Old 12-04-22, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
An added benefit of the MX332ís, at least for me, is that they use Lakeís competition last which is wider in the toe and narrower in the heel. The MX238ís are sport last which have a wider heel.
One challenge with Lake shoes is learning which last shape aligns with which shoe and thus which shoe to buy... hence the reason I bought 5 pairs at once!

I've never tried the Lake 3xx series shoe as the Lake "Fit Matrix" lists the CX/MX332s as the narrowest shoes in their lineup (which are probably still wider at the toe base than most other brands, but the narrowest in Lake's lineup). Also note that the 3xx series still have the pointy toe area that the CX201s don't, so "food for thought" for anyone with toe issues.

Lake Models Fit Matrix Ė Lake Cycling

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Old 12-04-22, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield
One challenge with Lake shoes is learning which last shape aligns with which shoe and thus which shoe to buy... hence the reason I bought 5 pairs at once!

I've never tried the Lake 3xx series shoe as the Lake "Fit Matrix" lists the CX/MX332s as the narrowest shoes in their lineup (which are probably still wider at the toe base than most other brands, but the narrowest in Lake's lineup). Also note that the 3xx series still have the pointy toe area that the CX201s don't, so "food for thought" for anyone with toe issues.

Lake Models Fit Matrix Ė Lake Cycling
That fit matrix chart is confusing. If you look at the sizing chart that gives actual width measurements, the Race last width is close to the Competition last. I labeled them wrong in my first post. The MX332 are race lasts. The race last has the advantage of having a narrower heel. For me, the wider heel of the competition last doesnít work all that well. The MX238 shoe is rather sloppy on my foot.
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Old 12-06-22, 03:50 PM
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Thanks for the research. Iíve been transitioning to minimal shoes for several months and only wear that type of shoe now when Iím on my feet. I also am mostly running and walking rather than cycling.

When I do ride, I use platform pedals, so I can use any shoe I want for cycling. Until now Iíve used the Nike Flyknit, but Iím not sure I can tolerate any shoe with a narrow toe box anymore, even just for biking.

I wear Lemís Primal Zen a lot. Being a tad thicker soled than the average minimal shoe, I think they could work for warm weather cycling. However, any shoe I cycle with will get a lot of dust and mud, so Iím thinking of getting something like the Lemís Chillum (canvas and wool upper) to relegate to the messy job of being my bike shoes.

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Old 12-06-22, 05:36 PM
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I recently tried two Lake shoes in the wide width - MX176 and MX219. They both have the same problem- the heel area is too loose, and also the single BOA and the long laces means you have to do a whole lot of cranking every time you put your shoes on- and there seems to be more friction in these laces than in other BOA equipped shoes.
After trying a whole bunch of shoes I ended up liking the Sidi Trace 2 MTB and Dominator 10 MTB shoes the best. These are their regular width shoes but they are fairly wide. The Bont Riot MTB is another one where the regular width fits me just fine. I normally require wide width shoes.
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Old 01-12-23, 08:34 AM
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Lake just introduced the MX201, a very "walkable" shoe with SPD cleat and based on the same last as the CX201 road shoe (i.e., lots of toe box room).

While I'm excited to see Lake is expanding the shoe line on the "Comfort Plus" last, I'm a little disappointed that this new shoe is a little too casual for what I'm looking for in an SPD equipped mountain bike shoe. The mesh toe area would be a problem for dirt and water for more aggressive offroad riding. Regardless, this is probably the first SPD shoe I've seen that doesn't have a pointy toe box area, so a step in the right direction for foot health.

MX 201 – Lake Cycling

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Old 01-12-23, 03:46 PM
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I enjoy these threads. I wear a 14 in most shoes but a 15 in others (like Keens). I found the Giro Rumble VR fits me great. Will that model be the same when I need some new ones in a couple of years? I think about that every time I lace them up.

What I would love to see is a matrix of regular sneakers and the bike shoes that fit like that. That would help people know what particular bike shoes fit like. For instance, I wear Adidas in a 14. Every single model of Adidas I've bought fit me great. I can't wear Nikes. They just don't fit me. So if you like Adidas in a 14, you'll like the Giro Rumble VR. You wear a particular size of Nike or New Balance? What bike shoes fit you best?

Of course the real problem with it all is a) getting enough participants and b) keeping it current. Who knows if a model will stay in production or if it will stay the same 3 years down the road -- I sure wish the Keen Austin was still available!
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Old 01-13-23, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by reverborama
What I would love to see is a matrix of regular sneakers and the bike shoes that fit like that. That would help people know what particular bike shoes fit like. For instance, I wear Adidas in a 14. Every single model of Adidas I've bought fit me great. I can't wear Nikes. They just don't fit me. So if you like Adidas in a 14, you'll like the Giro Rumble VR. You wear a particular size of Nike or New Balance? What bike shoes fit you best?
Do you have narrow feet? I've owned a few pairs of Adidas shoes that looked great, but they were crazy-tight and narrow, so I took them back.

Just like clothing, sizing of shoes is total guesswork for the consumer. Heck, I find that shoe sizes aren't consistent within the same brand much less across brands. It's pretty clear that human feet come in almost infinite shapes and sizes, so it's likely pretty hard to make shoes that fit everyone. In the cycling world, Lake is the only brand that realizes this and offers different widths and shoes based on different lasts (soles) to accommodate different foot shapes. Bont also uses a variety of lasts to accommodate different foot shapes, but I personally find their "bathtub" carbon shoe soles just don't work for my feet.
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Old 01-13-23, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by reverborama
I enjoy these threads. I wear a 14 in most shoes but a 15 in others (like Keens). I found the Giro Rumble VR fits me great. Will that model be the same when I need some new ones in a couple of years? I think about that every time I lace them up.

What I would love to see is a matrix of regular sneakers and the bike shoes that fit like that. That would help people know what particular bike shoes fit like. For instance, I wear Adidas in a 14. Every single model of Adidas I've bought fit me great. I can't wear Nikes. They just don't fit me. So if you like Adidas in a 14, you'll like the Giro Rumble VR. You wear a particular size of Nike or New Balance? What bike shoes fit you best?

Of course the real problem with it all is a) getting enough participants and b) keeping it current. Who knows if a model will stay in production or if it will stay the same 3 years down the road -- I sure wish the Keen Austin was still available!
Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield
Do you have narrow feet? I've owned a few pairs of Adidas shoes that looked great, but they were crazy-tight and narrow, so I took them back.

Just like clothing, sizing of shoes is total guesswork for the consumer. Heck, I find that shoe sizes aren't consistent within the same brand much less across brands. It's pretty clear that human feet come in almost infinite shapes and sizes, so it's likely pretty hard to make shoes that fit everyone. In the cycling world, Lake is the only brand that realizes this and offers different widths and shoes based on different lasts (soles) to accommodate different foot shapes. Bont also uses a variety of lasts to accommodate different foot shapes, but I personally find their "bathtub" carbon shoe soles just don't work for my feet.

Reminds me of this all too true video...
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Old 01-16-23, 02:02 PM
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I moved on to mainly wearing more minimal shoes than the Lemís (lower stack height) for walking and running, but the Primal Zen does work great for cycling with platform pedals. Eventually I may get the Lemís Chillum for cooler weather riding since the canvas would be a little better at blocking the cold wind than (rather open) mesh.

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Old 01-17-23, 06:32 AM
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I'm super-excited to find out that the newly announced Lake CX242 and MX242 have a rounder toe box area than their predecessors, the CX241 and MX241 (See video below). It was the toe box on the 241 series shoes that kept me from buying them as it way too pointy for my feet. As soon as BikeShoes.com stocks the 242s, I'm going to be trying them for sure! While the CX201s I purchased this winter are certainly more comfortable in the toe area than any previous shoe I've had, they are a very loose/relaxed-fitting shoe all around due to the single BOA dial and wide heal cup. The 242 series has dual BOA dials and a heat moldable heal cup for a more snug fit where or if I want it.






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Old 09-25-23, 12:51 PM
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I've been wearing the Lake MX242 shoes all Summer long and while most of the shoe fits well, the toe cap is restrictively narrow on my size 48 shoes... almost like the rigid toe cap was made for a smaller shoe. As a result, even though the CX242/MX242 design is extremely adjustable, my toes still get scrunched at the end of the shoe. I'm still hoping Lake comes-out with a 242-like shoe on the new Comfort Plus last that has the wider toe box area.

In other news, Bont's new Vaypor road shoe looks very promising. For one, it looks like they removed the "bathtub sole" at the forefoot of the shoe, which was a huge issue for me as I have tailor's bunions to deal with. Second, look at the lovely shape of the toebox! The Vaypor will also be available in a regular and wide version.

https://bontcycling.com/products/vaypor-23

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