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Help! Lost in the world of cycling shoe options...

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Help! Lost in the world of cycling shoe options...

Old 03-27-10, 06:26 AM
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BlackAce
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Help! Lost in the world of cycling shoe options...

Hi All--

For my birthday, I asked for funding to transition myself to a clipless system. I'm already pretty set on what I want for the pedals, but am having an incredibly difficult time selecting an appropriate shoe. So let me describe myself, and hopefully you'll be able to at least give me a few suggestions on where to start.

I've had my hybrid bike almost a year now, and when I first got it, had conditioned myself to where I could do 40 miles without any pain or real effort a couple times a week, with shorter rides in between. Then the summer came (Florida), and I tapered off my riding. I'm currently in the process of retraining myself again, and hope to do back to back half-centuries on a Saturday/Sunday in May (MS Citrus Tour).

Right now, I'm right around the 30 mile mark, but it's taking some effort. I try to average 15-20 mph on all of my rides, regardless of distance, which is close to last year where I was somewhere between 17-22.

So I push it pretty hard for a hybrid, for decent distances. I want a shoe with good energy transfer for someone who's pretty into consistent speed and drive, and perhaps not your more casual hybrid cyclist. I got the hybrid for it's versatility, commuting ease, etc. But I try to squeeze as much road bike as I can out of it.

I'd really prefer a shoe with tread that I can use to walk around in. Particularly when I ride more casually with my girlfriend, she let's me go off and power for a bit, and then come back and ride more casually with her. We tend to stop in town and walk around for the afternoon after our ride. In true road shoes, an afternoon around town would be less than enjoyable. But since I'm not actually MTB, I don't need super agressive tread or even very superior traction. But that's all I really am able to find--it seems it's either road shoes or chunky MTB shoes.

Wish List:
  • Sleek, low-cut
  • Lightweight
  • Decent, rigid plate for maximum energy
  • Be able to walk around in them comfortably for several hours

Am I asking for too much?

Price Range: <$140, but will hear all suggestions, particularly those that closely match the criteria above.
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Old 03-27-10, 07:17 AM
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I recently did the same move and what your looking for is a mountain bike set up. To be honest bike shoes are like ski boots. you can walk around in them a little but I couldn't imagine doing any time in them off the bike. The better the shoe the less comfort in doing any walking in them.
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Old 03-27-10, 07:28 AM
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Yes, I agree with you. I just don't want to sell myself short in the energy efficiency department, since I will be on the bike more often than off the bike. I like the versatility, but I don't want to sacrifice TOO much performance. Hence my diliema.

This is also why I'm trying to keep the cost down, in case I make the wrong choice.
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Old 03-27-10, 07:32 AM
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I'm in pretty much the same situation as you. Hybrid bike but mostly road riding and wanting to go longer distances (up to about 30 miles now). I've been wearing cross trainers with the toe clips & straps. It's working OK but I think I can get more efficiency with clipless but don't want to lose the option of walking around. Guy at the shop I talked to yesterday said I can get shoes with spd cleats where the cleats are recessed and it's easy to walk around. One shoe that I might look at is the Shimano MO76 mountain bike shoe. Looks sort of like a road bike shoe, but the cleats are recessed. Here's a link:

https://www.rei.com/product/783236
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Old 03-27-10, 07:34 AM
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Timber_8
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best thing to do is buy nice bike shoes & carry sandals or simple comfort shoe in your bike bag. The problem with walking in a bike shoe is there is no movement in the sole of the shoe to give you the heal toe movement. It is better walking in grass than on pavement but neither is comfortable.
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Old 03-27-10, 07:47 AM
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Forget shoes. You're in FL, go with sandals.
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Old 03-27-10, 09:29 AM
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I have Specialized Sonoma's and they are pretty comfy when walking and the tread is not very agressive. The only problem is a little noise from the cleats but it's not that bad. Specialized has a great warranty also. I had a defect after about 6 months of heavy use and they sent a replacement to my lbs with no problems. They also come in black. https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...=9309&eid=4927
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Old 03-27-10, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
I recently did the same move and what your looking for is a mountain bike set up. To be honest bike shoes are like ski boots. you can walk around in them a little but I couldn't imagine doing any time in them off the bike. The better the shoe the less comfort in doing any walking in them.
+1 The best cycling shoes have a very stiff sole for energy transfer and to prevent numbness, these aren't comfortable for walking any great distance or time.
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Old 03-27-10, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BlackAce View Post

Wish List:
  • Sleek, low-cut
  • Lightweight
  • Decent, rigid plate for maximum energy
  • Be able to walk around in them comfortably for several hours

Am I asking for too much?
Not necessarily, but you will have to strike some sort of compromise between rigid and walkable. The place where you need the shoe to be most rigid for pedaling is exactly the place where you need it to bend for walking.

I have a pair of Bontrager Race Mountain shoes as my three-season shoes. For me, they're a reasonable compromise between rigid and flexible. I've worn them without issue though a four-hour shift at the front desk when I'm subbing at another branch of the library.

As for style, you may prefer some of the models from Lake.
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Old 03-27-10, 10:26 PM
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All great input so far. I'm definitely prepared to compromise, probably lean more towards the performance than the comfort I guess since my cycling is a continuous thing, whereas the afternoon walk-around after a ride is occasional.

Yes?
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Old 03-27-10, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BlackAce View Post
Am I asking for too much?
its a shoe.

go try some on. they're that simple. use what feels comfortable.
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Old 03-27-10, 11:18 PM
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BlackAce
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Originally Posted by Joe_Mo View Post
its a shoe.

go try some on. they're that simple. use what feels comfortable.
I most definitely will. But where I live, there are a LOT of LBS, each specializing in a few brands. To save myself from driving all over town, I'm trying to get some suggestions to narrow things down a bit, that's all.
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Old 03-28-10, 02:20 AM
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There are three types of shoes to consider:

1. Road shoes
2. Mountain shoes
3. Touring shoes

You described a walk in road shoes as "less than enjoyable." In fact, these shoes are generally almost impossible to walk in. Not only do you have the serious risk of a slip and fall (due to no tread at all), but they are incredibly uncomfortable for walking.

Mountain shoes - performance oriented mountain shoes - have some tread to make walking possible and not dangerous, but still a little uncomforatble due to the very stiff sole. Uncomfortable, at least when you are walking for a long time. However, a good set of performance mountain shoes is completely stiff and has similar power transfer to a road shoe - they only lack the ability to use a 'road' pedal with a big wide cleat.
Touring shoes are the best if you must walk long distances in a cycling shoe. When you talk about a performance difference between road and mountain shoes, you are probably thinking about touring shoes and not pure 'mountain' shoes. They are still quite stiff and much more comfortable for riding than regular running shoes.

The other thing to consider is a set of single sided touring pedals.... (link)

They will work with any SPD compatible road or mountain or touring shoes, but if you go for a 5 mile ride with your SO you can wear your walking shoes. And you can not tell any difference from a double sided pedal after you are clipped in.

In my opinion, a set of single sided pedals combined with a set of performance mtb shoes (to allow some walking if needed) are the best solution for someone with your needs.
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Old 03-28-10, 04:09 AM
  #14  
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Stick with mountain bike pedals, most likely an SPD-compatible system. The bike shoes I use with the SPD pedals on my hybrid and my cross bike are perfectly walkable.

I think road pedals on a hybrid would just be... wrong.
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Old 03-28-10, 04:18 AM
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Ditto on the mountain shoe idea. I have a Shimano pair that are Gore-tex lined and very nice -- look like a trail hiking shoe almost. Easy to walk in. Very comfortable.

The easiest to walk around in are tennis shoes and flat pedals, which is basically all I ride now. That's not what you specified though .
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Old 03-28-10, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kh6idf View Post
I'm in pretty much the same situation as you. Hybrid bike but mostly road riding and wanting to go longer distances (up to about 30 miles now). I've been wearing cross trainers with the toe clips & straps. It's working OK but I think I can get more efficiency with clipless but don't want to lose the option of walking around. Guy at the shop I talked to yesterday said I can get shoes with spd cleats where the cleats are recessed and it's easy to walk around. One shoe that I might look at is the Shimano MO76 mountain bike shoe. Looks sort of like a road bike shoe, but the cleats are recessed. Here's a link:

https://www.rei.com/product/783236
+1. I made my first foray into clipless this week with Shimano M520 pedals and the Shimano M076 shoes. Lovin it. Shoes are very comfortable, and I got them 20% off with the current rei member sale plus i used my $20 dividend

Only 1 thing: I'm getting a little cleat scrape on cement, how normal is this with SPD? I've read about it in places but it seems odd to me that it's already occurring with the fully Shimano MTB setup, I thought avoiding cleat scape was the point. I pretty much only notice it on cement. Further: does this get worse over time as the rubber wears down, or does it get better over time as the cleat wears down?
Sorry for threadjack

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Old 03-28-10, 05:54 AM
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I use Shimano MT-41 shoes and Crank brothers egg beater pedals. I can walk in the shoes - I wore them all day at uni - but wouldn't want to walk a huge distance in them. They have a fairly stiff sole but I'm guessing not like a top end road shoe. The cleats are recessed so it doesn't scrape on the ground.
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Old 03-28-10, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by preston811 View Post
I'm getting a little cleat scrape on cement, how normal is this with SPD?
100% normal. The tread on the shoes makes it ok to walk... road shoes make walking virtually impossible... if you have ridden or walked much with road shoes then simply feeling your cleats scrape in spd shoes seems like less of an issue..
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Old 03-28-10, 07:06 AM
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Someone on another forum made a suggestion towards the Shimano RT-80 or less flashy RT-81. Based on the evolution of our conversation here, it seems like these would be a good match for what I'm looking for, however, I appreciate the poster who explained that MTB shoes would have similar rigidity, with the inability to use a big road pedal being a bigger issue. I'm looking at the PD-A530 pedals I think.

Any feedback for or against the RT-80 or RT-81, or suggestions for similar shoes? The Shimano's are the only ones I can find thus far of this style, but my fav LBS carries them, so I'll check them out tomorrow.

One other thing I noticed was the cost... they are REALLY cheap ($70-80), cheaper than some of the meatier MTB shoes. Do I count my blessings at being able to save some cash, or am I missing something here that I should be paying for?
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Old 03-28-10, 07:39 AM
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The best suggestion I saw was the 2 sided peddle that way like you said most of the time you want to clip in and get the shoe best for what you do most of the time & days your going to be walking around with your girl were walking shoes. I find things that do 2 different things do neither well. I have also seen flat pedal platforms that clip into spd peddles for using street shoes
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Old 03-28-10, 07:53 AM
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I've got the RT-80s and love them. I'm guilty of having too much bike (Orbea Orca) and the RT-80s along with Speedplay Frogs make walking easier without offending too many road nazis. Actually, the road nazis are still probably offended but my sensibilities are still somewhat intact.

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Old 03-28-10, 08:20 AM
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I use Shimano 324 pedals (double duty - platform and SPD on opposite sides.)

A cheap pair of Shimano shoes work very well.

If you don't find what you want at your LBS, watch places like Jensen, Performance, Niagara, etc, for good sale prices.

You should be able to outfit your bike and feet, for about $100 - total.
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Old 03-28-10, 08:37 AM
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Many of us have gone through the same questions as the OP. With the type of bike that is being described it would seem a good MTB shoe is most likely all that is needed. No reason to carry any extra sandals and no reason to carry Cafe covers like you need with full road shoes. Lately I have seen some road shoes that work with SPD cleats and they have some raised sections so you don't have to walk like a duck. Nashbar.com is having a pretty good sale on shoes now and might be worth looking at. I would suggest trying on some bike shoes to get your size down pat.
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Old 10-12-10, 01:52 PM
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Any shoe can be a cycling shoe, if you like......

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Old 10-12-10, 02:06 PM
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I got a pair of A530 pedals on my road bike and a pair of pricey Sidi MTB shoes - they work great but $200 is out of the question for shoes. I used a pair of road shoes for spin class and they were an adventure to walk in.
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