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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Shoes/pedals and long distance cycling

Old 10-16-07, 07:18 AM
  #1  
KnoxBreezer
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Shoes/pedals and long distance cycling

Yep, I've used the search function, read just about every post in this forum with the word "shoes" in it... but I'm still hungry for some feedback.

Just getting into long distance riding, completed my first century last weekend. I ride a fair bit, commuting daily, but I'm definitely caught by the long-distance bug and plan to start riding brevets in Spring. My question regards choice of footwear and pedals.

I've ridden a lot in walkable SPD shoes and SPD pedals (including this century and a few long tandem rally rides). I'm finding I develop hot spots, and aggravate a nueroma on long rides, particularly hilly ones. These "injuries" don't usually bother me during the ride, but after. I can only imagine what will happen when I go for 200k+.

I'm also a big fan of platforms and straps, or toe-clips, or any other non-clipless type shoes/pedal combo. I really like the freedom of not having to wear cleated shoes to ride a bike. I use power-grips and any plain casual walking shoes/sandal on my city bikes, and I'm very happy with these.

I read a lot of the suggestions in this form and it seems that many long distance riders, randonees included seem to still prefer some sort of clipless setup. Do many of you ride on platforms with power-grips, or just clips and straps? If so, what sort of shoe do you prefer? Do you still use a cycling specific shoe, but without a cleat? Do you prefer low-top hiking shoes with stiffer soles?

I'd like to use the same bike for brevet riding and light touring/overnight camping without switching pedals. I'd prefer to be able to ride in shoes without a cleat, so I can hike, walk, ect off the bike without switching footwear. I also think being able to move around a little on the pedal can help reduce pressure on sensitive nerves and reduce hot spots.

Can you share some of your wisdom and experience for riding long distance without cleated shoes? Much thanks in advance!
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Old 10-16-07, 09:41 AM
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Six jours
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I've mostly used toe clips and straps with old cleated racing shoes. This works fine except for walking. I'm very close to trying clips and straps without cleats; the spectacularly dorky Performance/Forte Kingston shoe looks to be about right. I will probably combine it with a "toothed" pedal like the MKS Touring.
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Old 10-16-07, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by KnoxBreezer View Post
I'm finding I develop hot spots, and aggravate a nueroma on long rides, particularly hilly ones. These "injuries" don't usually bother me during the ride, but after. I can only imagine what will happen when I go for 200k+.
Move your cleats back. They should be slightly behind the ball of your foot. That usually fixes the hot spots.

Clipless SPD's with recessed cleats are the way to go IMO, especially since you're planning to tour as well as do LD rides. If you're doing real long rides with minimal walking, the wider cleats are a good option as well.
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Old 10-16-07, 02:50 PM
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Of the twenty or thirty really-regular long-distance riders in our club, only one rides without any sort of cleats. I've seen him ride brevets in hi-tops. I don't know what kind of pedal he uses. I don't know anyone who uses old-fashioned rat-traps. The majority probably ride road shoes. I used to ride road shoes but switched to mountain bike shoes before PBP. I use Crank Brothers Quattro Pedals, which are two-sided, have a big platform, and work with either road or mtn shoes (the latter require a little trimming of the cleats near the crank and over the spindle).
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Old 10-16-07, 02:56 PM
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I strongly prefer frogs with walkable MTB shoes. I would never consider platforms or toe clips, even though I rode toe clips for 20 years.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:00 PM
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I rode a 300K brevet recently using clips and straps to try them out. I had no difficulty with them. Messing with the straps is not as convenient as clipless pedals, but if your doing that very often, you're not making good time on the brevet!

Other than that, I've only seen two other cyclists ride a brevet in my area without using clipless pedals. Both of these cyclists had forgotten their cycling shoes and were making do.

I see brevet riders using MTB pedals as well as road pedals for clipless. I prefer SPDs because the shoes are more walkable at controls.

You should use whatever is most comfortable for you. Experiment with different combinations. And remember that cyclists have ridden many brevets with clips and straps.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:29 PM
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My shoes = Lake mtn bike shoes

My pedals = SPD

Hotspots = can be fixed by moving your cleat back a little bit

Oh, I should also mention, I have special attachments on my SPD pedals. I picked these things up in France and love them. I now ride with my left foot clipped into the SPD part, and my right foot sitting on the platform. I'm so comfortable like that, I'm not sure I'll return to using the SPD part for my right foot.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:37 PM
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IMHO, most people dismiss clips and straps as obsolete; the "Get with the times, old man" paradigm. This may or may not be a valid criteria with which to make your personal decision.

Clips and straps have been essentially perfect for me, and I've tried most of the clipless systems both old and new. For my money, the only real knock against clips and straps is that cleated road shoes pretty much suck while off the bike.

At any rate, I've found that I do almost 100% of my riding with the straps loose enough that a moderate yank is enough to pull my foot out. This would be bad if I was sprinting and jamming up hills and such, but I don't do that anymore, so it's a non-issue.

Which all got me to thinking that there may not be any reason for me to continue using cleated shoes. A rubber-soled shoe combined with a toothed pedal may give me all the security I need, while making off-bike chores simple. We'll see.

BTW, the oldsters around here might remember Pete Penseyres winning RAAM in '86, I think it was. He used regular clips and straps with a rubber-soled shoe, the bottom of which had small grooves to provide a touch of security. That's worth bearing in mind, IMO.

Last edited by Six jours; 10-16-07 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:40 PM
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Hotspots = can be fixed by moving your cleat back a little bit
This, BTW, isn't an absolute truth, as I've learned myself. The combo of small platform, as found on SPDs and many other clipless systems, and flexible soles, as found on many mountain bike shoes, can lead to focused pressure on the sole of the foot. If one's feet are sensitive, one may not be able to find peace regardless of where the cleats are mounted. If hotspots were the OPs only problem, I would recommend stiffer shoes.
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Old 10-16-07, 06:01 PM
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I think that it is a sizing issue for me. Clipless has resulted in hot spots and terrible knee pain, regardless of the amount of float or cleat position. The biggest cleat shoes that any company makes are still slightly too small for me, and I think the cleat mount is just not in a spot on the biggest shoes to properly acommodate.

Switched back to platforms and mountain running shoes (very stiff sole but very comfortable) and have seen no reason to look back. Not even running toe clips. I might pick some up. I never hammer, though.

Last edited by kponds; 10-16-07 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 10-16-07, 06:20 PM
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Only a few bike shoes are made in wide versions, which for me is usually EE or EEE
so I end up riding euro sizes 2-3.5 larger than my 'rated' size. Since most shoes have
a velcro tie and need some sort or gel insert instead of the piece of cardboard covering
the cleat screw plate, they work out in the end to fit ok. Stiff soles are the major
aspect to cycling shoes that make them tolerable. Pedals and shoes that allow the
shoe to bend or shape around the pedal will in the long run be uncomfortable ie hot
spots. I put at least 30,000 km on Lyotard Berthet platforms in the pre clipin era
and with loose toeclips and steel shanked converted baseball shoes never had a foot problem. It is mostly just habit that I ride speedplays today, bike shoes don't
wear out very fast, and unlike SPDs the speedplays don't either. If they ever do
I will switch to Crank bro.
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Old 10-16-07, 06:30 PM
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Are there any shoes that come in a size >50 euro though? My LBS acts like there aren't.

I tried the shimano 50s with the velcro straps all the way loose and they didn't work for me.

Last edited by kponds; 10-16-07 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 10-16-07, 06:52 PM
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A while back I was having knee problems and switched from SPD's to Speedplay Frogs (mainly due to the rave reviews on this forum) and haven't looked back. The frogs provide enormous amounts of float and are easier to clip into and out of than the SPDs.

My knee problems haven't come back.
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Old 10-16-07, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by kponds View Post
Are there any shoes that come in a size >50 euro though? My LBS acts like there aren't.

I tried the shimano 50s with the velcro straps all the way loose and they didn't work for me.
https://www.nashbar.com/sizesearch.cfm
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Old 10-17-07, 02:09 AM
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I've been riding for the past year with toe clips (always kept fairly loose) and a random pair of sneakers. The longest I've been on them is 160 kms or so, and I've always found the combination very comfortable, and enjoyed the convenience of being able to hop on and off the bike in any shoes.

That said, I've been persuaded by many posts here that the clipless pedals are worth trying out, so I've ordered some cheap SPD pedals and shoes. Wavered for a while between SPD and "official" road pedals, but was convinced that stiff soled shoes are good enough to make SPD work over any distance...

None of which is really answering your question, but for what it's worth...
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Old 10-17-07, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yep, none come in my size
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Old 10-17-07, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
IMHO, most people dismiss clips and straps as obsolete; the "Get with the times, old man" paradigm. This may or may not be a valid criteria with which to make your personal decision.


BTW, the oldsters around here might remember Pete Penseyres winning RAAM in '86, I think it was. He used regular clips and straps with a rubber-soled shoe, the bottom of which had small grooves to provide a touch of security. That's worth bearing in mind, IMO.
Those were Avocet MC 30's. Has a pair for touring now worn out. Have been looking for a pair ever since. The best shoes for clips and straps ever made. Walkable and somewhat stiff soled as well.

Richard
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Old 10-17-07, 07:29 AM
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Run whatever works for you. There were at least a couple of riders at PBP with flat pedals and several with toeclips.

Personally, toeclips are fine provided the straps are worthwhile although cleated shoes are a pain at controls (ditto road clipless). I prefer SPDs, ideally with stiff-soled shoes, for long distance and find Powergrips to be annoyingly non-adjustable versions of toestraps. YMMV
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Old 10-17-07, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by kponds View Post
Are there any shoes that come in a size >50 euro though? My LBS acts like there aren't.

I tried the shimano 50s with the velcro straps all the way loose and they didn't work for me.
50s are the largest stock cycling shoes I know of but custom cycling shoes are available. If the problem is width, not length, Sidi Megas are considered wider than Shimano for the same nominal size.
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Old 10-17-07, 09:50 AM
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Those were Avocet MC 30's. Has a pair for touring now worn out. Have been looking for a pair ever since. The best shoes for clips and straps ever made. Walkable and somewhat stiff soled as well.
Ah, thanks for that! I wracked my brain to come up with that name and struck out. At the time I was a racerboy and thought Pete, his shoes, and RAAM were the height of fredliness, so wasn't paying a whole lot of attention. The shoes, though, make a whole lot of sense for the kind of riding I do now. Are you aware of anything similar?
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Old 10-18-07, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by KnoxBreezer View Post
Yep, I've used the search function, read just about every post in this forum with the word "shoes" in it... but I'm still hungry for some feedback.

Just getting into long distance riding, completed my first century last weekend. I ride a fair bit, commuting daily, but I'm definitely caught by the long-distance bug and plan to start riding brevets in Spring. My question regards choice of footwear and pedals.

I've ridden a lot in walkable SPD shoes and SPD pedals (including this century and a few long tandem rally rides). I'm finding I develop hot spots, and aggravate a nueroma on long rides, particularly hilly ones. These "injuries" don't usually bother me during the ride, but after. I can only imagine what will happen when I go for 200k+.

I'm also a big fan of platforms and straps, or toe-clips, or any other non-clipless type shoes/pedal combo. I really like the freedom of not having to wear cleated shoes to ride a bike. I use power-grips and any plain casual walking shoes/sandal on my city bikes, and I'm very happy with these.

I read a lot of the suggestions in this form and it seems that many long distance riders, randonees included seem to still prefer some sort of clipless setup. Do many of you ride on platforms with power-grips, or just clips and straps? If so, what sort of shoe do you prefer? Do you still use a cycling specific shoe, but without a cleat? Do you prefer low-top hiking shoes with stiffer soles?

I'd like to use the same bike for brevet riding and light touring/overnight camping without switching pedals. I'd prefer to be able to ride in shoes without a cleat, so I can hike, walk, ect off the bike without switching footwear. I also think being able to move around a little on the pedal can help reduce pressure on sensitive nerves and reduce hot spots.

Can you share some of your wisdom and experience for riding long distance without cleated shoes? Much thanks in advance!
After a few years riding I just don't think that there is a hybrid solution that works well for long rides and to walk around in. In my opinion the best single shoe is a light carbon fiber mountain bike shoe with SPD or similar pedals. These are stiff enough that most hot spots are eliminated but they sole doesn't flex much for walking. However the best comfort on the bike is a carbon fiber road shoe with a larger surface area pedal clip and then carry some really light weight foam slip on flip flops to walk around in. They are only a couple of ounces.
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