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Wide 2-bolt shoes (and how stiff is stiff enough?)

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Wide 2-bolt shoes (and how stiff is stiff enough?)

Old 11-07-17, 05:55 AM
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sanmi
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Wide 2-bolt shoes (and how stiff is stiff enough?)

I've been riding cheap Pearl Izumi MTB shoes and M520 pedals exclusively for the last ~10,000 miles. When I chose this combination, I was commuting and generally doing a lot of urban riding. Most of my riding is now on the open road for fitness (daily rides of 10-30 miles and occasional 50-100+ weekend rides) with a fairly quick pace (16-18mph solo). My shoes were never wide enough. I sized up and got some decent inserts and they have been OK (clearly...given the 10K miles), but lately I've been wanting something wider and stiffer for longer, harder rides. Basically, I'm looking to improve both comfort and performance.

There are a fair number of wider 2-bolt shoes (mostly designed for XC racing) that seem like they would be sufficiently stiff for casual road riding. I've been looking mainly at offerings from Lake, Northwave, and Shimano in the $150-250 range.

My questions are 1 - which wide SPD shoes have you used and liked and 2 - how stiff a sole would you recommend to a reasonably strong riding using MTB pedals? For example, I'm looking at the Northwave Scorpius 2 Plus and the Extreme XC and wondering whether the added stiffness of the Extreme XC is worthwhile.

I know, I know... try before you buy. But here's the thing - most of the LBS around here just don't stock much inventory and I can't find enough options in my size to make an informed decision. I'll almost certainly order online, likely from Amazon where I can often find a deal with free returns and try a few options.

So let's hear it, what shoes do you like? Thanks!
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Old 11-07-17, 06:31 AM
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Can't help you with the width aspect, but...

I use Shimano XC70s and they are definitely stiff enough. They are essentially road shoes with a tiny bit of tread on them. I use road shoes every once in a while on my backup bike and really can't tell any difference in efficiency, even while climbing.

I've been riding various Shimano shoes for a while now. I've had good luck with them and the sizing of different models has been consistent, so I can buy online with no worries. I know it's a dick move, but you can go into an REI or something and try on any Shimano shoe they have.
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Old 11-07-17, 06:37 AM
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I commuted many miles on a pair of Sidi Giau Megas (sadly no longer available) but they were plenty stiff for those 30 mile r/t days plus an occasional longer ride (up to 70 miles). I used LOOK Quartz pedals with them for what it's worth. Given that my Sidi Five Mega road shoes fit exactly the same as the Giau's I feel fairly confident in saying that the Sidi Dominator (or whatever the new base Sidi MTB shoe is) would be a good fit. My feet measure at a 3E width so not many shoes comfortable accommodate my toes. The Sidis are just a tiny bit snug in the toe box but still better than anything else I've tried. And to top it off they've been extremely durable.
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Old 11-07-17, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by DXchulo View Post
Can't help you with the width aspect, but...

I use Shimano XC70s and they are definitely stiff enough. They are essentially road shoes with a tiny bit of tread on them. I use road shoes every once in a while on my backup bike and really can't tell any difference in efficiency, even while climbing.

I've been riding various Shimano shoes for a while now. I've had good luck with them and the sizing of different models has been consistent, so I can buy online with no worries. I know it's a dick move, but you can go into an REI or something and try on any Shimano shoe they have.
This is helpful, thanks! One of my top contenders is the new Shimano XC70s, which comes in a wide with and seems nearly identical to the road rc7 version. I thought it would likely be stiff enough without going either the top end xc9 and it is nice to have some confirmation.

It’s also helpful to know that shimano sizes are consistent across models because as you note I can try on a different model and get a sense of what to order.
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Old 11-07-17, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
I commuted many miles on a pair of Sidi Giau Megas (sadly no longer available) but they were plenty stiff for those 30 mile r/t days plus an occasional longer ride (up to 70 miles). I used LOOK Quartz pedals with them for what it's worth. Given that my Sidi Five Mega road shoes fit exactly the same as the Giau's I feel fairly confident in saying that the Sidi Dominator (or whatever the new base Sidi MTB shoe is) would be a good fit. My feet measure at a 3E width so not many shoes comfortable accommodate my toes. The Sidis are just a tiny bit snug in the toe box but still better than anything else I've tried. And to top it off they've been extremely durable.
Sidis seem to have a solid reputation. To me they also seem a bit pricey for any given level of shoe. I’ll be on the lookout for a deal on some Megas.
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Old 11-07-17, 08:39 AM
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I like Shimano as well, finding the wide versions a good fit on my 4E feet.

I've used the 087 road and mt. shoes, not the stiffest. I also recently went back to using SPD for all my road riding and purchased the Shimano SH-XC7 2 bolt shoes, as they have a carbon mid-sole. That alleviated the hot foot problem I was having on rides longer then 25 miles. The BOA dial is a nice feature as well. $170 at my LBS and worth it.
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Old 11-07-17, 08:52 AM
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Specialized or S-Works shoes tend to run wider than equivalently-sized Sidi shoes, and if you get the MTB model with carbon soles they're as stiff as anything out there.
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Old 11-07-17, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I like Shimano as well, finding the wide versions a good fit on my 4E feet.

I've used the 087 road and mt. shoes, not the stiffest. I also recently went back to using SPD for all my road riding and purchased the Shimano SH-XC7 2 bolt shoes, as they have a carbon mid-sole. That alleviated the hot foot problem I was having on rides longer then 25 miles. The BOA dial is a nice feature as well. $170 at my LBS and worth it.
This is super helpful. Great to have an opinion on what models are stiff enough versus not. I've got 4E feet, too. The XC7 looks like a potential match.

Out of curiosity, did the 087 shoes fit similarly to the XC7? They just weren't stiff enough?
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Old 11-07-17, 10:35 AM
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I love my Lake M237s. The carbon sole is very stiff and they run fairly wide. Lake also sells the same shoe in a wide version.
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Old 11-07-17, 10:38 AM
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My son has a wide foot and Shimano's seem to be wider for a given length than other bike shoes sold locally here such as Pearl Izumi's which I have. I think he also has the xc70's and they apparently fit him very well.

Why are you wanting a stiffer shoe? That just makes you walk funnier. If you are competing, you might need the slight edge that better power transfer gives. But for fitness? However if you think your old shoes were so flexible that they were causing some pain issues while pedaling, then you've got a point there. But will you be mashing your pedals as hard on the road as you were when mountain biking off road?
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Old 11-07-17, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
My son has a wide foot and Shimano's seem to be wider for a given length than other bike shoes sold locally here such as Pearl Izumi's which I have. I think he also has the xc70's and they apparently fit him very well.

Why are you wanting a stiffer shoe? That just makes you walk funnier. If you are competing, you might need the slight edge that better power transfer gives. But for fitness? However if you think your old shoes were so flexible that they were causing some pain issues while pedaling, then you've got a point there. But will you be mashing your pedals as hard on the road as you were when mountain biking off road?
I think flexible shoes may be contributing to pain, especially on longer rides. But this is why I asked folks about how stiff a shoe was stiff enough for them to be comfortable, since I don't want to shell out $500 for a top end race shoe, but it's not clear to me where the line is if my $70 entry level shoe is not enough. I'm not too concerned about walking.

For what it's worth, my riding is strictly on-road. I want to stick with 2-bolt SPDs because I have them on several bikes and, from what I tell, having a reasonably stiff sole should give me most of the advantages of an SPD-SL system.
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Old 11-07-17, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Vanilla Ringer View Post
I love my Lake M237s. The carbon sole is very stiff and they run fairly wide. Lake also sells the same shoe in a wide version.
This shoe is on my radar, too. Have they been durable for you? I've heard some reports of them falling apart. Though I would think using them strictly for road riding would help keep any shoe in good condition.
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Old 11-07-17, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by sanmi View Post
I think flexible shoes may be contributing to pain, especially on longer rides. But this is why I asked folks about how stiff a shoe was stiff enough for them to be comfortable
The first suspicion you should have about pain on longer rides is your shoes not being big enough. Probably in width, which is what you already admit you are trying to solve. My feet swell a little after 40 miles. So for longer rides, I make sure I wear my thinnest socks.

I only use spd too. I've never felt my cheap Peal Izumi's were too flexible. But P I's tend to be narrow. I don't know of any bike shoe that is not stiff enough for the road, unless perhaps you are a masher. In which case I'd say learn to be a spinner.
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Old 11-07-17, 11:35 AM
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I have foot problems on and off the bike, mostly on the bike. I saw two podiatrists. The first said I should get bunion surgery, which I don't want to do. The second said to move my cleats back.

I have problems finding shoes that fit, so I will never buy shoes without trying them first, so I do not internet-order them. This is even more important with cycling shoes than with walking shoes.

I got a pair of Mavic shoes which were very stiff and seemed to be fantastic, but I soon lost them on the subway.

Then I got a pair of Specialized shoes, and they are working out great for me. They are very stiff. I wasn't even sure if I should lean towards less stiff or more stiff than what I was riding. It turns out that more stiff is better for me.

The shop mechanic installed my cleats for me with a special alignment tool. Before that, I had always installed my own cleats. I think this was a good move for me.
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Old 11-07-17, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by sanmi View Post
This shoe is on my radar, too. Have they been durable for you? I've heard some reports of them falling apart. Though I would think using them strictly for road riding would help keep any shoe in good condition.
I haven't had them long enough to comment on long-term durability. They appear to be very well made. Given the way I'm using them, road only, I imagine they'll last quite long.
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Old 11-07-17, 01:51 PM
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Sidi Dominator Mega.

They will last many years and stiffness will not be an issue.

Order through Performance or REI and have them shipped to the store. If they don't fit then walk to the register and return them.


-Tim-
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Old 11-07-17, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sanmi View Post
This is super helpful. Great to have an opinion on what models are stiff enough versus not. I've got 4E feet, too. The XC7 looks like a potential match.

Out of curiosity, did the 087 shoes fit similarly to the XC7? They just weren't stiff enough?
I found the R and M 087's slightly wider and a more comfortable fit then the XC7, when walking around. After 2 hrs. of riding, the XC7's feel fine though.

They were worth the money and I've NEVER purchased expensive shoes before.
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Old 11-07-17, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Sidi Dominator Mega.

They will last many years and stiffness will not be an issue.

Order through Performance or REI and have them shipped to the store. If they don't fit then walk to the register and return them.


-Tim-
Good place to start. Here's a little known trick with Sidi shoes - the soles come only in the full sizes (i.e. 43, 44, 45 etc...) but Sidi offers half sizes too(43.5, 44.5, 45.5 etc...). The difference is that the upper is fuller and a bit higher volume. So if a 44 seems tight, go to a 44.5 and you may find that it fits.

If you are using spd two hole cleats for a road shoe, there is no such thing as "too stiff" of a sole. SPD pedals have a typically smaller platform than do road pedals. Going to a stiff sole helps to negate some of the inherent disadvantage in spd.

A great pedal for the road that is set up for spd drilled shoes is the Speedplay Syzr. It's all metal to metal contact and doesn't depend on the tread of the shoe as do most spd pedals. This, with a stiff sole, ought to give you an almost road pedal connectedness to the bike.

I have a higher end Sidi road shoe with the dual boa-like lacing and I also have the mtb equivalent. These don't come in the mega last but I have a D to a slightly wider than D foot and these fit me fine. I recently bought a pair Giro Terraduros (walkable enduro mtb type shoe) for a bike tour I'm going to do this coming summer. They have a very stiff shank but are easily walkable (bendable in front of the ball of your foot). If you want walkable AND stiff, these are a good combination. They have a somewhat wider last (apparently) than the Giro standard mtb shoes plus I got them in the HV last (high volume) which gives more room. They fit my foot just fine and would fit a slightly wider than D foot too. Downside to the walkability is that they are a tad on the heavy side.

J.
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Old 11-08-17, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
If you are using spd two hole cleats for a road shoe, there is no such thing as "too stiff" of a sole. SPD pedals have a typically smaller platform than do road pedals. Going to a stiff sole helps to negate some of the inherent disadvantage in spd.
This was my assumption and is why I asked what shoe would be stiff enough. I'm not worried about ending up with something that is too stiff, rather I'm worried about not springing for something stiff enough so to give me that larger platform. At the same time, I'd prefer to avoid dropping $400+ on shoes, which seems pretty easy to do.

Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
I have a higher end Sidi road shoe with the dual boa-like lacing and I also have the mtb equivalent. These don't come in the mega last but I have a D to a slightly wider than D foot and these fit me fine. I recently bought a pair Giro Terraduros (walkable enduro mtb type shoe) for a bike tour I'm going to do this coming summer. They have a very stiff shank but are easily walkable (bendable in front of the ball of your foot). If you want walkable AND stiff, these are a good combination. They have a somewhat wider last (apparently) than the Giro standard mtb shoes plus I got them in the HV last (high volume) which gives more room. They fit my foot just fine and would fit a slightly wider than D foot too. Downside to the walkability is that they are a tad on the heavy side.
Interesting that the higher end Sidis don't come in mega. Unfortunately my feet are more like 4E so I don't think these options would work for me. Thanks for the suggestions! The speedplay pedals look good, too.
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Old 11-08-17, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by sanmi View Post
Interesting that the higher end Sidis don't come in mega. Unfortunately my feet are more like 4E so I don't think these options would work for me. Thanks for the suggestions! The speedplay pedals look good, too.
I have 3E feet with extra high arches and almost no shoe is wide enough or tall enough in the arch.

Side Dominator MTB shoes are the exact same product as their Genius road shoe but with some rubber lugs at the bottom so that one can walk. I own two pair of Genius Mega and they fit very well, not perfect but very good and I've gone beyond century distance with them.

The only other brand I know of with a truly wide last is Lake but I have not worn them. I've also not read the whole thread so there may be others but I would not hesitate to try on a pair of Dominator Mega if you have the chance.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 11-08-17 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 11-08-17, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I have problems finding shoes that fit, so I will never buy shoes without trying them first, so I do not internet-order them. This is even more important with cycling shoes than with walking shoes.
I have problems finding shoes that fit, too, so I internet order every size that might fit, keep what does, and return the rest. Best of all, I don't have to find time to get out to a store during the day that may or may not have all the sizes I want to try.
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Old 11-08-17, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by sanmi View Post
This was my assumption and is why I asked what shoe would be stiff enough. I'm not worried about ending up with something that is too stiff, rather I'm worried about not springing for something stiff enough so to give me that larger platform. At the same time, I'd prefer to avoid dropping $400+ on shoes, which seems pretty easy to do.



Interesting that the higher end Sidis don't come in mega. Unfortunately my feet are more like 4E so I don't think these options would work for me. Thanks for the suggestions! The speedplay pedals look good, too.
Yeah, I think that those are aimed at those who compete. They tend to be on the small side in the population.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I have 3E feet with extra high arches and almost no shoe is wide enough or tall enough in the arch.

Side Dominator MTB shoes are the exact same product as their Genius road shoe but with some rubber lugs at the bottom so that one can walk. I own two pair of Genius Mega and they fit very well, not perfect but very good and I've gone beyond century distance with them.

The only other brand I know of with a truly wide last is Lake but I have not worn them. I've also not read the whole thread so there may be others but I would not hesitate to try on a pair of Dominator Mega if you have the chance.


-Tim-
I lot of times, if a foot is wide but lacks structure, a good supportive insole can help support the foot and stop it from spreading wide. Also, often if the foot isn't anchored properly in the shoe by proper arch support, the foot will slide around and compress at the front or sides of the shoe giving the impression that it doesn't fit when it actually will. Virtually all cycling shoes come with an insole that can best be described as "garbage." I've always thought that they did that because they knew everyone should get a proper insole and they had no way of knowing what every's arches required.

At some point, though, wide is wide and you can't fit 5 gallons into a 3 gallon bucket. Which leaves custom shoes. While they are expensive - $500 and up, they do fit perfectly and you'd have them for years and years. That is really only two off the shelf pairs of shoes and one discarded because it didn't fit (how many times has that happened?). There are several sources of custom shoes. If your feet are that far down the distribution, it may be the only choice. In my view, if I couldn't find a workable off the shelf shoe, I'd go there for sure. Good cycling shoes enhance the ride significantly and, truthfully, with all I have in bicycles and bicycle accessories, while it would't be fun, it would make economic sense.

Note that I believe the half sizing trick with Sidi's also applies to Mega shoes. And it's good news the Sidi is starting to support Mega in more than just the Dominators/Genius shoes. I wore those for years and they are great shoes.
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Old 11-08-17, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
I have problems finding shoes that fit, too, so I internet order every size that might fit, keep what does, and return the rest. Best of all, I don't have to find time to get out to a store during the day that may or may not have all the sizes I want to try.
+1 time is money. Most stores near me just don't have enough inventory to warrant a visit.
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Old 11-08-17, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by sanmi View Post
the higher end Sidis don't come in mega.
I don't think that's correct. E.g., Sidi - cycling and motorcycling shoes and clothes
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Old 11-08-17, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by sanmi View Post
I've been riding cheap Pearl Izumi MTB shoes and M520 pedals exclusively for the last ~10,000 miles. When I chose this combination, I was commuting and generally doing a lot of urban riding. Most of my riding is now on the open road for fitness (daily rides of 10-30 miles and occasional 50-100+ weekend rides) with a fairly quick pace (16-18mph solo). My shoes were never wide enough. I sized up and got some decent inserts and they have been OK (clearly...given the 10K miles), but lately I've been wanting something wider and stiffer for longer, harder rides. Basically, I'm looking to improve both comfort and performance.

There are a fair number of wider 2-bolt shoes (mostly designed for XC racing) that seem like they would be sufficiently stiff for casual road riding. I've been looking mainly at offerings from Lake, Northwave, and Shimano in the $150-250 range.

My questions are 1 - which wide SPD shoes have you used and liked and 2 - how stiff a sole would you recommend to a reasonably strong riding using MTB pedals? For example, I'm looking at the Northwave Scorpius 2 Plus and the Extreme XC and wondering whether the added stiffness of the Extreme XC is worthwhile.

I know, I know... try before you buy. But here's the thing - most of the LBS around here just don't stock much inventory and I can't find enough options in my size to make an informed decision. I'll almost certainly order online, likely from Amazon where I can often find a deal with free returns and try a few options.

So let's hear it, what shoes do you like? Thanks!

Climb a steep hill segment ( 8~10% x >1 mile). You WILL appreciate a very stiff sole and road pedals.
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