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Gravel Bike Shoes and Cleats

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Gravel Bike Shoes and Cleats

Old 05-29-20, 06:41 AM
  #1  
blinky
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Gravel Bike Shoes and Cleats

Because of the "off road" possibilities , do the shoes tend to be chunky with recessed SPD cleats ?
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Old 05-29-20, 06:45 AM
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I don't know about chunky but most riders wear mtb shoes/cleats of some variety. Don't think I've ever seen anyone with road shoes/cleats but they may be out there.
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Old 05-29-20, 07:10 AM
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Yes, I wear mtb shoes and use SPD pedals/cleats. On my gravel ride last weekend, we came up on a bridge under construction. The gravel on either side was unrideable, deep and loose, so we walked. The workers were nice enough to let us cross the bridge even tho they had just laid a section of fresh concrete, we just had to carry our bikes and walk along the edge on a section that was prob less than a foot wide. Then we walked through the loose gravel uphill on the other side until we got to where we could ride again. I def would not want to do that on road shoes with SPD-SL cleats.

I wear Fizik X5 Terras, they work very well in a hike-a-bike scenario.

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Old 05-29-20, 08:50 AM
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For my gravel bike, I use Speedplay Frog pedals and cleats with waterproof Shimano mountain shoes. Very happy with them and they are comfortable to walk and ride in.
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Old 05-29-20, 09:37 AM
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I can't imagine using road shoes for my gravel rides. I dont walk often since I ride gravel roads, but the little I do walk would be super annoying in road shoes.
I just don't see a benefit.
SPD connection plus MTB shoe is plenty stiff and comfortable for me and is certainly not what is holding me back from being a faster rider.

There are some gravel specific shoes that don't have the front toe lugs. Thats an interesting design...and basically what my shoes are since I don't install the toe lugs.
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Old 05-29-20, 09:42 AM
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A lot of manufacturers have two-hole designs that mirror their 3-hole road shoes, but with a handful of lugs on the bottom, so they're not necessarily that much more chunky than road shoes.
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Old 05-29-20, 09:46 AM
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If you'll have your feet on the ground then get MTB shoes with SPD cleats.

Walking in road shoes is hard enough on solid and flat ground.
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Old 05-29-20, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I don't know about chunky but most riders wear mtb shoes/cleats of some variety. Don't think I've ever seen anyone with road shoes/cleats but they may be out there.
I do (because I have a pedal PM that eats road cleats) and I wouldn't recommend it. Not just walking, but road cleats get mud and pebbles and crap in them, and then don't want to let you clip in. I've set my foot down for whatever reason, then had to either go find a stick to clear it out, or stomp on a rock like a pissed off wild animal, until I can get the cleat into the pedal again.

On the other hand I used to use SPD pedals and cleats on a cross bike and then two road bikes after it. They work great. They're just as comfortable with good shoes. They're also easier to walk in, which you're more likely to do because some section of road is washed out or too deep gravel or whaterver.
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Old 05-29-20, 10:28 AM
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I can't remember being on a gravel race/ride that didn't require some hike-a-bike. Always ride with shoes/pedals that allow you to walk. There are now 'gravel shoes' - I think this is mostly marketing, but bought these PI shoes https://www.rei.com/product/157606/p...ike-shoes-mens I'm liking them a lot so far.
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Old 06-01-20, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Yes, I wear mtb shoes and use SPD pedals/cleats. On my gravel ride last weekend, we came up on a bridge under construction. The gravel on either side was unrideable, deep and loose, so we walked. The workers were nice enough to let us cross the bridge even tho they had just laid a section of fresh concrete, we just had to carry our bikes and walk along the edge on a section that was prob less than a foot wide. Then we walked through the loose gravel uphill on the other side until we got to where we could ride again. I def would not want to do that on road shoes with SPD-SL cleats.

I wear Fizik X5 Terras, they work very well in a hike-a-bike scenario.

Thanks for the response , those look very similar to ones I saw a few days ago being worn by a gravel biker - recessed SPD to make more room for a rugged sole for walking on rough roads >
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Old 06-01-20, 02:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies , trying to become more knowledgeable !!
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Old 06-02-20, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I can't imagine using road shoes for my gravel rides. I dont walk often since I ride gravel roads, but the little I do walk would be super annoying in road shoes.
I just don't see a benefit.
SPD connection plus MTB shoe is plenty stiff and comfortable for me and is certainly not what is holding me back from being a faster rider.

There are some gravel specific shoes that don't have the front toe lugs. Thats an interesting design...and basically what my shoes are since I don't install the toe lugs.
I asked my local shop owner about the difference between Gravel and MTB shoes. He said that the Gravel shoes, like a road shoe will have a super stiff sole from toe to heel. The MTB shoe soles are only rigid close to the cleat mounting position. I walked over and tried bending the sole of the most expensive Shimano shoe he had in both categories and found that to be true.
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Old 06-02-20, 02:35 PM
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If you get a high end cross-country MTB shoe, they are just as stiff as a road shoe. I use Fizik X1 Infinitos for my gravel bike and they are every bit as stiff as my Giro Empire’s that I use on my road bike. They’re so good/stiff that I have thought many times about going exclusively to spd for both road and gravel.
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Old 06-03-20, 05:15 AM
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Dromarti shoes are quite stylish for a SPD touring shoe.


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Old 06-03-20, 05:17 AM
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I rock XC701's on all my bikes. They're positively sublime

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Old 06-03-20, 05:49 AM
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Way on the other end is SPD sandals. Good off the bike and they drain and dry quick. Wear what you think you need to balance efficiency on and off the bike for the weather and conditions you are in. Always a trade off.


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Old 06-03-20, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by blinky View Post
Thanks for the response , those look very similar to ones I saw a few days ago being worn by a gravel biker - recessed SPD to make more room for a rugged sole for walking on rough roads >
I also have SPD pedals on my road bike, and use "gravel" shoes on that bike, also from Fizik, TerraStrap X4s. They have a nice walkable sole that is less aggressive than their MTB shoes. Having been in some mud on the gravel bike, I'd rather have the MTB lugs offroad. If you were only doing dry gravel, these would work well, and are still stiff and fast.

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Old 06-03-20, 07:27 AM
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Road shoes are chunky. MTB shoes are normal.
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Old 06-03-20, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
Road shoes are chunky. MTB shoes are normal.
What world do you live in? The cleat may be chunky but the shoe isn't.
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Old 06-03-20, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
What world do you live in? The cleat may be chunky but the shoe isn't.
Any chunky is chunky. I'll challenge you to a foot race (or simply walking) and we'll see who's chunky. Here's mine:
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Old 06-03-20, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
If you get a high end cross-country MTB shoe, they are just as stiff as a road shoe. I use Fizik X1 Infinitos for my gravel bike and they are every bit as stiff as my Giro Empire’s that I use on my road bike. They’re so good/stiff that I have thought many times about going exclusively to spd for both road and gravel.
This! XC racing shoes that have a carbon sole are as stiff as road shoes. In fact, for some brands such as Lake they have the same model number for road and MTB (ie CX237 vs MX237), the only difference being that the MTB version has 2 bolts and rubber lugs on top of the carbon sole. This year I went with this setup on my road and gravel bike and the only thing I'm wondering is why I didn't do it earlier. I don't miss a thing from my road shoes\pedals.
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