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Cycling shoes and pedals


Laura
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Don't laugh but I'm still really hesitant to give up my toe cages in favor of clip-ins. I have some long rides coming up, though, and want to increase my efficiency. What are your favorite (non-leather, of course) cycling shoes and pedals?

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I like Shimano shoes:) They suit a wide foot well or you can typically go down a size if you have a narrow foot. Also you can't even get a Shimano road shoe with leather in it. A few of their spin shoes have leather and maybe one mountain shoe but their road shoes are great. Plus they are the stiffest shoe you can buy(bike buyers mag rated them the stiffest shoe). I say go with the SH-RO85W. Its only $90-100 and its a great shoe. Its not super stiff like their carbon shoe so it'll be really nice on long rides...stiff but not super stiff. I train in an older model of the shoe and love it(I race with a carbon shoe). I have 40,000 miles on the shoe and I'm only now considering replacing it but only because I can get them for very little money. Being in Texas...I highly recommend these. Nothing beats a Shimano shoe when it comes to ventilation. They even have a hole in the bottom that I need to cover in the spring and fall because they vent so well.

 

If you have a narrow foot look at the Sidi Dominator 5 Women's shoe. People that fit well in Sidis swear by them. They don't fit me so I can't vouch for that but you can't deny the cult status of the shoe. It won't be quite as stiff as the Shimano but if its comfy for you go for it. Problem is...you get the Italian surcharge...everything from Italy is more expensive so this shoe is basically the same level as the Shimano for more than double the price. They also don't make many shoes with leather...especially not on the lower end(although their low end is very expensive). They're made with Lorica Leather(a synthetic). One thing to not...Sidi shoes have damn near no ventilation. This would kill me but I don't hear too many people complaining about it...but I'm also not in Texas.

 

When it comes to pedals I'm a bike Time fan...the time RXS would be a good beginner pedal for you. I love the fact that they don't seem to change their cleat...only the pedal. Look pedals are great but if they change the pedal in a year or two you may not be able to use old cleats(this if you have a few bikes you'll need to replace all your old pedals or buy used ones for new bikes). Both are pretty adjustable. Shimano Dura Ace/Ultegra pedals are great for the money...not the lightest pedal but very stable. If you have knee problems go with Speedplay Light Action pedals...they allow your foot to rotate naturally which is good for people with ankle/knee/hip troubles.

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I'm not laughing. Sometimes I still wished I had my regular pedals.

But the riding is smoother when you have a nice pair of pedals and road shoes.

Right now I have Specialized they're not all that great, I have problems with my foot falling asleep. And my pedals are SPD SL Shimano 105.

My next shoe is going to be Shimano. A friend told me that they can melt the shoe to your foot. Very cool and the cost is less then what I paid for my other pair.

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They do have a moldable shoe...I'd try on one of the regular ones first though. The moldable ones are a bit pricer. More than anything it molds the sides...the footbed doesn't change much so I'd make sure that works out first. For me...the standard Shimano footbed couldn't fit any better so I'm not gonna need to get the high end ones.

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I bought a pair of Specializaed non-leather mtb shoes years ago and they have served me very well - including 3 24-hour relay races. I hope they are still making the quality shoes they used to. If the pair I have ever finally wears out I will buy some new ones.

 

I have always bought cheap pedals - Performance and Nashbar brand mtb pedals. I have been happy with them but I am not very picky about how easy it is to click in and out. The Performance brand pedals on my main bike took some getting used to, but now clicking in and out is second nature. I am happy as long as they are inexpensive and they don't break.

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Specialized still does make a good shoe but if it doesn't fit your foot bed it doesn't fit your foot bed. I love Shimanos and Nike's and Diadoras(most flexy inefficient shoe on the market but it is comfy for me) are the only others I've tried that fit well...the rest don't but I get a lot of customers that can't wear Shimanos...its a very personal thing.

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Thanks VP, Tasha and Idahovegan. I rode with my toe cages again tonight but am getting closer to buying the clipless pedals. I personally don't mind the toe cages but people keep telling me that clipless is the way to go . . . is there really a big difference, in your opinion? And how often did you fall when you first started clipping in?

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Thanks VP, Tasha and Idahovegan. I rode with my toe cages again tonight but am getting closer to buying the clipless pedals. I personally don't mind the toe cages but people keep telling me that clipless is the way to go . . . is there really a big difference, in your opinion? And how often did you fall when you first started clipping in?

 

I was just telling Potter this story/ies I fall down the first time I got my pedals. It was really hard to clip in and out. And I just realize when I was in CA a month ago. Marty adjusted my pedals so it would loosen a bit. So over a year of not knowing that my pedals could be loosen I had to strugle clipping in and out of pedals. Now it seens like it's nothing.

Anyways the first day when I was riding with my new pedals, I was approaching a cross walk and these ppl were crossing. I knew to stop but I couldn't clip out. So big L on my forehead. I fell in slow motion in the grass. Potter said it was because I'm like a leaf falling from the tree of being so light.

A good way to practice, is I practiced indoors on clipping in and out of my pedals. I just put my bike on my trainer and practice while watching tv or reading. If you don't have a trainer, just put your bike against the wall or door way to hold on so you don't loose your balance.

I do have some extra pedals you can have, you just have to buy the right cleats for them.

Have fun Laura you'll like clip pedals a lot better You find you will have a more efficient pedal stroke, and you will find that you'll be using your lower body more and not so much stress your upper body. That's what I found anyways

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Figured this would be a good place to post this. I have Northwave cycling shoes for my click ins and The pegs are all worn out from walking on them. I emailed Northwave and asked how I could go about getting replacements and got no response. 2 weeks later (today), I just got a package in the mail from them witgh replacement pegs and they didn't even ask for a dime; how cool is that? Go Northwave!!!

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Cycling shoes make all the difference in the world. At least 1mph on average for short rides of an hour or less and probably more like 2mph for longer rides...that translates to a lot of extra time in the saddle compared to the rest of the people in your group. No sense in waiting.

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Clipless pedals/shoes are one of the best things--hands down--you can do to improve the quality of your ride, once you get used to them. I always equate moving to clipless as like going from a dialup modem to DSL or Cable Modem. You'll never go back. The power increase you experience and overall comfort (assuming you get the right shoes for you and your position on the bike is good) are 100 times better than clipons and any other shoe.

 

I ride Sidi shoes right now (mens, of course) but I don't remember the model. All synthetic, though. Paid a lot of money for them but they fit the best and I've had over two years of great riding in them.

 

I prefer the Look-style pedals rather than SPD, speedplay, or other types because I've found they hold my shoe better and psychologically it feels more secure.

 

You gotta make the leap into clipless. It's night and day. If anyone says otherwise they never tried clipless.

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My local bike shop is in the process of ordering me a pair of Sidi Zetas, but I'm not sure they are going to fit...I wish they could sell you two different sizes based on left and right foot size difference (I guess that's where the idea of moldable shoes come in). I did try a pair of Sidi Genius 5s and those were ridiculously comfortable and had a great sole. I loved the SL buckle strap at the top, but it's not ideal for triathlons. : (

 

Anybody riding Look KEO pedals? I want to upgrade from my shoddy, stock Wellgo RC-713s.

 

Sorry Laura, not trying to hijack your thread! : )

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You'll fit well in the Zeta's if you liked the Genius line...the inner footbed is the same. As for the different shoe size thing the mold only helps so much. If you're feet are different by more than 1/2 size you really should buy two shoes(its not cheap but its the best thing for you). Just like different leg lengths. If you have a leg more than 1.5cm longer than the other you should have a different length crank on each side. When it comes to buckles and tri shoes...tri shoes are only advantageous to sprint triathlon competitors. If the bike leg of your race is 40k or longer you actually lose the time advantage of having one strap compared to three.

 

Look Keo Pedals are great pedals. I don't ride them but everyone at my shop does. Pretty much all major clip in companies make a good pedal these days. Time, Shimano, Look, Campy, Speedplay...all have good characteristics. They're just different...none are really better than the other. The only obvious differences up front are that some are lighter than others...and if you have bad knee issues....Speedplay is the best pedal for you. If you don't have knee problems and don't care about a few grams of weight...I'd shop by appearance and you're budget. Bang for the buck...you can get the best Shimano Pedal for $200...the best Look and Time pedals are both over $400.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally went clipless and it's great. Three long rides and at least so far I haven't forgotten to unclip when stopping. A couple of close calls, though, lol. I went with Shimano mtn bike shoes and Time Atacs (I wanted to be able to wear the same shoes on my road and mtn bikes). Thanks everyone for all your advice and encouragement. I can't believe I stayed in those toe cages so long; clipless is so much better.

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Nice to know your riding clip less while mountain biking too. I suggest keeping things as they are for a few months but you should eventually give road pedals/shoes a try...much more efficient and a more stable pedal platform.

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  • 2 months later...
Specialized still does make a good shoe but if it doesn't fit your foot bed it doesn't fit your foot bed. I love Shimanos and Nike's and Diadoras(most flexy inefficient shoe on the market but it is comfy for me) are the only others I've tried that fit well...the rest don't but I get a lot of customers that can't wear Shimanos...its a very personal thing.

 

I'm looking for cycling shoes and clip-in pedals, not only for efficiency but even more so because riding in tennis shoes with toe-clip pedals is killing my feet once I pass about 15 miles. I'm trying to stay under $100 for the shoes and I'd like to stay well under $200 for shoes and pedals combined.

 

I tried on a pair of Specialized shoes the other day and they seemed to fit well. HOWEVER, according to their website the upper contains leather, so they're out. I'd like a pair, vegan of course, that aren't a pain in the ass to walk in. Both of the folks I've talked to at local bike shops recommended that I get mountain bike shoes and pedals. The Specialized ones I looked at were identical in construction to their low-end road shoes other than the bottom, so they would have been well-suited except for the leather issue. Recommendations, anyone? And what should I do if there aren't any vegan shoes locally? I don't want to buy something online and then find out they don't fit!

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I like Shimano shoes:) They suit a wide foot well or you can typically go down a size if you have a narrow foot. Also you can't even get a Shimano road shoe with leather in it. A few of their spin shoes have leather and maybe one mountain shoe but their road shoes are great. Plus they are the stiffest shoe you can buy(bike buyers mag rated them the stiffest shoe). I say go with the SH-RO85W. Its only $90-100 and its a great shoe. Its not super stiff like their carbon shoe so it'll be really nice on long rides...stiff but not super stiff.

 

Are they okay to walk in when you're off the bike?

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Are they okay to walk in when you're off the bike?

 

Some, like the Shimano SPD system, offer shoes with thick soles that have the cleat recessed - so you can walk in them more or less normally (they're still stiff-soled so don't expect to be hiking in them!). These shoes are a lot heavier than a dedicated road shoe, but for shorter distance commuting, using your bike to go to the grocery store, etc, they can be really useful.

 

My tri bike came with LOOK pedals so that's what I've always used, and I love them, but there have been times when I wish I had the option of throwing on a pair of recessed-cleat shoes.

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Are they okay to walk in when you're off the bike?

 

Some, like the Shimano SPD system, offer shoes with thick soles that have the cleat recessed - so you can walk in them more or less normally (they're still stiff-soled so don't expect to be hiking in them!). These shoes are a lot heavier than a dedicated road shoe, but for shorter distance commuting, using your bike to go to the grocery store, etc, they can be really useful.

 

My tri bike came with LOOK pedals so that's what I've always used, and I love them, but there have been times when I wish I had the option of throwing on a pair of recessed-cleat shoes.

 

Are they enough heavier that it would really affect performance that much on a long ride? If so, maybe I'll just get road shoes and throw a pair of tennis shoes in my backpack when I'm running errands.

 

What about comfort? Would the weight of the shoe factor into that on a long ride, or does that pretty much not matter?

 

Also, I'm wondering about sizing. I wear a 9 1/2 running shoe, and it looks like the size 43s are comparable to a US 9 and the 44s are comparable to a 10. I've heard from some folks at cycling shops that I should go a little smaller than a regular shoe, but others have said I might even want to go a little larger than my usual shoes, so there's no chance of my feet falling asleep (as tended to happen when I cycled a lot many years back and my shoes were half a size small). As long as I can make the size 44s snug enough that my foot doesn't slide around, that's what I think I should get, and the size 44s I've tried on locally seem to be fine as far as that goes. However, nobody has Shimanos locally, so I'm wondering if they run any bigger or smaller than anyone else's. Sorry, I have lots and lots of questions!

 

Jeff

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I like Shimano shoes:) They suit a wide foot well or you can typically go down a size if you have a narrow foot. Also you can't even get a Shimano road shoe with leather in it. A few of their spin shoes have leather and maybe one mountain shoe but their road shoes are great. Plus they are the stiffest shoe you can buy(bike buyers mag rated them the stiffest shoe). I say go with the SH-RO85W. Its only $90-100 and its a great shoe. Its not super stiff like their carbon shoe so it'll be really nice on long rides...stiff but not super stiff.

 

Are they okay to walk in when you're off the bike?

 

 

Usually MTB shoes allow you to walk around freely without messing up the cleats.

I have Crank Brothers Candy pedals and I couldn't be happier. I ride fixed, and the power difference is extremely noticeable. I will never go back. Climbing sucks with my ratio on a fixed, first day out with my new pedals and it was a good 20% easier to climb up hills.

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Are they okay to walk in when you're off the bike?

 

Usually MTB shoes allow you to walk around freely without messing up the cleats.

I have Crank Brothers Candy pedals and I couldn't be happier. I ride fixed, and the power difference is extremely noticeable. I will never go back. Climbing sucks with my ratio on a fixed, first day out with my new pedals and it was a good 20% easier to climb up hills.

 

I'm not sure I follow you. Sorry, I've been an off and on biker so some of the terminology is not familiar to me. Fixed what? Gear ratio? Are you climbing hills on a track bike? The power difference in what is noticeable? Your new pedals vs. your old ones, or road bike shoes vs. mountain bike shoes?

 

How far would you have to walk in road shoes to mess up the cleats?

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not sure I follow you. Sorry, I've been an off and on biker so some of the terminology is not familiar to me. Fixed what? Gear ratio? Are you climbing hills on a track bike? The power difference in what is noticeable? Your new pedals vs. your old ones, or road bike shoes vs. mountain bike shoes?

 

How far would you have to walk in road shoes to mess up the cleats?

 

Yeah, he's talking about a "fixie", a fixed-gear bike. And he meant that, with clipless pedals, he noticed how much extra power he gets (everyone should - it makes a significant difference).

 

For my LOOK cleats, they just gradually wear down from engaging/disengaging and walking. The more walking you do on hard surfaces, the sooner they wear down and need replacing. SPDs are much smaller, but it's still essentially impossible to walk around normally in road bike shoes, hehe.

 

MTB shoes (mountain bike shoes, the kind commonly available with recessed cleats) vary in their weight, as do road shoes, but equivalent price-point MTB and road shoes would be very different weights. You can look up any online bike store and look at prices and weights of their various shoes. If you're planning long road rides, you might find that the extra weight on your feet makes it a bit tougher. But realize that there are lots of "weight weenies" as they call them in the biking world! If you don't care about riding a steel vs. aluminum vs. carbon fiber framed bike, then don't worry about the weight of the shoes. People on bike forums often get obsessed about decreasing the weight of their bikes. For commuting, I use a really old but trusty Bianchi that looks quite awful (I like to think it's a theft deterrent ). It's a steel framed bike, heavy enough that I wouldn't care if I was using MTB or road shoes with it because they won't make that much of a difference anyway with such a heavy bike. For training and racing, I have a Softride TT Classic, which is a speed demon and MTB shoes would proportionally make a bigger difference.

 

The point is - if you're not worried about minimizing the weight of your bike (and you're using it for commuting/fun as opposed to racing), don't buy into the weight hype about shoes. If being able to walk around normally, go into a store, etc, is something you value when biking, then absolutely go for it. Dedicated road shoes would only be worth it if you're really going for speed, getting a nice lightweight bike, doing big climbs and long distances, etc.

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MTB shoes (mountain bike shoes, the kind commonly available with recessed cleats) vary in their weight, as do road shoes, but equivalent price-point MTB and road shoes would be very different weights. You can look up any online bike store and look at prices and weights of their various shoes. If you're planning long road rides, you might find that the extra weight on your feet makes it a bit tougher. But realize that there are lots of "weight weenies" as they call them in the biking world! If you don't care about riding a steel vs. aluminum vs. carbon fiber framed bike, then don't worry about the weight of the shoes. People on bike forums often get obsessed about decreasing the weight of their bikes. For commuting, I use a really old but trusty Bianchi that looks quite awful (I like to think it's a theft deterrent ). It's a steel framed bike, heavy enough that I wouldn't care if I was using MTB or road shoes with it because they won't make that much of a difference anyway with such a heavy bike. For training and racing, I have a Softride TT Classic, which is a speed demon and MTB shoes would proportionally make a bigger difference.

 

The point is - if you're not worried about minimizing the weight of your bike (and you're using it for commuting/fun as opposed to racing), don't buy into the weight hype about shoes. If being able to walk around normally, go into a store, etc, is something you value when biking, then absolutely go for it. Dedicated road shoes would only be worth it if you're really going for speed, getting a nice lightweight bike, doing big climbs and long distances, etc.

 

Thanks, that helps a lot. I have an aluminum bike--I don't think you can even get a steel-framed road bike any more, can you?--so my guess is that the difference in shoe weights is nowhere near the difference it makes that I have a reasonably lightweight frame. And of course the 30 pounds of body fat I'd like to get rid of weighs more than both put together, so I would assume losing that is more important as far as handling big climbs and long distances than going for the lightest shoe--or getting a carbon frame, if I really felt like dropping another thousand bucks.

 

I typically ride 25-30 miles, although I've done as much as 50 (a few years ago) and I'll certainly be looking to do longer rides again now that I'm back into biking again. I've been roughing it with toe clips and tennis shoes while I look at cycling shoes. My feet are killing me any time I get over about 15 miles!

 

Jeff

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Thanks, that helps a lot. I have an aluminum bike--I don't think you can even get a steel-framed road bike any more, can you?--so my guess is that the difference in shoe weights is nowhere near the difference it makes that I have a reasonably lightweight frame. And of course the 30 pounds of body fat I'd like to get rid of weighs more than both put together, so I would assume losing that is more important as far as handling big climbs and long distances than going for the lightest shoe--or getting a carbon frame, if I really felt like dropping another thousand bucks.

 

I typically ride 25-30 miles, although I've done as much as 50 (a few years ago) and I'll certainly be looking to do longer rides again now that I'm back into biking again. I've been roughing it with toe clips and tennis shoes while I look at cycling shoes. My feet are killing me any time I get over about 15 miles!

 

Jeff

 

Glad to help!

 

And no, you can't get a steel-framed bike new. I just traded in my old mountain bike for my bianchi, because I needed something for commuting that I wouldn't be paranoid about getting stolen.

 

You're right though - 30 lbs of extra body fat is certainly more than a few extra hundred grams on your feet. Some people will argue that shoe and pedal weight are rotational mass, and therefore contribute more proportionally, but still - just call them weight weenies and move on . A lot of people get caught up in the hype and marketing revolving around professional racing. When every second counts, every gram counts. When you're cycling as part of your lifestyle, I'd say the convenience of recessed cleats is worth every gram of weight. I'm considering getting a pair of SPD pedals and MTB shoes for my commuting bike, but I've been procrastinating because it's cheaper to just keep using my same LOOK shoes that I use for my tri bike. But for those times when I want to run down to the grocery store for the 1-2 items I forgot, I really wish I had that convenience.

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