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  1. #1
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    Best-pedaling flat shoes: what's your fave?

    I love riding flat pedals for XC/AM-type riding (i.e. long days with long climbs) but I don't love my shoes.

    I've been riding 5.10 Freeriders, which are plenty sticky but seem built for....Freeride. Shocking given the name! They're pretty heavy and quite bulky in both toe and heel, and have pretty flexy soles. Great for protection and pedal feel on the down, but not ideal for power transfer on the up.

    So, anyone got a recommendation for a more pedal/climbing friendly flat shoe? I'd love something with a snugger fit through heel and arch, lighter weight, and somewhat stiffer sole.

  2. #2
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    I recently picked up a pair of Shimano AM41s and love them. They are not as bulky as my 5.10's and seem to have a snugger fit for the shape of my feet.

  3. #3
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    I ride Teva Pinner 2s and they are real nice. Nothing to really compare them too, but I can say the sole is very firm. Good power transfer. I really don't feel like I lost any climbing power after having made the switch from clipless to these a few weeks ago...

  4. #4
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    I'd be interested in some alternate recommendations, as well, on a good AM flat shoe. I went from Van's Wylie to 5.10 freerider VXi recently. I prefer the grip of the freerider, but hate the fit. 12s were too short and the 13s seem a bit too long. Stiffer than the Van's, which I like. I'd be curious to hear more about people's experience with Teva.

  5. #5
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    I'm also interested in the Teva Links as flats. I have the Teva Pivot SPD-compatible shoes and really like them for the most part. These are flat-style shoes (sticky rubber soles) but with SPD attachments. They're very comfy, pretty snug around the heel and arch but with a roomy toe box. Great for hike-a-bike, comfy for all-day rides, stiff enough for good pedaling efficiency but still walkable.

    What I DON'T like about them (and why I'm looking for some good-pedaling flats) is that they really lock into the pedals and can be hard to unclip. I've been running them with CB Mallets, and even with the traction pins dialed down and appropriate spacers under the cleats, I sometimes just can't clip out. This has led to a couple of embarrassing faceplants--and I've been riding clipless for years, so it's not that I don't know what I'm doing. I think this difficulty is due to 2 things: 1) sticky rubber soles obviously create friction, making it hard to unclip, and 2) Fatter toe box compared to racier shoes can hit the crank arm as you try to twist out, if your foot is behind the BB in the pedal stroke.

    Anyway, if I could find something with similar fit & stiffness but without the SPD attachment to use with flats, that'd be ideal!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    I'm also interested in the Teva Links as flats.
    Pretty sure I read somewhere that Teva is not making the Links any more, so if you find some get them... I got some a few weeks back, was a toss up between them and 5.10 Impacts, whichever became available at a good price first... I like them - but they're not particularly stiff soled in my opinion... they feel just like a normal skate shoe to me..

  7. #7
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    i bought a pair of teva links last year, and they still seem to be holding up well. a few observations (i rode SPD's for 15+ years, then switched to flats 3 years ago):

    -the teva's seemed grippier than the 661 filter's i had before (on deity decoy pedals), but not as grippier as the 510s i've tried; for me this worked out, because i can still easily reposition my feet on the pedals
    -the teva sole is not as stiff as the 661 filter (the filter is designed to work w/ a cleat), but seems stiff enough for pedalling; i can do 4 to 5 hour xc rides w/ no issue
    -durability wise, the teva's are much better than the 661 shoes i had, which basically fell apart after 2 years


    hope that helps
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowSD View Post
    I recently picked up a pair of Shimano AM41s and love them. They are not as bulky as my 5.10's and seem to have a snugger fit for the shape of my feet.
    Too bad I've had much better grip with regular old Vans waffle soles than those joints. My brother and I had the AM41s this last season and sold them within a week. Bulky, hot, worse grip than Vans, and the soles started getting shredded within a week too. Sold them with missing chunks of rubber.

    Also tried the new fancy 5.10 Freerider VXi but those were almost too stiff, heavy, and quite expensive for a shoe that looked no different in quality/fit/overall impression from a Walmart skate sneaker.

    To sum it up, he's back to riding with Vans Old Skool high tops and I'm clipess. Could not be happier.
    Last edited by eurospek; 12-04-2013 at 11:05 AM.

  9. #9
    two wheel whore
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    I use Freeriders with Spank Spikes on my ht - great for 2-3 hrs. Need stiffer soles for longer rides.
    On my fs, I use Mallet DH with 510 Hellcats. Pretty new to this set up, but the soles are definitely stiffer. I have the pins all the way in, still pretty hard to get out. Lookin to cut some rubber. I, too, ate **** twice on my first ride, unable to clip out. Been on spd and xc shoes for years.
    Anyways these are definitely stiff enough for the longer rides.

    The sleeper in my closet were my Salomon XA Goretex shoes with my flats. These have an extremely stiff mid section, so much so that it took me almost 3 weeks to break them in. Almost returned them until they finally broke in. Anyways, had to use them on a day it was snow/sleeting, and they did great. Definitely less grip than the 510s.

  10. #10
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    I've been using Sombrio Shazam's for over a year with excellent results. Sole is stiff enough for pedaling power with no pin damage. They're not bulky & they're lightweight. I've never used 5.10's so cannot compare grip but they're more grippy than Vans Gravel shoes.

    If I were looking for another pair of riding shoes, I'd go with Sombrio again.

  11. #11
    LCW
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    Best-pedaling flat shoes: what's your fave?

    5-10 Impacts. I have the Sam Hill versions. Love em!
    2011 Yeti 575 - 2015 Fox Float 36 RC2 160 / Fox Float X - 30.6 lbs

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowSD View Post
    I recently picked up a pair of Shimano AM41s and love them. They are not as bulky as my 5.10's and seem to have a snugger fit for the shape of my feet.
    +1 for Shimano AM41s

    I use them all the time, couldn't be more satisfied with them.

  13. #13
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    Emerica G6... Its a skate shoe that is unbelievable for riding.

    Emerica The Herman G6 Black/Black/Orange - 6pm.com

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    I'd love something with a snugger fit through heel and arch, lighter weight, and somewhat stiffer sole.
    Quote Originally Posted by bitewerks View Post
    I've been using Sombrio Shazam's for over a year with excellent results. Sole is stiff enough for pedaling power with no pin damage. They're not bulky & they're lightweight.

    ^This. I own both Freeriders and Impacts, and spent the last year on Sombrio Loams. Freeriders are too soft and sneaker-y. Impacts, although they have great grip and a firm sole, are big, clunky, hot, and the mouth seems to vacuum every gram of dirt that gets kicked up. The Sombrios, however, are fairly slim, fit well, and are comfortable enough that I don't have to kick them off the minute I finish an all-day ride. I'd rate the sole stiffness as a little softer than the Impacts, but not by a huge amount.
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  15. #15
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    I have been on the Teva Links mid! i love them i am on my second pair i really hope they don't stop making them. they are a great all around riding shoes nice and airy lots of grip on the pedals but, able to dab without a problem. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

  16. #16
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    I've run freeriders, links, sam hills, and now Shimano am41s. I ride flats exclusively. The am41 ride really nice. I run a superfoot grey wool insole (so so awesome) and I don't have any issues with foot numbness or anything on 50+ mile gravel rides on the road bike.

    For straight pedalling efficiency, they get my vote.

    That said, grip is for sure a notch below 5.10s

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    ^This. I own both Freeriders and Impacts, and spent the last year on Sombrio Loams. Freeriders are too soft and sneaker-y. Impacts, although they have great grip and a firm sole, are big, clunky, hot, and the mouth seems to vacuum every gram of dirt that gets kicked up. The Sombrios, however, are fairly slim, fit well, and are comfortable enough that I don't have to kick them off the minute I finish an all-day ride. I'd rate the sole stiffness as a little softer than the Impacts, but not by a huge amount.
    I too use 5.10 Impacts and have been riding the Sombrio Loam for 1.5 years. The Loams are more comfortable with slightly less grip which is fine with me.
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  18. #18
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    The new 5.10 Freeriders VXis are on point. Light(ish), slim, stiff. I have heard nothing but bad things regarding the AM41s in terms on durability and grip.

  19. #19
    bikeaholic
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCW View Post
    5-10 Impacts. I have the Sam Hill versions. Love em!
    This. Best trail shoes ever, I even hike in mine.

  20. #20
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    Ive been wearing a pair of Nike Dual Fusion shoes for 3 years now and they are the BEST!

    Best-pedaling flat shoes: what's your fave?-nike-dual-fusion-st-fashion-men-shoes-407853-006-478-0.jpg

    They work great because:

    They are light, so you don't even know they're on your feet. So when you have to get off and walk the bike, you could do so or, if you want to get off the trail and walk into the woods they are much better than the heavy flat skateboarding or biking shoes. They are also flexible enabling you to walk in them for longer hikes.

    They are made of mesh so they breathe really good on those long hot summer rides. This is a major bonus for me because when its 80 plus degrees outside and you gotta climb to the top and you're sweating like a dog, the mesh breathes and keeps your feet dry and cool. And during the winter, just wear a thicker pair of socks.

    The waffle grip on the bottom just sticks like no other to the platforms that I use, I have never slipped off of my platforms while wearing this shoe. The other great thing about this grip is that if you have to get off your bike to push the bike up a steep part, these shoes just grip. Or if you want to get off and hang out with friends or hike back into the woods, they grip on everything. I've used this same pair of shoes on a 50 mile hike. Can't do that with any skateboarding or biking shoe.

    I've used this pair in countless super d and two cross country races in the past 3 years and won many of them, the shoe doesn't make the rider, but surely can help.

    They may not be the most protective shoe, but I've hit my feet up against rocks quite a few times and sometimes it hurts my toes but it's no biggie.

    I use to wear heavy skateboarding shoes but they were horrible on long rides through the mountains where I would have to get off and walk sometimes, and once I did, I would be slipping on the trail because the grip is not designed for walking on dirt. They're heavy and your feet also just sweat a lot because they don't breathe like the mesh nikes.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pointerDixie214 View Post
    I ride Teva Pinner 2s and they are real nice. Nothing to really compare them too, but I can say the sole is very firm. Good power transfer. I really don't feel like I lost any climbing power after having made the switch from clipless to these a few weeks ago...
    I just bought some teva pinners (not sure if v1 or v2). I like everything about them (protection, sole stiffness, fit & feel) except for the deal breaker: not grippy enough.

    Got em on a deal and now Im actually planning on sending them to be resoled with 5.10 stealth even though they're only a few weeks old...and just FYI, even on closeout this is not cost effective unless you can do a quality resole yourself. $45 for the shoes on sale then $55 plus shipping 2 ways for resole = shoulda just bought more 5.10s

    however, the reason I tried out the tevas is because I have noticed a big decrease in quality materials/durability in 5.10s....happened a few yrs ago. if you notice older models of freeriders were made with a different leather and material than the new ones

    I wear through these 5.10s faster than I wear through a nice set of maxxis or specialized tires, and that cost adds up fast! But after trying something else and getting burned I dont feel like I have much of a choice.

  22. #22
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    Chuck Taylors

  23. #23
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    I have the Teva Links Mids and I absolutely love them. I went with the mids because I seem to have an issue with cracking my ankle bone against the crank arm a lot, doesn't happen with the Links. As mentioned Teva is going to stop making MTB shoes but production will go until some point this spring, so grab a couple pairs if you can. They can run just a bit narrow in the toe box but it's never been enough to bug me once I start riding. It's really a shame Teva is killing their MTB line, I personally thought their shoes were much better than the competition.

  24. #24
    The White Jeff W
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    Quote Originally Posted by camarosam View Post
    Ive been wearing a pair of Nike Dual Fusion shoes for 3 years now and they are the BEST!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have the same shoes. I also like them for riding with my Spank Spikes. Lately Ive been wearing them to work (Im on my feet for most of my 13 hr shift) and they're the most comfortable shoes Ive worn in a long time.
    No moss...

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