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  1. #1
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    Flat shoes for endurance riding

    Hi All, I have recently started doing a lot of endurance riding (I consider that >4hr rides) and I ride flats (yeah yeah get over it) and a singlespeed (I'm a simple man what can I say).

    I have been rocking some Evolv brand approach shoes and they've been great for AM and DH riding. But on these longer rides, my left foot (front foot) is starting to get eerily close to cramping on the outside middle of the foot, after 3hrs or so. I am thinking this is because my shoes are not cycling specific and do not have very stiff soles. If I sit and pedal, it feels better. But I ride singlespeed, so this is rare.

    So anyway, the quest for new shoes is on. I've done a ton of research, but it seems the only stiff-soled options are heavy hot and bulky (5.10 impact). I live in NC, so the cooler the shoe, the better.

    Anyone have good experience with other shoes? I've read a lot of folks say the lighter 5.10 options (Baron, Freerider, etc) lack the sole-stiffness, which worries me that it will not solve my problem. How about the Teva Links for endurance rides?

    THANKS!

  2. #2
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    check out the 5Ten Raven or Hell Cat. They are both built on the Freerider last, but have shanks for SPD. No you do not need to use SPD pedals as the mounting area is under rubber until you tear it off. The Raven has a nylon shank the Hell cat has a steel shank. I run the Hell Cat on my flats.
    The Tevas are just as soft as the Freeriders.
    you can get passed a dog... nobody fuks with a lion

  3. #3
    Clyde on a mission!
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    I got the Specialized Tahoe a week ago and it has similar sole stiffness to my 5-10 impacts while being a lot less clunky.

  4. #4
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    I have the 5 10 Sam Hills, love the shoes and this season started wearing woolies with them, Love it, the woolies are thick and cushion the shoes and help with the sweat. Good combination.
    Still learning how to keep the rubber side down.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestions. So you guys are endurance riding in these shoes? Ever have any foot or knee problems that you think might be related to shoe choice?

    I like the wool sock idea...been trying that myself and having good results.

    SicBith: how is the contact patch with the SPD compatible shoes and flat pedals, do you find the plug for the cleat causes any problems or keeps the shoe from being as grippy as say the Impacts or Sam Hills?

    TurnerRick: How's the weight of the Sam Hills on long rides, do you notice it?

  6. #6
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    For riding off road with flat pedals, I prefer something with a lugged tread of some sort. Teva has some good shoes with supportive soles and decent traction, as do I'm sure others. I would look at trail running and/or walking shoes, or low/light weight hiking boots. This is endurance riding/racing, you're going to be out on trails, and if you're pushing up it, chances are the traction isn't very good. Might as well get something that's going to grip the trail.

  7. #7
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    I can compare the Impact model to the newer Freeride model - have and like both. I use SuperFeet orthotics in both and to on epic rides. THe newer Freeride model is cooler via the tops and holes. The Superfeet orthotics help.

  8. #8
    SP Singletrack rocks
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    quite honestly any sort of XC racing on flats is pretty much the dumbest thing ever.

    You will get hot spots and tear up your feet, and work harder than everyone else.

    Get clipless learn how to use them. The cheapest SPD/stiff poly shoes shoe combo will still be more comfortable and easier than flats.

  9. #9
    DLd
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    quite honestly any sort of XC racing on flats is pretty much the dumbest thing ever.

    You will get hot spots and tear up your feet, and work harder than everyone else.

    Get clipless learn how to use them. The cheapest SPD/stiff poly shoes shoe combo will still be more comfortable and easier than flats.
    The above post could perhaps be expressed more tactfully (understatement?) but don't let your fear or your ego hold you back from using the right tool for the job. It's counter-intuitive, but using flats is like using fixed position (non-floating) cleats in some ways. While you might occasionally reposition your foot to a variety of sub-optimal positions, it's generally going to be in the same position throughout the course of a pedal stroke. Whereas a modern floating cleat design allows the foot to rotate freely during a pedal stroke and avoid unnecessarily exerting a torque on the knee, most modern flat pedal/shoe combos are pretty grippy and don't allow for any rotation during a pedal stroke, leading to the same type of long-term use injuries that led people away from fixed cleats. For most riders on flats doing gravity style runs, dirt jumps or shorter rides, it's not a big deal, as there isn't the constant pedaling motion, but the longer the ride, the more reason for concern. The stiff sole and increase in efficiency of a clipless pedal/shoe combo is like a bonus.
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    quite honestly any sort of XC racing on flats is pretty much the dumbest thing ever...
    Well, I may not be into using them, and you may not, but for somebody who's riding what they like it's not necessarily all that dumb.

    And, I would add, 4+ hours isn't endurance; 8+ hours, 12+ hours is endurance.

    I rode with a couple brothers on a 14 hour endurance thing years ago. Both of them were riding singlespeed. One of them was on a really sweet custom steel rig, I was geared. We both rode clipless. We were pretty much at the same pace.

    The older brother? He was on a ghetto singlespeed he'd cobbled together from an early-90s Specialized Hard Rock with the original rigid fork. Flats. Trail runners. He rode away from us. About 2 hours from the finish we found his bike stashed in the woods off the trail.

    In another half hour we found him running down the jeep road that was the end of the ride. He'd broken his bike and was just going to run home the last 15 miles after riding 90 in the CO mountains. In the morning he was going to run back up to get it with tools to fix it.

    That is endurance.
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  11. #11
    DLd
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Well, I may not be into using them, and you may not, but for somebody who's riding what they like it's not necessarily all that dumb.

    And, I would add, 4+ hours isn't endurance; 8+ hours, 12+ hours is endurance.

    I rode with a couple brothers on a 14 hour endurance thing years ago. Both of them were riding singlespeed. One of them was on a really sweet custom steel rig, I was geared. We both rode clipless. We were pretty much at the same pace.

    The older brother? He was on a ghetto singlespeed he'd cobbled together from an early-90s Specialized Hard Rock with the original rigid fork. Flats. Trail runners. He rode away from us. About 2 hours from the finish we found his bike stashed in the woods off the trail.

    In another half hour we found him running down the jeep road that was the end of the ride. He'd broken his bike and was just going to run home the last 15 miles after riding 90 in the CO mountains. In the morning he was going to run back up to get it with tools to fix it.

    That is endurance.
    Oh god, now it's a pissing match about what is or isn't endurance... damn you coloridians and your endless trail opportunities!!
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  12. #12
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    Haha you guys are ridiculous. I've ridden and raced on clipless for almost a decade. In my first post I said "I ride flats (yeah yeah get over it)" because I constantly have to have this battle with people. I have more fun on my bike on flats and I certainly am not racing at elite levels. I also subscribe to a lot of what James Wilson has to say on the subject (Mountain Bike Strength and Cardio Training Tips and Programs). So get over it.

    Anyways, I appreciate the earlier suggestions on some 5.10 models and the Specialized model. I'll look more into those.

    Now, if you want to preach your clipless gospel, go elsewhere ya trolls.
    Last edited by cmscheip; 07-16-2012 at 05:18 PM.

  13. #13
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    I've been riding mountain bikes off and on since the early 90's and rode with clipless pedals for many years.

    Getting a pair of really nice flats and some Five Tens has been one of the best upgrades ever for me.

    I've done lots of half and full day rides, a few of the Arizona Endurance Series events which are usually 60 miles plus with tons of climbing and did the Barn Burner 100 miler solo in under 11 hours in flats.

    Part of my reason for the change was ACL reconstruction 7 years ago, partly because my feet would get angry being in almost the same shape circle after circle, partly because I just hate the metal on metal feel, and partly because I enjoy the freedom of not being clipped in. Clipless pedals are not for everyone.

    Contrary to the comments, I don't get hot spots, my knees don't bother me, I haven't torn up my feet and they're nothing like fixed cleats if you don't use pedals with super long pins.

    I've spent 2 years in my Five Ten Spitfires and they are a bit on the soft side, and at this point they're worn and really soft. I'm trying the Five Ten Barron's this time, hoping they are some where between the Spitfires and the Impacts, which are too inflexible for my liking.

    I'll add that I get asked by so many people how I stay on in the chunky terrain with flats. If you have to ask, try them for a while. You'll probably learn some new skills.

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=cmscheip;9505232
    Now, if you want to preach your clipless gospel, go elsewhere ya trolls.[/QUOTE]



    You're a brave soul for even bringing up the topic.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleGerl View Post


    You're a brave soul for even bringing up the topic.
    All I was looking for is shoe suggestions (thanks for your thoughts), not interested in rehashing the debate.

    Oh the beauty of MTBR....

  16. #16
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    I hear you on wanting a cooler shoe than the Impact, but my guess is your feet will continue to hurt if you go with a light, more flexible shoe. I tired to like the Freeriders but they just hurt my feet. They feel like sticky rubber skate shoes, while the Impacts feel like a well designed purpose built flat shoe. The impacts look chunky, but they really aren't that bad. Take a look at 5.10's website, the impact low is lighter than the SPD minaar's for example. Impacts provide the damping you need to avoid foot fatigue and or foot pain. The extra rigidity provides better power but you still have excellent pedal feel when broken in. The added weight works for you, not against you. I think you'll find the benefits of the Impacts will out weigh the heat issue. The Sam Hills may be a bit cooler? THey are cut a bit lower in the ankle, white color, and they don't have the rap around tongue.

  17. #17
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    This might seem odd, but check out a cheap pair of Nikes tennis shoes. I use some NIke Air's that I found at one of those Nike outlets. I ride appx 20 hrs a week, up to 8 hrs on the weekends. I've had the same pair for 3 years no worries. I found a pair that had a stiff/thick arch and simple tread pattern. No foot pain or cramps and honestly I've got crappy feet. So crappy I had to have the custom footbeds in my ski boots.

    I swear this is literally the pair I rock

  18. #18
    DLd
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmscheip View Post
    All I was looking for is shoe suggestions (thanks for your thoughts), not interested in rehashing the debate.

    Oh the beauty of MTBR....
    I think if you're set on not using clipless, then some of the shoe suggestions you got are pretty good. Give an update once you get some miles on your new kicks.
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  19. #19
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    you could check out Shoes | CHROME | Official Site
    The pedal series has a shank to up stiffness and no cleat holes. I'm currently running the midway pro for commuting and i love them.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmscheip View Post
    Haha you guys are ridiculous. I've ridden and raced on clipless for almost a decade. In my first post I said "I ride flats (yeah yeah get over it)" because I constantly have to have this battle with people. I have more fun on my bike on flats and I certainly am not racing at elite levels. I also subscribe to a lot of what James Wilson has to say on the subject (Mountain Bike Strength and Cardio Training Tips and Programs). So get over it.

    Anyways, I appreciate the earlier suggestions on some 5.10 models and the Specialized model. I'll look more into those.

    Now, if you want to preach your clipless gospel, go elsewhere ya trolls.
    You said it with "I have more fun on my bike on flats and I certainly am not racing at elite levels.".

    My biggest residual smiles from a 12 hour race in flats are the reaction of a woman when I decided to ride a table top rock next to her, being accused of racing a monster truck, the slowest lap, most consistent laps and victory for me was just doing it because it was not a year after I was deathly ill and not riding at all.

    I stopped hurting myself after riding flats most of the time. I lost balance in my 5th decade and with bifocals the flats also help.

    Good luck with your racing and keep having fun with it.

    Thanks here for heads up about the Five 10s with shank for cleats.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemiwinks View Post
    This might seem odd, but check out a cheap pair of Nikes tennis shoes.
    I don't ride anything remotely like endurance riding, but I do have flats on all my bikes due to ankle problems (I'm old). I started with a pair of Airwalks, but got hot spots. They're just too soft.

    My wife brought home a pair of leather New Balance basketball shoes from a yard sale and I started riding with those. Their soles are hard as a rock and work great. I might eventually buy a nice pair of riding shoes but not if I can keep finding cheap general purpose shoes that work just as well.
    When you get older, much of your hate comes from knowledge and experience, which is why really old people hate everyone

  22. #22
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    You may want to think about trying other pedals. I've found platforms smaller than 100mmx100mm give me hot spots and general foot fatigue.

  23. #23
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    I spent a bit of time thinking about this on my last (second ever) 50+ mile ride yesterday. I've been riding for a year in 5.10 freerunners only, including two rides just over 50 miles (I know it's peanuts to some here but it's an accomplishment for me in my second year of riding. I have been really happy with the grip on any pedal, even cheapy plastic sticks to 5.10 rubber.

    But with a over a year of commuting and mtbing on them, this is what I'd like to see in a pair of endurance/XC flat shoes:
    1. More sole stiffness. I'll be trying out those other 5.10s with a shank next. Thanks sicbith
    2. Breathable , QUICK-Drying upper. My freerunners are vented leather with mesh under the tongue. They're not too hot, but I got caught in a downpour in the middle of my first long ride and even after riding the rest of the afternoon in HOT sun and taking them off to dry as soon as I set up camp, they were still wet in the morning. Make it drain, make it out of materials that dry quickly.
    3. Put some decent tread lugs under the toes and heels to make hike-a-bike easier. I don't think anybody is pedaling on their toes and the flat tacky skate-shoe style sole makes pushing up anything other than dry hard-pack or rocks a real chore.
    4. Keep it light.

    I guess that's all for my wish list. I might try out clipless someday, but for now I'm happy on flats, just need somebody to build me that shoe.

  24. #24
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    Started out riding flats then went clipless for 4 years and for the past 3 years I have been on flats. Wore out a pair of low 5/10 impacts and now ride on 5/10 freeriders. I have gotten progressively worse cramping in the areas of my foot that you are experiencing. While I like the shoe for its casual looks and great grip I am starting to think the sole is too soft and causing my problems. My cramps to do not come while riding, they come later when I am stretching out my legs at home. Having said that yesterday after a 3 hour ride I dove off a dock into the lake and my feet cramped as I gripped the edge of the dock just before I dove in. I'm not sure if I could recommend them if you are having problems. I like the looks of the Hellcats with the firmer midsole so I'll look into them.
    Ease & Flow Where Ever I Go

  25. #25
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    Did a few 10hour races on a pair of Brooks trail runners and flat pedals, no problemo at all. Loved the ability to instanteously remove foot from pedal and go moto style if need be. Also Hike a biking up slick muddy trails.. just smiling while the clipless folks searched for foot holds Foot support due to non stiffness was not a problem at all for me. also I was able to change foot positions for/aft during those long fire road grinds.

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