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  1. #1
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    Clip-in shoes. What's the difference?

    Hi,

    I'm considering on purchasing some clip-in shoes for the first time. My first pair is probably going to be a relatively cheap pair, to see if i enjoy them before splashing out on something expensive.

    So my question is....

    What should i be looking for? Any certain features and/or technologies/designs?

    Apart from build quality, is there much difference in them between prices? So if i spent an extra 10-20, would i actually see a difference?

    Also what is the difference between MTB and road clip-in shoes? I've noticed the obvious thread difference but is there anything else?

    Cheers for any help in advance.

  2. #2
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    I'll help ya out with some disambiguation:

    Shoes: mountain shoes and road shoes are designed for different kinds of cleats, which is the metal piece that clips into the pedal. Road cleats are much bigger. Mountain shoes also have some tread surrounding the cleat so that you can walk on them.

    As far as entry level shoes go, there isn't a big difference between them. I'd recommend getting one with a ratchet for the top strap as it helps keep the shoe tight while you're riding, but shoes with just three velcro straps work pretty well too if you're concerned with affordability. All current mountain bike cleats (that I'm aware of, at least) are SPD compatible, so just make sure that you get an SPD compatible shoe. (SPD is Shimano's clipless pedal system. SPD compatible is basically the industry standard for shoes--most mountain bike shoes will be SPD compatible.)

    Pedals: This pretty much comes down to personal preference. I happen to like Shimanos, but other people like Crank Bros, Times, etc. I also happen to like IPA, Apple computers, and cheesy vampire movies, but other people like porters, PC's, and slapstick comedies. Whatever floats yer boat.

    The entry level pedals from the big manufactorers will all work well for you. Read reviews, see what makes sense for you. If you ride a lot of gnarly stuff, you'll appreciate having a platform around the pedal. If you ride more XC stuff, you might prefer something more minimal like Egg Beaters. Since they're your first pedal, you might appreciate a pedal with more float (which is the degree to which your knee can rotate while you're clipped in).

    I love my clipless pedals, hope you end up enjoying whatever you get. Cheers!
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

  3. #3
    Afric Pepperbird
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    I prefer my shoes laceless; just straps only.

  4. #4
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    Heartland pretty much laid out flat.
    If I dare to add little more....road shoes are stiffer than mtb shoes.
    As you would need or not to walk or run with mtb.

    For those who worry about weight, I think that's where big $s come in.

    Regards

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by heartland View Post
    I'll help ya out with some disambiguation:

    Shoes: mountain shoes and road shoes are designed for different kinds of cleats, which is the metal piece that clips into the pedal. Road cleats are much bigger. Mountain shoes also have some tread surrounding the cleat so that you can walk on them.

    As far as entry level shoes go, there isn't a big difference between them. I'd recommend getting one with a ratchet for the top strap as it helps keep the shoe tight while you're riding, but shoes with just three velcro straps work pretty well too if you're concerned with affordability. All current mountain bike cleats (that I'm aware of, at least) are SPD compatible, so just make sure that you get an SPD compatible shoe. (SPD is Shimano's clipless pedal system. SPD compatible is basically the industry standard for shoes--most mountain bike shoes will be SPD compatible.)

    Pedals: This pretty much comes down to personal preference. I happen to like Shimanos, but other people like Crank Bros, Times, etc. I also happen to like IPA, Apple computers, and cheesy vampire movies, but other people like porters, PC's, and slapstick comedies. Whatever floats yer boat.

    The entry level pedals from the big manufactorers will all work well for you. Read reviews, see what makes sense for you. If you ride a lot of gnarly stuff, you'll appreciate having a platform around the pedal. If you ride more XC stuff, you might prefer something more minimal like Egg Beaters. Since they're your first pedal, you might appreciate a pedal with more float (which is the degree to which your knee can rotate while you're clipped in).

    I love my clipless pedals, hope you end up enjoying whatever you get. Cheers!
    Regarding road and mountain biking shoes and cleats: yes the cleats themselves are different; however another major difference is the bolt pattern. Road shoes/cleats have a three bolt attachment vs. a two parallel bolt attachment for mtb shoes/cleats.

    All mtb cleats and pedals are not SPD compatible. Many companies make pedals which are compatible with the shimano SPD cleat; but there are other technologies out there that use a completely different cleat/pedal interface while maintaining the two bolt cleat/shoe attachment pattern. The major ones being the Crank Bros 'eggbeaters', Time 'ATAC' and Speedplay 'frogs'.

    As to the shoes themselves, I'll echo heartland's comment, a lot comes down to personal preference. Laces vs. straps (velcro vs. ratcheting mechanism), stiff vs. flexible sole, the type of rubber on the sole (deep lugs vs. smooth and soft vs. hard compound), style/appearance (do you like the Vans/5.10, hiking shoe, XC/slipper shoe look). You can find various combos of all these things.

    Despite all that, get a shoe the fits the best first and foremost. Then consider all the rest as you develop a sense of the characteristics that are important to you and change things up as you like.

  6. #6
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    I had laces with a velcro strap to hold the loops down. They were really irritating to tie. As the laces got really dirty they got a lot of friction which made them hard to tighten. I recently got new shoes with two velcro and one ratchet strap, these shoes are really quick to get in/out of and I love them.

    I use mtb shoes so I can get off the bike to walk when necessary

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajdonner View Post
    Regarding road and mountain biking shoes and cleats: yes the cleats themselves are different; however another major difference is the bolt pattern. Road shoes/cleats have a three bolt attachment vs. a two parallel bolt attachment for mtb shoes/cleats.

    All mtb cleats and pedals are not SPD compatible. Many companies make pedals which are compatible with the shimano SPD cleat; but there are other technologies out there that use a completely different cleat/pedal interface while maintaining the two bolt cleat/shoe attachment pattern. The major ones being the Crank Bros 'eggbeaters', Time 'ATAC' and Speedplay 'frogs'.
    Right, cleats and pedals have to match (e.g. Shimano cleats with Shimano pedals, CB cleats with CB pedals, etc.). I've always thought that the term "SPD compatible" referred to the two bolt cleat mount--the standard for mountain bike pedals--as opposed to the three bolt "Look" style road pedal.
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

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