Shoes for SS.
I realize that shoes (and we're talking clipless here) aren't exactly SS specific. However, I recognize that I've had more issues with my current shoes on my SS than my road bike or my geared FS bike. So here goes.
I've been rocking a set of Shimano MT31's for about 5 years. I've probably ridden about 5K miles in them. Remember, I'm using the same shoes for my road bike as well. There's a reason I've used these Shimano lace up style shoes for my last two pairs of shoes - they're generally available for well under the $100 mark, and they actually fit me. Every time I've tried on a pair of shoes that looks very high tech and has all the straps and so forth securing them, they've been too tight across the joint on my big toe. I've considered not carrying my joint in my shoes, but...oh wait. Seriously though...
So here's the meat of the question. Are there specific features that anyone prefers in a shoe for SS? A stiff sole is clearly advantageous, but what about padding? What about cleat positioning? Do certain models of shoes possess some specific advantage? Another thing I like about the lace up shoes is they use...well, laces, which you can buy anywhere, but if you break a strap on the other shoes, you may not even be able to order the part.
So I'm open to suggestions. Again, I'll be sticking wit SPD's (I have no desire to replace the pedals on 4 bikes) would prefer a lace up shoe, and it needs a fairly wide toe box, but I would consider other styles of shoe IF the toe box is wide enough.
I don't think there is anything that qualifies a shoe as being SS specific, my SS rides are pretty much the same as XC but with only one gear. I guess one difference might be that depending on the terrain you might have to walk more hills and for that a more flexible sole is much better.
As far as the soles there are pluses and minuses for both stiff, racing style soles or flexible running shoe style ones. A lot of personal preferences and goals are involved in this choice.
The ratchet buckle is a great feature IMO an I'd rather not go back to laces after getting used to being able to adjust tension on the fly. My Sidi Dominators are super comfy, but I buy about a 1/2 to full size larger than a lot of people might recommend. Love the extra room and haven't yet found any drawbacks.
I've been wearing my Specialized Comp's for about 7 years, both on and off-road. No complaints. Simple secure system (velcro straps). I am going to buy another pair this year, but may get the Experts for the carbon soles. Just so I can say they're carbon.
Stiffness wise, there are people that kill me SS wearing tennis shoes, so any cycling shoe will be much stiffer and more than adequate, in my opinion.
For me, a stiff sole in crucial, especially in a 100 mile race. Long climbs out of the saddle start to create foot pain for me if I have too flexible of a sole.
I have pretty wide feet, and have had good results from my Bontrager RXLs, as well as some of the Specialized shoes.
If you're ever planning on getting a pair of Shimano Trail pedals, the platform allows for a flexier sole without as much discomfort, so maybe something like the Pearl Izumi X-Alps.
Next up on my buy list isSpecialized Rime though I would really like the Spec. S-works EVO
Mavic Mantra - Just got a pair and like them a lot. Stiff carbon sole but with a flexible toe so they are good for hike a bike.
I've had a couple pairs of the pearl x-alps (currently the enduro III) that sslos mentioned and I *really* like them. I have a pair of bontragers (race lite or something) that I still use for longer rides, both on and off road, but I like the x-alps for running errands and riding in rockier places where I may have to walk more. They are still pretty stiff over the pedal, but they flex a bit more around the toes and that makes walking a lot more comfortable. They also have a lot more tread, that is handy when trying to keep your footing on icy rocks and such. That extra tread does make it a bit more difficult to clear mud from the cleat area though.
Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.
Thanks folks, this is actually being helpful so far. Interesting to hear more flexible soles cause some people foot pain on long climbs, I was wondering if something with a stiffer sole would help a little with that, because it happens to me too. That's one of the "single speed" specific things I guess I was referring to. I'll take a look at my other LBS and see if they have any of these models mentioned, and try the 1/2 size too big trick and see if makes any difference to my toes.
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