Bike shoes - How tight should they be?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bike shoes - How tight should they be?

    Picked up my first pair of clipped shoes to go with the SPD XT 770 pedals. I bought the Shimano MT161G shoe. Problem is I'm not sure how they should fit and the local LBS wasn't much help.

    I wear a size 12 shoe and according to the sizing chart I should be in a 46 or 47. The 46 was easily too small. The 47 fit but the left shoe is tight in the wide portion of the shoe right behind where my big toe is. The right shoe fits fine. I was told this was ok and that you want a tight fit. I bought the shoe with some hesistance. They didn't have a size 48 to try.

    I tried another shoe I think it was the 086 and that one was fine but I liked the 161g better and was told they fit people with wider feet better which I have.

    So today I want to another location and found the same 161g shoe in size 48. It does fit better for width but clearly has more toe room up front. My other concern was the ratchet buckle was in the last spot to be tight on my foot.

    It was busy at the LBS so I didn't get much help with them stating what was correct. Got the deer in the headlights look. I was told to wear the 47's in the house and break them in.

    So I kept the 47 and have worn them on and off. They feel slightly better but I'm still concerned these are too tight. I also found I didn't have a lot of toe room. Probably about 1/4 - 3/8". If I remove the straps I can slide my foot a finger thickness forward that's it.

    How should the shoe fit? Do I go after the other shoe that seemed to feel and fit better? Will these stretch? I should add I was wearing cycling socks so I wasn't in thick socks.

    I'm hoping those that have been in clipped shoes can help tell me how these should fit.

  2. #2
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    If the shoes are too tight, in addition to being uncomfortable, you risk good circulation and feet will get numb (and cold if in-climate weather).

    Buy the 48 and use an insole and / or pad on the tongue of the smaller shoe to take up the extra space.
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  3. #3
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    " Will these stretch?"

    I have the M086 shoes and the synthetic leather of these shoes will not stretch like real leather and will probably always feel tight to you. Shimano shoes may not be a good fit for you.

    If you can, you might want to try Specialized BG shoes.

    I suspect that most lbs employees don't know jack about shoe fit.

  4. #4
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    shimano shoes run a little narrow. at US 12 there's basically no way you are a 48. i wear a 13 or 13.5 (when available depending on brand of course) in street shoes and wear a 47 in most cycling shoes. if you have wide feet, try on some wide shoes. lake, specialized, and sidi all make wider width shoes (probably others too, i'm not 100%). a 1/4 in room at the toe is probably good, you want snug through the ball and arch but not overly tight. try on more shoes and try a different lbs
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf
    shimano shoes run a little narrow. at US 12 there's basically no way you are a 48. i wear a 13 or 13.5 (when available depending on brand of course) in street shoes and wear a 47 in most cycling shoes. if you have wide feet, try on some wide shoes. lake, specialized, and sidi all make wider width shoes (probably others too, i'm not 100%). a 1/4 in room at the toe is probably good, you want snug through the ball and arch but not overly tight. try on more shoes and try a different lbs

    Not so sure a 48 would be too big. My hiking boots for example are a size 13 while all my other shoes are a size 12. On the box a size 47 is listed as a 11.8 US size while a 48 is listed as a 12.3.


    I will look for some other brands this week and see what else I can find.

  6. #6
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    Will any shoe work with SPD pedals?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by timberstone
    Will any shoe work with SPD pedals?
    No the shoe has to be SPD Compatible. Most are, just keep your eye on what your buying.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by timberstone
    Will any shoe work with SPD pedals?
    All clipless MTB shoes are SPD compatible. Road shoes use a different system.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by timberstone
    Not so sure a 48 would be too big. My hiking boots for example are a size 13 while all my other shoes are a size 12. On the box a size 47 is listed as a 11.8 US size while a 48 is listed as a 12.3.


    I will look for some other brands this week and see what else I can find.

    Most cycling shoes are available in half sizes as well as wides .

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by timberstone
    Will any shoe work with SPD pedals?


    Most cycling shoes are SPD compatible , SPD is the aftermarket standard .

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by timberstone
    If I remove the straps I can slide my foot a finger thickness forward that's it.
    .

    I just picked up a pair of new shoes at my LBS and I also wear a size 12. I was looking at some 47's because they felt prety comfortable. I have a wide foot so i was having trouble zoning in on a pair. When the owner came over to help, he threw me in some 46's and actually told me that if i can just fit my finger in my shoe the way you described that was the fit i was looking for. I was worried because they felt a little tight but after some break in at home and a couple of rides, I'm happy with 'em. Good luck!!

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone. I ended up in a pair of Sidi Dominator 5's in a 47 mega which is their wide version. They fit great. Better yet I got the old pair off the back shelf that were still made in italy and are all leather. That should make them easier to clean up then the newer pair. Plus I saved $45 along the way as well.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by timberstone
    Thanks everyone. I ended up in a pair of Sidi Dominator 5's in a 47 mega which is their wide version. They fit great. Better yet I got the old pair off the back shelf that were still made in italy and are all leather. That should make them easier to clean up then the newer pair. Plus I saved $45 along the way as well.
    Glad you are happy with the shoes now.

    For anyone else wondering about shoe fit, they shouldn't be "tight" although it may seem tight in comparison to sneakers, etc.

    Think "snug". You don't want your foot wiggling around in there at all-it could cause soreness and rob you of efficiency. I was lucky to get very good advice about ski boots back in the day and I think of mtb shoes the same way. They need to be snug, but not to the point of being uncomfortable. If they are too big, no amount of tightening will make them right. They will break in a LITTLE BIT, but a size 9 is not going to become a size 10 after break-in.

    Also, day to day shoes are most important to fit properly around the ankle area, mtb shoes must fit properly through the entire shoe due to the fact that we aren't justpushing down on the pedals, but also pulling up. And if you are spinning properly, you are putting 360 degrees of different forces through the shoes.
    You better just go ahead and drop that seatpost down to the reflector... the trail gets pretty rough down there.

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