Time for New Shoes(clipless): Carbon vs. Regular Sole- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Time for New Shoes(clipless): Carbon vs. Regular Sole

    It's finally time for me to pick up a new pair of shoes. After 8 years, I'm retiring my 2002 Specialized Comp shoes. I was very happy with them but they are just worn out. So, I want a pair of LIGHTWEIGHT but COMFORTABLE shoes.

    Lots of the higher end models come with carbon soles which are supposedly stiffer. Does the carbon sole really make a difference? Does stiffer translate into more power? I like the fit of the specialized so I'm leaning towards another pair. Any other recommendations welcome. Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    It depends on how they use the carbon. Some carbon shoes I've worn have such a thin layer of it that they flex more than a good pair of regular soles. Same goes for if the layup isn't done correctly. But if the carbon is robust enough, and laid up correctly, they are pretty much a fully rigid shoe, and pretty light as well. That does translate into a bit better power transfer to the pedals. How much better? That depends a lot on how you pedal. I honestly don't get a massive amount of extra power or efficiency with them, but it is there. If I had to put a number on it, maybe just a few percent better than my current stiff regular soled shoes, but that's a complete guess.
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  3. #3
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    The answer depends on what you mean by "comfortable"......

    I went from a pair of Specialized SPD shoes similar to the Tahoe. I don't remember the name but they were, from the looks of it, a bit heavier than the Tahoe. These were basically tennis shoes with cleats. Super comfy and casual shoes even for walking around in.

    I upgraded to the Specialized S-Works carbon MTB shoe and immediately felt a huge difference. Way lighter and incredibly stiff. I did notice that I was able to spin up much faster than my old shoes. They are very comfortable on the bike. They, however, are way too stiff to be walking around in. I got a flat, was a ways from home, left my cell phone and all tools at home and had to walk two miles. The blisters were getting so bad that I just took the shoes off and finished the walk bare foot.

  4. #4
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    One thing I've learned from the pair of Sidi's I've worn the past five years: my next pair of shoes will have rubber-lugged outsoles. Plastic bottoms make it too easy to bust your ass when you're off the bike.

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