what type of shoe sole, hard or not so hard- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    what type of shoe sole, hard or not so hard

    I am old school, I have always used hard sole mtn bike shoes. Do the softer sole shoes work OK?, I thought I heard hard soles were needed for power transfer and to prevent foot pain of some kind?
    My friend is buying mtn bike shoes and these are the two options.
    I would like to offer some good advice.
    If the path ahead looks dangerous ------- it probably is!

  2. #2
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    I use clipless pedals and always prefer a stiff sole. Its a difference you can tell if you're coming from some flexy shoes. Flexy shoes make my arches sore. I have some Specialized Comp, S-Works Trail, and Northwave Striker Carbon 5. Going from the Comp to the S-Works is a night and day difference. Immediately I am able to tell. The shoe pedals so much better. Also when you're descending over rough terrain...the stiff shoe will offer much better support.

    Even with platforms...a stiff shoe will always be better.

    Some will say that a stiff shoe isn't that great for times you need to hike...but I'll sacrifice that for the better feel and support.

  3. #3
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    thanks for the response.
    If the path ahead looks dangerous ------- it probably is!

  4. #4
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    Is he riding clipless or platforms?

    If clipless, get the stiffest sole possible. you've gotta put alot of power transfer onto a relatively small pedal. I don't think many folks are gonna argue with this one.

    If platforms, just about any bike-specific 'flat' will do.
    I personally steer clear of actual skate shoes and the 'old school' BMX vans- as mentioned above, most find them too soft although it can be done. I've ridden in Puma 'casual' skate-ish shoes and they tire my feet out on if more than about an hour. I've got smallish feet on some pretty big platforms too.
    I've also ridden in some steel-shanked Vasque trekking boots. They were so stiff and thick I couldn't feel the pedals, and ended up clumsy and imbalanced. It was a mess. I've ridden flats in my clipless shoes too, I don't recommend that. Much less clunky sole, but still zero feedback to foot position.

    I have Teva 'The Links' shoes because I got them stupid cheap ($30?) on closeout, and I'm happy with them. Several reviews, including MTBR called them 'a little less grippy than 5.10s, but still highly finctional. I've never tried actual 5.10s, but Tevas have never let me down.
    Point being, any shoe made for MTB flats will be 'not so hard' but perfectly adequate.

  5. #5
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    If you plan on walking/hike-a-biking at all, a super stiff soled shoe may be problematic. I use Teva Pivots, they have a mostly stiff sole with the front 20% flexible to aid in walking on rocks. I've noticed no difference in power transfer with these from my old, plastic soled XC cleats

  6. #6
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    Go to a ski shop and get custom inserts made. (Much cheaper than a doctor). I use mine in everything now. Ski/snowboard boots, hiking boots/shoes, ice skates, casual shoes, etc. If I could I'd put em in flip flops as well.

  7. #7
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    what type of shoe sole, hard or not so hard

    Quote Originally Posted by rpearce1475 View Post
    If you plan on walking/hike-a-biking at all, a super stiff soled shoe may be problematic. I use Teva Pivots, they have a mostly stiff sole with the front 20% flexible to aid in walking on rocks. I've noticed no difference in power transfer with these from my old, plastic soled XC cleats
    If you plan on hike a bike in any sort of rock conditions you will really have trouble....slick rock faces and hard sole MTB shoes do not mix well at all.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    If you plan on hike a bike in any sort of rock conditions you will really have trouble....slick rock faces and hard sole MTB shoes do not mix well at all.
    I think that has more to do with the grip of the rubber. Try some professional mountaineer boots, stiff as a plank but the steeper it gets the better they climb.

  9. #9
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    I'm referring to the hard nylon/and or carbon soles.... very skittery.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    I'm referring to the hard nylon/and or carbon soles.... very skittery.
    Yeah, probably not the best material for obstacles encountered in the mountains. Five tens are good for rocky areas as they started as a rock climbing shoe but unless in the mud. An old pair of hiking shoes work great for flat pedals. I've tried new hiking shoes but found the tread profile to be too deep for flat pedals. Once they've worn down halfway seems to be the best as they still have a enough tread to bite while hiking or climbing but have a low enough profile to feel great on flat pedals.
    Dear Five Ten, please make a shoe that has a low profile hiking tread.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swissam View Post
    I think that has more to do with the grip of the rubber. Try some professional mountaineer boots, stiff as a plank but the steeper it gets the better they climb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swissam View Post
    Yeah, probably not the best material for obstacles encountered in the mountains. Five tens are good for rocky areas as they started as a rock climbing shoe but unless in the mud. An old pair of hiking shoes work great for flat pedals. I've tried new hiking shoes but found the tread profile to be too deep for flat pedals. Once they've worn down halfway seems to be the best as they still have a enough tread to bite while hiking or climbing but have a low enough profile to feel great on flat pedals.
    Dear Five Ten, please make a shoe that has a low profile hiking tread.
    No no dog! That kinda stuff is for walking in the mountains. The OP is riding a mountain bike and just wants to know hard or not so hard soles. He said nothing about hiking or mountaineering, but you have the guy climbing Mount Everest.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    No no dog! That kinda stuff is for walking in the mountains. The OP is riding a mountain bike and just wants to know hard or not so hard soles. He said nothing about hiking or mountaineering, but you have the guy climbing Mount Everest.
    No, what I'm saying is hard soles not only work great for biking but also for climbing and walking and skiing and snowboarding etc. I can only speak for here in Switzerland, plus the time I spent in Colorado, the Catskills and SoCal but sometimes you have to get off and hike a bike and sometimes those situations can be extremely sketchy if you have no grip on your shoes. Its one of the other reasons I no longer ride clipped in. (I've had too many "MTB shoes" that we're absolutely worthless to the point of being dangerous whenever you actually had to walk)
    Point is ; Hard soles are great for biking, not only for the power transfer to the pedals but for when you need to dismount and walk or climb. But they also need a soft rubber with some tread for bite and grip. Not every trail looks like Fruita.

  13. #13
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    what type of shoe sole, hard or not so hard

    Clipless I run the Giro Empire VR 90's. Not bad to walk in, and the Vibram sole gets crazy grips.

    Flats - Five ten Freeriders.

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