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  1. #1
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    what to look for in clipless shoes

    Folks,
    I am new to mountain biking but experienced at road riding and have been using clipless pedals on the road for years. I just bought a mountain bike and SPD pedals. I have ridden twice just platform pedals to get used to trail riding. I am ready to buy a pair of shoes, but don't know what to look for. What are the things I need to consider?
    Kevin

  2. #2
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    Since you already have road shoes, you know that fit and comfort are key. How about checking to see if there is a mountain version of the road shoes you have, assuming you like your road shoes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodyknee View Post
    Since you already have road shoes, you know that fit and comfort are key. How about checking to see if there is a mountain version of the road shoes you have, assuming you like your road shoes.
    That's what I did. Like how my Mavic road shoes fit, so got Mavic mtn bike shoes which mimic the fit of my road versions.
    Salsa El Mariachi 29er
    Giant CFR Team Road Bike
    Kona Jake the Snake
    '03 Yz250
    '05 Ducati 749

  4. #4
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    Sole stiffness, comfort, laces and Velcro, dirt-friendly colors, chunky sole for off-bike hiking, durability, eco-friendly, not tested on animals, warm/cool (according to your needs), no high heels, holes for studs if you need them, roomy toe box, Strava-friendly, bottle opener, pizza cutter and a magnetic freon distributor.
    tRump is SCUM.

    Hogan Lake blog. A section of Hogan Lake trails here.

  5. #5
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    stiff soles: there are some "mountain" cycling shoes that fit and flex more like sneakers and they are great if you plan on getting off the bike and walking around a lot, but stiff soles are more comfortable if you are going to spend most of your time just pedaling.

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    comfortable definatly agree, i have carbon fibre soles and found not long ago that even walking around in them for 5 hours I wasn't crippled afterwards.

  7. #7
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    Look for dead animals in your clipless shoes! Mine were in the garage and I went to put one on and felt something weird, I took it back off and dumped out a dead mouse! (gross)

    I surmise that the hapless mouse crawled in there to take a little nap and the stench killed him!

  8. #8
    meow meow
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    pretty colors mostly.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricko View Post
    Look for dead animals in your clipless shoes! Mine were in the garage and I went to put one on and felt something weird, I took it back off and dumped out a dead mouse! (gross)

    I surmise that the hapless mouse crawled in there to take a little nap and the stench killed him!
    wow that sucks, it's better to keep your shoes in a box or something...
    Last edited by Max24; 03-02-2015 at 06:27 PM.

  10. #10
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    what to look for in clipless shoes

    I have tried quite a few brands and found that although very expensive Sidis tend to last the longest.

  11. #11
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    Some of my rides turn into hike-a-bike sessions so I want a comfortable shoe that I can actually walk around in. I also stay away from ratchets & buckle mechanisms since I often scrape the side of my shoes against trail side obstacles. Velcro or laces only for me, they don't get damaged or torn off the shoe when I have a close encounter with a rock or tree stump. That's about it for me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max24 View Post
    wow that sucks, it's better to keep your shoes in a box or something...
    Actually this incident prompted me to go on a mouse eradication mission in the garage!

  13. #13
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    if you are new to MTB, it is best to choose Shimano compatible clipless shoe. Shimano is the primary standard for clipless shoe in the market. It is very reliable and bomb proof.

    I also need to choose a shoe that allow some flex so you can walk the bike up hill. DO NOT choose carbon base shoe because it is super stiff with zero flex. Carbon shoes are used for racing purposes. There is one serious drawback of carbon shoe plat form, if you make a mistake in screwing on the Shimano clipless plates, the carbon is mangled beyond repair. you basically ruin $300 bucks carbon shoe.

    There are 2 types of clipless shoes:
    1/ lace up types just like a hiking shoe with one velcro at the top of the shoe.

    2/ this shoe use all velcro straps with buckle style lock.

    It depends on your comfort level in choosing a shoe. you need to test it by walking it in the bike store first.

  14. #14
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    Definite ability to walk in for hike-a-bike moments.

    I like the multi-release SPDs because I can adjust them to be as loose as I like to release quickly. I had eggbeaters for a while and did a lot of slow-motion tip-overs, which can be dangerous when on a ledge!

  15. #15
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    If it doesn't have a good toe guard, don't buy it.

  16. #16
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    +1 to just buying the MTB version of your road shoes if available.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    comfortable fit. I have some Sette mountain bike shoes (basically skate shoes with SPD clips) and specialized intro level MTB shoes. Both are good for their purpose.
    The specialized has a solid sole which gives great power transfer to the pedals. However, not the most comfortable to walk around in, even with the traction nubs on the bottom, and the velcro straps can cause some discomfort until I get them to just the right tightness. With these pedals I can really pull up on the pedal and use full power throughout the entire rotation. These are my prefered shoes for fast, smooth singletrack and any road/asphalt riding for exercise.

    The Sette has a softer sole, which is more comfortable to walk around it, but it doesn't have as good a power transfer. However, they are great for keeping my feet on the pedals when I come to something that would throw me off with platforms. They are very comfortable to walk around in. These are my prefered pedal for fun when I want to get off the bike, turn around, and hit the same area again from a different angle. Time has no meaning in these pedals, just fun riding.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picard View Post
    if you are new to MTB, it is best to choose Shimano compatible clipless shoe. Shimano is the primary standard for clipless shoe in the market. It is very reliable and bomb proof.
    I've never seen a clipless compatible mountain bike shoe that didn't work with Shimano SPD. Can you name at least one?

  19. #19
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    the clips are usually listed as SPD compatable if they work with Shimano's pedals. I'm not too familiar with the different brands, but I know eggbeaters use a different type of clip. Ultimately, the OP already bought pedals and they should have come with the appropriate clip.
    As far as the bolt pattern, I think it's referred to as SPD also (must be a shimano thing), and other than the 3-bolt road pedal patern, I think they're the only bolt patern available.

  20. #20
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    With very few exceptions, there is no cross-compatibility among different brands' cleats and pedals. SPD pedals work only with SPD cleats. However, many shoes are SPD-compatible and that drilling is the standard for mountain bike clipless pedal systems. All of them, to my knowledge. In short, any mountain bike shoe for clipless pedals will work with any mountain bike clipless pedal system. The appropriate cleats ship with the pedal.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    I've never seen a clipless compatible mountain bike shoe that didn't work with Shimano SPD. Can you name at least one?
    crankbrother pedal isn't compatible with Shimano.

  22. #22
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    I think you're confusing his use of terms. CB pedals with the most common cleat work only with SPD-compatible shoes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    what to look for in clipless shoes

    Just get any mountain shoe that feels good on your foot. Stiffer will feel better on the bike. Softer will feel better while pushing. I have ridden Sidis predominantly for 20 years. Every time I try something new they fall apart and I am disappointed. Unless you are going to get some weird off brand pedal you will be fine. As far as pedals go just get some shimanos and be happy.

  24. #24
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    +1 to Shimanos. Inexpensive and they work really well.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there are two uses for the phrase SPD.
    One is the actual clip used with Shimano pedals or house brands that claim their pedals are "Shimano SPD compatable", although some times they really aren't. These clips only work with Shimano pedals.

    The second is for the bolt patern on the shoe, which was first developed by Shimano and therefore listed as SPD. I think the phrase SPD for the bolt patern has just stuck around and nobody tried to get a different industry name going for it. I've seen on some online stores where they break down their bike shoes as "road" or "SPD" where it should probably be "3-bolt" or "2-bolt"

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