A tale of two shoes.

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Snake wrote about shoes a while back on these storied pages. At least I think he wrote about shoes. All I can find at the moment is his back-to-riding post called change.

Anyway, it got me thinking. When I spend some serious time on the mountain bike a lot, wearing my mtb shoes, I can never get comfortable in my road shoes. The inverse is also true, lots of road miles, mtb shoes feel just awful. I’ve never really known if it was the shoe width, stiffness of sole (carbon v. non-carbon), the distance between foot and pedal axles (mtb being generally greater), or something else, like that fact that I’m 100% fucking insane about my cleat position (always fiddling about with it).

It never ends. I never get it right. Maybe I should just throw in the damn towel and start running platforms.

For a while, over the last year and a half or so, while I was in school and riding six times a year, I just rode the mtb shoes all the time. Pretty much anyway. Unless I got a wild hair up my ass or something and wanted to try something new (can the concept of “strange” as applied to shoes?).

I got a pair of slightly used, new-to-me, Diadora road shoes from Joeesph M. way back in 2007 and never really took the time to use them. (He’s one of the many fines folks associated with the Hubbard Bike Club.) I have never met the man, but he needed to sell some shoes cheap, I needed to buy some shoes cheaply, it was magic. I pulled them out about two months or so back and bolted on a set of mtb cleats. Go figure, eh? I told you I was nuts.

I’ve been running mtb pedals on everything (because I own about 7 pairs of SPDs and don’t have to switch things much that way), and it seems to work well. No sore feet, no numb toes, no complaints.

But I haven’t gone mountain biking yet…

Space Man Spiff.
Space Man Spiff.
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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

16 Replies to “A tale of two shoes.”

  1. Right on.  I have a pair of primary-colored Diadora Ergo’s from forever ago that just won’t die.  They’re the most solid cycling shoes I’ve ever owned.  Every other pair of <brand name removed> shoes I’ve had has split soles, broken straps….  I think you found a winner.

  2. Seriously,  I’m asking from the perspective of a dude that’s three beer in on an empty stomach and also inexperienced in the ways of the expensive shoe…does it make that much difference?  I roll with Shimano’s shoes road and mtn, ATACs on the mtn and Looks on the road…but the Shimano shoes, both lower end, seem to hold up real well.  I know ya get your money’s worth on bibs…the more you spend, the better they are…but is the same with the shoes?  Please inform.

  3. Ride the same shoes…I’ll explain.
    I ride Diadora Pro Carbon road shoes and Diadora ProTrail carbon mountain shoes.  They are the same shoe, built on the same last.  The mountain shoes obviously have a sole glued and are setup for two hole cleats.  I run the same insoles in both sets of shoes.
    I feel little, if any difference, after about 5 minutes on the bike.

  4. I’ve been running the same pair of Pearl Izumi Vagabonds for like six years. I know they’re low end but they have always felt good and they refuse to die. They are so worn that now the cleat sticks out abit past the lugged sole. Figured it’s be good to have a pair of backups so I got a pair of Shimano fuckifino casual shoes that lace up like sneakers. They’re 80% as good as the P.I.s as far as pulling up on the backstroke, but they’re so damned comfortable I can wear them all day and forget I’m in a cycling shoe.  I’m not a roadie, but I’ve been riding fixed exclusively since last winter and these seem to work okay. I’m not hardcore or anything;  just too much of a lazy fuck  to be too much bothered about anything beyond airing up a tire and maybe slopping on some chainlube once and awhile.  Seriously, three and four hundred dollars for a pair of shoes?  If you’re cat two or better, sure. But for me it would just be lipstick on a pig.

  5. I’ve been riding Gaerne shoes. You can pick them up on ebay super cheap and they rock my effing world. They’re made well, and very very comfortable. I have the eskimos, going four years strong, some carbon road shoes of some sort, and recently some carbon (Ara?) mtn shoes from them. I just rode a singlespeed century in the mtn shoes, never a peep from the dogs. I’ve never paid more than 150 for each pair. Completely worth it in my book, but that just my experience, and spending comfort level.

  6. I think my P.I.s were like eighty bucks.  Of course that was six or seven years ago.  And the casual Shimanos I just got were around forty bucks on sale. Not bad for a cleated shoe I can wear all day, on and off the bike.

    The most I’ve spent on shoes was around two hundred bucks for Answer Kashmir winter shoes. For warm tootsies at sub-freezing temps, I’d say it was a steal.

  7. I guess I’m the lowball opinion here.
    I hae an old pair of Specialized Buzzsaws (? Chainsaw? See-saw? I forget) They’re a few years old and I love them. Especially since they have a higher, over-your-ankle fit for me, since I have a horrible tendency to bash my ankle against  my cranks waaay too often.
    Never numb, never sore.
    Road shoes? Shit, I haven’t had a road bike in eons. Thought about it quite a bit, but if I ever do, I’ll slap a pair of Crank Brothers Eggbeaters or Candy-whatever-they-are’s on it and deal with the shitty ‘better than you’ roadie attitude. I do have some old Sidi’s somewhere, I think, but it’s been close to 10 years since I’ve worn/seen them. I might have chucked them for all I know.

  8. …***paolo nutini*** sez…
    …”Hey, I put some new shoes on,
    And suddenly everything is right,
    I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody’s smiling,
    It so inviting,
    Oh, short on money,
    But long on time,

    Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
    And i’m running late,
    And i dont need an excuse,
    ’cause i’m wearing my brand new shoes.”…

    …***zz top*** sez…
    …”Clean shirt, new shoes
    And I don’t know where I am goin’ to”…

    …***the bus boys*** sez…
    …”When there’s nothin’ to win, you got nothin’ to lose
    It ain’t nothin’ like a pair of brand new shoes
    Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah”…

    …***carl perkins*** sez…
    …”You can knock me down, step on my face

    Slam my name all over the place

    Do anything that you’re going to do

    But uh uh honey lay off of my shoes”…

  9. Specialized pro mountain bike shoe and legbeater on all my bikes (4 that I ride most often) always feels similar, also 175 arms and a matching seat heights and widths, only real difference between bikes is hand position and bar width. Worn a bunch of shoes over the years, like Specialized, fit my dogs the best.  I think the cleat position with rotation and similar fit is good on the back, knees and hips. Ride often, am comfortable on the bike but keep getting slower….

  10. mm makes a good point in that certain companies use the same “last” w/ different soles for their road & mtb/cross shoes…
    …like mm, i have virtually the same exact feel between my road + cx shoes…i definitely use the same ortho insoles in both…
    …the other obvious point would be that shoes from different companies fit different people in different ways…
    …i was fortunate to discover that SIDI’s worked for me about 25 years ago & they’ve been improved over the years to the extent that for me, they’re as comfortable as slippers, yet allow me to use the power/torque/leverage i use in my riding style…
    …make no mistake, they are expensive but realistically, what price comfort, in something so important as a major contact point X 2 ???…(& i’m not gonna lie…as an old industry guy, i do get a deal on my SIDI’s but the inverse of the both statement is true…would i wear ’em if they weren’t totally comfortable ???…not fuckin’ likely…guaranteed…
    “blue, blue…blue suede shoes”“red, red…cyclocross shoes”…oh, damn, sorry ’bout that, colonelsandersretired…

  11. dominic just ordered a pair of diadora road shoes. he loves them. i rode adidas road shoes for 3 seasons. i loved them. i found a pair of sidi’s for 100 bucks and have been racing in them. i really do not like them. i want my old adidas back.

  12. What is it the B-boy’s said?  “Always rock Adidas, never rock Fila…”
    I have a different problem – I’m riding the same bike with different shoes, all of them ‘normal’ shoes, you know, the kind people use to walk around in.  (  On my longest bike tour I wore work boots )
    If I’m wearing my Birkenstocks, the seat is just slightly too high.  When I wear my work boots, just slightly too low.   If they made a quick side button seat post that could raise and lower by 1/2″ or so, I’d buy it just for this.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of special bike shoes, and run Time ATAC.  Since the broken toe has been healing, I haven’t tried to ride with them.  Plus, the slipping off while trying to clip in has caused me at least one crash.  My lifestyle is – I get on and ride, and use diaper pins to hold my pant cuffs (it works great, but they take them away at court house security)

  13. LJ, you have, really, the same issue. You just get to it in a different manner.  The interface between your pedals and your seat is changed with different shoes.  If you adjust to one, you are adjusting away from the other.

    And so it goes.

  14. @lj  I’m working on some remote controlled hydraulically operated adjustable cranks for you my man. You just click Birkenstock / Safety boots/ barefoot and hit the road ….  ;)  Ya see, ‘cos I have the same problem when just ridin’ around.