Saturday, July 11, 2009

My feet get a treat

The evolution of my mtn bike shoe purchases . . .

My first real pair of mtn bike shoes (My FIRST pair of shoes were a pair of real low end Diadoras that I started riding clipless pedals with, but they were too big, didn't fit right and laced up). In the store they fit and felt great. I have a wide foot, so I really liked the boxy front end of it. Problem with the first generation of Specialized shoes was heel slip. These things would sometimes pop right off if I had to walk up steep climbs or got bogged down in muddy conditions. I use them today as my commuter and/or spinning shoe.

My first 'high end' mtn bike race shoe. These Shimano's were the cat's arse and still would be if they weren't so worn down. They were an expensive purchase which I justified because I was beginning to race - so, I had to "look like a racer" in order to race. Stooopid mentality, and I've grown up a bit since then. I've been using again at the end of last season and all of this season for single speeding because they are very stiff.

I've add the outside stitched up a couple of times after being torn on rocks, the inside heel cup are worn away and the right side is cutting and leaving blisters, the bottom (see below) around the cleat is really indented and worn away - causing lots of play/float around the pedal - the Eggbeaters already have excellent float, but with the sole being so badly worn it's too much. They are the heaviest of all my shoes - today's to-end Shimanos are much lighter.

Worn away sole area around the cleat.

Two seasons ago I got a great deal on these Sidi Dragons - top of the line racer boy Sidi shoes. I didn't really need them at the time, but couldn't let the deal go (they were still damn expensive) - I guess I was still in that mental state of having to look good. And boy-o-boy are these good looking, sexy Italian slippers! They are very light, are very comfortable (as long as you are not ss'ing) and fit extremely well. My road shoes are also Sidis and have a narrow fit to them (Italians must have narrow feet), but these fit my wide'ish foot well.

My two main issues with them were: one, they are really flexy - not at all stiff enough for single speeding. I wasn't 100% committed to single speeding at the time when I bought them, and when I did wear them ss'ing, I got sore feet - felt like the pedal axle came right through the sole into the ball of my foot - not much support. Two, the Dragons are equipped to have the soles/lugs replaced when they wear out - which they did, and did so easily. Perhaps a strategy to sell more to the consumer? Conspiracy theory? I was blown away by how fast the soles gave way. I hear readers out there sneering that I walk lots, yes, true . . . but that was not the case. The lugs/soles are very soft, which are great for rock and slippery surfaces, but needed replacing. The replacement lugs/sole are not cheap either. I replaced them twice - which totaled up would equal roughly 3/4 the cost of my new shoes! Crazy.

The Eggbeaters really wear down and compress the area around the cleat. Anyone with ideas of how to remedy this without switching pedals (I love Eggbeaters!) or adding a big shim (keep in mind, the shim would have to be harder than the sole)?

My new dawgs look more like soccer cleats than mtn bike shoes.

The sole is nice grippy rubber. No stupid toe spikes either.

I've been eyeing and researching around for a new pair of mtn bike shoes for a couple months now and climaxed my search yesterday afternoon with finally going out and trying a bunch on. I tried four stores, each carrying different brands here in town and went with these black and white Shimano MO86s.

My latest shoe purchase are the least expensive mtn bike shoe that I've made thus far, excluding the low-end Diadoras that I started out in. They have a nice wide foot box section, the heel cup is comfortable and snug, and they provide good arch support (for when I am walking - which, depending on where I am riding, do a lot of). They are not quite as stiff as an upper-end carbon shoe, but certainly very stiff enough for ss'ing. What's more is they are not even close in price as the upper-end, ubber expensive mtn bike shoe that Shimano and other brands offer - I could have bought two pairs of these for the same price as the higher-end carbon soled shoes out there.

Saturday morning/afternoon thunder showers.

And once it stops raining here in Ottawa I'll get a chance to test them out.


Matt Surch said...

I've got a pair of the Crank Bros stainless plates designed to avoid the very problem you have. You can have em, as I have switched back to Shimano.

the original big ring said...

awesome - thanks Matt!