Friday Group Ride #462

Friday Group Ride #462

I know we’ve talked about this before, but after 461 Friday Group Rides you’re bound to wonder some of the same stuff over again, and anyway I need some new shoes.

There was a time, what I’ll call my formative cycling years, when you wore Sidi shoes if you were serious. You all know, by now, how serious I am. But I did follow that rule through several pairs of Italian footwear and more than a couple buckle replacements.

Basically what happened with my last pair of Sidis is I got the wrong replacement buckle and got fed up and bought a pair of Giro Privateers from my LBS. The Giro New Road line really struck me in exactly the same way the OG Sidis did, stripped down products, elegant design. I have liked those shoes.

Now I need new shoes AND, my wife needs new shoes. She’s a spin instructor who bought a pair of middle-of-the-line Specialized mountain shoes about 8 years ago and has been riding them 3-4 days-a-week since. There are all sorts of purpose-designed indoor cycling shoes now, but all the ones I’ve seen have left me unimpressed. I can be a bit of a curmudgeon about these things, to be fair.

Another complicator is that feet are unique, by which I mean, what works on your foot doesn’t necessarily work on mine, even if the shoes are great. This is true, I think, for saddles and handlebars and even pedals to a degree. The touchpoints are important, and peculiar to the rider.

Having said all that, this week’s Group Ride asks what shoes you’re wearing, whether you like them or not, what you like about them, and whether you’d recommend them? Bonus points if you have a good idea for indoor shoes.


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  1. Dave

    I’ve ridden almost everything there is, and I too had a long Sidi phase. I was on Specializeds for 10 years, both road and mtb until I tried Lakes and for me there is no equal. They fit like gloves, ventilate great and you get more power based on how the sole is constructed. After one ride I sold all my Specialized shoes and couldn’t be happier. As for indoor shoes I still use an old pair of wide width Shimano shoes which work fine for me.

    1. Author

      I do have a pair of Lake winter boots that are killer. They make good stuff, for sure.

  2. Road Mike

    I discovered Bont cycling shoes a few years ago and have been super pleased with them. Ergonomic shape, low stack height, stiff soles, and heat moldability, even the lower-cost shoes.

    Why should indoor shoes be different from (warm-weather) outdoor shoes?

  3. Steve C.

    I am pretty devoted to the fit of my Fizik road shoes, they have a way of conforming to my (weird) feet that remind me of climbing shoes, almost magical how they seem to glom on and stay in place.

    1. Steve C.

      And I probably wear my Lake Winter Boots more than anything. I second how perfect they are for (Chicago) winters.

  4. Michael

    Dang, was I supposed to grow out of my Sidi phase? I wore all sorts of Italian shoes in the ’70’s and ’80’s, with the nailed-on cleats. I remember my Duegis most, but for their looks – I don’t remember any shoes fitting particularly well or poorly. When I started into clipless pedals, I bought some Sidis for both mtn bike and road. They always seem to fit my skinny feet – the ratchet buckle allows me to move the whole buckle thing to the tightest setting and then I cut off the extra plastic sticking out the side. It makes it tight enough over the instep (I have a high but very skinny arch/instep) and roomy enough in the toes. I have tried other shoes over the past 25 years of Sidiness, but always have come back to Sidis. The worst was a pair of Specialized mtn bike shoes. Whoever Specialized-Man is, the mannequin they use to create their sizing, he does not look like me, from head to toe. Nothing they make seems to fit quite right on me. When I broke a buckle bumping it against a gate i rode through too quickly, I was happy to ride home with a loose shoe knowing I now had my own permission to throw those shoes in the trash.

  5. Kimball

    Its been Sidi for me for the last 2 decades. With my narrow, low volume feet their Genius line of shoes which came in a narrow (S) version really worked well in both the road and mountain versions. They’re comfortable right out of the box and last a long time with the occasional buckle and heal replacement. BUT they stopped making them in narrow a couple years ago so when my current ones wear out I’m back to the drawing board.

  6. Michael

    I have been pretty fortunate to live near shops that have stocked a wide range of shoes over the years, and have worn many different brands (usually depending on the money situation), but the one that I keep coming back to, and the ones that cradle my feet now, both road and dirt, are Vittoria.

  7. David

    I’ve been having great results with a variety of shoes from Giro. My foot is slightly wide but low volume, narrow heel..
    Wore out a pair of Apeckx, their lower end road shoe..
    I like the Empire, but the most comfy are the Empire E70 Knit.. about 4mm wider in the forefoot, really nice in the summer heat as well.

  8. rides in-be

    Specialized Torch 3’s. Easy to adjust and make my wide foot feel comfy. Not crazy expensive either.

  9. Ken

    S-works EXOS. I’ve tried Specialized shoes in the past that didn’t fit at all. I’m 52 and have been on a super manorexia plan for the last few months (lost 35 pounds and now only 3 pounds away from my college racing weight). Tried these shoes because they are super light about 200 grams each – that’s about 120 grams less than my fully custom DMT (also have custom D2s that I don’t like as much). I have an extremely high arch and wide forefoot. The EXOSs fit super well, able to fit my carbon Rocket 7 insoles in them and the stretchy toe box is wide enough for my left foot and almost for my right foot – had to cut a hole over my right little toe. Was a little uncomfortable doing that to brand new $500 shoes but I have done it to my custom DMTs and D2s. Very impressed that they fit better than my fully custom-molded shoes in addition to the lightweight. Maybe it’s just placebo but I definitely feel faster with these.

    1. Ken

      Should have said that’s 200 grams each with Speedplay cleats and aluminum adaptor plates to allow for my cleats to be run very far back.

  10. Neil Winkelmann

    Long-time Sidi guy. I like that they’re solid, and with replaceable parts. “Wires” on the road and “Tigers” on the gravel bike. Started looking at the Wire 2 to replace my 6-year-old Wires, which are actually still fine. Not seriously considering anything else, really.

  11. Jonathan Benn

    I’ve gone off the reservation-5-10 Freerides with platform pedals on all four of my bikes at the start of 2018.. 10,000 miles later no foot discomfort and no loss of performance. (Albeit my performance level was never really high to begin with.)

  12. MattC

    Like many, I have rather narrow feet and Sidi’s have been the perfect fit for a long time, both road and mtb. However, I recently got a set of Giro Code’s (it’s a gravel shoe…who knew there was such a thing?) for my new gravel bike. They fit much like Sidi’s…narrow, super stiff sole, 2 wide velcro straps and a top ratchet….and I LOVE the tread…something a bit less than a standard mtb shoe, but very worthy of riding on dirt….a mid-ride hike-a-bike is nothing to be afraid of with these, nor are they any burden on pavement. They are even toe-cleat ready, not that I need them (that’s reserved for my full-on MTB shoes)…I ride the Code’s with Crank Brother Egg Beaters on all surfaces…and with 3 sets of wheels/tires (all tubeless) I can change the bike to match the ride in about 30 seconds by switching wheels…and the Codes do it all quite well (getting 3 sets of rotors lined up to 1 set of calipers was a bit of work, but well worth it now that the wheels are all instantly swap-able). I got the shoes last fall for a great deal (end of season closeout) but must say I’d still be happy with them even had I paid full price. So now I have Giro equipment on my head, hands AND feet.

  13. Eric

    Rapha’s older Grand Tour shoes. I haven’t tried the newer “Classic” model.

    I tried the shoes on one afternoon while in one of their clubhouses and was genuinely surprised how well they fit. My feet are a little wide and I didn’t expect Rapha shoes to be a good match.

    I have a few Pair of Lake shoes that I mostly use on the trainer now. Lake builds with a number of lasts of differing widths, so I was able to find a good fit there, too. They also seem to use good materials.

  14. Peter Leach

    My short-ish, wide, high-arched feet like Bont shoes (I lust after the new Riots).
    Prior to the Bonts, I wore Giro Factors for several years after their release.

  15. AG

    There are so many cycling shoes available, but the biggest problem I found last time I was shopping was that there is no realistic way to try on all the various brands and types. Most shops sell only a few brands, and buying online not only takes quite a bit of time but carries risks of paying re-stock fees if you need to return the shoes. To add frustration, I have a wide foot so finding wider shoes is even more limiting. Long-winded way of saying I have been wearing Sidi Mega shoes for about 15 years now (on my third pair) and even though they are a bit heavy, they fit great for me, are super durable and are easy to find. Also, I like the classic style (black, of course).

  16. TomInAlbany

    Rode Sidi’s until they wore out. Replaced with Lakes with heel-mounted boa. It’s probably time for my third-ever pair of road bike shoes since 1995 (I think..)

    As for Mtn. I rode Specialized when I started in ’95 or ’96. I fell into a pair of Northwaves for real cheap but, they don’t really fit me good without a thick sock, which I hate. So, I still need to find a replacement. Not in a hurry though, since all I do is commuting and some playing around with the family.

  17. Aar

    Started off with a pair of Victoria’s. Then many pairs of the Gianni Bugno version of a Diadora Black with pink toes and yellow logo on the side (narrow heel, wide forefoot just like me). Then I saved and saved for a pair of Lamsons that I eventually retired after what felt like more than a decade. They just wouldn’t die. Then, it was a new pair of Specialized every 6-12 months (kept falling apart).

    This winter I’ll get my third pair of Bonts. Trying to decide between a third pair of Vaypor S or to switch to either the Helix or Zero+. Ignoring that I’m all about 4 hole Speedplay drilling, the fit and durability keep me coming back. Their sizing is weird but makes total sense. Just read their website and watch their sizing video. My Bont size is wide and a full US size smaller than any other cycling shoe. They last me about 3 to 4 years each and I’m tough on cycling shoes. Their carbon fiber tub construction is ludicrously stiff and durable. It’s the uppers and BOAs that give out on me.

  18. JP Ericsson

    I love my Sidi and Bonts! For indoor cycling I really like the tread of the MTB shoes for walking around, however most MT shoes are heavy and hot for indoor spinning. I gotta believe a lot of these gravel specific shoes, which seem to be made to transmit power yet are light and airy, would be great for spinning only??

  19. Ransom

    At least I feel like I fit in for once with my straight Dominators since going clipless… I miss the old blue and fluoro yellow ones.
    I do find on longer rides I get some big toe pressure, and might see if something else kicks upward a little less up there.
    But these still have a lot of life once I replace the ratchet straps.

  20. BSIlls

    As with almost everything cycling, Shimano makes the best shoes. If you are buying a pair for “endurance” riding consider going to the “wide” width. I did so this year and it is fantastic.

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