Thursday, August 19, 2021

Gotta Keep The Feet Happy

Three of my four pairs of Shimano cycling shoes
 Going into Gravel Worlds training I started to think about a lot of different things, as one does when attempting a 150 mile gravel ride. Of those many things, I was analyzing which shoes I have that would keep my feet the happiest. 

Now, I am a Shimano shoe guy. Have been that way for years now. My favorite shoes I ever had were some basic, three strap Velcro closure Shimano MTB shoes. They were sooo comfy! Not the stiffest, most efficient shoes in the world, but comfort goes a long way in making a ride successful or not. 

Ironically, I think it was after a Gravel Worlds when I noticed that both of those shoes blew out the toes and I had to retire them. What then? Well, fortunately, at about the same time as I had gotten those three-strap shoes, I also landed a pair of Shimano's best MTB XC shoes. (See Standard Disclaimer) I got those shoes to review on the old "Twentynine Inches" site which I once ran. Anyway, this would have been something like 2012, maybe 2013. So, they are getting on in age. But since I almost never use them anymore, they seem to be hanging on. I'm pretty sure they are the SH-XC90's and they are on the left there in the image. 

Then I got a pair of the Shimano RX-8 shoes to test (Standard Disclaimer again) in black (middle above) and later in the fancy-pants Green/Purple fade. Now I loved the black RX-8's. I still do. They are a little fidgety to get on, but they work well for me. However; when I got the other pair- the green/purple fade pair, those fit differently in the toe box. Huh! Why? They are the same model shoe, same size, everything but the color. Well, that fancier looking shoe fits a bit snugger in the toes, and well, it isn't for a long ride. Not for me anyway. 

So, it came down to me using the RX-8's in black, right? Well.......not so fast! I found the SH-XC90's when I pulled out my travel bag to load it. They were already in the bag! I'd forgotten all about them, so I figured one last test had to be done, and Wednesday I did that. I think that because the toe box is so roomy, and because the support is so good with the SH-XC90's, and because they vent well, I am going to use them.  

Gotta keep the feet happy, ya know? 

NOTE: The "Standard Disclaimer" can be found under the header in the pages tab.


Anon said...

I feel like the trend in new shoes has been toward a narrow toebox and overly stiff soles. Even the newer Shimano RX8 Wide is narrower than my previous Shimano shoes in a standard width. I feel like shoes around 2012 give or take a year fit me better than anything on the market these days. I've had a terrible time finding a shoe that is comfortable for an hour spin, not to mention all day rides. It's very frustrating. I'm almost ready to go to flat pedals with comfortable shoes at this point, and that is after using clipless pedals for 30 years. The image conscious side of me really hates the idea of casual shoes and lycra, but I may have to put that aside. For the record, in the past year I have tried Specialized, Shimano, Sidi, Lake, Giro, and Garneau. Often multiple models from each. Lake and Garneau are the best of the bunch, but still not close to older models from a variety of manufacturers, and while Garneau's road shoe works for me, the corresponding mtb shoe does not.

hank said...

G-Ted, Howdy;
Understand completely the "Happy Feet" thing.
I've got 13 EEEE feet and those become more rare
then hen's teeth when it comes to 'specialty-
footwear'. It's limiting even in regular footwear.

Have a happy footed ride.


MG said...

I hear ya, Brother!! I'm actually doing the Long Voyage in my Bontrager GR2 shoes, even though they're heavier and less stiff than my RX-8s. After 150 miles, they're the only shoes I don't get hot spots with, so they get the call.

See you soon!