If you want to build something great, you gotta start from the ground up.
Usage Time/Distance: approx. 4,000 miles (a little over a year)
Purchased From: Tom’s Bicycles
- Solid construction
- Good ventilation
- Quick drying
- Low entry price (and associated SPD-style pedals are relatively cheap too)
- Heavy (very heavy compared to carbon fiber-base shoes)
- Laces and velcro strap combo are slow to put on (not good for our triathlete brethren)
- Only SPD-compatible
“Is it the shoes? It’s gotta be the shoes!” For anyone who doesn’t remember that old Michael Jordan / Spike Lee commercial for Nike.
Well, these shoes aren’t going to make you the next Jens Voigt, and in riding it ain’t all about the shoes – far from it. But a good pair of shoes can make a large difference. These shoes are pretty nice entry-level shoes. The cleat is recessed, so you don’t have to carry around caps for walking. They have a very sneaker-like feel, but with a sturdier base.
Walking in them is like walking in most other shoes, so you don’t feel awkward. The laces are well-made, and the velcro strap plays double-duty: it adds an extra level of cinch to the top of the foot, while also holding the laces in place (and out of your crank).
Fit is decent, though when I tried on the 43’s, they were too small, and the 44’s feel slightly too big. Not sure why there’d be such a large difference, but there it is. I went with the 44’s (you don’t want your feet to bind) and the extra room feeling hasn’t done anything bad for my cycling. Besides, how often does anyone ever find shoes that fit just right?
The cleat has a range of positions you can mount (front-to-back), though I’d recommend starting out centered and going from there. In the 4k miles I’ve used them, I haven’t had to adjust their positioning.
As mentioned though, these shoes aren’t light. They weigh about as much if not more than most sneakers (and modern running shoes aren’t even 1/4th the weight). Now, if you’re coming from riding with toe clips (those cages that go over the front of your shoes) this ain’t a big deal, because your regular shoes probably weigh just as much. And the benefit you’ll get from having the clipped in shoes will be massive. If you want your feet to feel light and airy though, I’d pass on these and spend maybe 30-50% more to get something a lot nicer.
Maintenance Note: Make sure to check that the cleats are tight before you ride. You don’t want it coming off mid-ride. I haven’t noticed any significant loosening of the cleats, but after a month or so they can start to loosen. Also, wash your shoes! The cleats are easy enough to remove and re-insert, and the shoes dry quickly.