Urban cycling footwear with a straight last?
June 10, 2014 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Looking for good looking, versatile, bike-commute friendly shoes with a "straight last" so my feet stay happy.

A few years ago I started having foot pain on the outside of my foot. Went to a podiatrist about it, he took some x-rays and stated that I have an extra bone in about the middle of my left foot that protrudes just enough to be uncomfortable in normal shoes. He prescribed "straight last" shoes for me, and since I made the switch I've had zero foot pain.

Flash forward to today. Recently I've become a full-time bike commuter. My New Balance 927's* are falling apart, and I'm tired of having to do funky things with the laces to keep them from getting caught on my chainrings. It's time to buy new shoes, but it's really hard to find everything I want. Can you help?

My dream shoe specs:
  • Men's size 10.5 (US)
  • Straight last (duh)
  • Flat sole (I have wide platform pedals with the pins for extra grip, no straps or toe cages)
  • Lacing that won't get tied up in my chainrings, or alternately no lacing at all
  • Look good with jeans or shorts, but not loud.
  • Comfortable enough to wear the rest of the day so I don't need to lug an extra pair of shoes anywhere
For a style example, I like the look of the Chrome Truks -- understated, good with jeans without looking like a New Pair of Tennis Shoes, and designed for urban biking. But a curved last.

* Don't base style choices on these -- they're hideous, but when I was in pain they were an easy-to-find godsend.
posted by rouftop to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Any reason not to get a chainguard for your bike so you don't need to worry about the lacing on your shoes?
posted by akgerber at 12:48 PM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Buy whatever shoes you want and get shorter laces for them. I personally have never had this problem with my shoes; I wear Sketchers leather uppers of various varieties and never have problems with my laces falling into the chain.
posted by kdar at 1:42 PM on June 10, 2014

as a somewhat gnarly cyclist dude(i buy all my shoes i'm going to cycle with at thrift stores, intending to trash them) who knows a bunch of bike courier/polo peeps.. just run the laces UNDER the tongue at the top and shove them to the inside of your foot once laced.

Then wear whatever you want.

Quite a lot of the guys i know don't wear slip ons or velcro bike shoes or whatever. It's just all about lacing them differently.

So i see two options here, seeing as how i've never seen:

1. buy shoes that are comfortable, and lace them differently. Really try and get something with a thin sole and overall thin profile though, because that just makes it way easier to ride IMO

2. Buy some shoes that are straight last but not high tops or anything which meet your comfort requirements, and then buy some easily bagable bike-specific shoes you don't plan on walking around in. While not straight last, those chrome shoes have a very rigid sole that doesn't "squish in" in the area most shoes with that sole shape do. That kind of thing seems like it would work ok, and if you can't walk around everywhere in them you can pretty much squish them totally flat in a pack*

Maybe i'm just used to doing the two pairs of shoes thing, but it doesn't seem at all unreasonable to me to do that here. I'd probably do it all the time if i had special requirements like this. I mostly suggested this because i looked at all the usual places i'd look for good biking shoes online and NONE of them had a straight last.

*years ago, when they were introduced chrome ran a deal that was "mail in the shoes you usually bike in, and we'll mail you a free random model pair of our shoes in your size to test out. report back if/when they break... so me and ALL my roommates mailed in our nastiest shoes and got them. They're very portable.
posted by emptythought at 3:09 PM on June 10, 2014

upon further application of the googles, i found these listed in the new balance "straight last/SL1" collection. They look pretty much like my beat up Adidas i ride with, but you know, straight last. They're also not godawful ugly like most NB shoes.

i did a lot of searching and those were the only ones i found marked as both straight last that didn't look like grandpas embarrassing neon running shoes. This seems to be a rather niche market? maybe most companies don't actually call this last?

There's an orthotic shoe store near my office, and i imagine there's probably one somewhere in your town too. Amazon/google/etc seem to not be set up to search specifically for this parameter, so i'd probably go in and look at what they have in person. Barring someone on here having bought a lot of these, which isn't an impossibility, i don't know how much people on here are going to be able to help.
posted by emptythought at 3:20 PM on June 10, 2014

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