Cycling shoes for big, bad feet
November 27, 2017 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for cycling shoes for clipless pedals (SPD). Snowflake details inside.

My bike pedals got "tired", so it's time to upgrade. I'm taking the opportunity to move to using clipless pedals. I purchased and installed a pair of Crank Bros. Double Shot pedals (clip on one side, platform on the other). 2 hole SPD. The platform side is a little bid smaller than I'm used to, but it rides fine.

The only problem now are the shoes. A few years ago, I posted this AskMe about finding proper shoes for me.

Now I need to apply this to cycling shoes. Are there any good and wide cycling shoes? With a wide toe box to accommodate bunions? I wear a US 10.5 4E, but can comfortably wear a 2E. If it's a lace-up, I can do bunion lacing at the bottom, but I still need a wider toe box.

They should also be free of leather (which doesn't seem to be too much of a problem with the shoes I've looked at so far).

Any suggestions? I hope to get something that's a touch stylish, and I can actually walk around in a bit (MTB shoes? Is that right?) I ride a hybrid; I don't do all the crazy skintight bike gear and whatnot.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In terms of traditional clip-in mtb shoes, Shimano have a reputation for roomier toe boxes.

However, I reckon you'll have more luck looking at shoes designed for downhill/enduro riders. They're much less 'sporty', and a touch more generous in their sizing.
posted by MikePemulis at 8:10 AM on November 27, 2017

Five.Ten now makes cycling shoes, and it looks like these might be your best bet. They tend to fit a wider toe box. Shimano or Sidi are good bets (these are shoes I've owned, and I have wider feet).

You'll need to make sure whatever shoes you buy have cutouts for cleats; the new style of flat pedals for downhilling means that some cycling-specific shoes don't have cutouts.

Keep in mind that cycling shoes are made to be stiff, to transfer power to the pedal. So you might not get the overall flexibility of a sole that it sounds like you need, like for bunion lacing.
posted by Dashy at 8:24 AM on November 27, 2017

You don't talk about ride time, but I'd offer one caution based on my experiences:

You do want SPD shoes to be especially stiff for longer rides. They have a relatively small contact surface compared to road cleat types and I've developed hotspots at the cleat connection point with softer-soled shoes. This is ok for SPD sandals that you're just using for trips to the store or a cafe, but for hour+ rides, they can be very uncomfortable.

I use very stiff road shoes with SPD cleats for longer rides as a result.
posted by bonehead at 10:26 AM on November 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've had luck with Sidi's. Their "mega" lines are specifically for wider feet and bigger toeboxes. My road tripping shoes are an older version of their Dominator Mega. I have wide feet with high arches and I've found these much more comfortable than other brands. As a second choice, I've also had decent luck with Lakes, again, they may a wider shoe too.
posted by bonehead at 11:39 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I should have mentioned that I'm primarily a commute rider, so 5 days a week, I'm never on my bike for more than 45 minutes at a time. On the weekends, I'll occasionally go for leisurely rides lasting a couple of hours, but it's pretty stop and go kind of stuff. I ride a Giant Seek 3; I can't imagine doing anything really intense with it (other than the hills in San Francisco).

I've seen some SPD sandals, and they look like they may be perfect, especially for the bunions. But we're coming up on rainy season in the Bay Area, the the thought of cold, wet feet sounds awful.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:42 PM on November 27, 2017

A friend gave me some sandals that take SPD cleats just fine. They're kind of Teva form-factor, made by Shimano, and I love 'em. Yes, I wear socks with 'em, but for letting my toes spread out they're awesome.

When the weather gets cold and wet go for heavy wool or fleece socks, change 'em when you get to the office, and you'll be fine (advice given from Sonoma County values of "cold and wet", though mornings out in West Marin can get icey).
posted by straw at 2:09 PM on November 27, 2017

Seconding the Sidi Megas. I have size 10/4E feet and they fit me great. They're expensive, but they'll also last forever and have several replaceable parts. The Dominator Mega is the one I use, and the only change I've made is putting in new insoles.
posted by pdb at 2:35 PM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Sidis are out of my price range. I ordered a pair of the Shimano sandals, but there's sizing issues: I'm a 10.5US, so I got the size 45-46. The width is fine, but they are WAY too long. The box actually said 11.2. So I returned them and ordered the 43-44. Lengthwise, they're OK, but widthwise, too narrow, really. I wish Shimano offered a 44-45; I suspect that would be perfect.

I'm going to stick with these sandals. I don't plan on doing a ton of walking, so the narrow width shouldn't impact me too much.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:11 PM on December 5, 2017

Update for anyone interested:

I picked up a pair of Serfas Men's Trax Mountain Bike Shoe s . They're pretty fantastic, and fit great!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 2:15 PM on December 13, 2017

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