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Your thoughts on "touring" shoes vs. road/mtb. shoes?(8 posts)

Your thoughts on "touring" shoes vs. road/mtb. shoes?treeman
Dec 11, 2002 8:31 AM
Hello everyone,

I just got back into road biking this past summer on a used steel Giant. For my first shoes I am considering a general purpose, touring type like Shimano MO37 or Specialized Rockhoppers. How much difference is there going to be in these type of shoes vs. very stiff road/mtb. shoes? Would these general purpose shoes not be suitable for a century ride?

At this point in my learning curve, I don't want to invest $100 to $200 dollars in shoes/pedals/clips. I also want to be able to get off the bike and walk into a restaurant without looking like Lance wanna-be old guy!

Thanks for your input.

re: Your thoughts on "touring" shoes vs. road/mtb. shoes?McAndrus
Dec 11, 2002 8:44 AM
If you're going to be doing true loaded touring then touring shoes are the way to go. They'll be much more comfortable off of the bike. Mountain bike shoes with cleats like SPDs are also suitable but they're a little clunkier.

If you're doing unloaded touring (like RAGBRAI) or recreational century style riding, I'd recommend either road shoes or MTB shoes. Road shoes are just fine for the occasional walk into a convenience store and they're stiffer and more efficient than either touring or MTB shoes. They're not real good for an all-afternoon walk through the tourist section of the town you just go into.
re: Your thoughts on "touring" shoes vs. road/mtb. shoes?peter1
Dec 11, 2002 8:52 AM
Mtb shoes are every bit as stiff as road shoes at comparable price points; in fact, many manufacturers will just slap some rubber lugs on the sole of their road shoes.

I'd also suggest you go for either "touring" shoes or less-expensive mtb shoes with flexible soles.

Many single-purpose road shoes are not "just fine" for the occasional walk into a convenience store. My Speedplay cleats make me feel like I'm walking on ice, especially when my legs are rubbery after a hard ride.
don't go too cheap on shoesDaveG
Dec 11, 2002 9:26 AM
I think its going to be hard to get what you want for <$100. Lower end MTB and touring shoes may be too flexible for longer distances, resulting in sore feet/hotspots. I use MTB shoes and SPDs on my touring bike which provides some walking capability while still retaining the benfits of clipless. I originally used one of the lower-end shimano MTB shoes. These felt great in the store but proved way to flexy for serious riding (serious pain on long rides). I eventually cracked the soles and got a decent pair of Diadoras. Overall I still prefer Looks for the road but they don't meet your walking criteria. Don't cheap out too much on shoes. They will last a while and they can make a huge difference in your riding comfort
To date: Bike-$50, Accessories-$200treeman
Dec 11, 2002 10:20 AM
The bike was a steal. Eight years old, about 200 miles of use, mint condition. The Nitto stem I put on it cost as much as the bike! Now you want me to spend over $100 dollars on shoes?

Seriously, thanks for the input. I'm swaying towards something with a stiffer sole. However, my wide foot is a major problem, fit wise - Sidi Megas are out of the question.
Here's a cheapieCaptain Morgan
Dec 11, 2002 10:49 AM
I recently bought some cheap touring-type shoes from As an extra pair, I wanted to spend as little as possible. They had (and still have) a deal on some Lake CX 125 shoes for $29.99. The few reviews I read on them were decent. Then I bought the cleats from an ebay auction for $2.00 (plus $5.50 for shipping). You would be hard pressed to find something new that is cheaper.
goals and moneyJS Haiku Shop
Dec 11, 2002 12:07 PM
if your goals are casual group rides, organized events, and centuries, for fun--and inasmuch, taking your time--mtb shoes are the ticket. when i got into road riding several years ago, i was also considering the "rockhopper" type shoes for both mtb and road. never bought 'em, but i do have a pair of nike mid-rise mtb shoes similar to those. imho, a "real" pair of mtb shoes (stiffer soles with formed arches) will serve better when on the bike, and also be walkable off the bike.

on the other hand, if you're going at it to stay on the bike as much as possible, there's no need to consider "walkability" of shoes. in this case, go for traditional road shoes, and walk--though infrequently--like a duck, worrying about worn cleats the entire way.

you don't have to spend $100 on a pair of shoes, either. there are places like the PI outlet stores (if you can find one) that have specials from time to time--i just picked up a $109 pair of (road) shoes for under $60. other places like,,,,,, and (especially), have great sales and blowout prices.

i've bought three pairs of "cheap" MTB-specific shoes from (the sport model) for from $9.99 to $25, and worn them on road rides of 100+ miles, including the GA 6-gap century, with nearly 11,000 feet of climbing. if there were hotspots to be had with those shoes, i'd have found them on that ride. mtb shoes are good for walking at SAG stops or into a store to use the facilities, for walking into the woods on the side of the road for same, or for walking and pushing your bike up a 20% incline. :)

by the way, when i use my $9.99 shoes, they are paired with $25 nashbar SPD pedals. you really don't have to spend a fortune. then again, i'd much rather spend all day on the bike riding a pair of road Sidi's (apostrophe there?) and Look PP296 pedals. go figure.

good luck.

re: Your thoughts on &quot;touring&quot; shoes vs. road/mtb. shoes?Nug
Dec 11, 2002 5:19 PM
I also have a pair of Lake 125s from Pricepoint. They work fine, certainly walkable, and I've had no problems with hotspots, etc. Like you, I didn't want to spend a fortune at first, and these are fine. My mtb shoes are also Lakes, '99 closeouts I bought for $20 last year. So I've spent $50 for $200 MSRP worth of shoes, and I have no complaints.