New Shoes

I’m falling into a rut.  Every fifteen years or so I get new cycling shoes whether I need them or not.  My old pair, my first real cycling

Touring Shoe sole

New Touring shoes: smooth sole

shoes, a gift from Andrew, were really beginning to show their age.  Broken laces, worn soles, tattered velcro.  For me, they had been the perfect shoe, neither too heavy nor too light, perfect for toe clips, stylish, and durable.  I struggled to replace them, and tried a couple of options that were divergences rather than replacements.

Shoes like this are truly difficult to find.  I even had a couple of inquiries about when and where I bought them while riding on the trail, the latest from a woman who was disappointed when I apologetically turned off at the Jackson Parkway right-of-way.  She’d been looking for the right thing for months.  Both inquiries were, in fact, from women, supporting the Deborah Tannen theory that women tend to solve problems collaboratively; if you need an answer, ask people.  Men problem-solve on their own.  I’d never ask another guy on  the trail where he got his shoes, much less a woman.  What if my motives were misinterpreted?

The thing about cycling shoes is that there tend to be two kinds, more or less the way there are two kinds of bike: “road” and

My new touring shoes.

My new Specialized Touring Shoes

“mountain.”  The former are lightweight, sleek, built for light weight, and designed for road cleats only.  They are difficult to walk in.  Mountain shoes have huge treads on the bottom, almost like soccer cleats, are built for strength, and designed to take mountain-bike style pedal cleats.  That’s partly because a rider’s feet may have to be on the ground from time to time in some mountain-bike environments.  There are also spinning shoes for indoor exercise riding, but they lack the strength and/or lightness for outdoor applications.

What the curious women and I were looking for is a good shoe for toe clips: not the lightest weight, but with a nice smooth sole and heel, and a capability of being walked in with comfort.  I finally found just the thing at my local Spokes Etc. store.  It’s a “touring shoe.”  As the name implies, it’s great for riding and for walking into a deli or a bar to freshen up on a long jaunt.  Heavier than a road shoe, and smoother than a mountain shoe, this was just what I needed.  My pair are specifically Specialized bodygeometry Sport Touring shoes, black, size 47 (that’s size 13 in American money).  I fell in love instantly, went home and suggested a neat and useful birthday gift could be found, and with Jane’s approval went back and did her birthday shopping for her (I always strive to be considerate).  I’m including a couple of shots of these beauts.  I wouldn’t dare not to, After Andrew’s apt lament that I hadn’t included photos when I wrote about my shades.  Hope you appreciate the prop, Andrew.

Today was their debut, as i took the Trek out to Herndon.  The shoes proved to be the epitome of comfort, as they had seemed in the store.  They have an all-season feel to them, or maybe all but the hottest weather.  They’ll be visually great with my winter-weight black socks, too.  Sturdy, elegant, why they’ll probably last 15 years or so, by which time I’ll be past needing a new pair, in all likelihood.  Great!  A lifetime of shoe satisfaction awaits!

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

3 thoughts on “New Shoes

  1. You’re right, “touring shoes” are kind of hard to find, especially if you don’t know what they’re called. Most shops stock mostly ‘enthusiast’ shoes – Corvettes and Jeeps but no Camrys or Buicks.

    Happy to be visually entertained and glad to see that repair stand is getting some good use. 🙂

  2. Hello,
    Thanks for posting these hi-res pictures, they’re the only ones on the net I could see details in.
    I’m also looking to buy a pair of walkable SPD shoes but not the mountain style. These Specialized Sport Touring seem to fit the bill perfectly.
    Unfortunately I will have to buy them online and I was wondering if I need to order them one size up like most of the cycling shoes.
    How about you, did you take the size of your regular street shoes or one size up?
    Thank you.

    • Hi, Cip. I have always had trouble with all kinds of shoes because I have long, narrow feet. Then there’s the fact that the Euro-sizes of cycling shoes do not exactly correspond to the American size numbers for ordinary shoes. My regular shoe size is somewhere between 12 and 13. These are 47s and they fit well. I have encountered cycling shoes, however, in which I have needed a 48 or even 49. In the case of these, I’d say the stated correlation between regular size and cycling size is pretty accurate. At worst (and I know what a pin this is) if the size you order is wrong you’d just have to return them and get the proper size. Hope you enjoy them; I’m still loving mine.

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