Saturday Michael and I had big plans to go to one of the new cycling shops because we had Groupons for them! Each with $50 burning a hole in our pocket, we fought the downtown traffic…only to remember that it was the Rose Festival Parade. Ooops. Poor planning. Finally finding a way around the closed streets, detours and crazy crowds, we got to NW Portland and went to Western Bikeworks. The store was huge with lots of products. Plus, there was a parking lot which is a nice thing to have in NW Portland.
Everyone at Western Bikeworks was friendly but I wouldn’t say they were helpful. I walked into the store and told the guy I was shopping for cycling shoes. The first guy basically just pointed to a wall of shoes. Duh, I saw the shoes when I walked in. I was looking for a salesperson who was knowledgeable and willing to help me.
Another guy helped me and he wasn’t much better. He didn’t seem to have much knowledge on shoes, what I should look for, what is ideal for what I was going to be doing. Honestly? If I had been there alone without an experienced cyclist with me (Michael) I would have just left without buying anything. I was rather annoyed by that. If I’m going to spend over $100 in a store that requires me to try on a bunch of things, I want someone who knows what they are talking about. I finally found shoes that worked and got them.
The shoes I ended up buying were the Shimano SH-M087G MTB cycling shoe–in a Men’s. There wasn’t really any difference in sizing, feel or design in the men’s shoes versus the women’s. Sometimes men’s cycling shoes can be wider (which is a problem for me because I have narrow feet) but these fit well!
I knew I didn’t want traditional road bike shoes. Since I’m a fairly new cyclist and commuting to work, I wanted to have cycling shoes that I could potentially walk in if I had to. Road bike shoes are very slick and smooth on the bottom and that wouldn’t work for me. Not only do I have to walk through my building at work in order to get to my office and change, I also don’t want to be stranded somewhere on the Springwater alone and not be able to walk in my cycling shoes. As you can see in the above photo, these shoes are very walkable.
Mountain bike shoes offer the best of both worlds: they clip in AND I can walk in them on the road if I need to. They look similarly to trail running shoes. The model I got boasts that I’ll be “Ready for competition, commuting and all the rides in between, the SH-M087G is comfortable mountain shoe that’ breathable and easy to walk in.”
- Sole features rubber tread for great traction
- Micro adjust buckle and Velcro straps ensure secure fit
- Fiberglass reinforced polyamide outsole is stiff and strong
- Stretch resistant mesh offers great ventilation
One problem with mountain bike shoes is that they can be pretty heavy. These are not. They are pretty light for what they offer. I wasn’t sure I wanted the buckle feature on a shoe because it seemed like an extra pain in the butt. I knew I didn’t want shoelaces (per Michael’s advice) and that I preferred velcro. These shoes have velcro straps plus the buckle system. The buckle made it possible to tighten the shoe more than just the velcro offered, so that was kind of nice. Here are the velcro straps and buckle:
I think I’m really a size 39.5 in cycling shoes but it was really hard to find a half size in a shoe I liked. These are a size 40 and they felt well without being too big, or too small like the 39’s. Plus when I commute to work in the mornings I wear double socks or thicker wool socks because of the temperatures. I think the 40 will work well for that situation.
Michael installed my pedals and helped me practice clipping in. It was REALLY difficult for me. I struggled to clip in, but could successfully clip out with no problems. Michael said it just takes practice. But I don’t want to be stick out there somewhere by myself unable to clip my shoes in. I’m a little worried about that. Maybe I’ll skip a week of commuting and just practice at home on the trainer. Not sure yet.
Who else here clips in? What kind of shoes do you have and how long did it take you to get used to them?
QUESTION: Does anyone have tips on how to get better at clipping in?