New Kicks

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?

16 Responses

  1. I clip!! I love them and have them on my road bike and my mountain bike. I have made my mountain bike into a commuter bike by replacing the knobby tires with smoother ones, adding panniers and adding dual sided pedals. They are like regular pedals (without straps) on one side and clip-in pedals on the other. That way I can ride in regular shoes or cycling shoes. It’s a pretty great setup.

  2. Clipping in SCARES me so I haven’t gone that route yet! I have cages on my pedals which I like.

    This post was super informative though. Eventually I’d like to get clip-in shoes and pedals but I’m nervous especially since my commute to work is SO downhill, the idea of not being able to get my foot out seriously freaks me out!

  3. You will get used to them. I have the same kind – the mountain shoes because we get off the bikes and walk around a lot.

    Take your bike to a doorway and prop yourself up in it. Then just clip and unclip over and over again. Or use your bike trainer. I find that angling my toes down and forward as I put my foot into the pedal helps them snap into place. Sometimes it takes me a couple of revolutions to get the foot clipped in, but that is okay. Most times no problem. Do you have the dual pedals?

  4. You are going to LOVE your new shoes! They don’t take long to get used to at all. Now after saying that, I must tell you that this does not mean that 3 years from now and using them regularly, you won’t forget you are clipped in and fall over anyways =)

  5. I just got the same shoes!!! Except in the true road style, not mountain bike. I really, really love them already! And I agree they ARE cute! Definitely a key component in choosing shoes πŸ™‚ I got these because my other shoes were actually too narrow and I was experiencing numbness.

    I’ve found that with bike shops you need to be super clear that you do want their help. I think in towns like Portland or San Francisco, where i live, there are so many cyclists and most of the people that come in their shops DO know what they are looking for and don’t want much help. I’ve found that I get the best experience when I need help by being super open about that. “Hey, it’s my first time getting shoes! Please help!” I used to be crazily intimidated by bike stores, but the more into cycling I’ve gotten, the better it is. There is also a company in the Bay Area, Mikes Bikes, which has lots of female staff which I really appreciate. If it wasn’t for one of those rad girls helping me out early in 2010, I may have never bought my first “real” road bike!

    1. You know, that’s an excellent point. All the other people that were shopping in the store clearly rode their bikes to the store and knew what they were looking for. I didn’t even think about that being part of it. It makes a lot of sense!

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