Now I’ve got clearance road cycling shoes on the brain. It seems that the Specialized BG closure system has given up the ghost. If you’ve seen the system you’ll know that it’s quite unique in the cycling shoe world. The fishing line type enclosure looks pretty vulnerable, but it wasn’t the fishing line that failed.
Instead, it was the little ratchet that winds up the line. Sort of the ‘fishing reel’ of the BG cycling shoe set-up. Anyway, the little ratchet is a bit stripped out and will no longer hold the line tightly. I could continue on with a rather loose left shoe, but that would never do in a race.
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What To Look For In Closeout/Clearance Road Cycling Shoes
Well I’ll be looking for new road shoes and here’s what I’ll need to consider-
Vanity Factor- Now that I’m racing and I’m not all that secure in my road cycling social status, I’ll want to get some kind of high end model. But…I’m always looking for a deal so I face a quandary. How do I satisfy both vanity and frugality? I’ll start by looking for closeout deals at places like Amazon. They usually have quite a few different models for over 50% off.
Width- Riders with wider feet, like myself, should really consider getting a shoe that is offered in wider sizes. Sidi has a line that they call ‘Mega’ width sizing. Seems kind of strange to be a smaller sized ‘climber’ type rider looking for shoes with the ‘mega’ designation. But, I’m tired of having my left fifth metatarsal ache on the majority of my rides. I really do need a wider shoe.
Closure systems- I got a lot of miles out of my Specialized shoes before the ratchet failed, and I liked the simplicity of the design. But I think I’ll look for a shoe with the ratchet on the first strap and a hook and loop (Velcro) on the second and third straps. The fact that the higher end Sidis have replaceable ratchets seems appealing. Replacing a worn out ratchet looks to be as easy as bolting on the new ones. They sell for $20 at Western Bike Works. Replacement straps cost about $10 at Performance Bicycle.
Soles- Carbon, carbon, carbon. It seems that it’s all about how much carbon fiber they put into the sole. Carbon fiber means stiffness, which means that no energy is wasted in ‘sole flex’. On the other hand, too much stiffness means that hot spots may develop on the bottom of the foot since the stiff sole doesn’t conform in any way to the pressure you’re putting into it. Additionally…carbon means extra expense.
Heel Cup- I see that Sidi has a heel cup system that not only cradles the heel snugly, but is also replaceable. Regardless of which road cycling brand is chosen, a rider should be looking for a heel cup that doesn’t allow your heel to lift on the up stroke.
Upper materials- I think I’ll go with either a leather upper with breathable inserts or a man made leather with inserts. It looks to me that most of the major road cycling shoe companies have some kind of man made material that closely mirrors leather, but of course is touted to be better than leather.
I have a pair of Time road cycling shoes that are made of plastic and mesh, but they don’t seem to conform to my foot as well as I’d like them to. Of course if I’d gotten them in a wide enough size, expanding to the width of my foot wouldn’t be as necessary.
Bling- I saw a pair of really high end shoes that seemed to be pearlescent. I’m not brave enough for that type of attention. I never was attracted to a Liberace wardrobe.
I don’t know if any of this is of help to some of you, but I think that a few years ago (four pairs of cycling road shoes ago) I may have benefited from some of this insight into what to consider when looking to buy quality clearance road cycling shoes.
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