Show us your shoes - Bike Magic

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Show us your shoes

In case you missed it we’ve been sticking up reviews of shoes we’ve used all week long, and asking you to send in thoughts on your own favourite or even cursed foot covers. We’ve had loads of reviews from desert boots to top line road footwear and thanks to everyone who’s sent them in. So without further flanneling, here’s what the great and good of BIKEmagic think about shoes:


You were asking for info about shoes…

All shoes used with SPDs in all sorts of UK weather.

* Nike Pooh-Bahs (ankle-boot style)
+ Lasted about 3 years – either they shrunk a bit after being hosed down &
dried out, or my feet grew (unlikely given my age !) Good shoe & comfortable when they fitted. Probably no longer available.
* Specialised Ground Control (?) – shoes; black; 3 hole lace-ups with a flap to protect the lace area.
+ Lasted about 2 years – managed to pull the cleat plate clean out of the
sole on a technical section. Good, comfortable shoe, but suffered from a rather catastophic failure !
* Lake MX 151 (ankle-boot style)
+ My current footwear for about 2 years. Good year-round shoe. Not waterproof, but comfortable. Used them once with (BikeMagic !) Seal Skinz socks in really bad weather. Did the job until water dripped inside the socks. Kept my feet warm though ! Could do with something to hold the laces in place, but otherwise the best of the 3 I’ve used.

Leighton Rees.

Scarpa Ranger Elan walking boots
Slightly higher and broader than average. Lined leather inside, so no goretex to trap water. Converted to Time clipless with a stanley knife and bolts [I’m a shoemaker by trade, amongst other things]. Used for 18 months, leather upper drys out fast if you do fall into water . As they are a touch higher you can sit gaiters on them without using that annoying arch strap. Toasty feet even in subzero temperatures. Jon Brooke took the p*ss until his feet froze going over the Cambrians. As I said, why worry about the pain as soon he wouldn’t be able to feel his feet at all.

Jeremy Atkinson

I have two sets of SPD shoes, no point in reviewing shoes for flat pedals ‘cos there’s thousands of ’em. Both shoes are used with single release cleats on Shimano 636DX pedals.My first pair and oldest pair are Shimano M056 boots. These were my first foray into the world of SPD pedals and shoes and I bought them because I didn’t want the style of a race shoe and figured a boot would offer more protection. They are a very padded boot with a fairly flexible (for a cycling shoe) sole, all this means that they are comfortable, warm and easy to walk in but the flexible sole does mean some sacrifice in pedalling efficiency. The combination of lace and strap allows you to tighten the boot easily and as the tongue is also padded the laces can be tightened without discomfort. The sole has a fairly deep tread and this means that the occasional hike up a slope is not a nightmare of struggling for grip, also the cutaway for the cleat is wide enough to allow easy clipping in and out without any fouling. One disadvantage of this boot is that all the padding means it soaks up water, if you have to dip you feet right underwater expect some squelching for the rest of the ride, but then some people
might find this pleasant!! I have had these shoes for about 3 years and with a little care have managed to remain in fantastic condition.
Overall an excellent shoe, can be a little hot in summer and best not used for paddling.

My other pair of SPD shoes are Lake MX200’s.These were given to me by my brother-in-law after he bought them in a sale but never used them. I had been toying with the idea of getting a race shoe as I thought it would be cooler for the summer and the stiffer sole would mean a more efficient shoe for cycling in. My first impression after using the Shimano M056 for a couple of years was that these shoes felt very light and minimalist, also clipping in and out was a little more tricky as the cutaway for the cleat was not as wide as my previous shoe, this is despite the sole actually being a Shimano one. Putting the MX200s on the first thing you notice is the complexity of the fastening, a full set of laces on top of a thin tongue, these are covered by a padded tongue that has a Velcro fastening to the top of the shoe, followed by two straps with Velcro fastening, one over the front of the foot and one at the top (I wouldn’t advise trying to use them for Triathlons, your transitions might be a little slow…). Once secured the shoe is comfortable and isn’t
going to go anywhere. So, onto the bike…I can only compare the shoes to my Shimano boots as they are the only other SPD shoes I’ve worn, so bearing that in mind…These shoes have a nice stiff sole that translates in to excellent power transfer, but don’t go hiking in them. Over the toe there is a mesh section that allows air flow directly into the shoe, nice and cool for them summer, but also in winter if you wear them with a sealskin type sock they don’t soak up water so make a practical wet weather shoe as well. In summary, a light and cool race shoe, that is comfortable to wear being Lake is a nice change from the norm…

Apologies for the inane rambling of a confused mind, but then it is a Friday afternoon…

David Brown

I have been using a pair of Carnac Passe touring shoes for the last 10 months now. I specifically choose these because of their ability to take Time, SPD or toeclip pedals. As a predominately day rider and twice a year tourist, with dodgy knees, I needed a pair of shoes that could cover a multitude of requirements. The varying pedal fixings are accommodated through the use of inserts in the sole. This makes the sole somewhat thicker than normal shoes, so much so that I had to raise my saddle height by 1cm to retain my previous cycling position. I have used the shoes with Time Attac pedals, which I personally found difficult to exit, so much pressure was being exerted to release myself from the pedals that the cleats began to distort the inserts. Not feeling safe with the Time, plus the knees were playing up, I then tried M536 double sided SPD’s.
These were easier to exit and did not effect the inserts.
Unfortunately my knees decided that clipless pedals were not for me so I have reverted back to toe clips and a flat insert. Inserts cost around £8 each and are in addition to the basic shoe around £90. If memory serves me correctly Time and SPD use the same insert, toeclips require a separate insert. The beauty of the shoe is it’s flexibility for use and the ease of swapping between pedals. Impressively crafted with back leather toes and cordora tops the shoe is an example of classic understatement.
The sole is reasonably stiff and walking is easy, although the heel height is low and beginning to wear, but could be repaired with a stick on sole when necessary.
Comfort is excellent, only on one occasion, after a long days ride, have my toes started to go numb. Quickly loosening the Velcro straps returned the circulation. Advertised with water resistant codura tops I have had no problems with water ingress, and worn with Windex overshoes have ridden in them warm and cosy throughout the winter. In summer I have found no problems with overheating.
Overall a significant improvement on my previous old type classic lace up touring shoes and would recommend them to wholeheartedly for general cycling and touring.
Score 9/10

Bob O’Brien

Carnac Carlit (as worn by CTC members) (must have toe clips).

A good balance between cycling and walking, with the emphasis on cycling comfort. Good fit, holds the foot well when cycling. Quality leather, last for ever. No spuds, so shoe does not leak, foot does not ache. A good shoe wth quill pedals and racing toeclips. A good “touring” compromise.

John Carden

Adidas Adistar (as worn by J Ulrich).
The emphasis with all road shoes is riding, not walking. They therefore tend to be rigid and must fit the foot well. Different makes have different shapes, find the right shape at the bike shop and then find the right size. These shoes are light, with carbon fibre soles and three velcro straps. They function well. Use waterproof socks or overshoes in winter. A good shoe – but expensive. Sometimes now on offer in Cycling Weekly.

John Carden

Currently I’m using a seven-year-old pair of Shimano130s(?). I had two pairs of Nike Cairns (US$40 for one, and US$50 for the other – ho could I resist), but they both broke. One snapped right across the cleat area, and the other had the upper and sole come unglued from the midsole, which wrapped around the midsole and left me to ride home with a sharply upturned and decidedly elven right shoe, which was almost as uncomfortable as it looked. Still, those Cairns were the best things I’ve ever put on my feet, and I miss them terribly. I also have a pair of Shimano 320s without cleats on them; I’ll start using them as soon as I get my new bike, so they won’t have to be used as both my riding shoes and my “commuting to the university and walking around campus all day” shoes.

By the way, I’m from Canada, not Britain. When things get more Britainesque around here, I put a pair of Gore-Tex oversocks over some thin, wool socks.

Sidi Shoes

I bought my first pair in 1990 and since then I’ve had about 6 pairs of MTB and road Sidis. Here’s my humble opinion of the brand:


* Lorica ‘leather’: extremely hardwearing , dries fairly quickly, cleans up well with shoe polish, very comfortable, low stretch
* Excellent quality construction: only one pair have exhibited any problems (heel started to peel away) – this has since been redesigned and new pairs are fine
* Closure systems: All the one’s I’ve tried work well but my favourite is the old ‘techno’ style single twist thingy at the front, and the old ratchet at the back
* Stiffness: In first year of use they have just the right level of stiffness
* Grips don’t wear down
* Don’t suffer too badly when waterlogged


* Some of the buckles are a little problematic in mud (latest red ratchets are the worst for this)
* The grips are not too good on rock (had a nasty moment on the Portal Trail in Moab!)
* Don’t offer the best foot protection, but they are adequate for their intended use (fast & lightweight riding)
* Not the best to walk in when trudging over mountain tops in Scotland or Wales


If you’re into riding quickly and don’t want to lug around squishy, foamy, bendy, strechy shoes then these are amongst the best. If you often end up walking with your bike or standing around contemplating drops or jumps then they are probably not for you. Ideal model for me – Sidi Dominator II or Techno Fire

Well – shoes hunh. SPD based riding requires completely different shoes to cages – obvious, self evident but completely ignored by the press – who assume your either full on x-country or DH racing then be able to walk into a bar and be so kool as to be able to pull the latest freely available super model.
Reality is somewhat different – at least in Berkshire!
What you need are shoes that are light, dry in 5 minutes, that mud (or kak) just drops off, have SPD clips that self clear, protect your ankles, don’t restrict ankle movement, don’t get hot and sweaty, are warm as toast in deep mid winter. Conclusion that’s two sets of shoes to start with.
Me I ride using of Nike Poohbars in Summer. A pair of Shimano boots in winter. A pair of sealskin socks when its wet. Not great but it works – downside mud sticks and they take 24 hours of sitting on a radiator to dry out and I use my Alien to clear out more mud and stones from the SPD’s than I use for anything else.

Best regards

I have had my Sidi Energy 2001 Road shoes for about 6 months now. I have only used these for touring and a small bit of racing. They are very well made and fit my foot very well, until I have ridden for about 300Km when the carbon soles rub against the side of my foot causing a lot of pain. They are also very slippery on most floors so are not ideal if you ride to the start of races. The buckles are great however and are easy to do up on the bike and in cold weather with gloves on.
Great Shoes but I would only 4/5 as they are not 100% suitable to all kind of riding.

Rick Cutler

Diadora Poblano:
A thoroughly practical pair of shoes, of excellent quality manufacture, (after 4 years I’m only on my second pair because the first pair got too small, and I stood no chance of using them with the Sealskinz socks I got for Christmas).
There’s enough padding to protect your ankles from getting bashed, but it’s cut thoughtfully so it doesn’t impede your pedalling, and although laces are perhaps a little old fashioned, they are simple, effective and practical. And thanks to the velcro down flap over the front don’t get caked in mud, and won’t tie themselves up in your chainset. The toes are ventilated so they don’t get too hot in summer, but then water can find it’s way in and your tootsies can get a bit frosty in the winter.
Overall I really, really like these boots. Okay, so the styling is not perfect, and they might not be the lightest, but they are substantial enough to protect my feet from the odd flying rock, are well comfy, and I’ve had no problems engaging with my Shimano SPD’s. What more do I need?

If your article extends to socks…


I’ve got the short ones with the thermal lining, can’t remember the thickness but they’re the mtb recommended ones, Thin? Medium? They’re warm, but the thermal lining resembles a layer of towelling in both it’s feel and it’s ability to hold water. In the dry this isn’t a problem, in fact it isn’t even a problem in the wet, unless you don’t like having wet toes…
When it’s raining water runs down your leg and gets soaked up by the padding around the seal at the top, then slowly leaches into the towelling inner, so you get lovely warm water circulating around your toes. I suspect this doesn’t happen with the non-thermal socks, but my next pair are going to be calf length thermals, and I’m going to tuck them into my 3/4 length endura shorts. I reckon this might be a better solution than tights and ankle length sealskinz…

Gary Ewing

I hate my shoes. Scarpa, Doc Martens and Merrel are the only things that fit me properly and they don’t make SPD compatibles. I’ve had a pair of Shimano MO80s for the past year or so. The sole is falling off and they don’t fit and they are too cold in winter but at least they were cheap. I have silly shaped feet – high instep, wide ball and narrow heels so getting shoes to fit is a nightmare.

I wear them with Porelle Drys and (sometimes) neoprene overshoes which stops my feet from falling off in winter, just about. My ideal shoes would be Northwave Arctics with a slightly higher cut but they are far too narrow for me.


Ma Shoes…
Shimano M150s…bit of a classic now I think. The soles are well grippy and seem to wear well. The Neoprene oversock keeps the bit just blelow the ankle warmish and the shoe itself is quite warm…not a huge deal of ventilation so it stays warm, in summer it’s a bit too warm. Walking in them is ok, but after a bit of use i.e. 6 months+ the heel starts to deform and I now get blisters when walking…
The replacement studs in the toes section is a handy idea – I’ve used the studs permanently throughout the year due to the conditions… For winter use they are great until you get them completely soaked…then they take ages to dry…and in snow they can get quite cold.


Desert boots. As worn by all the best mods. available in blue, white, sand, black.
Useless for riding a bike, but, the best shoes ever.

Malcolm Coghill

3 pairs of shoes used:
The Sidi’s are good – the only shoes I could find without vents which are a stupid idea in Britain on all but about 3 days. Shimano D100/Winter boots would be a good winter back up but too narrow for me.
1) SIDI Techno – near perfect.
Upsides: Plain black, red sole, footie boot looks – a serious off road shoe. Full vent free lorica upper is perfect for almost anytime of year in Britain and not too hot even in mid summer (and how often do you ride without any mud or puddles that would flood through any vents?), stiff sole, good grip. Team them with waterproof socks for winter. Commute in them when it’s wet.
Virtually no padding (mine didn’t even come with an insole but I’ve added a neoprene one) but surprisingly comfortable and dry really quickly after a soaking.
Downsides: They could do with a rubber bumper round the front – if you clump a rock with your foot you know about it. Front ratchet clip overcomplicated – the Dominator 2’s with velcro would probably be better. Not good to walk in.

2) Shimano m???(1999) Brown suede/black nylon lace and velcro affair –
probably equivalent to the current MO36’s. Looks – not too bike dork.
Commute/leisure – easy to walk in, doesn’t look too odd, comfortable.
Off Road – rubber round front offers some protection, but dirt comes in through the tongue. Little protection from water. Take a while to dry.
Verdict – useful to own. Ok for those relaxed summer rides.

3) Cannondale adventure trainer style.
Commute/leisure – Look good and could pass for normal shoes, fine to wear to the pub/shopping.
Off road – lace only, difficult to get tight enough, lace holes wear out laces quickly (thought they’ve since sorted this with metal loops). Lots of padding takes ages to dry out when wet.
Verdict – Ok for the pub or commute but not much else.

Simon Stil

Shimano M220: In blue with carbon fibre sole purchased June ’01 used with
shimano SPD’s……….
The Shoe is very stiff which is good for power transfer as well as avoiding cleat creaks. Neither the sole or the insole offer much in the way of foot arch support – which in my view is essential to stop your foot rotating when pushing hard on the pedals. I have had to build up an arch support using orthopaedic foam and have covered it with water proof duct tape. The tongue is not wide enough and rotates after a few minutes cycling to reveal a little gap at the front on the shoe through which water and grit will pass.
In summary: The shoes (with insole additions) are good but I am dissapointed as they are not as good as the SH -M210’s I bought in 1995! By contrast the Shimano SH R122 carbon road shoes are excellent and do not suffer from the problems described above.
Barry Aylett

Northwave Elite – not good for winter (not much good in summer either for that matter). Lots of open mesh = cold/wet. Poor grip on the soles, which started peeling off after a year’s use. Too stiff to walk comfortably – the low cut design slips off the heel. Really a race shoe rather than a trail shoe.
Shimano Downhill red/black boots – good; comfy for both riding and walking, and reasonably warm/waterproof. Decent sole tread meant big hillclimbs weren’t too traumatic. In the end, the ankle cuffs ripped apart, but they lasted a couple of years so I was happy enough.
Sidi Inverno – what I’m using now, and impressions seem good so far. Been dancing through a few streams with most of the water kept out. There’s a decent amount of tread on the soles, and the upper is moulded down around the sole, so it shouldn’t peel off. The only criticism I have (apart from the price – £109!) is that they’re quite voluminous – you have to pull the straps and velcro ankle cuffs tight to stop them slipping at the heel – however, I’ve got weird, long, thin size 13 feet, so that could just be me…
FWIW, I really rate Shimano SPD sandals if you’re heading off somewhere warm for the winter. I got thousands of miles out of my last pair before the straps pulled out at the front. I’ve just ordered a replacement pair for a little trip I’m planning next month.
pic I’ve also ridden them in very cold weather wearing socks without problems.

Pete Jones

Hey. Like the site. Also like my Shimano SH-M151’s, the red & black jobbies. Dead comfy, nice fit and plenty pedal power. Bosh. Had ’em for about a year and apart from the usual scuffs, G-wax and protector keeps ’em cushty. Need Seal-Skins and that this time of year, though.


My road shoes;
Addidas AdiStar, bronze;
Good points…
Ridden all season, the best road shoe I have ever used. Fits like a glove, 3 velcro straps allow a very secure fit. The sole follows the shape of my feet, there is ample width as I have found Italian shoes to be a little too narrow, no problem with Addidas though. I fitted look cleats, fittings for time/spud cleats as well.

Bad points….
No half sizes, my normal size is 44, the Addidas 44s were too big, 43 is OK but may be a problem for some people.

Malcolm Coghill (again)

I ride flatties and I’ve used the same pair of Converse Classic
All-Stars for about 3 years. A bargain buy for about £15 – I used them as
everyday shoes till they were ‘broken in’ enough to warrant use on the bike.
Features include:
– Authentic ThreadBear(tm) worn look
– Advanced toe cooling system: Breeze-ToeHole(tm)
– Water ingress drainage system: ExHydra-SoleHole(tm)
– Ergonomic design for maximum comfort (welcome my feet like old friends)
– Easy clean (chuck ’em in the river)
– Easy to find with ArmomaticLocator(tm) technology.

Graham Stewart


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