How important is shoe quality?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by jkonst

Hi all,

I'm currently on a six year old pair of Giro Apeckx shoes. I've never really thought about them - they're comfortable, don't get hot, and cost like $70. But I also don't really know what I'm missing with a nicer pair of shoes.

Assuming comfort isn't an issue with what I have, is the primary benefit of nicer shoes better power transfer, or lower weight, or is there another reason to step up? Or if I'm happy with what I have, should I just not fix what isn't broken?


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by Yoeki

I think shoe fit is really important. It' s very personal however. Its one of the few points of contact with the bike and I think alot of cyclists from all levels have been guilty of buying poor fitting shoes because of a bargain price or just pure aesethics. From the people i know who ride, Giro laces seem to be the most common popular shoe that many have found actually really were too small. I've always had issues with my last pair of shoes (Bonts), stiff for sure but not comfortable at all, and I recently spent alot of time trying on many brands and went for the DMT SH1's. I think shoes should fit to the point where you really dont need to think about them.

I'd keep the same ones as long as you can, only thing you might profit from is a carbon sole, which as that price point it's probably not, and perhaps you see a small advantage as far as stiffness goes and might feel like you are putting a tad more power out especially if you race? Perhaps some better customising with BOA dials might help but you already mentioned they are comfortable. If you really want or need new ones, it might be worth investigaing if the fit has changed in that model over the years too.

by Weenie

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by jmfreeman535

I think how a shoe fits/supports your foot is far and away the most import part. It doesn't matter how high quality/stiff/expensive the shoe is, if your foot is sliding around, arches collapsing, or just uncomfortable, you'll lose power and be at a higher risk for injury.

I was wearing Fizik Aria R3's for awhile, and while it is a very nice shoe, it just wasn't right for fit me well (shape wise), and was comfortable, but it simply wasn't providing the proper support. So, I finally switched to S-works 7's and it was a insant improvement. I noticed an increase in power, and the pain/discomfort that I was experiencing in my knees and hips went away.

So, while I think you'll benifit from a newer shoe, you have to make sure it is the RIGHT shoe for you.

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by Sockman

I think comfort is kind of subjective. You think the shoes you have now are great, because that's all you know! When I went from cheap, to slightly better, to slightly better to the top shelf I was amazed at the difference. The closer you get to the top, the smaller the benefits become (as to be expected) but they're definitely there!

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by spud

Depends on where you are coming from. If your current shoes hurt, anything that doesn't is instantly a big benefit. I happen to believe that fit is important - if the shoe hugs from ball of foot to heel, it helps me feel like I can activate the whole pedal circle. I've got an old pair of Shimanos that are perfect when I put them on, but heat and sweat blows out the uppers until they feel like bedroom slippers. I've also got Bonts that are super comfortable and supportive through the bottom of the foot. But when I get aggressive in accelerations, they move on my feet, even though the reels are tight. I'm probably not really losing much power in them, but they don't feel right. I think higher quality shoes have better footbeds, upper materials, and overall execution of mfg and in most cases, I feel they are worth spending the $.

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by LouisN

Your title is misleading.
Quality for me means: materials and products used, manufacturing methods, quality control philosophy, etc...
What you describe is more (to me) like shoe models across a given brand lineup.

Louis :)

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by DaveS

This is weight weenies. If you spend enough, your shoes will be lighter. Every gram counts. Quite a few years ago, this was a major topic - who makes the lightest shoes.

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by kgt

Fit, support and soles are usually much better in more expensive shoes.

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by spdntrxi

kgt wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:24 am
Fit, support and soles are usually much better in more expensive shoes.
^this... not always true but their is strong correlation. The best ride in the world can be ruined by bad fitting shoes.. like bad fitting saddles.
2019 BMC TM01 Road UCI config 7.36kg

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by ichobi

That's a good point. With better material on the expensive models you often gets a better fit as some high ends materials is naturally more snug. Better (faux) leather that is light and thin can make a snugger fit too, not to mention expensive shoes usually comes with better retention system which allows for more precise fitting.

The thinner and stiffer soles also offer better ride feeling since low stack height means you will feel.more connected to the bike and stiffer soles allow better responsiveness in your pedal stroke.

I would say shoes are something you should not compromise. A second to best model is usually good enough. Or try the best model of the last gen. You can get the sworks 6 for much cheaper than the sworks7 and they will still be top notch. Sometimes the best model for the brand just doesn't improve enough to justify the upgrade (in the specialized case the 7 are noticeably better than the 6 though).

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by robertbb

When it comes to shoes (and actually other kit) I have one rule: if you find a style that fits perfectly, has the features you want... buy a number of pairs.

They'll go changing something with new models that you don't like and the search will begin again...

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by jkonst

Thank you all for the input - I really appreciate it. Looks like I'm now on the hunt for a pair of S-Works EXOS :) Or at least something a step up from what I have!

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by Nikoras

kgt wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:24 am
Fit, support and soles are usually much better in more expensive shoes.
I think the arch support in any stock shoe is pretty garbage for both expensive and inexpensive. Aftermarket insoles are a must in my mind. Fit of the shoe matters most in the realm of "snug but comfortable, then making sure it has a stiff platform, and lastly aesthetics and weight in terms of priority.

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by kgt

And a good full carbon sole really alters the hole riding experience. I still remember how riding my Sidi wire for the first time with their ultra stiff vent carbon sole was like riding a stiffer bike overall!

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by Hexsense

I started with nylon sole XC shoes.
Then Bont road shoes, then Shimano RC9 road shoes.
I did not think much about it other than the more expensive one fit nicer and have lower weight and stack height. Both are plenty stiff.

Eventually the XC shoes got revive to use on gravel bike. Wow, coming back from carbon sole to nylon XC sole feel very different. I feel a lot of flex. Now i'm ordering a heavily discounted Bont Riot MTB+ (from Bont online shop) to replace my offroad shoes.

by Weenie

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