I'm thinking of buying some new road shoes. I have been using the type with two or three velcro straps for years. I see a lot of shoes offered now with the top strap having a ratcheting device, instead of just velcro. Do these work well, and more importantly, is the device durable? I'm not sure if I want shoes with vulnerable moving parts that, if broken, would make the shoe unwearable. Also, do these straps require more time and patience, than just plain velcro, when taking the shoes on and off?
i find the ratchet pretty durable and less prone to wearing out than plain velcro. i did manage to break one once when on a ride, but was able to improvise a quick fix. On most if not all shoes of this type the latch is replaceable. The one i broke was on a lower-end Performance shoe ( the exact type used on the L. Garneau shoes as well) and their customer service provided the replacement part gratis. Shimano and Mavic latches are pretty readily available and i suspect other marques' as well. As to user-friendliness, they require no more time or patience than plain velcro.
I definitely prefer ratcheting/BOA shoes. Easier on-the-fly adjustment and less chance of them coming undone.