As I've been reading a lot about long tours, gear, bicycles, etc...I realized that I haven't quite read about from any blogs or sites yet is SHOES! Any advice on what kind of shoes best for 1000 mile tours? I've never ridden with clips...but understand the benefits. I'd like to break in the shoes before I venture out to the west. Any advice?
Opinions, as they are for bikes, will be all over the map. If you're used to riding without foot retention, no need to start just for the tour - though I'd make sure to have shoes that are comfy for both riding and walking (relatively stiff, grippy soles) and maybe some flat pedals that have pins (BMX pedals would work, if you want to get fancy you can get something like these). Plenty of people tour while wearing sandals, Crocs, whatever's comfortable - I wear Adidas Sambas and they work perfectly well. I also don't want to deal with carrying an extra pair of shoes.
I use Power Grips, because they're on my bike and I'm used to them and too lazy to switch them out for something else. I frequently ride with just one foot attached (and really, just to lift the pedal when starting from a complete stop) though in the rain I'll slide both feet in for some slip protection.
It sounds like you've got a little time before your trip, so why not give 'em a try. Worst case, you can always use platform pedals and athletic shoes as Alex suggested.
For touring, I'd say you need to go with:
- MTB or touring shoes, as opposed to road bike shoes
- These shoes will use SPD style cleats/pedals (not to be mistaken with SPD SL or road bike pedals). They're also referred to as 2-bolt cleats. I'd recommend the Shimano SH56 (below) which releases easier than the standard, black cleats which come with your pedals.
- Grippy, soft tread. Many MTB shoes are like soccer cleats, VERY SLIPPERY on asphalt and should be avoided. Look for models that resemble trail/running shoe or Skechers. See suggestions, here:
- Temp. Get the right amount of warmth/cooling; this will vary by individual and climate. Some shoes come with a full leather-like upper which retains heat, while others have mesh and breath quite well.
- Layering option. If you're unsure about temp, buy something meshy and pack some lightweight shoe covers. I have the Bellwether's pictured below which I use over my meshy shoes in winter. For $20, they should get you through your tour.
- Socks & Fit. Try to wear what you'll use for your tour when trying/buying your new shoes. Ensure they fit without "hot spots" or pressure points anywhere. And if you want to regulate temp by changing sock materials, make sure they're the same thickness since you'll want the fit to be the same.
- Pedals - Clipless Only. Shimano PD M520's are hard to beat for price/quality.
- Dual Purpose Pedals. If you decide that clipless isn't going to work for this tour, you can still use your new shoes without cleats if you buy this type of pedal. It has an SPD retaining clip on one side and a flat platform on the other. Shimano PD M324
Getting in and out is not a real challenge. REMEMBERING you're clipped in is the real trick. Get plenty of practice and it'll become second nature.
Here are some lovely shoes:
They are a mere $1200. The second pair will cost even less once your personal shoe last has been created. I don't know how you could resist such an offer.
Remember, listen to posters who advise you to buy everything in sight. Soon you will become a paragon of cycling je ne sais quoi.
Try these, they are a blend of a jogging shoe and a cycling shoe, I use a pair like this with mtb pedals.
Easy to walk in, easy to clip in and out of, and they do not scream "bike shoe" when you are off the bike
I'm planning a bicycle tour next spring and after researching shoes I've decided to go with 2 pairs: clipless road bicycle shoes and walking sneakers. While I know an extra pair of shoes add weight and volume, I think sacrificing either good pedal retention or a comfortable shoe for walking around would make the trip less enjoyable. While there are great "hybrid" shoes (a walking shoe with a recessed cleat), I think these are poor for either long distances or for walking for an extended time which makes them poor for touring. Just my two cents.
Also, if you haven't yet tried retention, you really should try it. I spent a long time avoiding anything but flat pedals and I regret missing out on the ability to spread my muscle use to the entire pedal rotation. Being attached to your pedals makes riding so much more efficient and fun.