Sometimes I feel like a woman when I look at my mtb shoe collection. I have a pair for really crappy weather, a pair for really cold weather, a pair that looks like sneakers so I can blend in when I ride to the bar, a pair for 'cross racing, and a pair for cross racing when the conditions require toe spikes. I've also used and passed along a number of other mtb shoes in recent years. Since it is (er, was) cross season for the last three months I've mostly been using two pair. The first pair is a super light pair of Specialized S-Works with the silly ratchet system. I bought them for a song on ebay so I don't mind abusing them. Here's a recap on the shoe
Specialized S Works BG MTB shoe
- Fit: The BG fit that Specialized advertises is nice. The shoes conform nicely to my feet without any hot spots or pressure points
- Stiffness: With the carbon reinforced sole, the shoe is stiff enough to satisfy me without being too stiff
- Durability: I'm glad I didn't pay much for these because they simply do not hold up. Friends have gone through multiple pairs with Specialized warranty due to treads delaminating (at least they stand behind the shoe) but frankly I don't want to deal with sending back my damaged shoes every 3 months. Also, mine are wearing out on the inside of the heal (probably from striking my chainstay or crank) which is a problem I've never had with other shoes. My suspicion is that the lame carbon-like material is just not durable enough for a shoe of this caliber. My other shoes have either hard plastic or tougher fabric in that area.
- Weight: These things are darn light. They are half the weight of any other mtb shoes I've had.
- Grade: I'd give these a B- if you buy them for $100 or less. If I had paid the retail price ($200+) I'd give them a C-
My other primary shoe of late is the Adidas Marathon mtb shoes. I've had these for over three years now and they just keep ticking. Too bad I can't find them in stores or online anymore. Here's a recap
Adidas Marathon mtb shoes
- Fit: These shoes took some time to break in. After a season of fighting the flimsy stock footbed I upgraded them with the black Superfeet inserts and they are much better.
- Stiffness: These suckers are as stiff as any mtb shoe I've ever owned and stiffer than many road shoes I've owned. If you like stiff soles, these are worth a try.
- Durability: These shoes have held up to two seasons of cyclocross thrashing as well as a season of mtb riding and racing. Earlier this fall I noticed a toe tread starting to rip lose (maybe from kicking a barrier at Suckerbrook). Two and a half months later that tread is still hanging on! Also, the velcro straps are holding up just fine despite repeated adjustments.
- Weight: These things are not the lightest out there. Being the middle of the line offering I don't suspect Adidas was trying to keep them super light but they are by no means the heaviest either. Given their durability, I'm willing to accept a bit of extra weight.
- Grade: B+ They'd get an A if they were lighter.
I've outgrown my Sidi lust faze as they are simply not stiff enough for my liking and there are plenty of less expensive options with similar or better features. Oh, and the adjustable top strap mechanism tends to rub on my crankarms which is not cool.
I'm interested in trying the new Shimano shoes when the Specialized finally die (or when I find a screaming deal on them). Lots of people seem to be enjoying the Shimano shoes these days so they seem worthy of a try.