The White Shoes

December 4, 2010 at 00:35 | Posted in bicycles | 2 Comments
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Today, I bought new cycling shoes. I’ve been needing a new pair for a while; I always know when my shoes are wearing out as my right knee starts to ache sometimes on longer rides. But actually that wasn’t what tipped me over the edge; what really did that was the smell.

We’ve had a lot of wet weather recently, and my old shoes stank. Really really stank. I had them under my desk at work, and it smelled like a tom-cat had pissed on the carpet. I had to move them out of the office, it was so bad. Worse than a teenagers bedroom. The time had come – I needed some new shoes.

So at lunchtime I headed out to my favourite bike store, and tried on some shoes. Now, I’m not a real roadie type. However, I do like SPD-SL cleats. They just feel much more comfortable than regular SPDs, and on the fixie I appreciate the comfort and the power transfer when grinding up the big hills. I also find them much easier to align than SPDs (which I also use, on my tourer). So I wear clip-clop roadie shoes when riding the fixie, even if they are sometimes a big incongruous with the rest of my commuter outfit (I do wear full lycra often enough, for example for a longer ride, or if it’s raining. It’s very practical, after all).

Up until now I’ve stuck with basic entry level shoes in black. Easy and low profile. However, the guy in the store was an absolute master, and I was putty in his hands. Was a carbon sole better? Oh yes, no doubt. Much stiffer for longer. He stopped using anything else five years ago! Definitely worth it; absolutely no doubt I would feel the difference. I would be able to get better power transfer and go faster. And there was 20% off that model.

But they were white. A bit, well, bling, don’t you think? Oh no! Very stylish. And you’re riding a bike – you don’t need to wear school shoes!

But this cheaper black pair are very comfortable. Oh yes, they are very comfortable. A nice shoe. But not in the same league. They are fine, sure, and will do the job for you, but they won’t be a stiff for as long, and you’ll notice the difference. I really recommend the carbon fibre.

I bought the white shoes. I have no idea why. I went into buy another pair of entry-level black shoes, and came out with a white carbon fibre pair that were twice the price.

I mounted the cleats on them for the ride home in some anticipation. Would I feel the exceptional power transfer? Would I be faster? Would my feet smell less?

In the end it was a bit hard to tell. The cleats weren’t quite in the right place, and rather annoyingly the bit of the strap that sticks out on the inside was catching on the crank each time the pedal goes round (I like to have my feet close together, so tend to mount the cleats right on the outside of the shoes). Hopefully I can solve this by shortening the strap and re-aligning the cleats.

I did successfully fend off two roadie competitors on Anzac bridge, so I guess they worked OK. Still, some purchases you love straight away, and some you come to love. I think these shoes fall into the latter category. Perhaps I’ll like them better when they start to smell a bit.

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