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"Retro"fitting shoes
Last Post 09/20/2015 12:52 PM by 79 pmooney. 17 Replies.
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79pmooney

Posts:1734

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09/04/2015 07:11 PM
That title is dead serious.  I have been having foot issues for the past several years caused by my cycling shoes and inclination to ride fix gear up serious hills.  (There is room for some fun with that "inclination" also

The issue has been the straps, getting them adjusted tight enough so my foot doesn't slip forward and crunch my toenails or just plain slide around and cause blisters while not causing pan that feels like bone issues on the top of my foot, often lasting long after the ride is over.  I have been longing for the days of my old cycling shoes, all of which laced up and noticing that if I was willing to spend$270 or more, there were lace up shoes to be had.

My feet are unusual enough that I seem to be one of the few that rides Lakes by choice as one of the best fitting lasts I have put my foot in.  Giving up a half dozen shoes that fit on the long shot that spending most of the money of that half dozen on one shoe is not in my New England upbringing.  Last week I had a thought - why couldn't you install grommets on strapped shoes with a grommet punch!  (I recently made straps to carry my amplifier using bigger grommets.  A pleasure ot work with and the end result looked completely professional.)

So I bought some small grommets that came with the punch.  Ran 7 holes/side spaced 3/4".  Laced them up.  Did a round town ride.  Wow!  Even without getting the laces right, what a huge step up!  Now i haven't cut the straps yet and won't 'til after the first real ride, so adjusting the laces is the pits.  But it looks like my foot issues are leaving.  I adopted a Lezyne (sp) bottle cage to accommodate a pair of Tevas under my bottom bracket three years ago so I could get out of my cycling shoes and give my feet a break at the Cycle Oregon rest stops.  Good move.  Now I am considering taking that cage off and leaving the sandals behind so I can bring more clothes.  (Battling a 60 pound bag limit.  The fix gear requires most of 10 pounds of gear and this includes tent and sleeping stuff.  Temperatures may well reach low 20s at night.

For now, you really don't see the laces, buried as they are under the straps.  But once those straps are gone, these shoes will shine as truly retro.  And for that micro-adjustng fastening system of those $300 shoes, you spend >$10.  Grommets at a Joann's Fabrics - $4.  Laces - $1.  (Get the two piece grommets and pass on the one piece ones.  Tools?  A hammer.  An anvil. block of concrete, or whatever.  Scissors to remove the straps.  (I think I will get fancy and Barge Cement some thin leather to the tongue top, extending above the end so the top lace and knot sit on the leather.  They don't do the long tongues anymore since laces left.

Ben
longslowdistance

Posts:1472

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09/04/2015 09:02 PM
Very clever, Ben. Can't argue with what works for you And now I'm feelin that retro vibe! Disco music, Binda Extra, Christophe, Campy quills, oh yeah!
zootracer

Posts:567

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09/05/2015 10:30 AM
My feet are battered after years of running. I stick with the same brand shoes (Shimano) and use off the shelf shoe inserts. I'm tedious about my cleat position (I use Shimano pedals). I also use merino wool socks that offer a little cushioning. My feet sometimes bother me when cycling in hot weather, but I can live with it. No fun indeed.
Nick A

Posts:523

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09/05/2015 10:47 AM
Cool. I'm very duck footed. In the days of cleats and pedals, it didn't matter, because there was so much adjustment available. I always use Sidis, now with pedal extenders. However, even Speedplays don't have enough rotation. (Once I'm locked in toes out, I don't really need rotation while riding.) Now I use Zeros, but I re -drill the holes in the look patterned base plates at an angle.

N
Master50

Posts:332

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09/08/2015 12:30 PM
I was getting foot cramps from too narrow and calluses from tight spots in the soles. At the time I was also having a problem with an artery in my left leg that made my foot go to sleep.

I bout a pair of A2 Bonts and they solved all my issues once I also added a superset footbed. The were more secure even when they were less tight. they are naturally wider but the heat moldability was the icing on the cake. I have a pair of Shimano MTB shoes that have some limited mould ability and work well for MTB. If anything they are too stiff for any walking or hike a bike.

No shoe is perfect for everyone but if you can find a pair of Bonts you should try them. Just by virtue of their approach to the problems they might have your solution.
79pmooney

Posts:1734

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09/08/2015 01:37 PM
My first pair of shoes are now fully "retro". I made a leather tongue extension because they now lace up past the tongue's padding for the straps. Dyed the new leather black. And wow! I like! I've removed the straps. I was thinking I had to cut them but I saw that I could just cut the stitching and lift them off, to be restitched with a Speedy Stitcher if necessary. And that was a piece of cake. Wish I had done that first. Could have lined up the grommets much better and done a better job of hammering them with no straps in the way. I cut the laces too short my first try, but that is a 1$ mistake. I can handle that. Rideable for now, but we will get a couple of sub-freezing mornings virtually certainly so I need bigger laces for more socks.

Haven't done a long ride yet on them. Last week's weather kept dampening my enthusiasm. (I find riding in on-off rain easy in May when that is a big step better than March and April and my bikes and I are all set up for it, but after many weeks of dry? Getting enthusiastic about getting wet is tough!

Still, I went up the climb through Portland's Rose Garden and Zoo to Skyline Boulevard on the 20 tooth last night, flying! and my feet felt great. This despite both shoes not being laced tight enough. With straps, I would have had to stop and tighten them or paid for it both during and later. Those Lake shoes that I have always like the lasts of now feel like really good custom shoes. I am looking forward to Cycle Oregon! On the fix gear. And not dreading how my feet are going to feel after 13,000' of climbing days three and four. I am not even going to bring a second pair of shoes (something I have gone my last three COs and thank G** I did!).

Ben
Gonzo Cyclist

Posts:568

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09/08/2015 01:40 PM
if you have seen some of the new shoe offerings Pmooney, many shoe manufacturer's are going back to laces (Giro is one) for the simple reason that they are more comfortable with many points of tension, not just a few straps.
bought a pair of new Five Tens with a BOA for the MTB, most confortable shoes I have ever worn, these are like riding in my slippers, FINALLY found something to replace my 5 year old Sidi's. Working in a shop, I went through many pairs of shoes to find something comparable to Sidi's. Most of them were given to me by Manufacture Reps to try out, give them feedback. 3 pairs of Fizik's, 1 pair of Northwaves, and 2 pairs of Giros
79pmooney

Posts:1734

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09/08/2015 02:36 PM
I haven't seen any shoes yet costing less than $270 with laces. I am guessing that soon we will have more options. They really are that much better if you are not being timed as you put them on. (Triathelons)

I have never needed ultra stiff soles, so expensive CF soled shoes has never been a must have for me. The most comfortable shoe I have ever ridden were my Pumas of my racing days, not stiff even by those standards but to die for comfortable. I rode the longest days of my life and hardest races of my life on those shoes and never thought about my feet.

Now I can have that comfort in an $80 shoe with a $5 modification. What's not to like?

Ben
longslowdistance

Posts:1472

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09/08/2015 03:00 PM
Do you mean the Pumas with the round cleats that sort of locked into a receiver in the molded sole? Those were awesomely comfortable for us wide forefoot, high arch crowd.
Nick A

Posts:523

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09/08/2015 03:39 PM
Well, they're "casual" cycling shoes, but now with the sneaker type SPD shoes, some have laces. I had to nail the cleats onto the bottom of my first pair of cycling shoes. Looked like wing tips without the heals!

N
Gonzo Cyclist

Posts:568

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09/10/2015 09:33 AM
this thread reminded me, I have a pair of lace up Nike Cycling shoes some where at the house, maybe I need to break those out? As I recall, these were pretty comfy, and very high quality. I prolly have not ridden in those in 15 years?
79pmooney

Posts:1734

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09/10/2015 09:55 AM
Those Pumas! Yeah! Sadly, I broke the sole on my last pair walking. Plus the cleats were plastic, really not the best material. But the slots fit tightly on the pedals so they were a lot better than the plastic slotted cleats that dominated the market years later. I still have that broken pair and can ride them as it is just the last 1/2" of the heel that broke off but I probably never will.

Ben
longslowdistance

Posts:1472

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09/10/2015 08:07 PM
Ben, I won or did well in quite a few minor and not so minor races wearing those Pumas. Happy memories - after years of trying to fit into narrow Italian shoes, At last! Shoes that fit my feet! And stay locked into the pedals (with the help of Binda Extras, of course).
I haven't bought shoes lately but in general Shimano has filled that role for me for a couple of decades.
79pmooney

Posts:1734

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09/10/2015 09:28 PM
lsd, my most memorable race was done riding those shoes. I laced them pretty tight despite it being a 105 mile race because I knew the race would blow apart on the hill at 90 miles. Then, as we were preparing to line up and start, they announced the official missed his plane and we wold be starting two hours late. Never occurred to me to loosen the laces 'till race time. Race was as expected except I rode the front, went away on a break and made the spit on the hill. Finished with the leaders, under the old course record and wasted. Remembered halfway back the four hour drive to Boston to loosen the laces, eight hours after that tight lacing. Comfortable shoes?

The race? 1977 Maine International. We broke the record set by John Howard who went away with John Allis. My (very minor) claim t fame.

Ben
longslowdistance

Posts:1472

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09/11/2015 08:10 AM
I hated that hill out of Skowhegan. Just plain cruel.
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