As a cyclist and a runner, my collection of shoes may be a bit different from the average female stereotype. In fact, looking in my closet, I don’t even own a pair of stilettos…
Instead, the majority of my shoes have mud, scratches, and hundreds of miles under their laces (or Boas). Of course, it shouldn’t come as much as a surprise that all of my cycling shoes are under the Specialized brand. Today I have three shoes that I want to highlight as my favorites that meet three genres of cycling: Road, Mountain, and the occasional Jump Track.
Men’s Blue S-Works – Product Link
Why men’s? Call me picky. I don’t like shiny and I don’t like white. Especially when it comes to my shoes. At the time, there wasn’t anything solid black on the market for women and the men’s shoes that I really wanted (matte black throughout) did not come in my size. Initially, I was a bit skeptic of the color choice, as it had some shine. However, that went away as soon as I put these sleek ‘slippers’ on. They are by far the lightest road shoes I have ever owned and by far have the best fit. They don’t sell this version anymore so if they were to have a tragic accident tomorrow I would go out and get the all black or black/pink men’s S-Works as a replacement. That’s right, they still haven’t improved the women’s S-Work shoe choices it’s still just white.
Boa Closure System – Product Link
I will never go back to only velcro shoes. Boas not only allow me to quickly reach down for the minor adjustment without wasting any time or energy chasing my husband on the flats. But they also allow me to adjust with shoe covers on. For someone that is known to have cold feet and hides her beautiful shoes under shoe covers, this is a must. I probably adjust my shoes an average of 3 times every bike ride, I am just that picky. I’ve had these shoes for over a year and have had no trouble with my Boa closures.
The ‘Soul’ of the Shoe – Product Link
Inside the belly of my S-Works I have replaced the standard inserts with Specialized’s Body Geometry SL Footbeds. “Body Geometry Footbeds are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to increase power, endurance, and comfort by optimizing hip, knee, and foot alignment.” Which is 100% what I need, doctor’s orders actually. My doctor recommended new inserts in all my sports shoes (cycling & running) that would optimize my hip and knee alignment to help correct my IT Band Syndrom. Unfortunately, it is taking a while to see the true results but I do feel and see that my left knee rotates straighter with these inserts than without.
The first time I road with the Body Geometry SL Footbeds it hurt. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it took 35 miles in a headwind to finally start getting used to them. The elevated arch felt like there was a wad of paper stuck under my foot and every pedal stroke was painful. A few months later and it feels natural. They help keep my posture and will hopefully help my performance in the long run. I probably should have started with the slightly lower *red* footbed and worked my way up to *green* but too late for that.
Look – Product Link
I’ve been rocking the Look cleats since before my first road bike. I ride with the Grey KÉO Grip cleats as it provides a good balance of float (4,5°). I’ve never had a problem with my Look pedals and cleats, only when I was wearing shoes that were just a bit too big and it was difficult to unclip. There were a few emergency rollovers but nothing too bad. They have been reliable and they don’t make as much noise as previous cleats I’ve tried out, yay for no squeakiness!
Women’s 2FOs ClipLite Mountain Bike Shoes – Product Link
I started out mountain biking with your standard XC shoe. After about two years on the dirt, I made the switch over to 2FOs. While I would prefer XC shoes for racing or riding my hardtail, for the casual riding I do on weekends the 2FOs are a better choice. [of course this really just means I need another pair of shoes soon]. These shoes have a lot of dirt miles under their belt and a lot of those miles have included running up hills, walking in streams, and sliding down a hillside that I swear is just too steep to go down…they have held up great and still feel as comfortable as the day I got them.
They’ve got some great ventilation throughout the shoe design, which is great for hot summer days in Tahoe or on Coe but does result in some pretty dusty toeies by the end of a ride. They kind of appear to be a magnet for dirt. Despite this, the hard toe and platform design bring comfort and protection. Even with the few minor crashes my feet never take any of the force. I’ve kicked my fair share of rocks and branches and my feet continued on. This protection and sturdy build helped give me the confidence to ride over features I never thought I could before.
Boa Closure System – Product Link
Just as the same for road, I will never go back to velcro. These flashy pink Boas were my first pair! Of course, they did not come with my shoes but switching them over was extremely easy. I get a lot of compliments on them.
The 2FOs do a good job of keeping me going, even when I can’t seem to find the pedal to clip in right away. They’ve got plenty of grip for walking over rocks, up steep terrain, or just casually standing around with the crew after a ride.
Mountain/Jump Track & Flats
Women’s 2FOs Flat Mountain Bike Shoes – Product Link
These had to be included in the line-up, because they photograph so incredibly well. They mimic the design of the ClipLite shoes with the only difference being designed as lace ups and designed as flats. They are great if you are not comfortable exploring the trails clipped into your bike but rather experiencing the ride on a platform pedal without the weight or comfort being jeopardized. They also over the same grip and protection as the ClipLites.
Plus they just look really cool! They are great for riding on the jump trails as I continue to build my confidence. Did I mention how awesome these things look?
Coming Soon: Review Commuting via Bike