Author Topic: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?  (Read 20374 times)

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Offline mkwdrs

Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« on: April 22, 2009, 12:37:10 pm »
I have a LHT and I am looking for pedals.  No current upcoming tours, so just talking a charity ride or something similar.  I am NOT using clipless pedals at this time, just a normal bicycle pedal.

Currently, I have just been riding with normal tennis shoes.  However, my feet are really sore the next day.  Is there any type/style of pedal that is better with softer soled shoes?

Also, I want to find a shoe with a more firm sole.  I have wide feet and sometimes have trouble finding shoes.  I tried some Lake "wide" shoes and they are not wide enough.  Anybody know of hiking type shoes that come in wide sizes?  Or can anyone suggest a tennis shoe or all-terrain shoe that has firmer soles?  I find many times that a size that just says "WIDE" versus 3E or 4E, etc it usually is not wide enough.

I'll also take advice on finding some wide pedals since my feet are wide.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 01:41:14 pm »
Is there a reason why you don't use clipless pedals when riding?  Cycling shoes prevent your feet from being sore the next day because they have stiff soles.  Your sore foot problem is due to soft shoes.  No recommendation on what non cycling shoes will work for cycling.  Since most shoes are designed to flex when you bend your foot and walk.  This flexing is not what you want when cycling.  You also don't want a shoe with soft cushiony insoles made for walking, since these will compress while cycling and make your feet sore.  Non cycling shoes just don't work well for most people for any kind of distance riding.  Cycling shoes are not just some fashionable accessory item that makes you look like a cyclist.  They perform a valuable function.

As for pedals, these may work.  It looks like they accept toe clips.  They appear to have a large amount of surface area for your shoe soles.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009, 12:00:11 pm »
I would have to agree with Russ--get cycling shoes.  They may suck for hiking, but the stiffness is there to make your ride more comfortable.  You don't have to get clipless pedals, but they are easier to manage than toe clips equipped pedals.  You don't get anything out of your upstroke from a platform pedal.

I also have wide feet (D width).  I have a pair of SIDIs as my road shoes (even though they are SPD shoes).  I also have a pair of Specialized shoes that just happen to come with a wide toe box that I use for mountain bike riding.  The rationale is that my off road shoes get muddy and I like to keep my road shoes presentable.

You might want to build a relationship with your local bike shop.  Mine LBS told me about the Specialized shoes because the LBS knew their inventory and my needs.  The SIDI shoes were expensive, the Specialized shoes were not expensive.

Offline biker_james

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2009, 07:28:57 am »
Well, I've met cyclists who have used hiking boots for touring, but I think they had toe clips or Powerstraps that worked with the boots. At least something like a hiking boot is stiff enough to save your feet. I've also seen a pedal marketed for Triathletes designed for running shoes-basically a shoe sized platform with some kind of strap to hold the shoe to the pedal. I just found it with Google-the Pyro Platform Pedal. I'm not sure that they would be wide enough though.

Offline PeacePedaler

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2009, 08:51:23 pm »
All I can say is based on my personal experience

After years of suffering with mild foot pain from clip-style pedals, I reluctantly tried clipless shoes/pedals and HATED them.  My feet were more sore than ever after being locked into ONE foot position for mile after mile.  A little secret...rumor has it that there are those who lurk among us claiming studies show even professional cyclists only pull UP on their pedals a very small portion of ride time.  To me, cycling is an exercise in freedom.  Why LOCK one's foot to the bike if pulling up on the pedal on the backstroke only happens occasionally for people who make a living doing so?  Nor less an amature who just wants a pain-free-pedaling-experience?  The best arguement I've heard for clipless pedals is from retailers who want to sell cyclists another pricey gadget (in my humble opinion).'s what works for me...hold you laughs...hang on now...get the kids out of the room...lock your doors...what works for FLOPS!   Serious as a heart attack.  Flip flops.  I'll wait a second for you to stop laughing.  Ok...anytime now.  That's better. 

My experience - my PERSONAL EXPERIENCE - is that nothing works better for me than flip flops.  Nothing is cooler than flip flops.  With flip flops my feet are free to move about the pedal, so if one area of foot is getting sore - near the middle of the sole, for instance - I can move my foot forward on the pedal and sort of pedal on my heels for a while.  If I decide to really mash on some gears while going up a hill I can move to the ball of each foot and bring some serious calf muscle action into the picture.  I can flair the feet out like a duck for a while, or pedal pigeon-toed if that's what relieves tension on my "dogs".  Speaking of dogs, I ride pulling my 90 pound black lab behind me in a Wike brand trailor.  I'm pullin' about 125 pounds behind me with every ride.  I just pulled the mutt 26 miles last Friday after work, and another 44 miles Saturday afternoon...all while wearing flip flops!  This ain't no hoity-toity sweat free leisure cycling I'm talkin' bout (although it IS great fun).  It's some serious work.  Still, flip flops are my normal summertime cycling footwear if the temp are above about 60 degrees F or so, and I've done this for two years.  I even laughed at myself when I first thought about trying it...but they're great!  The only drawback I first had was the pressure of the thong between my toes.  I soon got used to it - maybe even had tissue build up to resist it - and wouldn't do any summer pedaling in anything but flip flops from now on.  I can't tell you how pain free my cycling has become now that I've gotten away from the locked-in clipless mindset.  Just another perspective to consider.  Look at it this way...try flip flops first for a couple of weeks and see what you think.  Worst case scenario?  You're out $14 but ready for your next trip to the beach.

What about winter?  In cool weather I wear RedWing boots.  One pair will last a cyclist a lifetime.  RedWing stores will even oil them and re-lace them for free for the life of the shoe/boot.  They come in honest-to-goodness wide sizes (I wear an EE), and various heights from oxford style low-cuts to full-fledged logger boots (real honest to goodness logger boots).  I'm not suggesting logger boots are good for cycling but if you don't laugh TOO much at me in my flip flops I won't laugh too much at whatever you find works for you.

One last pedals!  I haven't tried them yet, but I will by mid-summer.  Just "Google"'ll find em.  If you try em, let me know what you think...ok?

Peaceful Pedalin!

Offline whittierider

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2009, 09:31:15 pm »
Russ is right.  As I began doing longer rides in the late 70's, I remember my feet hurting, and one day being in great pain with 35 miles still left to go to finish the ride, finally surrendered and decided it was time to get some cycling shoes ASAP.  I did, and that was the end of the problem.

claiming studies show even professional cyclists only pull UP on their pedals a very small portion of ride time.

The biggest addition in having your feet fastened is pulling back, not up.  I do however, pull up nearly all the time, a fact exposed when I even leisurely try out someone's bike in the alley after making an adjustment for them, and my unclipped feet come way up off the pedals unless I make a conscious effort to keep them down.  I pulled my first cleated clipless cycling shoes right off the soles.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 01:43:03 am by whittierider »

Offline nomadic1

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2009, 08:50:18 pm »
I'm going to throw my 2 cents worth in on this because recently I've gone 180 degrees from what I used for the past 41 years of cycle racing (road and MT.), touring, etc. Like most folks I had the same hard and fast assumptions relating to what a "serious cyclist" would use and have always assumed that one had to use cycling shoes with clips and cleats (in "the old days") or clipless pedals/shoes. After reading an essay by Grant Peterson recently at on the myth of cycling shoes, I decided to give it a try, an lo and behold, he's right! I don't need cycling shoes. Wow no more geek shoes. I can wear my Keen non spd sandals and ride in perfect comfort with a full load (30-40 lbs) in the mountains and still crank out 80-100 miles a day. My knees feel better because I'm not limited to a measly 5 degrees of float. My foot can find it's most comfortable/ideal position on the pedal. Better for the knees. I still use spd pedals with my recumbent because I'm reclined at a 30 degree angle, and if I still raced, I'd still be clipped in, but I'm not. I'm touring at a 10 -15 mph pace, not racing. I don't pull up on my upstroke and neither do you, unless you are sprinting. To paraphrase Tom Hanks in ":A League of  Her Own" : there's no sprinting in touring!
The thing that nobody has mentioned in this thread is you really need to use a large platform pedal to provide the stiffness that a cycle shoe normally would, like a lambda MKS or a Tioga spider, or Speedplay Drillium. Comfortable, grippy, and when you get off the bike you can look like a normal person. As a cycling advocate when I'm touring this is important to me as I feel I am able to connect more easily to regular folks by riding in non cycling clothes and shoes. In all the years I was a cyclist, my identity was connected to being seen as a "cyclist" and as such enjoyed being different from all those "non-cyclists" by wearing the requisite lycra  "costume" which I think can create an us vs. them mentality and by wearing looser fitting, fast drying synthetics and wool outdoor clothes that look more normal, I find that more average folks on my tours talk to me and am more approachable. These same folks may be more inclined to consider serious cycling as an option if they can wear more "normal" clothes. I guess I'm getting into a new thread here with the clothes but I do think it's related to the shoe thing. Don't assume that all dyed in the wool cycling assumptions are the only truth. Try something new, you may be surprised at how freeing it is!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2009, 05:15:13 am »
If you use soft-soled shoes, don't use rat trap pedals. The teeth are really good for gripping the sole, but like a rat, they will eventually eat their way through near the bottoms of your feet. You would be feeling those teeth soon. Use a flat pedal. I would not use flip flops because I use toe clips which might pull down across the tops of my bare skin and cause abrasions.

Offline livinday2day02

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2009, 08:43:20 pm » want to use soft soled shoes so your decision is all about the pedals.   I too like to ride with soft soled shoes and have done many tours over 300 miles.  I've found it's not only about how wide the pedal is but also how long...ok might sound confusing but if you looked at the spider pedals and the MKS Lombada, or the spider pedals they are Long but not wide.  Now these pedals are really for BMX but I use them on my fixed gear and on my Touring Bike and they work GREAT!  They're called Odyssey Twisted Pedals  Yes they're plastic and yes they're bearings aren't the best but it's the shape of the pedal you want to look at, they are almost square.  I've found these pedals to be soooooooo comfortable and even light for their size.  They still aren't quite as wide as my foot so no extra exposure to pedal strike and because they are so long they support almost half the length of my foot, which is what IMO really keeps my foot from getting sore.  Even if you don't want the Odyssey Twisted pedals keep the idea in your mind that for soft soled shoes you want a pedal that is wide and long!  Check out the Odyssey twisted at google,  they are only 10 bucks and come in all kinds of fun colors.
All you are is what you do.....All you leave is your legacy....I want mine to be a smile.

Offline bent4me

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2009, 12:36:12 pm »
I gave up on cycling shoes years ago.  I find the best pedal for me is the Odessey Triple Trap.  They are very wide and grip well to any shoe.  Cost about $25.  I also prefer Sketcher sneakers as they have a firm sole, come in wide widths and are reasonably light.  I have turned recumbent rider since 99 and I have never had my foot slip off the pedals.  Best combo for me.  You can check out my BLOG. Jersey pedaler  under April 08 Clipless pedals or not
« Last Edit: May 28, 2009, 05:43:20 pm by jsieber »

Offline bogiesan

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2009, 11:45:57 pm »
Power Grips.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2009, 08:25:55 pm »
I've used everything from toe clips/straps, just about all the different clip-in systems, powergrips and nothing at all. I remember switching over to Look pedals when they came out (still my favorite road system).

With that being said, over the past 10 years, I've commuted to work and toured the US, Germany and Denmark with nothing more than running shoes and wide BMX/trick style platform pedals with little nubs for grip. I look for an inexpensive, well-constructed (metal) pedal, repack with better quality bearings and forget about all the hype. With this style of pedal, there is plenty of support for your foot, you have the freedom to make slight alterations in foot postion and you can wear whatever shoe you are comfortable in. I met many touring in Croc type "shoes" on my last trip. If you want a bit more support, powergrips are easy to use and stay out of the way when not in use.

I'm not against toe clips or clipless systems on or off-road. In fact, only my touring bike doesn't have them. However, they are NOT the solution to every cycling situation.

ACA Life Member 368

Offline tonythomson

Re: Pedal Suggestions for Soft Soled Shoes?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2009, 06:46:40 am »
Hi - hey what a great debate. I have just finished southern Tier, last of several long distant tours.  I never use cycling shoes as only want to carry one pair of shoes to save weight. Last time I used a cross trainer and always flat peddals , even fitting my own platform in the past made from alluminium.  Never had sore feet.  Now the butt is a differnet question!!

Good luck and great to hear different views as I have learned so much in the past from these forums
Just starting to record my trips