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I'm in the market for a new pair of shoes for XC riding, racing, and endurance racing. I'm new to endurance, and have been gradually training up for it. Quickly realize I need a new pair.

I understand that size, fit, cleat placement are all factors in a great shoe experience. I'm working with a professional fitter, and cost is not an issue either. This is not what I'm after by posting this question.

What brands/models do riders/racers love for the big rides? I hear that the really stiff carbon can create problems at longer distances, and is meant for shorter 20 XC races. True?

So what shoe does everyone trust for the 50-100+ milers?
 

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Carbon is the way to go in my opinion unless you do events that involve large amounts of hike a bike. Carbon shoes should flex less leading to less chance of getting a hot spot under the cleat. Personally a fan of Specialized shoes but the main thing is finding something that fits you well and breaking them in good before an event.
 

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Hot spots sucked for me, until I got a pair of good carbon sole'd shoes. I also have been on Specialized shoes for about a decade, and they've served me well. Last pair I got was the Pro model.
 

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Wahoo!
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In the end, your feet will have to do the talking. Personally I also like Spesh shoes, but currently am running a pair of NW shoes. I really like them. The size is pretty accurate.
 

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Part of endurance rides for me is hike a bike. I have had good luck with the specialized Rimes. Yes they are not the stiffest but they are comfortable and allow some off bike walking.
 

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The Shimano XC90, a new level of MTB Shoes. Nothing I have come across is even near.

My recommendation is to go with a carbon sole, saves your feet.
 

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Specialized S-Works for me. Great fit. Tight but not too tight. Really light. I also have the Rimes for trail rides, training, etc., but too heavy for endurance racing, IMO.
 

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Feral Roadie
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IMHO, unless the race is going to involve significant hike a bike, the stiffer the sole the better. The gotcha with stiff soled shoes is that they have to fit really well or they can cause problems. As long as you know the shoe will work for you, I don't see any drawbacks to a stiff shoe for long races.
 

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Well to reiterate fit and comfrot is a must, but for mtn biking I dont have to have super stiff carbon shoes like I do on road bike. For hard efforts like XC I go stiff carbon soled.

Most long backcountry races do have some hike a bike so I don't want something as stiff fpor those events. Been using Fizik shoes for that type of riding and they have been great until about a week ago, when a buckle ripped off. The Fiziks sole is pretty stiff but still flex in the toe area. I wouldnt let the buckle scare you off from them they are well used and had taken a beating, I am going to try and get them fixed. I also had good luck with mavics with races with some hike a bike. If stiff is your number one priority I have good luck with Giro Codes.

I want to try the Pearl Izumi X project 2.0s likely be my next shoe.
 

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I have two pairs of carbon soled shoes and my feet go completely numb after more than an hour.(?) One pair are Specialized Pros. I have a pair of Specialized Comps with nylon soles (same size and feel the same just walking around) that don't give me any issues.

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Yep, I have a pair of the Specialized Pro shoes and they're great for comfort, light weight and power transfer. They suck for and hike a bike though. I have a pair of the good old Sidi Dominators for regular riding and anything hake involves walking.
 

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Feral Roadie
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I have two pairs of carbon soled shoes and my feet go completely numb after more than an hour.(?) One pair are Specialized Pros. I have a pair of Specialized Comps with nylon soles (same size and feel the same just walking around) that don't give me any issues.

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Just goes to show, like saddles, there's no hard and fast rules. The only way to know for sure is to try it for yourself.
 

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I ride in Pearl Izumi X-Alp Enduros because I often and up with HAB. I have bad problems with hot spots sometimes but didn't have any in 24 hours with these shoes at the 24 HOP. They fit a little wide for my narrow feet but are comfy.
 

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Just want to give a little update to my previous post. I think I may have discovered why my Specialized Pro carbon soled shoes were causing my feet to go numb. The body geometry insoles have an "ergonomic" support that runs down the center of the insole. I swapped the insoles out with a pair from my running shoes and after two hours of riding my feet felt perfectly fine! :)

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Monkey Wrangler
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I have been riding Shimano shoes for the past 20 years and will stick with them. One thing I would take a look at no matter what brand of shoes you buy at is a set of custom orthotics. My toes used to get a little numb around mile marker 25-30....got a new set of custom insoles and have never had any problems or discomfort since. Most manufacturers put thin liners in their shoes that offer little support and can lead to numbness and pain. A good set of insoles is money well spent.
 

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washed-up moto guy
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My first choice are the S-Works shoes. As others have said, stiffness and a fitted insole is key. I've actually found that the high arch footbeds from the big S are just as a effective as custom insoles for my high arch.

Having said that, the Giro Code and Giro Gauge are great shoes as well. Every bit as stiff, but with a slightly narrower toe box.
 

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These are the shoes I've used for 24 solo races.

Shimano ($100) These are cheap and soft so have had no issues with them. A good shoes for long races. Depending on budget these are very hard to beat.

Specialized Rhime - nice shoes but took 6 months to break them in for very long rides. Made my big toes hurt after about 5 hours in for the first 6 months. Now they are fine.

Sidi Dragons ($450) great for xc racing and rides under 5 hours. However, after about a year, they are now my best shoe for longer rides such as 24 solos. Hold up very well and all parts can be changed out. Pricey up front but worth it in the long run. Mine have probably over 2000 miles of dirt and a good number of crashes on them and still look and work great. I can't wait to get another pair, but these are still fine. About once a year, I replace the buckles and shoes when I change out cleats. Makes them like new again.

I'm a big fan of everything specialized but the shoes. I've had several of them, and have returned them all with in the first 6 months for warranty issues other than the rhimes.
 
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