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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I'm looking for shoes for flat pedals - my riding is almost entirely in rocky, forested, sometime muddy environments.

Most of the MTB specific shoes I see look like skate sneakers. The RC, 5.10, etc. all have the appearance of a casual sneaker. I have a pair of Freeriders, but I can't bring myself to wear them on the trails just yet. I can see this being the standard shoe out west where the trails are dry and dusty, but they don't feel like the ideal shoe for the eastern forest environment.

Right now I've been wearing my waterproof Keen hiking shoes, but I know they are heavy, and I'm confident I'm giving up a bit in grip.

Any recommendations for shoes to look at for this type of environment?

Thanks!
 

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I use my (worn out) trail running shoes. Some trail runners work better than others. I like adidas trail runners with Continental outsoles. The softness of the running shoe midsole allows the grippy outsoles to stick and cup around the pedal pins, so they grip the pedal well. I can pull back on the pedals, and they are locked on.

Currently mostly riding in the older of my adidas Terrex Twos (current model version is "Terrex Two Flow"), after putting a lot of running miles in them (1,000+ miles) first. They have cutouts in the outsole for weight reduction which expose the midsole, but I haven't noticed loss of traction or damage to midsole through those holes. There is one part on one shoe where the outsole has been sliced between two cutout holes (not sure if it's from trail running or a pedal pin), but it isn't flapping or noticeable.

I also liked the adidas Terrex Agravic Flows (2,500+ running miles), which have a full Continental outsole without any cutouts. However, they have a plastic support plate directly behind the outsole which eventually cracks and breaks up (more from running on rocks than cycling), including cracking the underlying Boost midsole in that model. But again, I'm talking shoes that have already been beat to heck before I started using them for riding.

If you want waterproof, you can sometimes find Gore-Tex variations of the Twos, and Agravic Flows on the adidas website.

A lot of shoes stick well on pinned flat pedals, so keep an open mind. Not good for forest trails, but I found that some of my flip flops even have perfect grip and comfort on flat pedals for casual riding. (See also Lachlan Morton riding in Birkenstocks during his "Alt Tour" de France this past summer.)
 

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What about the freeriders makes you think they arent suited for rocky environments? Im not saying you're wrong im just wondering why you've come to that conclusion.

I am using a set of freerider pros that i got a couple weeks ago and ride plenty of pretty rough/rocky trails, i don't think ive thought about slipping a pedal once. Before this, i had specialized 2fo (the previous versions) that were ok, not quite as sticky, but offered a lot of protection that i liked. I also have a pair of five ten trail cross shoes that i use on the trail/xc bike, theyre lighter and dont offer as much protection but a good amount of grip, not as much as the freerider pros though. I know they have a new version that is supposedly waterproof or resistant, ive been thinking about getting a pair as none of my shoes are water resistant at all which kinda sucks in the winter.
 

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Who cares about the appearance? 5.10s are by far the best flat pedal shoe and I've had no problems in hike a bike or muddy situations (I'm in same environment as you). If you are really riding in the hardcore wet and slop check out their new Trailcross GoreTex shoe. It's on their website.

IMO, I would want something with a relatively flat sole and not a lot of chunky tread for the best and most even engagement with the pins. I've messed around on my bike with trail runners on and it feels awful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What about the freeriders makes you think they arent suited for rocky environments? Im not saying you're wrong im just wondering why you've come to that conclusion.
I guess it's the feeling that they would not have the support and traction for some of the areas I've had to walk. This past weekend, I found myself walking a fair amount of time over some wet and muddy rocks and roots. I was thankful I had the Keens on as the lugs gave me the traction to do so without slipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
IMO, I would want something with a relatively flat sole and not a lot of chunky tread for the best and most even engagement with the pins. I've messed around on my bike with trail runners on and it feels awful.
Yea, the chunkiness of the Keen hiking boots locks on to the pedals well, but only in a particular foot position on the pedal. Outside of that position, they seem slippery or "off". I feel like I'm spending a lot of time trying to get them "just right".

I'm going to contemplate my next ride with the Freeriders I have.
 

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where in the east? I ride in Pisgah and have been wearing various iterations of Freeriders (currently the Pro PrimeBlues) for years. My previous ones were even the Contacts, which had a smooth patch over the ball of the foot. I don't have any trouble. The only places where traction has been iffy have been on wet grass in fields and on greasy clay-based mud (but nothing is especially good on greasy mud, and it was only the Contacts that had real trouble in wet grass). Oh, and on ice. But again, nothing has really good traction on ice, either.
 

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The base Freeriders absorb water like a sponge.
Absolutely true. Was out with my kids on Saturday in a hail/rain storm. Freerider basics are still wet. First to dry was the Stamp Lace (which didn't seem too wet to begin with). Second the DC Skate shoes. Freeriders are now in the sun for the 2nd day going, and still pretty wet.
 

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Five Ten Trailcross are made for mild hiking, they are more comfortable to walk in because the footbed is supportive. Grip is not an issue on any of the shoes because the rubber is so sticky, it mainly comes down to support and the Freeriders are completely flat with zero support while the Trailcross has support good enough for hiking but the same pedal grip as a Freerider.

Wearing hiking shoes for biking is just dangerous. Real mtb shoes keep your feet on the pedals which not only give you confidence but prevent crashes. Hiking with unsupportive Freeriders is still nowhere near as bad as biking with hiking shoes.
 

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Nurse Ben
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I'm constantly in the search of a good flat pedal shoe, have ridden nearly every shoe out there including 5.10, RC, Shimano, Giro, Specialized, Teva (remember those?), Northwave.

5.10 = crap construction, real mixed bag over the years, not interested in Adidas branded stuff
RC = not great, not bad, a little too narrow in the toebox, sole softens over time
Shimano = too soft in the midsole and outers, comfy like a slipper but not all that for mountain biking
Giro = Meh. nothing to see her, just move along
Teva = Ah, such fond memories, sadly these are long gone ...
Northwave Clan = stiff sole, excessive pin damage, fit skinny

I ride pinned pedals, so traction is really not an issue as the allen head pins bite into even the hardest soles. In other words, I don't feel an overwhelming need to sacrifice fit and durability in order to ride 5.10 shoes; seriously.

What I want in a flat pedal shoe:

Comfort, decent toe box, fit heel, breathable
Moderate midsole stiffness, not too stiff, but not so soft that I get arch pain or stone bruises
Hikeability, enough traction to clamber around on wet roots, rocks, and mud (is anything other than cleats worthy in mud?)
Ankle protection, just a little padding to protect my crank side ankle bone
Durabity, goes without saying, no sole delams, and sole holds up to pin abuse
Water resistance without being too hot (seriously)

Here's what I've been riding all summer:

Footwear Shoe Outdoor shoe Walking shoe Mammal


So far they are holding up well, figure three rides per week for over four months, soles still look fresh, no delams or damage to speak of, BOA is pretty nifty, ankle strap works well for foot retention, waterproofing seems to work without making them being sweat boxes, two color choices (bright orange as **** or blue)

The only con: Price, yeah, these suckers ain't cheap.

EDIT: Sorry about the big picture :)
 
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