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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just put platforms on my new mtn bike. I have a pair of "semi-minamilist" shoes that have a flat sole, but are relatively light and somewhat flexible (lol - these are not vibram five fingers, but they're like 1/2 the weight of a fully cushioned runner, and probably twice as flexbile).

I've used these a few times on the street with the bike and it feels ok, but was wondering if there is a 'theory' with respect to shoe weight and flexibility with platform pedals?

I know the shoes I use with my clipless (road/x bikes) have very stiff soles, and are not feather weight...but I don't think you can compare road to mtn in this instance.
 

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I use Asics trailrunners with a pedal with stubby pins. An alternative for DH and very aggressive riding would include pedals with longer sharp pins and dedicated shoes like the 5.10 Impacts.
The technique is called the low heels method shown in this vid.
 

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Rock n' Roller
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I wear 510 spitfire and SMAC pedals. Love both with all my heart. The only downside is that my shins tend to look like pin cushions by the end of the season, but the other benefits far out weight this...and I suppose I could become a better rider and not strike my shin against my pedals...

If you are going to go for one, you do need to go for the other. Having 510 shoes without the spikey pedals doesn't make much sense and vice versa.
 

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Trail Ninja
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I use 5.10 Freeriders and Karvers, depending on the trail. If I armor up, or expect to dab or land hard, I go Karvers. Freeriders are more my XCish shoes, when all I want to do is just low speed stuff or just bust out some easy miles. Freeriders let more debris in the shoe, and are prone to ankle sprains if I do high speed dabs. Been riding the Karvers for over a year and the Freeriders for about 2, and I choose the Karvers more often. Got to the point where I was busting socks in no time since my toes made a downsloping indentation in the insole from all the wear.

I occasionally just go with my Teva Mush flip flops if it's a quick ride on pavement, but I once tried on the trail since their grip is insane, and bloodied my toe/toenail stubbing on a rock and also got "road rash" on the side of my foot from when I washed out and I wound up doing a split with one foot on the pedal and the dabbed foot pretty much planted where I stuck it until the bike dragged it along. Very hard to alter my position with them, as they offered no "float". My right foot often ended up in a position where the back of the shoe rubbed on the chainstay when pedaling, and I had to pick my foot up to re-position. Not recommended!

Before the 5.10s, I went with skate shoes with a vulcanized sole, which are very thin and flexible. They transmitted everything through the shoe to my foot. Needless to say, everything from braking bumps to rocks made my feet numb, and on a ~5 min descent, I had to stop once or twice to give them a rest. Not recommended. I also tried running shoes, and they had trouble gripping on offroad surfaces and were a bit too flexible for my liking.

Lessons learned: high-top style shoes prevent ankle sprains, stiff soles that are relatively thick and damp vibration are welcome in many common trail riding situations, you want something with decent protection for your feet and toes, and you want just the right amount of grip (not too much and hopefully not too little), lace guards keep velcro-like weeds from sticking to your laces and sediment from getting in your shoe. I also learned that the SPD shoes I had before I switched were pretty damn heavy, and though my Karvers are heavy, they're not as heavy as my SPD shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks.

From what I can gather:

- a heavy shoe doesn't seem to be necessary...and in comparison to mtn clipless--where a more expensive shoe is often lighter--weight isn't a factor

- while I know the current 5.10 (etc) are not flexible, the old style skate shoes often were somewhat flexible and a lot of folks still swear by those...so I'm not sure if flexibility is a good or bad thing, but again, compare to mtn bike clipless shoes, those are usually stiff and that helps power transfer, though the purpose is different here so I'm not sure if stiffness is that important (something tells me it is...)

- and there are some additional features which are nice to have (lace guards...I didn't think of that but makes sense)

I guess it also depends on type of riding...I'm mostly 'xc' (flowy single track, good amount of climbing, moderate amount of roots and little rocks)
 
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