Thursday, January 7

Shaking Down New Shoes

Sonomas are getting tired
When I ride Frankenbike, I wear my exotic “Costco Court Classic” shoes in toe clips. When I ride my road bike or Buddy, I use SPD pedals and cleated shoes. I’ve been using Specialized Sonoma shoes that are rather worn, though the soles are still very good. The Sonomas are nice walking shoes, but wind and water cut right through them, my little toe on my left foot tends to get numb after about 10 or 15 miles, and the fairly smooth sole would probably be pretty worthless if I ever had to run through serious mud (as in cyclocross) with them. It’s time to look at replacements. After all, a cyclist can have no greater mission than to rise above the label of "just a fair weather cyclist." Lately, around here, that means going to work a little more below 0C (if you're using French temperature units, that is).

Specialized Sonoma Shoes in Less Worn Days
The Soles Don't Look Much Different Now

For Christmas, I got an REI Gift Certificate, and I noticed that REI had Pearl Izumi shoes on sale. Pearl Izumi shoes were high on my candidate list, having heard high praise for the “X Alp Enduro” from both Kerry Caffrey, here, and a fellow bike commuter at work. Shoe covers were also on the shopping list, since my toes get uncomfortable on cold mornings, even with wool socks with cotton socks over them.

Off I went, full of good intentions. I knew what shoe I wanted and why. I was the very model of a well informed consumer. My LBS doesn't carry Pearl Izumi shoes. They're "all Trek or Specialized pretty much all the time."

Well, as in Afghanistan, things turned out a little differently than the plan. First off, REI had only the “X Alp Seek,” and not in my size. They offered to get a pair from one of their other stores. What's more, just then, a pair of black Italian beauties winked at me and I could almost hear them say “come hither.” What’s more, they were basically road shoes with tread on the very stiff soles; set up for SPD cleats. They even had threaded holes to take spikes if I needed extra mud traction. I wouldn’t have to walk like a duck! I was smitten. I tried them on. I’d always heard that Italian shoes run narrow but these were comfortable. I would not want to wear them around all day the way Sonomas could be worn – the soles are a bit too stiff for that, but short walks would be OK. The Sidi Giaus were priced at more than twice what I wanted to pay for new shoes, but I was smitten. Pearl Izumi shoes. I forgot, does Pearl Izumi make shoes? Ciao, Baby, the Italians, they are the best! Should I be so arrogant as to say "no" to Sophia Loren?

Sidi Giaus, With Revised Cleat Position
Italian Class, Made in Romania

Yes, I got Pearl Izumi – Pearl Izumi toe covers.

I tried out the new combination Wednesday morning, it being a balmy 30F. Well, it turned out the toe covers need some rework, and the shoe tongues need a bit of breaking in. I'm also learning that I've had my cleats too far forward ,so now I'll try them back a bit more. We shall see if that helps the numb left foot little toe. For the toe covers, my plan right now is a combination of velcro and rubber to keep the wear down. I'm not going to keep the toe covers on if I have to walk long distances, but they need to hold together through stoplights and the walk in from the door to the changing room at work.

Do NOT Get Road Shoe Toe Covers for "Mtb" Shoes!
Pearl Izumi Logo on top is REALLY BIG

Classic Italian Style. Ciao, Y'all!


Tracy W. said...

It's pretty impossible to keep from shredding shoe covers or booties if you walk in them at all. Most of them are made for riding and not walking. I've got a pair of light ones that are completely shredded on the bottom, and a pair of nice Pearl Amfib's that have a lot of reinforcement edging around the bottom openings that have held up a lot better.

Apertome said...

I have Pearl Izumi shoe covers (not the Amfibs though) and they have been getting shredded too. Pretty annoying. Otherwise, I rather like them.

Rat Trap Press said...

The Sidi's are nice but like you pointed out they have always been too narrow for me. If you ever need anything from the Pearl Izumi store here in Fort Worth give me a call and I'll run over see what's available.

Filigree said...

Oh my, I still can't imagine riding clipless; even the leather straps are too much for me. If I do start trying to go in that direction, I would probably begin with powergrips.

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