Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Specialized Comp MTB Shoes

I was using some Sidi Bullet 2 shoes last year for my rando riding. They worked well with the Crank Bros Eggbeater pedals on my Fujin SL, but my feet unexpectedly grew a solid half size near the end of the season last year! I didn't think that happened considering they had been a size 11 for many years and I am coming up on 40. However, when I spoke to my podiatrist he didn't seem to to think it was unusual. The Sidis are too tight now when I wear medium weight socks and they do not allow my feet to swell as happens on longer rides.

I have been looking for some replacement shoes all winter, but I need a fairly wide toe box which seems to be uncommon in cycling shoes. I found these Specialized Comp MTB shoes at my LBS and they had all the features I was looking for:
  • wide toe box
  • fit well
  • recessed cleat
  • walkable sole
  • mostly black colour
  • reasonable price
I mounted up some Time ATAC cleats and have used them on my Fujin a few times now. The shoes have performed well. They are comfortable on the bike, transfer power well and are easy to walk in off the bike. This is important because at each brevet control I'll need to get around a fair bit, possibly while tired and on slippery surfaces - last thing I want to do is wipe out and add even more challenge to these rides! The materials and construction look bomber. I have a pair of Specialized road shoes that are 5 years+ old and still going strong.

One thing I was very happy about was that the cleat recess on the sole was designed to work with the Time ATAC pedals without modification. In the past pulling out my dremel tool and trimming bits of the sole was a standard part of mounting cleats on a new shoe. It seems the shoe manufacturers have finally solved this problem.

The only feature of this shoe that I am not thrilled with is the ratcheting buckle that is used to secure the top strap. It works fine and is not uncomfortable, but I don't need the extra retention power it provides and would be happy with a normal velcro strap. The next model down - the Specialized Sport MTB shoe - uses only velcro, but my LBS didn't have any in stock and I needed to get some new shoes broken in right away.

I'll report back at the end of the summer once I've logged some miles on these shoes.


Hank said...

Excellent choice. I've got 3 pairs of Spec. Sport Mtns, and they're my favorite shoe by far. I actually prefer the all-velcro ones because my feet are narrow and the ratchet straps usually bottom out on me.

Scott said...

About to buy my first mtb shoes, I have chosen the Spec. Sport for its look and versatility. I have hesitated on the comps because the extra force of the ratchet seems unecessary and after doing some research they also are prone to breaking. Good luck with yours.
War specialized!
Go Utes.

Mark Ngui said...

I bought these shoes recently based on reviews including this one. They are great shoes. The ratchet does a really good job of keeping my heels in place and maintaining a good fit although I never tried the Sport version.