This month’s Star Letter
This month’s Star Letter asks, not unreasonably: “Where is the variety of technical stuff that companies offer in their ranges aimed at clipless pedals?”
Vote with your feet
I have been waiting with baited breath for my little bit or normality to drop through the letter box during the lockdown, mainly because of the best flat pedal grouptest promised in the previous issue.
I am constantly disappointed by the choice of shoes companies make for flat pedals, so always look forward to potential new options and reviews.
As such I was heartily disappointed when the flat pedal shoes grouptest was just a group of look-a-likes. I have a couple of pairs of trainers/skate shoes that all look similar. Where is the variety of design, the technical stuff that companies afford other products in their ranges aimed at clipless pedals?
For me a good pair of flat pedal shoes offer a bit more stiffness, better grip, longer lasting soles when in contact with pedal spikes, to name but a few advantages if compared to (significantly cheaper) pairs of trainers. Companies like Five Ten, Giro, Shimano, all make a good range of pretty decent flats specific shoes, but 99% of them (for me) have the same issue – they are all just lace ups. It is almost as if they have one template between them and don’t want to have to design anything else.
Where are the lace covers to prevent stuff getting caught in the laces (and stabbing you in the top of the foot)? Where is the extra waterproofing afforded by the same covers to prevent having to untie sopping wet mud encrusted laces? The Neoprene type ankle ‘socks’ to prevent all manner of dust and debris getting inside the shoe?
It genuinely bemuses me why only clipless pedal shoes have these types of feature. Why? Do they expect people riding flats to ride different trails that don’t have any rocks, or dirt, or trees, or random sticks?
This isn’t even about the differences between XC weight saving and trail, it is just clips vs flats.
Is it that companies are invested more in clips, and so to re-coup their costs they make shoes to tie people in to the ‘system’ rather than just chopping and changing all the time?
Keep up the good work, it has been a real pleasure to have something normal continuing in the current climate.
– Rich Summers
mbr – Rich, you’re not wrong, the vast majority of flat pedal shoes follow the same format Five Ten nailed 10 years back, lace-ups with a tacky sole and not much else. But the times are a-changing – FiveTen has just released the Trail Cross Mid Pro, a bootie with the ankle sock protection you were looking for. It featured in July’s Hotstuff, but arrived too late for our test. Ride Concepts also has a boot called the Wildcat. Shimano does make a flat shoe with a laces flap, called the Shimano GR9, while Swiss brand Suplest makes a flat shoe with Boa dial fastening rather than laces – it featured in the April Hotstuff.
The buck stops with what sells well though, innovative shoes of the past have come and gone because riders simply didn’t want them. Perhaps this is changing, vote with your feet.
Contact us: mbr@
All Star Letter correspondents win a Madison Zenith waterproof jacket worth £99.99.