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  1. #1
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    Full custom road shoes, what would you pay?

    A friend and I are getting into cycling and we are both nationally competitive speedskaters.
    He’s been making full custom speedskating boots for over 10 years and is considered one of the top boot manufacturers in the industry. He's made a few prototypes and the testers loved them. The shell is carbon fiber with either a leather or lorica upper, molded to your specific feet by him, and with custom colors of your choosing. Right now they weight in the 290s, but he should be able to get that down quite a bit before a production model is manufactured. His website is http://www.pinnacleracing.com/. He doesn’t have one set up for cycling yet.
    He is currently offering them for $750/pair fully custom, $500 custom colors, and $400 stock sizes.

    Do you think that’s too much/too little? How much would you pay? Would you pay $1000for fully custom? Do you think other people would pay?
    What do you think based on what I’ve detailed could be improved upon?


    Thanx,


    Craig

  2. #2
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    honestly, I don't think the market is there..

    I come from a speed skating background and the boot is far more important on skates vs a cycling shoe...While you have some pressure points on cycling shoes, it's nothing like a speed skate...

    It's not to say that people won't buy them but the market for a custom road shoe is very limited in my opinion
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

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  3. #3
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    I know the boot is more important in speedskating than it would be in cycling, but how many people get $5000 bikes that actually need them or buy the lightest components you can only shave a gram or 2. I understand the functional advantages of a custom road shoe is not as big as it in skating, but I don’t think that’s the market he’s looking for. The entire cycling industry would rot if everyone only bought the bike they “needed.”
    How many pointless “this bike vs that bike” or “this component vs that component” threads do you see on this forum that it really won’t make a difference for the individuals asking, but it’s fun. This shoe is for the people who would want a badass shoe just because… and to an extent the weight freaks.

    Plus, after trying this shoe and a standard carbon soled shoe. This shoe is even better at transferring power to the pedals.

    This would also be one of the greatest weight reducer’s/$ you can get on a bike. For a few hundred extra you get a shoe that could possibly shave 100g worth of kinetic weight, your own colors, and better power transfer. It would take more $ to shave that amount of weight from any other part of the bike. You get a synergistic effect with this purchase, not just a weight savings.

  4. #4
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    Rocket 7 - d2

    Quote Originally Posted by csh8428
    A friend and I are getting into cycling...
    ...He's made a few prototypes and the testers loved them...
    ...What do you think based on what I’ve detailed could be improved upon?...
    Be sure your testers are experienced cyclist that give you good feedback since you two are both new to the sport. Depending on where you are in the process perhaps one of the below companies would be interested in partnering up with your buddy, shared knowledge, production, marketing, cross sell to other markets.

    There are a few folks who are already doing custom shoes.

    You might check out Rocket 7 as I think they already have your model in place.
    http://www.rocket7.com/

    http://www.active.com/story.cfm?story_id=10491

    Also check D2
    http://www.d2customfootwear.com/

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=3893
    Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh8428
    I know the boot is more important in speedskating than it would be in cycling, but how many people get $5000 bikes that actually need them or buy the lightest components you can only shave a gram or 2. I understand the functional advantages of a custom road shoe is not as big as it in skating, but I don’t think that’s the market he’s looking for. The entire cycling industry would rot if everyone only bought the bike they “needed.”
    How many pointless “this bike vs that bike” or “this component vs that component” threads do you see on this forum that it really won’t make a difference for the individuals asking, but it’s fun. This shoe is for the people who would want a badass shoe just because…
    You raise good points but the problem is nobody outside of speedskating knows of Pinnacle(who by the way makes an excellent boot)..

    There is a huge snob appeal in this sport. That is part of the reason there are so many people riding $7-8,000 bikes..(sorry, but $5,000 is high end anymore )...

    A small custom boot maker is going to have to get their name out there in order to be successful selling to the snob crowd.....
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    Be sure your testers are experienced cyclist that give you good feedback since you two are both new to the sport. Depending on where you are in the process perhaps one of the below companies would be interested in partnering up with your buddy, shared knowledge, production, marketing, cross sell to other markets.
    Yes, the testers(other than us) are all experienced cyclists that also race. They have had nothing but compliments for the shoes as well as some beneficial advice on some tweaks.

    thanx for the other manufacturers too

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    I'm not a racer, so I don't represent your potential market, but I do wear size 15 (Euro 50 or 51 shoes), and I've had a hard time finding cycling shoes for more than 30 years.
    Even at that, though, I wouldn't pay more than maybe $150 tops. I'm comfortable enough and efficient enough in some $60 Diadoras I bought in a clearance sale at Nashbar. When they break down, I MIGHT spring for $225 Sidis, about the only shoes consistently available in my size, but not if I can find something cheaper.
    I'd guess that the pros get what they need for free anyway, as they do in most sports, so your only market would be the Deadly Serious Amateur with more money than sense. That's actually a pretty big slice of the road cycling and downhill skiing demographic, but I dunno if you could make a living from them.

  8. #8
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    To help answer the specific question – I think I would be willing to pay the same or similar to nice high end production shoes but not much more - that is roughly $400 USD. IMO custom fit for folks with a need, Speedplay (other limited) compatible cleat mountings and aesthetics would be about the only reasons to go custom. I have looked at some of the custom road shoes (just last night) and didn’t think they aesthetically did much (JMO) and were simply too much cash.
    Can you hear the grasshopper at your feet?

  9. #9
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    I like the idea, but I don't know that I'd shell out $1000 for them. Maybe six or seven hundred, since the top off-the-shelf shoes are now selling for upwards of five hundred. And they'd have to be exceptionally well-built and guaranteed to last a long time.

  10. #10
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    I don't really see much of a market,

    A person might pay $5000+ for a bike, but will go for a pair of off the shelf shoes if they fit. There are exceptions if the cyclist has orthopedic problems, but they would be few, and can usually be fixed with special insoles. Shoes colored to match the bike? I have seen a few cyclist who match bike, helmet, sunglasses, jersey, shorts, gloves, socks and shoes. When I see them I laugh inwardly and don't take them as serious cyclists, even though they could be among of the best in the area.

  11. #11
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    have you talked to an XC ski racers? those boots look a bit like my old skate-ski boots

  12. #12
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    For the custom shoes, at around a $500 price point, throw a "no questions asked, lifetime garentee" on them. If they wear out, send them back, and you get a brand new pair.

    I would seriously think about buying a pair if you did that.

  13. #13
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    Not a penny.
    999 out of 1000 riders can find something off the shelf that fits perfectly. They might have to look around some, but they will find a match between their feet, and a brand of cycling shoe. You might as well start making custom running shoes. You might find more of a market there.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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  14. #14
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    I guess I'm that 1 guy then. I have super narrow and long feet. I have to really, really sinch down on a pair (I like my shoes INCREDIBLY TIGHT as I sprint on the track), and not too long after, the velcro is dead. So to have a shoe that already is perfectally molded to my foot, so I'll I'd have to do is close the shoe and it would be air tight, I'd put some real good money on that. Then again, I'm comming from the climbing shoe market that demands that the shoe fit perfectally.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY
    Not a penny.
    999 out of 1000 riders can find something off the shelf that fits perfectly. They might have to look around some, but they will find a match between their feet, and a brand of cycling shoe. You might as well start making custom running shoes. You might find more of a market there.
    I hate being 1 in 1,000. I've been trying to find shoes that are close to fitting and still haven't found a pair that's perfect. Sidi Megas are wider than most, but still not quite wide enough for my fat, short feet.

    A guy in Denver does custom shoes and nordic ski boots. I think he used to do speedskating blades also, but don't see that on his website anymore. It looks like he's branched out into bikes also. His prices are out of my ballpark, but I will be cheking out D2 when I get around to trying out some custom shoes.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh8428
    Yes, the testers(other than us) are all experienced cyclists that also race. They have had nothing but compliments for the shoes as well as some beneficial advice on some tweaks.

    thanx for the other manufacturers too
    I worked at a Rocket 7 dealer and we had too high of a return rate to keep on with the program. People tried them, but many didn't like them once they were in hand.

    Now you have a $349 moldable shoe by guys like shimano and for '08 Garneau will have a $299 version with more moldable material than the Shimano ,and you can mold it at home. For me, the best money I have seen spent on these matters is a custom insole as it can be mated to the shoe of your liking.

  17. #17
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    Not a penny.
    999 out of 1000 riders can find something off the shelf that fits perfectly. They might have to look around some, but they will find a match between their feet, and a brand of cycling shoe. You might as well start making custom running shoes. You might find more of a market there.
    Just to reply: 999 out 1000 riders do not "need" the bike they ride. They buy the bikes they ride based on many other reasons.

    The main purpose of these shoes is not a custom fit; although that is an added benefit and a demographic that these type of shoes cater to.

    The main purpose of this shoe is increased power transfer , reduced weight , and customized colors(individualistic) colors/patterns.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinnacleRacing
    are there any other questions or comments yall have? i can use all the help i can get and i will get a picture up as soon as i finish the current pair(as soon as i get a pair finished its scooped up to go ride so no pictures! haha)
    I know you are making road shoes, but since you are asking.... I have wanted a pair cycling shoes for my triathlons that have a heel closure system, so you can slide your foot in the shoe and snap it closed in seconds. It would work similar to my snowboard bindings- with a preset tension, so after you get your foot in, and snap it closed, there would be no need to ratchet anything down. Just a wish....



    Also, start taking notice that triatheletes are going to overtake dedicated roadies very soon IMO. There are 4 new triathelons that opened up this year. They all maxed out at around 1500 people. That is crazy numbers compared to my cycling races.

  19. #19
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    You have a tough battle

    ahead of you.

    As others have pointed out, there will be a small niche that buys $1000 shoes because they cost so much.

    However, the shoe designs are so good now a great majority of cyclists will be perfectly happy with off-the-shelf products.

    I bought the Shimano R300 on eBay for $150 (I think they retail for around $300). The vacuum molding process works very well (unless you have very narrow feet - Shimano's tend to fit wide).

    The guy who did the fitting said it will only be a matter of time before some of the other big companies adopt the technology. Whether or not he's right, I don't know. What I do know is that the Specialized S-Works shoes fit me very well (the Shimanos were simply too cheap to pass up). And many that I ride with will never wear anything other than Sidis.

    About 15 years ago, there was a company that made custom rock climbing shoes. Again, like yours, it sounded good on paper. However, it never took off because 1) the superstars did not wear/endorse them; 2) the established companies were - and are - so dialed into making a good last there was no need to go custom.

  20. #20
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    I won't even pay for a pair of sidi shoes. I do not think there is any need to pay more than 150 dollars (US) for any bicycling shoes

  21. #21
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    Im just another recreational club rider with a high end bike but my shoes are only a $100 dollar pair of addidas. For myself these seem to work fine. People are willing to shell out several grand for a bike, but thats what catches everybodies eyes right.

  22. #22
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    For weight, I think the new Specialized shoes are a lot less than that. And as others have remarked there are already others out there doing it. I think you might get some people who have foot problems or other issues (like you could offer to build up the sole on one to help fix leg length discrepency).

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  23. #23
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    Too much. I could see paying in the $400 range, and I have problem feet AND a decent income. But I don't think I'd ever be able to justify paying $750 for cycling shoes.

    Yes, my ski boots probably cost about $650, including custom insoles, and I wear them a LOT less than my bike shoes, but that's the market (AND I have problem feet). But there aren't an abundance of $100-$200 quality ski boots and there ARE a bunch of $100-200 decent bike shoes out there (especially at sale time). So, it is hard to think of paying 4-5-6-7 times typical market just for a custom shoe.

    Seems to me that if your buddy insists on pricing at that level it will be a tiny niche for people with the most extreme foot problems and the biggest disposable incomes.
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  24. #24
    djg
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    Probably not all that much. For people with foot problems and heavy mileage, a solution can be really valuable. I know folks who have custom cycling shoes and swear by them. For me, things aren't perfect, but I've found stock shoes that work for me with off-the-rack superfeet insoles. Until I have real problems, I'm not looking for alternatives. I'm sure that there's SOME market for your friend's product -- some folks who just haven't found what they need, but I just don't know how many folks who are still on that quest.

  25. #25
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    The bonus with custom shoes is you can get your medical coverage to pay part of the cost.

    I got a doctor's note stating my need for custom shoes to prevent/correct cycling related injuries which I sent off to my insurer. They gave me the same allowance as given for orthopedic shoes ($200 every two years in my case) and used it to offset the cost of Rocket 7's.

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