Shoe Help: Carbon or not?
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  1. #1
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    Shoe Help: Carbon or not?

    I started riding 3 years ago, and as a newbie I went into my LBS and asked for shoes. I tried on a couple and picked the ones that felt best...and when I checked out I choked when I saw they were $220. I had, knowing nothing about road shoes, picked a carbon sole Nike shoes.

    Fast forward three years: I have put a couple thousand miles on these shoes, and they are finally wearing out. The sole is coming off the shoe, and it is too old for Nike to exchange. So I am in the market for new shoes.

    My dilemma is this: Having never ridden anything but a carbon sole shoe, I am hesitant to buy another shoe that doesn't have one. But I also know that some of the top shoes(Sidi to be precise) doen't ahve carbon soles. Is a shoe without a carbon sole a step down in durability? Will the change in materials be problematic for me to adjust to? I lke my current shoes well enough, but my feet sometime ache on the outside. Not sure if a step down in stiffness might actually help this.

    Some notes about me as a rider: 5'11", 250lbs. I tend to mash, but I am not a gear killer. I ride 75-100 miles a week, and that is going increasing.

    Shoes I have considered:
    Shimano R130(carbon parts, seems like a great deal)
    Shimano R215(Carbon sole, more expensive)
    I tried the Sidi shoes and they don't fit right
    Pearl Izumi Vortex 2

    Any help you all can provide would be helpful!

  2. #2

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    Not an expert

    I'm certainly not an expert but I can tell you what I did. I started three years ago also but I picked out the $50 "on sale" Nike shoes they had at the shop at the time. Worked fine but I always thought there must be something more comfortable. Just recently, I decided to get new shoes. The choice ended up being easy because they shop I go to had a pair I really liked and they put them on sale right when I was looking to buy. They are Nike and I think the model is Altea. They are carbon sole but I think the regular price on these was in the neighborhood of $150. Maybe a little more or less but I paid less on sale.

    It turns out they shoes definitely made a difference but keep in mind I went from really cheap, two strap, heavy, plastic bottom shoes to nice and light, three strap (I dont like the buckle, seems the comfortable spot is just between clicks). They certainly are more comfortable. Part of it is the extra strap and the other part may be the additional stiffness of the sole. My feet dont seem to hurt or get tired on longer or harder rides like before. I think the carbon sole will make a weight difference which actually seems to be helpful.

    My opinion is that good shoe construction is the most important element whether it is a carbon sole or not. I dont think you have to spend $250 to get a good shoe though.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by atlroadie
    I tried on a couple and picked the ones that felt best...and when I checked out I choked when I saw they were $220. I had, knowing nothing about road shoes, picked a carbon sole Nike shoes.

    Fast forward three years: I have put a couple thousand miles on these shoes, and they are finally wearing out. The sole is coming off the shoe, and it is too old for Nike to exchange.
    A couple of thousand miles is nothing for a good shoe. One of my pairs of Sidis must have tens of thousands of miles and they are still going strong. There is no way I would shell out $220 for a shoe that would fall apart after two months of mileage.

    Nike ceased to be a good shoe company a long time ago. Now they make shoes as fashion accessories.

  4. #4
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    Go for fit first and foremost

    Quote Originally Posted by atlroadie
    I started riding 3 years ago, and as a newbie I went into my LBS and asked for shoes. I tried on a couple and picked the ones that felt best...and when I checked out I choked when I saw they were $220. I had, knowing nothing about road shoes, picked a carbon sole Nike shoes.

    Fast forward three years: I have put a couple thousand miles on these shoes, and they are finally wearing out. The sole is coming off the shoe, and it is too old for Nike to exchange. So I am in the market for new shoes.

    My dilemma is this: Having never ridden anything but a carbon sole shoe, I am hesitant to buy another shoe that doesn't have one. But I also know that some of the top shoes(Sidi to be precise) doen't ahve carbon soles. Is a shoe without a carbon sole a step down in durability? Will the change in materials be problematic for me to adjust to? I lke my current shoes well enough, but my feet sometime ache on the outside. Not sure if a step down in stiffness might actually help this.

    Some notes about me as a rider: 5'11", 250lbs. I tend to mash, but I am not a gear killer. I ride 75-100 miles a week, and that is going increasing.

    Shoes I have considered:
    Shimano R130(carbon parts, seems like a great deal)
    Shimano R215(Carbon sole, more expensive)
    I tried the Sidi shoes and they don't fit right
    Pearl Izumi Vortex 2

    Any help you all can provide would be helpful!
    As a self-confessed "Imelda Marcos" when it comes to cycling shoes, I suggest that you focus first and foremost on the fit of the shoe. If you have been riding a carbon sole without problems to this point then it is likely that you will not have problems due to the stiffness. The most important considerations for the fit: width, arch support, and sole curvature. Some shoes have very little drop from heel to toe and/or very flat soles, and low arch support (Shimano) while others have a large heel/toe drop and high arches (pre-2005 Carnac). Sidis tend to be a little bit flatter but have a reasonably high arch.

    Personally, I have tried lots of other shoes but I always come back to Sidi. I have worn almost every model they have released since 1994. I am currently using the Genius 5 Carbons and before that I used the insanely expensive Ergo 1s. These are not full-carbon soles, but rather carbon inlaid into the plastic.

    This year I tried to make the switch to the Shimano R215s. I loved the stiffness, in terms of putting power to the pedals. However, no matter what I did, I always seemed to have sore feet. For me, the full-carbon sole is just too stiff. Too bad, the shoes were very well built and comfortable otherwise. If you like the fit of the Shimano shoes, I would consider the R151 as it has the same full-carbon sole as the R215, but uses 3 velcro straps instead of the ratchet/strap combo and retails for $70-80 less.

  5. #5
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    Shimanos Fit

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric_H
    Personally, I have tried lots of other shoes but I always come back to Sidi. I have worn almost every model they have released since 1994. I am currently using the Genius 5 Carbons and before that I used the insanely expensive Ergo 1s. These are not full-carbon soles, but rather carbon inlaid into the plastic.

    This year I tried to make the switch to the Shimano R215s. I loved the stiffness, in terms of putting power to the pedals. However, no matter what I did, I always seemed to have sore feet. For me, the full-carbon sole is just too stiff. Too bad, the shoes were very well built and comfortable otherwise. If you like the fit of the Shimano shoes, I would consider the R151 as it has the same full-carbon sole as the R215, but uses 3 velcro straps instead of the ratchet/strap combo and retails for $70-80 less.
    I have tried the Sidis and the Shimanos, and the Shimanos just fit my feet much better. I tried the 151, but I wanted the rachet. Thus I am between the r215 and the r130. The R130 fit great, felt great. I am just nervous about moving from a full carbon shoe to a plastic shoe with carbon parts.

  6. #6
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    Specialized Pro Road..

    Quote Originally Posted by atlroadie
    I have tried the Sidis and the Shimanos, and the Shimanos just fit my feet much better. I tried the 151, but I wanted the rachet. Thus I am between the r215 and the r130. The R130 fit great, felt great. I am just nervous about moving from a full carbon shoe to a plastic shoe with carbon parts.
    come in both carbon/non carbon models. I ride the noncarbon and they are plenty still for my 160# frame. but the direct comparison is available if you want...
    and the fit is incredible for about 1/2 the price of your Nike's...why did you ever buy Nike's? They entered the cycling arena just to plaster the swish all over LA...the gear he uses however is not available commercially...all Nike's I've owned since about 1992 (quit buying them in about '94) lasted about 3 months. trash. I wouldn't expect anything more from a pair of cycling shoes...

  7. #7
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    Because some schmuck at the bike shop said to...

    Quote Originally Posted by bahueh
    why did you ever buy Nike's? They entered the cycling arena just to plaster the swish all over LA...the gear he uses however is not available commercially...all Nike's I've owned since about 1992 (quit buying them in about '94) lasted about 3 months. trash. I wouldn't expect anything more from a pair of cycling shoes...

    I bought Nike's because when I started riding 3 years ago, and didn't know a thing about road cycling, a guy at a shop told me they were good shoes. It is a mistake I won't make again. Yes, they do suck. I think I am going to go with the Shimano R130s, as they seem plenty stiff for the money, and a LBS will give me 20% off because I am doing Team In Training.

  8. #8
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    sorry 'bout that..

    Quote Originally Posted by atlroadie
    I bought Nike's because when I started riding 3 years ago, and didn't know a thing about road cycling, a guy at a shop told me they were good shoes. It is a mistake I won't make again. Yes, they do suck. I think I am going to go with the Shimano R130s, as they seem plenty stiff for the money, and a LBS will give me 20% off because I am doing Team In Training.

    one bad thing about cycling gear, with all the costs, are the trial and errors we all have to go through to get what works vs. what we can afford. had the same thing happen to me with two previous pairs of shoes before I found the specialized pro roads...
    clean up the Nike's and sell them on ebay to recoup some of the cost of the new shoes...
    worked twice for me! just put like a 20$ tag on them and they'll move...
    good luck and enjoy the R130's.

  9. #9
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    I've had a pair of Shimano R210's for over 10 years. I probably have over 50,000 miles on them. They look so beat, I only use them for training now. I've had to reglue the sole a few times, but they still feel great. I bought a pair of R211's 5 years ago, as "race shoes", so they hardly show any wear. I may pitch the R210's after this season and buy either some R212's or R151's, depending on what sort of deal I can get.
    Shoes with carbon soles, that don't fit the bottom of your foot right, are worse than rocks in your shoes.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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  10. #10
    al0
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlroadie
    I have tried the Sidis and the Shimanos, and the Shimanos just fit my feet much better. I tried the 151, but I wanted the rachet. Thus I am between the r215 and the r130. The R130 fit great, felt great. I am just nervous about moving from a full carbon shoe to a plastic shoe with carbon parts.
    Try Specialized Pro Carbon and Comp Carbon (they have different fit!). Not so expensive as Nike (160 and 130, respectively, on www.specialized.com; probably, can be found cheaper elsewhere).
    Very comfy, especially for wide feet.

  11. #11
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    i got the shimano r130s just recently. i thought it was a carbon sole? Anyway, damn nice fit, no weird sizing issues, personally i like the ratchet system. happy with them. paid 190 AUD (140USD)

  12. #12
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    I'm on my first pair of carbon shoes..

    The carbon shoes are stiffer and lighter (and a lot more expensive). I have two pair of nylon shoes that still have some miles left in them, they are just dirty and grungy (don't get yellow shoes). I have bad feet due to my previous running days. I really don't feel that much difference when I ride, but I can get out of bed the next morning without hobbling around. I don't know how carbon shoes will hold up. So far just after about a month, my carbon shoes (Shimano R151's) are scuffed up and have scratches. I'm with the fit is the most important feature. My take is if you can find a carbon shoe that fits, on sale, go for it...it probably depends if you have problems with your feet..carbon shoes are stiff and the shoes do all the work.....if you don't have any problems with your feet, then nylon will work fine...

  13. #13
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    Partly Carbon

    Quote Originally Posted by wankski
    i got the shimano r130s just recently. i thought it was a carbon sole? Anyway, damn nice fit, no weird sizing issues, personally i like the ratchet system. happy with them. paid 190 AUD (140USD)
    The R130s have a "carbon core", which means that there is carbon where the cleat attaches and runningpart way up the sole. It is not a full carbon shoe. It is also $100 cheaper than the R215.

  14. #14
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    I've read that shoes with nylon soles will tend to get "soft" after a few years. The Shimano R151 is a little better shoe than the R130 because it has the full carbon sole. ( It has three velcro straps like my R210's and R211's )
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
    .
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    Dogbert.

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    Buying parts to hang on your bike is always easier than getting fit.

    If you feel wimpy and weak, get out and train more, ya wee lassie!

    If Jesus had a gun, he'd be alive today!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY
    I've read that shoes with nylon soles will tend to get "soft" after a few years. The Shimano R151 is a little better shoe than the R130 because it has the full carbon sole. ( It has three velcro straps like my R210's and R211's )
    I have the specialized pro carbons because I use crank bros pedals. I think that the size of the cleat has alot to do with how a shoe feels. A Look cleat will add stiffness to a sole due to it's size and spacing of the hardware. I used Side and Carnac shoes for years before ever trying a carbon soled shoe. I found that with a small cleat I would get hot spots on my feet if I didn't use carbon soles. I am a big guy and put alot of pressure down on the pedals.
    Retired sailor

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bahueh
    come in both carbon/non carbon models. I ride the noncarbon and they are plenty still for my 160# frame. but the direct comparison is available if you want...
    and the fit is incredible for about 1/2 the price of your Nike's...why did you ever buy Nike's? They entered the cycling arena just to plaster the swish all over LA...the gear he uses however is not available commercially...all Nike's I've owned since about 1992 (quit buying them in about '94) lasted about 3 months. trash. I wouldn't expect anything more from a pair of cycling shoes...
    Relax...you'll find someone to bash just about any brand available. Nike has been in the road shoe market for much longer than you think. I remember feeling proud when I saw a picture of an Olympic roadie wearing the same nike shoes that I owned in the '84 Olympics. Those shoes were fine for me until '95. I also remember trashing a couple pairs of Specialized MTB shoes before I swore to stay away from that brand. Point being...what has worked for you doesn't mean squat to the next guy. Nike and Specialize just added bike shoes to their existing line of products in order to make money. When you want good shoes, you find a manufacturer that only makes shoes. Carnac and Sidi come to mind quickly.
    Pain is weakness leaving the body!!!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY
    I've read that shoes with nylon soles will tend to get "soft" after a few years. The Shimano R151 is a little better shoe than the R130 because it has the full carbon sole. ( It has three velcro straps like my R210's and R211's )

    thanks for the tip, dnag i wish i knew earlier, the 151s were only like $20-30 more expensive. d'oh.

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