My mom has told me many (many, many) times that if I don’t have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all.
Unfortunately for you, I do have something nice to say.
Specifically, I love your Body Geometry Ridge gloves.
They’re comfortable, regardless of whether I’m riding a road or mountain bike. The gloves last for about a season and a half, which is about what I’d expect from $35 gloves. And most importantly, the palm padding really does seem to help fight the numbness I otherwise tend to get in my hands on long rides.
So: well done, Specialized. Keep up the good work with those Ridge gloves. I’m your loyal Body Geometry gloves customer for life.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about your shoes.
I Am The Kind of Customer You Want
I need to give you a little background about myself, Specialized. When I like something, I am an absurdly good customer. I am ridiculously loyal, I tell my friends, and I buy again and again.
Take, as an example, Keen. They make shoes. Really comfortable, long-lasting shoes. A couple years ago, I bought my first pair of Keens. And here’s how many pair I have now:
To be fair, only the top row of those shoes are mine (along with the cleated commuter sandals at the bottom left). The middle row of Keens are my wife’s, and the two pair on the bottom row, right side are my sons’.
Oh yeah. There’s one more pair, not shown, because one of my boys is out of town visiting his grandma right now.
So the tally of pairs of Keen shoes at Casa de Fatty is 15. And I’ll be buying more, in the near future (the boys need some good shoes for a weeklong hiking trip this summer). Why wouldn’t I? Keens have never let me down.
Can you tell where I’m going with this, Specialized?
Time for Some New Shoes
My two most recent pair of mountain biking shoes have been Specialized, Specialized. The first pair fell apart in fewer than two seasons: the soles cracked and the uppers tore.
However, they had fit well enough — you really do seem to be onto something with your “Body Geometry” system — that I gave you another shot.
So here are my current shoes.
From this perspective, they don’t seem too bad. About two seasons of frequent riding-worth of wear and tear.
But from this first picture, you can’t tell that I’ve already had to replace the ratcheting mechanism on both shoes.
And that first picture doesn’t show this:
Now, that might be an anomaly if it were just one of the shoes, but check out the match:
Same hole, other shoe.
And you know, Specialized, I maybe wouldn’t have called you out if this had just been me. But my friend Nick has the exact same shoes…with the exact same holes.
But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is the sole:
Yep, the crack goes all the way across the bottom, via the cleat, making the shoe flimsy and completely useless.
And there’s a matching crack in the other shoe’s sole.
I Want to Be Someone’s Loyal Customer
Specialized, you’ve sold me two consecutive pairs of mountain bike shoes that have failed in two years or less. As you can imagine, I am now looking for new shoes, and I am looking at other brands.
So here is my challenge, issued to any and all mountain biking shoe makers (including you, Specialized, though you’ve definitely got some ground to make up):
Turn me into a fan.
Send me a pair of mountain biking shoes, and I’ll ride with them and talk about them. Not just review them, but ride with them for a good long time, so people know how they hold up.
The thing is, I’ve been riding for fifteen years, and the shoe is the one piece of equipment I don’t feel like I’ve ever been perfectly happy with. I’d love to have a bike shoe that changes that. If you think you’ve got that bike shoe, email me.
The Fat Cyclist
PS: Readers, if you have an MTB shoe you love, tell me what it is.
PPS: If you’ve had experiences with Specialized shoes that either confirm or contradict what I’m saying here, say so.