An Open Letter to Specialized

04.12.2009 | 6:04 pm

Dear Specialized,

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.

Kind Regards,

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.


  1. Comment by Al | 04.12.2009 | 6:27 pm

    I’ve used Specialized BG shoes with Speedplay pedals for 3 years now with no visbile problems either with the sole or ratchet mechanism. The fit is excellent and I have no foot issues when riding.

    For what it’s worth, I use the BG gloves as well (2 years), and they are the best I’ve ever used.

  2. Comment by Rob | 04.12.2009 | 6:33 pm

    I also have several pairs of that model shoes with the same hole and was getting less than a year out of a pair.

    Specialized seemed to have changed the design recently with the toe section being a bit shorter so now they last longer.

  3. Comment by Andrew | 04.12.2009 | 6:37 pm

    I ride Sidis. I wish a cheaper brand had fit me best, but it didn’t. And they’ve lasted for many years, so far – both pairs are about nine years old.

  4. Comment by leroy | 04.12.2009 | 6:38 pm

    Well shucks, FC, I think the problem is obvious.

    Those are fingers poking out of your shoes. Honestly, who wears their shoes on their hands? That probably voided teh warranty right there.

    Note to Specialized: Be nice to FC. Just because a Tarmac crossed the finish line first in Flanders, doesn’t mean you can take a chance offending a Titan of the Blogosphere.

    I need a new pair of gloves and based on this article, I’ll probably try the Body Geometry Ridge gloves.

  5. Comment by km | 04.12.2009 | 6:47 pm

    Well, historically I’ve owned three pairs of Specialized shoes, they all blew out w/in one race season. I’ll also be honest and admit my Specialized shoes were all used and purchased when I was approx. 15-20lbs. lighter and back in the late 90’s (when Ned Overend and John Tomac were all the rage). After blowing through my last pair of Specialized shoes, I purchased a pair of SIDI Dominiators. You remember them the screaming royal blue and yellow ones. Man, what a pair of shoes!! They lasted three years and included racing and training. THEY WERE BY FAR, the GREATEST pair of MTB shoes I’ve ever owned! But all good things must come to an end. When they gave up the ghost I no longer worked at a LBS and there was no way I could afford retail SIDI’s so now I have a pair of Diadora’s (Jalapeno’s) that are almost as tough and comfortable as the SIDI’s just not as sexy. Go Italian or go home….except the Diadora’s are made in Bulgaria, in which case go Eastern European or go home!

  6. Comment by Sean | 04.12.2009 | 6:51 pm


    I have the shoes that you show in the pictures above…and I am dumbfounded. I have had mine for two seasons and they are still like new…….of course….I probably do not put as many miles on them as you do…but I do love them. It is a shame that yours don’t last. Good luck in your quest! I agree with the gloves….NICE

  7. Comment by LuckyLab | 04.12.2009 | 7:00 pm

    I have two pairs of Specialized BG shoes – road and mountain. Why? Because I can’t get a pair of SIDIs to fit my feet. I’ll trade even yearly replacement to dealing with my feet hurting from ill fitting shoes. (Of course, I’m going the 2nd in line under that plan, not the super fancy model.)

    I am by no means as hard on the shoes as you, Fatty. My frustration with them is the traction chipping away on the mountain shoes. My road shoes have a slight squeak in them but I can’t find a visible crack in the sole anywhere. No tearing in the uppers and no problems with the buckles. I do very little walking in the shoes due to the routes I have available, so that’s probably why.

    One of my buddies who lives in the Columbia Gorge thought they were the worst shoes ever and swears by the Lakes he switched to after blowing out the same mountain shoes I have in two months.

  8. Comment by devin | 04.12.2009 | 7:06 pm

    Sidi, any style, any color (though I just saw some cool white ones on friday I want). I’ve had mine for 4 years and the only problem is I can’t justify buying new (white)ones cause they are in such good shape.

  9. Comment by Oliver | 04.12.2009 | 7:14 pm

    I have three different pairs of specialized shoes (for different purposes) and really like them. The oldest pair is 3 years old and is still in very good condition. The only problem is one of my MTB Comp shoes (similar to the ones you have pictured) has a tough ratcheting mechanism that requires a little muscle to separate. Not a huge deal but after a long day in the saddle it can be a pain to take the one shoe off.

  10. Comment by dino | 04.12.2009 | 7:16 pm

    I just picked up some specialized shoes. I am a big fan of how they fit. Haven’t had them long enough to comment on their durability though. I am planning on buying some more.

  11. Comment by piper284 | 04.12.2009 | 7:19 pm

    Sidi. I’ve probably 30-40,000 miles on a pair of Dragons. Road, mtn, cyclocross racing. They are the only pair of shoes I use. I’ve used shoes from almost every manufacturer. I generally kill them in a season, at most 1.5. These are are still going strong after 4 years. I replaced the soles. The stitching is coming undone a bit on one of the velcro straps. Not enough that I need to do anything about it.

    They ain’t cheap, but with the use you get out of them its a better buy then new shoes every year. I also have two pairs of Sidi motorcycle boots that I beat the crap out of. Those are still kickin as well.

  12. Comment by James | 04.12.2009 | 7:21 pm

    +1 for splittling the soles of a pair of Specialized mountain bike shoes. They lasted 1 season of single speed mountain biking and single speed cyclocross. Cracked across the ball of the foot where the cleats attach just like yours did. Replaced them with another major brand of mountain bike shoes and haven’t had any issues for 2+ years of heavy use.

  13. Comment by Jeremy | 04.12.2009 | 7:22 pm

    Dude, Keen’s rock. I love the way my toes are able to move and breathe.

  14. Comment by Baz | 04.12.2009 | 7:31 pm

    Well I guess that answers my question!

    Now I just need to find them over here…

  15. Comment by Teamfubar | 04.12.2009 | 7:43 pm

    +1 for the BG gloves. I have had a couple pairs with much success!

    As far as the shoes go, Northwaves. I have had 3 pairs in the last 9 years and beside the fact that they look rough, they have held up very well. I used to go through a pair of shoes once a year (Answers, Shimanos, Nikes, etc.) until I got NW’s.

  16. Comment by WheelDancer | 04.12.2009 | 7:56 pm

    My MTB shoes are Shimano M225 and I love these shoes. I also use them for commuting (temps above freezing) so they have gotten quite a bit of use, 3K-4K miles, and still look and feel like new.

    My winter boots are Lake MXZ301 and while I did have an issue with them, their customer service was stellar and the boots have performed beyond my expectations. They keep me warm in the coldest weather. The BOA lacing system is the quickest, most versatile lacing system that allow me to adjust without unclipping so I can go back and forth between more control and more circulation.

    I have Specialized road shoes I got about three years but they are sort of low end and have never really liked them. Being a cheap bastard I still ride them and even with more than 10K miles on them, they haven’t fallen apart though I wish they would. Given my experience with Lake, I will be looking at their line up when I replace these shoes along with the Shimano road version of my MTB shoes.

  17. Comment by pat | 04.12.2009 | 7:56 pm

    My dad has a pair of the carbon soled BG shoes and they suck. Hotspots aplenty.

    If money were no object;

    Sidi genius 5 for the road
    Sidi dragon for the mtb

    since it is, I ride

    Northwave revenge road
    Adidas El Moro (cheap, but I’m on my 3rd season with them)

  18. Comment by Bjorn 4Lycra | 04.12.2009 | 7:59 pm

    Another vote for Diadora altho my experience is only road. However the first bike shoes I bought when I came back to cycling were specialized the type with the recessed cleat allowing you to walk easily and I still have them. Again only used them on the road and only upgraded as I got better as a rider but had no problems with the shoe. Come to think of it I still have my original pair of DMT’s my first proper road shoes which I use in the wet. I obviously don’t put them through the same torture as the rest of you do.
    Never had the need for the ratchet thing either.

  19. Comment by JDS | 04.12.2009 | 8:03 pm

    Specialized has some ground to make up with me too. I have the same set of rips in the same mt. bike shoes–and the cleat screw holes seem to have stripped in both pairs of specialized shoes I own. Oh yeah, I was JRA (really) and my specialized body geometry saddle snapped a rail when it was only a season and a half old–and they refused to warranty it. I consider this comment my revenge. Take that!

  20. Comment by GregP | 04.12.2009 | 8:10 pm

    I have that exact pair of Spec BG shoes but I’m still a fan (with reservations) They’re the best-fitting, most comfortable shoes I’ve had, but I do have the pinky-toe hole problem on one shoe and the ratcheting buckles don’t work that well. No cracked soles for me, although my yearly mileage is way less than yours.

  21. Comment by Jennifer | 04.12.2009 | 8:21 pm

    Our household collection of Keens is remarkably similar to the Fatty household collection! Keens are my favorite shoes to wear on the bikes, too. Even in the rain. Right now I’m wearing my fabulous latest addition to my addiction: black suede Keen Ventura sneakers. MMmmmMMm!

  22. Comment by KanyonKris | 04.12.2009 | 8:24 pm

    My Sette MTB shoes are going over 3 years and the only problem is the velcro starps don’t stay tight anymore. Any tips on replacing velcro? If I could refurb the straps I’m sure these shoes would last another few years. My next shoes will have a ratchet strap.

  23. Comment by Bryan | 04.12.2009 | 8:48 pm

    Fatty, if it’s true you’re wearing your shoes on your hands then that may be the problem. But, since both you and Nick are experiencing the same problem, I propose one of the following solutions:
    1. Shop sharing your shoes with Nick or vice versa.
    2. You and Nick need to start cutting your toe nails.

    On a serious note, I ride in an old pair of Diadoras. They keep my feet attached to the bike. I have no idea what a nice pair of cycling shoes should feel like. I’ll have to check out Keens.

  24. Comment by Mikeonhisbike | 04.12.2009 | 8:52 pm

    I have a pair of Specialized Taho’s and love them. They are the pits in the rain because they don’t even come close to keeping any water out but other than that they were good to go. Personally, I like the products that Specialized puts out.

  25. Comment by girochatterbox | 04.12.2009 | 8:54 pm

    Sidis – I’ve got a pair that’s been going for 7 years and another pair going on 4 – about 8k miles per year. The 4 year pair looks brand new still. The 7 year pair is missing the screws under the toes and the velcro is gunked up, but otherwise still completely functional. I went through a pair a season until I got the Sidis.

  26. Comment by mtbxree | 04.12.2009 | 9:01 pm

    Sidi Dominator. Worth every penny, if any shoe is. Available in mega, standard and narrow widths (I ride narrow with Superfeet insoles, and they fit better than any other pair of shoes I own). I’m in the middle of my seventh season, riding year-round in Northern California. The soles are worn down, and I’ve replaced a couple of buckles, but the shoes continue to perform.

  27. Comment by mjenkins | 04.12.2009 | 9:02 pm

    I have the same pair of shoes, and they have the same holes. Additionally, the ratcheting gizmo on the left shoe doesn’t really get tight enough and the ratchet on the right shoe went missing on a trail in Virginia. I don’t have any cracks in the sole of the shoe but many of the tread blocks seem to have fallen off. The shoes only lasted me one season. After the durability problems of these shoes the last thing someone might suspect is for me to go out and buy an identical pair to replace them. However, the thing is these shoes fit really well. I tried the Sidi’s and they just don’t work for me. The regulars are too narrow and the megas are too wide.

  28. Comment by Lissee (formerly known as Bitter) | 04.12.2009 | 9:09 pm


    Looking forward to what Specialized has to say.

  29. Comment by anon | 04.12.2009 | 9:11 pm

    It’s a known problem with Crank Brothers pedals that they crack the soles of shoes. Apparently the big S won’t warranty cracked soles if you use Crank Bros pedals.

    very interesting! i didn’t know that. i run Time ATACs on all my MTBs tho, so it doesn’t apply in my case. – FC

  30. Comment by duane | 04.12.2009 | 9:16 pm

    Sidi for road and mountain. Expensive but the fit can’t be beat.

  31. Comment by Chubby Super Biker | 04.12.2009 | 9:19 pm

    I just bought, and am completely in love with, the Bontrager RL MTB shoe. Light, fits great, stiff as all get out – I don’t predict I’ll have much problem with them. Predict being the key word there, but who knows on that count.

    I hear good things about specialized, though, so I’m hoping they come through and change your mind. I too replace my Specialized gloves once a year, but they are oh so good.

  32. Comment by jeff | 04.12.2009 | 9:31 pm

    I bought Sidis about 4 years ago. They’ve been through rain, mud, and a wide range of temperatures and they’re still in great shape. As for the Keens, I bought a pair to do a trip on the Colorado through the Grand Canyon 5 years ago and wear them almost every day. I just bought another pair, so now I have everyday and dress up sandals. :)

  33. Comment by Philly Jen | 04.12.2009 | 9:32 pm

    I have a pair of lace-up women’s Specialized Sonomas, which are also part of the Body Geometry line. On the second or third outing, I lifted up the elastic lace-keeper on the right shoe to tuck in my laces, and *fwap!* The stitching for the narrow elastic wasn’t solid AT ALL, so now those Specialized slippers are confined to pedaling a spinning bike at my gym, where there’s no open chain for the free-floating, right-shoe laces to snag. (I notice that subsequent versions of the Sonoma reverted to velcro tabs. Smells like a QA measure to me.)

    On the other hand (or foot), I’ve got a pair of Diadora Caymanos that I bought on the same day as the Specialized Sonomas. Diadoras, I adore ya. Also lace-up, but with a solid little velcro tab system for managing the laces. They look like non-dorky street shoes, and are mysteriously well-ventilated in summer for black suede (apparently the favored foot covering for Jens everywhere).

  34. Comment by donbiker | 04.12.2009 | 9:32 pm

    I have a pair of ‘97 Carnac Mountain bike shoes that look like they could last another 12 years. All I have had to do is build up the cleats with ShoeGoo a few times and replace the velcro on the straps last year. I use Speedplay Frog pedals and ride about 5000 miles a year all on the road.

  35. Comment by Doug MacDonald | 04.12.2009 | 9:36 pm

    I don’t ride mountain, but I’ll swear by my Sidis on the road (Genius 5 FWIW). From all I’ve heard, it’s the same deal on the trails.

    Is it hard to justify upwards of $250 for shoes? Sure. Is it worth it to get upwards of 20K miles from them (and some folks have told me their Genius went 100K)? Yes. I could go through 15 pairs of $100 shoes in the same time.

  36. Comment by danomite | 04.12.2009 | 9:39 pm

    I am a few weeks into a relationship with a pair of Diadora X-Trail Evos and so far so good. I have high arches which I’ve had to boost up with other insoles, but thats just personalization. As a bonus the shoes have deep lugs that are good for walking around if need be. I don’t feel like I am grinding down my Time cleats when I walk in them.

    Previously I’ve owned Sidis with great results.

  37. Comment by Lynn | 04.12.2009 | 9:45 pm

    Maybe you should write to Keen and suggest they start making mountain biking shoes in addition to commuting sandals. Their shoes never seem to wear out and clean up so easily. We just sent my daughter’s outgrown Keen sandals to an orphanage in Ethiopia where they will probably be handed down for many years to come.

  38. Comment by Aaron | 04.12.2009 | 9:57 pm

    Like others have stated, just get some Sidi Dominators.

  39. Comment by Jansenh | 04.12.2009 | 10:06 pm

    Try these?

  40. Comment by MarvinK | 04.12.2009 | 10:21 pm

    I also buy Specialized shoes due to their superior fit.

    Be careful with Keen’s SPD shoes and sandles. They are more narrow than other Keens… and the shoes are only slightly lighter than cement blocks. Bummer–because I was hoping to be a big fan. Really, I’d like to see Keen offer a casual SPD shoe based on the Briggs or Austin style.

  41. Comment by monkeywebb | 04.12.2009 | 10:21 pm

    I love my Specialized road shoes, but it could just be because I used Specialized mountain shoes for both mountain and the first 10,000 miles on my road bike. Now every time I have to put my old pre-body geometry specialized mountain shoes on for a trail ride I cringe.

  42. Comment by Erik | 04.12.2009 | 10:31 pm

    +1 for the Sidi’s lasting forever – try the wide ones. I’ve had a pair of Ergo 1’s since they came out and they’re fantastic and still functionally like new after ~30k miles of training & racing. All I’ve replaced are the cleats and heel pad. I’ve also got a pair of Dragon’s that I’ve used since they came out for winter training and cyclocross, and they’re just the same. It sounds like your foot pain was more from a hotspot on the sole than from width, so not sure if you’d need the wide ones? Or maybe their insole just sucks for you (I wear orthotics). I just got a pair of Bontrager Street shoes (SPD commuter shoes that look like old school touring shoes) – I love, them, but I’m getting a hot spot across the sole just behind the cleat. I’m going to try different insoles and see if that helps – it doesn’t seem like it’s sole flex, but maybe? Sidi sure seems to make the best-made shoes, though. And you can get them in white patent leather now ;-)

  43. Comment by John | 04.12.2009 | 11:01 pm

    I don’t know if Shimano has gotten around to making a mountain version yet, but I’m totally in love with my R300 heat-shrink-fit road shoes. On the advice of my fit guru, I replaced the inserts with thicker ones that are also heat-molded and now I’m in shoe heaven. No pain at all, super-stiff soles, etc etc. The only think I don’t like is the goofy silver color, but what can you do?

  44. Comment by Skitchmacboy | 04.12.2009 | 11:07 pm

    Try a pair with carbon soles. I’ve got a set of the road versions that have yet to fail me, and I’ve had them for 3 seasons.

    I switched from Sidi, too, as I have wide feet as well. Try a mega version.


  45. Comment by tittytrin | 04.12.2009 | 11:18 pm

    hey fatty, i feel you on your specialized shoes. i have the same pair i bought about 3 years ago. i’m not really certain why i have kept them as they too have deteriorated greatly. personally, i think its because i’ve moved on in cycling shoe style and i’m keeping them in remembrance of less stylish times. however, my shoes seem to have more of an unravelling issue, not quite as catastrophic as your sole break but depending on who you ask, catastrophic enough. additionally, the threading where the screws go in to attach the cleat are loose and untightenable (thats right) and the thin pad is so depressed, I feel hard plastic on my sensitive toe. having said all this, my main complaint would be that the shoes make my feet look fat. this is a problem, fat feet… its disgusting really. take a notice. when you find the fat footed… notice how the owner of those swollen appendages instantly and drastically reduces in attractiveness. not that i’m cruising the class I’s for slender cycling footed owners. its just something to notice is all. point being… i agree that specialized needs to step it up. no pun intended there, really.

  46. Comment by m Burdge | 04.13.2009 | 12:15 am

    like many here, I have a pair of Sidi Dominators I bought in the before-family days; they are holding out well. Last year, the disco yellow plastic bit that goes on the top of the foot cracked on both shoes–I took them to a cobbler in town who fixed them for about $30.
    For life shoes, try Blundstones. I am on my second pair, my first lasting through four or five years of everyday use, bike commuting as a student, working as a landscaper, as well as conducting funerals and hospital visits as a chaplain. I now work on an addictions recovery farm, and they are my dry weather slip on shoes (rubber boots for wet). When I say everyday, I wear them all summer too.
    win susan

  47. Comment by Aaron | 04.13.2009 | 1:11 am

    I had a pair of Lake’s that lastest many many years. Now I’ve moved to shimano. They are ok but no lake.

  48. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 04.13.2009 | 4:43 am

    I have a pair of Specialized shoes for my road bike- within a few months, the carbon sole had something funky going on- it has started to separate from the bottom of the shoe and makes a weird popping noise. These shoes were expensive and this defect is frustrating.

    I too had Sidis before the Specialized and they lasted years.

  49. Comment by Matt | 04.13.2009 | 4:58 am

    My Specialized Carbon somethings also ripped across the mesh at the side of the toe, and the carbon sole wore right though to the cleat plate, all in just 160 days.

    Shame, as you pointed out, they fit brilliantly, but I can’t be using stuff which fails so quickly,

  50. Comment by John | 04.13.2009 | 5:15 am

    I’ve tried and ruined all of ‘em – except Sidi.

    And that’s all I have to say about that. :)


  51. Comment by Beth | 04.13.2009 | 5:16 am

    Fatty, you need to include a picture of your foot so we can see why it tore up that shoe so badly! Truthfully, the new BG is a great shoe – it has an awesome footbed and I think you will find the upper a lot more durable. The shoe is built on a 1.5 degree varus platform, which works well for about 80% of the population (varus foot type). If you have a really high arch, you may not have a varus foot, and this might not work as well for you.

    The new Bontrager MTB shoes are also an excellent new shoe, with a great footbed (made by eSoles). I would consider these on an equal plane to the BGs.

    Shimano heat moldables: Great shoes. The shoe and the footbed are heat moldable to your foot, and they will provide excellent support on the pedal.

    Sidis: Horrible footbed (essentially non-existent). The uppers stretch out pretty quickly. They can be comfortable for years, but as for helping to stabilize your foot on your pedal – they would be my last choice (speaking as a prior Sidi wearer of 12 years). For cyclocross I still wear the Dominators, because I need more flexibility in the shoe for running. I put my eSoles footbeds in them, and they are more acceptable.

  52. Comment by Lyndon | 04.13.2009 | 5:20 am

    Hey Fatty,

    I have been through 2 pairs of Sidi shoes in the past 16 years. I cover about 7000 miles a year on a bike. Sidis last forever. In fact, I’m starting to wish my current pair would hurry up a wear out as I’m kinda getting sick of the colour and am ready for a change.

  53. Comment by KM | 04.13.2009 | 6:21 am

    Sidis all the way. I love my Dragons and even got them on sale a the Toronto bike show. I have seen the new Bontragger shoes and tried a couple of pairs on and they were really comfy. I rode specialized before I got these and the fit/construction quality of sidis is much superior but if you have a wide foot they probably won’t fit. Plus, if you’re like me and have very small ankles/narrow heels sidis allow you to adjust the non-ratchet side of the ratchet strap tighter so you can tighten the shoe even more. My fiance’s shimanos are always tightened to the very last ratchet tooth and they are still a bit loose.

    As everyone else above, I love my Sidis!

  54. Comment by Jen | 04.13.2009 | 6:34 am

    All my gloves are BGs … love ‘em. I’ve tried others but always come back to them.

    All my shoes are sidis … love ‘em. I have pretty narrow feet and all the other brands I’ve tried on I get heel slip on. And sidis last a long time. I have custom insoles in mine because I have wonky feet.

    Another interesting note — I ordered some BG shoes and tried them on and the styling that looks ok on a size 44 looks like crap on a 40. Even the sales associate was like … ewwww! Just klunky and bulky.

  55. Comment by Nick in Seattle | 04.13.2009 | 6:39 am

    Apart from the matching holes that we have, the buckle on one shoe literally ripped of in St George a few weeks ago. Kaput – no more riding until I replace, which will be today – with a pair of Sidi. Can’t wait.
    Oh – and I have three pair of the BG gloves, full finger, winter (deflect) and half finger, I love them all.

  56. Comment by Paul H | 04.13.2009 | 6:55 am

    Sidi, if you’ve got the money.

    Diadora, if you want Sidi but can’t afford them.

  57. Comment by Bob | 04.13.2009 | 7:01 am

    I have been wearing Sidi Dominators for the past 5 years or so, and have no need or desire to buy new cycling shoes in the near future…they are awesome.

  58. Comment by Sylvie | 04.13.2009 | 7:05 am

    Interesting. I have a pair of Specialized shoes that I bought when I was just starting out on the whole ‘clipless touring’ thing. They’ve lasted me around 5000km, 3 years, and are still going strong. I’ve only used them mountain biking 2-3 times, so I guess they’re more used to roads. I’ve gone hiking in them though.

    Anyways, I’m happy with them. But it would be really exciting if you ended up with free MTB shoes.

  59. Comment by db | 04.13.2009 | 7:08 am

    Adidas (SPD-compatible), on their third year of MTB/road/commuting. No issues with them whatsoever. Will buy another pair when these eventually die.

  60. Comment by George | 04.13.2009 | 7:16 am

    Agree with Fatty…..Specialized gloves are pretty darn nice.

    I also agree with him on their shoes…they are as useless as teats on a boarhog.

    Kinda funny how that kind of info travels through word of mouth. I’m not sure how the BG shoe line is doing for Specialized, but none of my friends use them.

  61. Comment by Kevin | 04.13.2009 | 7:18 am

    I have (I think) that exact pair of shoes – I’ve had them for 3 years of a decent amount of riding, and the only problem I’ve had is the tab on the ratcheting buckle breaking off. Fortunately my LBS has been nice enough to swap mine out whenever it happens, and they just toss the old buckle in the warranty heap.
    I’ve never had a problem with tearing or cracking, and the fit has been AMAZING once I got the right insole for them.

  62. Comment by km | 04.13.2009 | 7:36 am

    A follow up……I have a pair of Diadora KAVA’s not Jalapeno’s. Apparently I can’t read the top of my own shoes, but can find the obscure tag inside the shoe near the toe box that reads “Made in Bulgaria.”

  63. Comment by drKim | 04.13.2009 | 7:51 am

    My first pair of clip-in road shoes were BG specialized, carbon sole. I thought they were so great…until I started getting foot pain. Post 60 miles I would feel like a knife was sticking through my foot, and nothing would help it except getting off the bike, trying to get the shoe off….which took awhile…and sitting there crying like a baby. Anyway, I solved the problem with a hard insole. However, the shoes did hold up for 2 years. They looked beat-up, but I was really happy when they were damaged in a crash (outsole ripped and carbon sole sheared off) and had to be replaced, as the whole BG thing just doesn’t work for me.

    I replaced them with the Sidi genius, and have never looked back. Awesome shoe, get more comments about it than I would have imagined (mine are sparkly), and I don’t ever get foot pain. I’m sold. I will never buy another brand!

  64. Comment by Doominator | 04.13.2009 | 7:55 am

    I have the MTB comp’s like you, ripped a similar hole in my left shoe the first ride out…brought it to a cobbler…problem fixed. Ripped the right shoe the following season, brought it to the cobbler…problem fixed. I have not cracked the sole. I, like many others, love the fit of this shoe. I am on season 4 and I fear this is their last. Next shoe, carbon sole I think.

    I also bought the Specialized road shoe’s with carbon soles and BG saddle for my road bike. So far so good.

  65. Comment by Dan O | 04.13.2009 | 7:56 am

    Get Sidi Shoes, I’ve been using dominator 3’s for over 7 years, same shoes for road or mtn, wet or dry, winter summer. In the winter I throw in some gore-tex socks to keep the toes dry.
    They probably have well over 18k miles on them.

    Keens rock for off the bike!

  66. Comment by charlie | 04.13.2009 | 8:03 am

    Two pair of Specialized Mtn and 2 pair for the road. Love the fit, but they could certainly do some improvement of the mtn shoes -

    My first pair also has holes in the uppers – just like yours.

    The second pair is still ok…

    But, how about soles that you can actually walk in? I mean for mtn biking, why put on soles that you can’t step on a rock without sliding? I almost turfed it in the convenience store – almost as bad as trying to wear roadie shoes on the tile…

    I know the arguement is if they made the soles soft enough to grip, they’d wear too fast (just like vibram soles on hiking boots wears too fast???). I guess if I could ride everything, I wouldn’t care, but I can’t…

  67. Comment by Brian | 04.13.2009 | 8:24 am

    I have become a loyal fan of Sidi – they are expensive but worth every penny for fit – comfort and durability

  68. Comment by ScottP | 04.13.2009 | 8:44 am

    Sidi. Definitely. They are very solidly built.

  69. Comment by The D | 04.13.2009 | 8:45 am

    I’m a roadie only, but Sidis on my Dura Ace SPD-SL’s. Oh, but with the Spesh BG orthotic inserts. Combo alleviates my hot spots and mild plantar fasciitis. Also, they last a REALLY long time.

  70. Comment by BellaBike | 04.13.2009 | 8:51 am

    I really wanted to love Keenes, but they’ve never fit properly. Then Mr. Keene sold his company and began making shoes under another brand, ‘Mion’ (pronounced My-Own). These ROCK! They are bulbulous looking, plastic shoes, but man are they comfortable & indestructible! I’ve worm them over mountians, and through rushing rivers inside of caves – through mud, and volcanic ash. Wish they made cycling shoes – the world would be a perfect place.

  71. Comment by Jennifer | 04.13.2009 | 8:56 am

    Hah! When I first saw the lineup of Keen’s, I was confused because I noticed that they were not all men’s shoes and wondered why you were prancing around in women’s shoes.

    I’ve been using the Specialized Motodiva for almost four years – - the fit is good and they’ve held up well.

  72. Comment by Gadrock | 04.13.2009 | 8:59 am

    I have the Specialized Carbon Comp Road shoes which iirc have the same magic body geometry jive. They were swell for a while but my mesh dies in the same place as yours. My leading theory was that I wad some foot fragrance that was eating the mesh, but it looks like I’m not the only one.

  73. Comment by TomE | 04.13.2009 | 9:08 am

    I need new gloves and will try the Specialized out.

    Fatty – you should have Specialized send over 10 or 20 pairs and have your readers “test” them out for a season. If they pass, they can market the shoes as “Friends of Fatty Endorsed” and then Specialized can sit back and count the money!

  74. Comment by DavidV | 04.13.2009 | 9:10 am

    Try the new Bontrager shoes with the really cool inform (e-sole) fit – they are great. If your feet are narrow (which they probably are not since you wear Keens – the shoe that Fred Flinstone could wear) but if your feet are narrow, Shimano shoes have held up well for me (2-3 seasons).

    Good luck!

    Also, post up a photo of your foot.

  75. Comment by Ron | 04.13.2009 | 9:10 am

    SIDI, but I don’t have strange feet, I’ve had mine for six years.

    Will not own another pair.

  76. Comment by Matt | 04.13.2009 | 9:15 am

    I’m on my 2nd pair of Answer MTB shoes….(still have the first pair…they have been relegated to backups but are still totally functional). Got the first pair…hmmm…lets see…I’d say back in 86 or 87…and my new pair back about 5 years ago..they are still in great shape. But I also don’t ride in wet…(my bikes HATE water).

    Road shoes: I have a pair of Sette carbons going on 4 years, coming up on 15,000 miles…no issues with the ratchets or anything…other than the carbon soles are all scuffed to heck, they’re pretty much good as new. My other pair of road shoes are Nike (3 velcro straps)..I like them a lot…VERY light…but they only have about 2000 on them…still babies! (I keep stuff a LOOOOONNNNGGGG time…I UST sold my 85 chevy…and my NEW car is an 03).

    What ARE you doing to your shoes Fatty? Do you have gigantic Hobbit feet or something? Punching holes in the toes? You should be a designated ’skunk-works’ tester for mtb shoes. Shimano/Specialized best listen up and hire you. Good luck w/ the free shoes thing. And if you happen to get any EXTRA free shoes (say size 9 to 9.5), I’d be available to help out. I’m just sayin.

  77. Comment by Larry Tucker | 04.13.2009 | 9:20 am

    Sidi Ergos or Genius’s are the only way to go. Call me, I have great connections on a pair for you.
    Larry T.

  78. Comment by Tschmidty | 04.13.2009 | 9:20 am

    Shimano of whatever variety. They have always lasted forever for me, great sole and uppers. It really comes down to fit and while the specialized fit well for me too, they are really just bad quality. The materials are pretty shoddy. Shimano’s shoes have always fit me great and are top notch. If I ever wear out my road shoes I’ll try the heat fit ones since some guys swear by them.

    Sidi: Too narow and the uppers are super flexible. If you are going for comfort and have a narrow foot thee are a good choice.

    Carnac: Too expesive and I can’t get over the fact that they make the straps approximately three feet long so unless you cut them they hang down past the sole. A lot.

  79. Comment by DavidV | 04.13.2009 | 9:24 am

    Interesting that Ron has had the same feet for only six years.
    I’ve had my feet for over 40 years, but like Ron, I expect no one will get me another pair either.

  80. Comment by Daddystyle | 04.13.2009 | 9:26 am

    I thought it was just me, 2 pair done, one in less than a season. I can tell you my road shoes are great, maybe then don’t get punished like my mtn shoes.

  81. Comment by Jeff | 04.13.2009 | 9:31 am

    I’ve had really good luck with Shimano for both Mtn and road. They seem to have a more voluminous toe box and they fit my northern european cobble feet very well. I’m on my third pair of mtn shoes in 15 years. I agree with the comments on Sidi, although in the past they hadn’t fit my block foot very well. Now that they make a wide version in their upper end, I would absolutely consider them along side of the Shimano stuff when the time comes. I have a set of their moto boots and they are fantastic.

  82. Comment by yeagermeister | 04.13.2009 | 9:32 am

    Shimano M-225 or the M-300. I’ve been riding them a while and they’re durable and fit well. They’re also not as expensive as Sidi. Check the feet of top UCI ‘cross racers- many are on Shimanos.

  83. Comment by Aaron | 04.13.2009 | 9:48 am

    I wore a pair of Nike mtb shoes that lasted forever and fit me well. I’m now on a pair of Shimanos that are getting the job done, but for less than a season. My feet are fairly short and fat, for what it’s worth.

  84. Comment by Tim D | 04.13.2009 | 9:57 am

    I have a pair of the Specialized BG MTB Sport shoes, that I bought about 10 years ago. I bought them mainly for commuting, but they were so comfortable, I wore them for all my riding, winter and summer commuting, mtbing, road riding, triathlons, audax rides. They finally looked like they needed replacing last autumn after about 70,000 miles. I bought a pair of the latest version of the same thing and they are no where near as good. Too much mesh for a start means I’ve not work them all winter.

    I also have a pair of those gloves. I find them aweful. My wife has unstiched and removed the pad because it was never confortable. I have put my finger through the end of two of the finger. Not impressed.

  85. Comment by Demonic1 | 04.13.2009 | 10:10 am

    I’ve only had two pairs of Sidi Dominator shoes…the first pair went 6 years and the second pair is still going strong into year 4.
    I have WIDE feet, 5E to be precise, and Sidi is the only company that makes bike shoes for my Hobbit sized feet.

    I buy MTB shoes and wear them for everything- I currently have Look Quartz pedals on my Tarmac and Ellsworth and they rock.

  86. Comment by Jared | 04.13.2009 | 10:12 am

    Fatty, the Keen Springwaters are the most ridiculously comfortable MTB shoes I’ve tried on in some time. I don’t need carbon or other crazy stuff, just a good fitting shoe and the Keen’s were it.

  87. Comment by tibiker | 04.13.2009 | 10:16 am

    Sidi, Sidi, Sidi.
    I’ve tried Nike, Shimano, Diadora and the Sidis are by far my favorites. Last forever and they have improved the foot bed over the last couple of years. I also LOVE their customer service. Bought my first pair over 12 years ago and I can still use them. I got a pair of the Ergo Carbon road shoes and then HAD to get the carbon mtn version. They’re stiff and don’t get the hot spots from the pedals like the other soles. I agree with some of the other posts that the Diadora is a close second to the Sidis.

  88. Comment by sdcadbiker | 04.13.2009 | 10:20 am

    Try the Sette Epic; I’m into my third season in these shoes and they are holding up extremely well; they are comfortable for long (10+ hours) races with a sole that’s stiff enough for good power transfer but still feels OK for those hike-a-bike sections. If these ever wear out I’ll buy another pair.

    My “numb hands” problem went away the day that Ergon grips were fitted to my bike; now I don’t need padded gloves, I use Mechanix shop gloves that you can get from any auto shop for $15, they are surprisingly comfortable, very, very tough and available in XXL to fit my big hands.

  89. Comment by MamaMaven | 04.13.2009 | 10:22 am

    Check out deals on Keen shoes at they have really good deals to begin with and if you sign up they will inundate you with 15-20% off your purchase deals.

  90. Comment by rexinsea | 04.13.2009 | 10:43 am

    +1 pile on for Sidi’s. I’ve had several pair of Specialized but only a few pairs of Sidi’s. Yet I’ve put considerably more miles in my Sidi’s than the old Specialized. I ride both the road (Genius)and the Mtn (Dominator) They are worth the extra cash.

    But if you can get them to send you some for free…even better.

  91. Comment by Jim | 04.13.2009 | 11:09 am

    Try cuttin’ your frickin’ toenails, Fatty. Those shoes last a lot longer when you don’t have Guinness Book-caliber cat claws stuffed into your boots.

  92. Comment by Jenny-Jenny | 04.13.2009 | 11:23 am

    Love my specialized Taho’s. Good luck in your shoe discovery search. Hope you can find your dream shoe!!

  93. Comment by Randoboy | 04.13.2009 | 11:25 am

    For road racing, Shimano heat-moldeds. Light, stiff, fast.

    For distance, sandals. I’ve done 1200Ks on sandals. No hot foot, plenty of power, comfortable, and easy to walk around in. One 1200K in Canada, they thought I was nuts, but I just put on an extra pair of socks when it got cold.

  94. Comment by mikeb | 04.13.2009 | 11:27 am

    Sidi, you wont regret it.

  95. Comment by sach | 04.13.2009 | 11:28 am

    Can’t get better than the BG Pros man. What do you do to those things? My 2 yr old ones are just breaking in! I have ridden Spec shoes exclusively for 6 or 7 yrs now – 15 hrs riding / week. Nothing is more durable and as comfortable for me.

  96. Comment by DOLPH | 04.13.2009 | 12:23 pm

    I have a pair of shimano bottom of the range lace up cleated leisure SPD shoes which are nearly 15 years old and still going strong.

  97. Comment by Jessi | 04.13.2009 | 12:25 pm

    Once you go SIDI, you never go back, ever.

    My mtb SIDIs have lasted for 1 year heavy use + 2 years moderate use and counting, without any major issues whatsoever. Plus they are super cute and hot pink/reddish colored. You may not care about the latter.


  98. Comment by Steve | 04.13.2009 | 12:30 pm

    Another vote for Sidis. They’re more expensive but they’re worth it.

  99. Comment by Dave H | 04.13.2009 | 12:36 pm

    Well, I think from the 60 or so comments recommending them or from a single glance at the footwear in a major tour the choice would be obvious.

    SIDI. Always SIDI.

    They cost more because they’re WORTH IT. I mean, you’re not saving money buying cheap shoes and replacing them every year.

    They make a variety of extra-fancy models, but I think you really can’t go wrong with the Dominator / Genius models. So good.

  100. Comment by Roger R | 04.13.2009 | 12:58 pm

    I have a pair of Specialized BG Sport mtb shoes which I have riden on both my mtb and road bike 8-15 hours per week for the last 28 months. The shoe fit is excellent, and they are very durable, by my experence. I ride crank bros pedals which have gouged out some of the plastic at the corresponding portion of the shoe, but other wise there is no signifigant wear. I think the problem is to much walking in bike shoes or to heavy a rider on light weight shoes.

  101. Comment by dave | 04.13.2009 | 12:58 pm

    i’ve got the exact same shoes you do. i like the fit a lot. i’ve got the exact same rip on the side of the toe (to be fair, that was from trying and failing to thread a needle between boulders). and while one of the ratcheting straps did fail, that was from my dog eating it, so i don’t think we can in fairness blame it on specialized.

    i’ll be trying some bontrager racelites soonish – i’ve got high hopes for them.

  102. Comment by wirehead | 04.13.2009 | 1:18 pm

    k, I feel 100 times better about the expensive sidi shoes I got from the clearance table at REI for $89 the other day.

    Also, I feel pretty good about replacing my Specialized gloves with another pair of Specialized gloves… :D

  103. Comment by Velosophy Esq | 04.13.2009 | 1:24 pm

    I love all 3 pairs of Specialized shoes I have owned. They are all carbon soles, though, so that may explain some difference. I have tried Garneau, Sidi, Shimano and Nike. Specialized is hands-down the best. Notice the huge increase in Specialized S-Works shoes in the pro peleton. Maybe you just need to try the top model.

  104. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 04.13.2009 | 1:30 pm

    I don’t have time to read through all the comments so I don’t know if anyone has posted this or not. But if you buy Specialized shoes online they have a 30 day guarantee. If you don’t like them you can return them. I know a couple guys who work in customer service. Thats how I found out about it.

  105. Comment by mtnbker | 04.13.2009 | 1:49 pm

    I love both pairs of my Specialized shoes (road and mt). Road are 2+ seasons old and perfect. MT shoes are about 4 seasons. They show lots of wear – missing lugs and tread – but they fit so perfectly, I am afraid to get anything else.

  106. Comment by mtb grl | 04.13.2009 | 2:04 pm

    I’ve owned a pair of Specialized BG shoes (got rid of them because they were comfy but flimsy) and SIDI dominators (wore them until they fell off my feet), but the best shoes I ever have worn were a pair of Lake MX155. They are sturdy, comfortable, look great, and are unbeatable if you have to hike a section.

  107. Comment by Teebone | 04.13.2009 | 2:08 pm

    I have a lot of cycling “preferences”. For example, I “prefer” Lazer Helmets, BG Gloves, and SRAM drive trains. But there are exactly (2) things that I will not budge on. Ever. There are (2) things that I will use until I die. Those (2) things… Eggbeater Pedals, and SIDI Dominator shoes. I have had exactly one pair of Specialized MTB shoes. Inside of one season the soles broke in half much as you described.
    To those in this forum who have remarked that SIDI’s are out of your price range. I submit that they may be the only shoes IN your price range. My current pair is in their sixth season of complete and utter abuse. They won’t die. I want them to. I want new ones but they are still fabulously comfy and amazingly efficient, original ratchets and all. These things have been through (5) 24moabs, countless nasty weather hike-a-bikes, and (3) Cyclocross seasons. They are unbelievable. They will last 7-9 years when all is said and done. That’s about $28 – $35/yr, somewhere in that range. My Specialized shoes, by comparison were about $90/yr and every year includes one spoiled ride; the ride on which they fail. It’s a no-brainer.

  108. Comment by Corey | 04.13.2009 | 2:09 pm

    My wife would kill me if I spent as much on shoes as I did on my first hardtail, so I am stuck in the sub-$100 market. :D

    To my pleasant surprise, I picked up a pair of Perl Izumi Quest MTB shoes on sale at Performance Bike for $49.

    They fit great, have decent grip for hike-a-bike, and I literally don’t think about them at all while riding, which is a good thing, and the mesh uppers are a life saver for my normally hot, sweaty feet. (Also check out Save Our Soles socks, on that topic)

    So all that is left to observe is durability, and the guy at the shop, who is an xc racer, said he wears them, and that they are the #1 selling shoe in their Denver store.

    That’s either indicative of word-of-mouth goodness, or they wear out fast, but are so cheap that people keep buying them…we shall find out soon enough.

    For the record, I have wide feet with super high arches,and these are one of the few cycling shoe models that fits comfortably.

  109. Comment by Hamish A | 04.13.2009 | 2:19 pm


    Over SHOES?

    Wow. Us cyclists must really like our shoes! ;-)

    I’m just under 4,500 miles into a set of exactly the same shoes as you. To be fair the majority of that mileage was done under Specializeds home conditions (I was living just up the road from Morgan Hill) but now I@m using them in the UK they do seem to be getting funky looking quite quickly.

    My all time favorite shoe is made by Gaerne. The last pair I managed to find in my size were late 90’s flouro color but fitted me so well. I was very upset when I wore the soles through in “just” 3 years.

    The worst ones I’ve ever found for fit were Northwave. Fantastic if you’ve had a couple of toes removed but otherwise just not worth the torture.

    Have you considered giving those Shimano ‘melt to your foot’ shoes a go? I hear really good things about them and I always manage to get 3 – 4 years from Shimano shoes.

    I’m hoping to try out a pair of the Bontrager shoes at Sea Otter this week so will let you know how they go – and if anything else impresses me.

    By the way – Keen must LOVE you right now!

    WIN Susan!

  110. Comment by tibiker | 04.13.2009 | 2:25 pm

    Oh, and if you use crank bros pedals, know that Crank Bros (and Sidi too) make a little metal plate that fits between the cleat and sole of the shoe. It prevents the pedal from ruining your nice expensive cycling shoes.

  111. Comment by Ladeeluk | 04.13.2009 | 2:26 pm

    Go with Sidi. I’ve have my Dominator’s for 4 years, Genius 5’s for 3 and they still look brand new. About 4500 miles on the Genius and 2500 for the Dom’s. They are comfy and broken and most importantly, all the small parts are replaceable as well as the cleats for the Dom’s. Get a size up and put your Specialized insoles in them. They cost more than the Specialized but you won’t have to replace them every year or so.

  112. Comment by danielle | 04.13.2009 | 2:52 pm

    Love my Diadora Road and MT shoes, the fit is perfect. Hate my Louis Garneau Tri shoes…

  113. Comment by JamesInPhoenix | 04.13.2009 | 2:58 pm

    Fatty I’ve got a set of Sidi Dominators that are 10 years old! -back when the forward two straps weren’t hook and loop straps but some kind of ridged quasi-ziptie thing. They have held up nicely and are still some of the most comfortable shoes I put on, and I wear them nearly every day between bike commuting in them and trail riding in them. The ONLY issues I’ve EVER had with them is the spring in the ratchet failing, everything still worked so I haven’t bothered with getting replacement ratchets –it just sounds like I have spurs on when I walk in them. When these finally wear out I will be buying another pare GARAN-TEEEED!!!
    Indecently a buddy of mine has some Specialized BG shoes and the entire rubber sole came off of the bottoms so now he’s got a set of road bike shoes for mountain biking and he hates it! Some things the big red S nails others… well not so much…

  114. Comment by Tracy | 04.13.2009 | 2:58 pm

    Fatty, you think you are hard on your shoes? I took a pair of specialized shoes to La Ruta last year. On day one the mud sucked the sole of my shoe right off while I was in a hike-a-bike section. I then preceded to loose the offending sole in a river crossing. Check out how my buddy MacGyvered a new sole for me! In defense of Specialized the shoes were in my bike case, which sat in the hot sun most likely affecting the glue holding the sole.

  115. Comment by jason griese | 04.13.2009 | 3:03 pm

    Specialized for bikes , SIDI for shoes, dominator 5, and a great pair of motorcycle shoe/boots.

    Quote ,, thanks man I just got the crank bros candy pedals


    Comment by tibiker | 04.13.2009 | 2:25 pm

    Oh, and if you use crank bros pedals, know that Crank Bros (and Sidi too) make a little metal plate that fits between the cleat and sole of the shoe. It prevents the pedal from ruining your nice expensive cycling shoes.

    BE WELL…

  116. Comment by Kathleen | 04.13.2009 | 3:20 pm

    Now that is seriously getting your $$ out of your shoes!

  117. Comment by Jim | 04.13.2009 | 3:42 pm

    Specialized has a job posting on their website……
    Footwear Product Manager. Just sayin

  118. Comment by R | 04.13.2009 | 4:12 pm

    I love Sidi’s and now have 4 pairs, two mtb pairs (one I leave up in whistler), one pair of their amazing boots for winter road and mountain biking, and a pair of their road shoes for road riding.


  119. Comment by Tripp | 04.13.2009 | 4:13 pm

    I got a bit over 4.5 years out of my last pair of Specialized Carbon Pro road shoes, I bought a new pair of S-Works road shoes last fall, but I still wear the old Carbon Pro’s about half the time (in other words, they are still rideable after nearly 5 years).

  120. Comment by FlatsMan | 04.13.2009 | 4:40 pm

    Cheap is dear as you buy the same crap over and over instead of just once for well built stuff.

    Take it from me and I never ever rode Shi*mano either.

  121. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.13.2009 | 4:55 pm

    wow, fatty this must be a controversial subject.

    in fact it is the most interesting boring subject you have ever presented. well done.

  122. Comment by alex | 04.13.2009 | 4:58 pm

    Wait, you’re just trying to get free shoes, aren’t you? But yeah, Specialized shoes are really unreliable.

  123. Comment by Jim | 04.13.2009 | 5:04 pm

    I’ve had a pair of Specialized road shoes now for 5 years. They are still in excellent shape. I bought them because the price was right, $125.00 CAD

    I know road shoes don’t get the punishment that mountain bike shoes go through, but I love mine.

    Just sayin.

  124. Comment by Dan O | 04.13.2009 | 6:19 pm

    I’ve worn Sidi shoes for years and they hold up really well – even with almost daily commuting.

    I’ve had the occasional broken ratchet buckle and one busted strap – all replaced easily.

    Sidi shoes rock.

  125. Comment by scoty in salida | 04.13.2009 | 6:29 pm


    I have been beating on the Pearl Izumi X Alp Enduro shoes for 1.5 years; Awesome, walkable and dam stiff. Hopefully they will be making the ‘octane’ version within the year; carbon sole & flex plate and “racier” uppers.

    If I wanna stiffer feel…….:-) I go with my Shimano carbon sole’d 3 year old high end race shoes which Rock.

    Sidis are hyper $$$ and the fit isn’t like they were 10+ years ago.

    Specy shoes are so much better then 5 years ago.

  126. Comment by Michael | 04.13.2009 | 6:42 pm

    I’ve been in love with all my pearl izumi shoes. I had a really good pair of Sidis though (not one complaint), but I lost one and they were much pricier than my pearls.

  127. Comment by Goldfish | 04.13.2009 | 7:51 pm

    +1 for Pearl Izumi

    BUT, I promptly went out and bought new Specialized inserts with my last shoe purchase.

    Really like the BG stuff.

  128. Comment by m00se | 04.13.2009 | 8:10 pm

    That is a lot of shoes. My issue has always been about size. :\

  129. Comment by Grant | 04.13.2009 | 9:30 pm

    I concur with the BG gloves – awesome.

    The only shoes I have used in anger are Shimano, but that is mainly because there are not many other options here in Aus. Very few bike shops will stock much variety, so I haven’t been able to try any on for size.

    I do use some 661 launch shoes for commuting, mainly because they are black “leather” and I was able to get away with wearing them as work shoes ;)

  130. Comment by Flyin' Ute | 04.13.2009 | 9:32 pm

    Sidi. Best cycling shoe made. Thought everyone knew.

  131. Comment by shoe guy | 04.14.2009 | 1:32 am

    ok fatty,
    i’ll hook you up.
    from the pix those things look pretty worked but frankly i love to see this, means someone is getting in some good rides.

    we are obsessed with building great cycling shoes – i’m at the factory this week working on materials and you can bet we are taking a close look at the toebox materials. i’d like to get your shoes back so we can check out the vintage and wear – we are committed to continuously improving.

    by the way, thanks for the (back handed) kudos on bg. we firmly believe in spending as much time designing the ergonomics features and comfort on the inside of the shoe, as the graphics on the outside.

    thanks, shoeguy @ specialized

  132. Comment by Tom Fury | 04.14.2009 | 5:36 am

    Dude, that’s six pairs of shoes you own. Are you sure you’re a guy?

  133. Comment by SMeno | 04.14.2009 | 6:05 am

    I’m another fan of SIDI, road or mountain, but the dominator is where it’s at. My feet are super narrow so these are the only shoes that fit, but I love them as much as one can love a shoe. They are very comfortable and are able to take abuse. I heard the same things about the Specialized shoes that happened to you, but maybe they’ve changed the design by now.

  134. Comment by Kris | 04.14.2009 | 1:43 pm

    Sidi…worth the money…even in British Pounds with a crap exchange rate.

  135. Comment by Craig Randall | 04.14.2009 | 2:02 pm

    Hello from Veltec Sports,
    My name is Craig Randall and my PR agency supports Veltec, which distributes Sidi in the US. We would LOVE to send you some shoes…what size should we send? Where should we send them?

    And for your readers – it sounds like a lot of you would like to try Sidi but the price has been prohibitive. Well, Sidi recently announced a price reduction on its 2009 collection, available from U.S. retailers. You can read about it on Bicycle Retailer here:

    Fatty, here are some things to consider and get back to me about:
    * Specialized and Sidi aren’t equivalent sizes – I can mail you a size chart.

    * Dragon’s come with the optional toe guard; you look like a good toe guard candidate. If you are not into the anti-techno 2 buckle, we can send D6s.

    * we’d like to send a pair of replacement soles with your Sidi shoes as well. Price has gone down to $49.99 a set.

    * We have spikes too, for cross – are you interested?

    * We would like to suggest the Sidi D5s if you have any size or width issues, as it is our biggest size range. Do you use orthotics? If so, you may need Mega. I will send you several sizes and you can just send back the ones that don’t fit.

    Hope to talk with you soon,

  136. Comment by bikesgonewild | 04.16.2009 | 12:30 am

    …fatty, sounds like you just got righteously <b<SIDI-ed & i guarantee you, like so many other post-ers here, you’ll never leave the brand…

    …whether you stomp or finesse the pedals, on the road or on the dirt, we’re talking about shoes that not only do the job seriously well but the damn things are as comfortable as slippers w/ no real break-in period…

    …nothing like ‘em in the world of cycling…

  137. Comment by chris | 04.16.2009 | 6:20 am

    my specialized mtb shoes have lasted over 3 years with no problems at all but my specialized road shoes have had bad problems with the soles pulling right off. gorilla glue has saved me hundreds tho :)

  138. Comment by mi11house | 04.16.2009 | 7:47 am

    Have never tried Sidis, but as durability seems to be your primary issue, I can recommend Shimano shoes.

    I had a pair of midrange Shimano MTB shoes (SH-M110 if anyone cares) last me over 12 years of heavy riding, commuting and racing – I only got rid of them when I wore through the thick rubber in the *heel* from putting my foot down at traffic lights.

  139. Comment by Ben | 04.18.2009 | 6:19 pm

    My first pair of clipless shoes were Shimanos back in 1995 or so. They wore out in less than a year, along with the Ritchey pedals I got with them. Since then I’ve bought two pair of Sidis. The first is still ok, though the soles are worn down to expose the cleat. The sole on the second pair wore down, but it was replaceable. I just replaced it a couple of months ago, and it’s been good since. They’re the best shoes I know of.

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  141. Comment by swh | 04.20.2009 | 8:51 am

    specialized were ok for me. sidi toe boxes are euro narrow and the plastic soles suck for hiking your ss. trying a pair of shimano’s that team dick was raving about awhile back. only have bout 10 hours on them so the verdict is still out. the do have rubberish soles which is already a plus.

  142. Comment by Tim | 04.23.2009 | 9:01 am

    Another +1 for the bg gloves.The last specialized shoes i tried were before bg when i was just learning the clipless thing and i recall them being super flexy but i waqs broke(still am) and they were on sale.Since then i have tried Nike yuhas(2 seasons each)Shimano m-20’s(also 2 seasons) and various pearl izumis,though i have outlets near me so any issue with the shoes have been taken care of by them.Currently riding the attacks,both mtb and road and they are by far the most comfortable cycling shoes i have ever owned plus you can’t beat 60 bucksw a pair.We will see on the durability.Keep us updated on whether you get any hookups with specialized or anyone else.

  143. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Some Days, It Is Good to Be the Fat Cyclist | 05.8.2009 | 11:06 am

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  144. Comment by Ajax | 11.20.2009 | 11:13 am

    Used Specialized Taho for about a year and right sole cracked near the cleat opening. However they were used almost every weekday for bike2work (about 20-25 mi per day) + amateur races + few adventures in mountains… But anyway, dealer sending me a new pair, replaced by the warranty. Even they noticed that it’s a first case for the last 6 years in our country, but replaced them.

  145. Comment by pat | 04.4.2010 | 5:56 pm

    I have exactly the same hole in my specialized as well! I realize that this is an old post but what did you end up replacing your shoes with?

  146. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Stuff Fatty Loves: Shoes Edition | 09.21.2010 | 11:08 am

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