Cycling shoes are great and when they work and don’t hurt we just don’t think about them. You can see where this is going; I’ve been getting instep pain for a bit over a year – a common problem – and didn’t do anything about it. I’ve come to realise that it may or may not be the cycling shoes that started it, but they’ve not helped.
I’ve used my recently retired shoes for too long with regular use over 4 years the carbon sole on my Nike Poggio 3’s had started to lose its stiffness, though not that I’d notice as this is such a small incremental loss. It was only when I went to my new Sidi shoes that it became clear that they were much stiffer.
My shoes over the years have been:
Adidas Eddie Merckx
A great pair of shoes with a resin sole.
Vittoria – Stephen Roche
My first pair of shoes that were Look compatible.
These were extremely well put together with a carbon sole and three wide velcro straps – as good as the Greg Lemond Carnacs of that era and very comfortable.
A two velcro strap shoe in white. Lemond used these in 1989 with a toe-clip strap to give extra security, this made them look even more cool!
Time Pro Equipe
A very comfortable shoe that was not dissimilar to the Look Carbons but at over double the price.
Nike Poggio II
After the expense of the Time’s I went with Nike in the Armstrong era. These were much cheaper and considerably lighter. The straps were a bit on the weak side and didn’t give such a secure fit. These may be to blame for the begining of my instep pain as there was so little instep support. Additionally, they were a signification change of position with the sole of the foot being much closer to the pedal axle compared to the Time shoes.
Nike Poggio III
These were a much improved iteration, with a firmer, more padded heal cup that really anchored the foot and a much firmer grip offered by the velcro straps. As with the II’s the instep support is minimal.
Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbon
To early to provide a long ranging opinion but they feel stiffer than the Poggios’, have good instep support and the heel is well secured. These were the easiest shoes to set-up that I’ve ever owned with very accurate markings on the sole making this possible. After a bit of trial and error with the shoe plate on the right shoe, I was able to transfer the position to the left shoe and get it set first time with absolutely no adjustment necessary! The serviceability of these shoes is also a considerable plus factor with spares available for the heal rubber and locking strap.
On the downside, the two velcro straps do not give such a clamped-in secure feeling as the Poggio III, however they are a very comfortable and well ventilated shoe. Moving up the Sidi range to the Ergo II or Ergo III could alleviate this sense-of-security issue as the middle velcro strap is replaced with a dialed locking mechanism.