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I am new to road biking. I have ridden a hybrid bike with cages for several years. I picked up a "real" roadbike last weekend. A buddy of mine who no longer rides gave me his old set of Shimano R540 pedals.. they are entry level but will be fine for me to try out clip in pedals.

I just need shoes.

I noticed that most bike shoes have straps - either secured with Velcro only, some use ratcheting levers kind of like what I have seen on roller skates and snowboard boots... and some use BOA systems...also like ski/snowboard boots...

I have also seen some road bike shoes that lace up. I kind of like how the lace up shoes look. I would think they may be more comfy to wear..as my experience from snowboarding would be that I could make the boots nice and tight - but over time, they would pinch around the areas where the clamps were...

anyone here who has tried them both and care to offer up the pros/cons of each? as I am new to this sport, and have not used them, I may be unaware and overlooking the ups/downs.

I know there are other factors to consider for the shoe - like how much it weights, how stiff it is, cost, etc.. but if I find a pair that I like - should I be concened if it is a lace up shoe?

thanks.
 

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They both work; it's not a big issue. But there's a good reason that straps and buckles are much more common. They're generally easier to adjust properly, and especially easier to adjust on the fly while riding. You can't re-do laces with one hand.
 

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BOA closures are my preference.

They are usually only found in the more expensive shoes though.

My starter shoes were a pair of Bontrager Race. I think I paid $79 for them. They had three Velcro straps.

I have a pair of Sidi Genius with two Velcro straps and a ratcheting buckle. In my opinion, the ratcheting buckle is much better for a consistent good fit. The Velcro across the instep seems to loosen up under certain circumstances. The ratcheting strap has no give at all.

At the beginning of this season I picked up a pair of Pearl Izumi Road III with a single Velcro strap across the toe and a BOA closure over the main part of the tongue.


The BOA is an improvement over the buckle for two reasons.

1. It distributes the tension out over a wider area instead of focusing it across the instep. This makes it possible to tighten the lace tighter without discomfort.

2. Its a lot more convenient. Slip your foot in, and twist the knob and you are done.

So, for closures, in order of preference. BOA then Ratchet then Velcro.

However, by FAR the most important thing is his the shoe fits. Good closures won't help make a poor fitting shoe feel better.

In other words, a good fitting shoe with three Velcro straps its way better than a poor fitting shoe with a couple of BOAs.

Bike shoe fit is very different from any other kind of shoe.

I strongly suggest buying local (so you can try them on) at a retailer with a decent return policy.
 

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i've had them all. my feet are notoriously sensitive as well. binding wise, most comfortable for me are boa bindings. they dial in easily and perfectly, and they're easy to adjust when your feet swell up. laces can be equally comfortable but they don't dial in as precisely and they stretch and loosen as the miles go by. velcro isn't accurate enough. ratchets are even less accurate. they're always either too tight or too loose.

finally, don't underestimate the importance of the tops and the foot bed. is the arch in the right place? does the back of the shoe irritate your ankle? do your toes lie comfortably? are the tops sweaty? is the tongue too short or too long?
 

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To each his own, but I prefer Specialized shoes with three Velcro straps.
 

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Oh, and one more strike against Velcro. If it gets near your jerseys and shorts (in a gear bag, floor of the car, etc... ), it can snag and ruin it.

My Velcro closure shoes are relegated to trainer duty these days.
 

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My Pearl Izumi mountain bike shoes have laces... no velcro. I use them with Speedplay Frog pedals/cleats on my road bikes. Never had any issues with laces. I'm not a fan of velcro on shoes.
 

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Definitely NOT laces. Dangerous and a PITA if one gets untied. I have a pair of Giro shoes with velcro straps and a ratcheting buckle. They work for me.

Nothing wrong with Shimano M540s. I have the cheaper M520s with over 5K miles on them with no problems. Rock solid reliable.
 

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Seems like the cheaper shoes have laces, then velcro strap + buckle, and finally most expensive have BOA. They all work fine, although you do have to worry about laces getting untied and ending up in the drive system.

I just bought my first pair of shoes with BOA (Lake winter shoes). How does this BOA system hold up over time? Buckles sometimes break, but I can always buy replacements from Shimano. Seems like the loops that the BOA wire goes through are pretty thin.
 

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I am starting to see a return to lace shoes among some manufacturers but I'm unsure why. My first bike shoes were lace-ups but that was 30 years ago. They worked but needed to be tightened on occasion and the laces were covered with a leather flap to ensure they didn't become part of the crank which actually happened to me once when I failed to notice the end of a lace sticking out from beneath the flap on my right shoe.
Since that time, I have used Velcro and ratchet type closures with good success. I recently took delivery of my first pair of Sidi Wires that I think I like a lot. I can really dial in the fit exactly where I want it. As previously mentioned, fit is probably the most important thing. If they feel comfortable and you feel like they will give you the max energy transfer, then those are the shoes for you, no matter how they fasten. I highly recommend trying them on in person at your LBS with the socks you will wear while riding. One manufacturer's 46 can be another's 48 in my experience. Search for sales too. While my Wires weren't cheap, they were still $150 off on a closeout sale. I have had them on three rides now and so far, I think they are great. The Sidi footbed leaves a bit to be desired but it works for now. I may replace it with an aftermarket in the future.
 

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my first real road shoes were sidi kangaroo hide with laces...in the late 80's. :cryin:
i loved em. most comfortable shoe still, that i've ever ridden in. we'd tie the knot such that it sat to the outside of the shoe, not in the center. the laces would hang loosely to the out side, until one would come untied. then you could have a mess. throw in some rain, in a pack, you now cant pedal. don't miss that.

i'd love to have kangaroo hide again, but as thin and supple as it was i don't know if that's possible with the stresses buckles and the rivets securing the buckles exert.

i'm riding in sidi's still, both road and mtb shoes. they're the same model for each type of riding, one of the genius models. the velco straps have a piece of toothed plastic that is set in the middle of the strap. when you secure the velcro the plastic teeth keep the velcro from slipping over time. i've never had any of them loosen. with regards to the ratchet, i've had no problems with it. the one click of the ratchet is so small i've never, not, been able to find a comfortable position. you're going to be adjusting it one you start riding any way.

i love the look of the laces, very traditional and retro, i don't miss the complications that can arise from them.
 

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i'm riding in sidi's still, both road and mtb shoes. they're the same model for each type of riding, one of the genius models. the velco straps have a piece of toothed plastic that is set in the middle of the strap. when you secure the velcro the plastic teeth keep the velcro from slipping over time. i've never had any of them loosen. with regards to the ratchet, i've had no problems with it. the one click of the ratchet is so small i've never, not, been able to find a comfortable position. you're going to be adjusting it one you start riding any way.

i love the look of the laces, very traditional and retro, i don't miss the complications that can arise from them.
No kidding? Am I getting this? The ladder strap (toothed plastic) is also Velcro? I think I'm mis-reading you... the shoe has both (a) Velcro strap(s) and a ladder strap?

And im so with you, I LOVE the look of laces. But I don't think I'd ever actually get them. They look like a lot of complication and extra time putting on your shoes. You have to get them just right, then adjust them... meh. But they look great! (IMO)

I've ridden Boa, buckle and Velcro in various combos... love the Boa. Easy to adjust on the fly and great dispersed compression. I don't know if it's strong enough for some applixpcations, do track riders use them or are they still laces?
 

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I am new to road biking. I have ridden a hybrid bike with cages for several years. I picked up a "real" roadbike last weekend. A buddy of mine who no longer rides gave me his old set of Shimano R540 pedals.. they are entry level but will be fine for me to try out clip in pedals.

I just need shoes.

I noticed that most bike shoes have straps - either secured with Velcro only, some use ratcheting levers kind of like what I have seen on roller skates and snowboard boots... and some use BOA systems...also like ski/snowboard boots...

I have also seen some road bike shoes that lace up. I kind of like how the lace up shoes look. I would think they may be more comfy to wear..as my experience from snowboarding would be that I could make the boots nice and tight - but over time, they would pinch around the areas where the clamps were...

anyone here who has tried them both and care to offer up the pros/cons of each? as I am new to this sport, and have not used them, I may be unaware and overlooking the ups/downs.

I know there are other factors to consider for the shoe - like how much it weights, how stiff it is, cost, etc.. but if I find a pair that I like - should I be concened if it is a lace up shoe?

thanks.
Italian company Maressi makes these shoes, available at Dromarti. They fit exactly like Sidis. Same shoe basically as back in the '70s. Takes standard Look 3 bolt triangle cleat. I use a slotted cleat [Velo Orange] that fits on standard rat trap pedals, and use a toe clip and strap. I lace the shoes snugly, but rely on the toe strap to modulate tightness on the pedal, which is easily adjustable on the fly. The laces lie flat and don't catch on the strap or clip. Easy in, easy out.

Those velcro straps don't work very well with toe clips and straps, but they're ok if that's all ya got, to strengthen the shoe so it doesn't feel loose on the upstrokes. Gonna get some arguments about this: a big toe strap attached to the pedal is stronger and tighter than straps on the shoe. That's all I ever have to adjust on a ride. Bow the laces up tight, cut off the ends that hang over the sides, and you'll never have one come apart and go into the chain. The strap and cage hold it all in place. :D It may have happened once in my 150,000 miles over 30 years, became immediately apparent and fixed on the spot. And you can replace a shoe lace for $15 bucks, which you'll never have to do. Save the money. Get laces. BOA are fancied up laces. They distribute the load as well as hand tightened laces, only use a dial, right? Big deal.
 

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I think the whole laces thing came back as the styling trend had moved a bit to the retro style. I have the Giro Empire SLX and can honestly say the laces really have a benefit of getting the tension throughout the shoe to be exactly as you need. It takes a few rides and experimenting, but once you get it right, it's very comfortable. It's definitely not as convenient as a BOA or ratchet system, but I'm the not type that needs to loosen and tighten the shoes often. Once they are on and comfortable, I never adjust them even when I get off the bike.

I'd say if your feet are sensitive and you don't adjust the shoes often, try the laces.
 

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My Pearl Izumi shoes with laces feel like regular, low-cut hiking shoes. Easy to walk in when I'm not riding and they are very comfortable on long rides of 50+ miles. I've never had foot pain issues while wearing them. When these shoes wear out, I'll probably get a new pair with laces... no velcro.
 
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