Specialized Sport BG Shoes £59.99
Many touring and Audax bikes use equipment designed for ATB bikes; likewise, many touring riders also wear clothing that was essentially aimed at the ATB market. Never is this more evident than with shoes, ‘SPD’ styled pedals and compatible shoes where the cleats are recessed helping off the bike walking being a popular choice. With road bike specific styles they are not, so the rider has to waddle around delicately balancing on the cleats when off the bike.
Fortunately, many ATB shoes these days have fairly conservative styling and have indeed become a common choice for touring and Audax riders alike. The Specialized Sport ATB shoes shown here are priced at £59.99 and feature a solid and stiff plastic sole, unlike many of the leisure styles that look more like trainers. Although these may have a stiff sole, they do allow for some flex for off the bike comfort. In part it is their stiff soles that have made ATB models a popular choice for many, especially for the higher mileage riders who often prefer something that is more of a cycling specific shoe, yet while still offering a recessed cleat.
Another advantage that ATB shoes have over the leisure styled shoes is that they may have a race bike style upper, often with good ventilation and quick drying; something well worth noting should you want to use them on longer cycle tours. ATB shoes, as with this model, are often slightly wider at the toe. As they are aimed at the off road market they have a protective toe box; many road bike shoes are inclined to be narrower in comparison.
Specialized promote these as part of their Body Geometry or ‘BG’ range, and are available with a choice of insole to suit feet with a high arch, a normal foot or for those with flat feet; the shoes are supplied with a universal insole, with the others sold as an extra. Specialized BG centres employ a simple device that the rider stands on to determine which insole is required. Shims that go under the insert at the heel to correct foot/heel platform are also available to obtain the correct foot alignment; although this takes longer to determine which type are needed and as such have proved less popular.
When I first started using these shoes, I did feel I was on tiptoe far more as opposed to the ‘flat’ feel of the Sidi shoes they replaced. This took a bit of getting used too, which is not to say I don’t like them. Having used the shoes for over a year now, all I can say is I have no intention of changing them. Not a bad recommendation, is it?