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XC Cycling Shoes vs Road

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XC Cycling Shoes vs Road

Old 02-03-23, 09:51 AM
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ARPRINCE
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XC Cycling Shoes vs Road

I recently got an Shimano XC502 shoe and a PD-M9100 pedal. I think a SPD Cleats + Pedal will also mount on a road shoe because it has those 2 holes in the middle. My questions is, why does the XC shoe have 4 holes?


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Old 02-03-23, 10:08 AM
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There are two stand pedal designs. SPD style, to include many different brands, not just Shimano. They use a cleat on the middle of the shoe. Sometimes the shoe mounts have 4 holes to give you some adjustability in cleat placement. Youíll only use two of them.

The other style is Look type pedals. The cleat mounts to the three other holes you see in the lower picture. Or, in the case of Speedplay, an adapter to the three holes then a cleat to the adapter.

Sometimes youíll see all of it like the bottom picture to give you total freedom in choosing your pedals.

SPD style tend to be double sided and less prone to mud and dirt clogging. Shoes for these are usually more walkable.

Look styles are sometimes totally smooth and not walkable. Theyíre very comfortable on long rides. Tend to be stiffer for power transfer. The larger body feels more secure. Arenít good for anything but pedaling.

I have both, depending on the bike and how I use it.
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Old 02-03-23, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts
Sometimes the shoe mounts have 4 holes to give you some adjustability in cleat placement. Youíll only use two of them.
Got it - still waiting for the shoes to arrive. Thanks!
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Old 02-03-23, 01:44 PM
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That actually makes no sense and having used nothing but mtn bike shoes I've never once thought about why they all have 4 holes. 2 holes or 4 holes makes no difference to how far forward or backwards you can move the cleat. It is all in the slot. Maybe the metal plate would have to be longer to be strong enough to cover for the full movement of the plate if it only had 2 holes.
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Old 02-03-23, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker
all
Very few shoes have the 4 hole insert.

Maybe itís stronger. Maybe itís insurance against stripping.

Maybe itís got a greater area spread over the shoe, allowing a thinner/weaker sole.

I donít actually know either, since I only use 2 at a time.
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Old 02-03-23, 02:57 PM
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The 2-hole is used for mounting standard SPD cleats and road shoes usually have this as well as additional holes for mounting SPD-SL cleats. I bought some SPD-SL pedals and cleats but having to use cleat covers for walking around seems like a big step backwards for non-racing purposes. I get plenty of support with the right shoes and the SPD cleats work perfectly for staying attached to the pedals.

With the XC type of shoe as they are now known (used to be "touring" shoes), I can walk without falling on my ass or getting nasty looks from cafe and shop owners when I enter their businesses. When I was wearing my old bike shoes with the metal cleats for my pedals with toe clips and straps it was a very different matter when I would sound like I had tap shoes on.
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Old 02-03-23, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker
Maybe the metal plate would have to be longer to be strong enough to cover for the full movement of the plate if it only had 2 holes.
This was always my assumption.

FWIW, I did once have a stripped thread in a shoe and the extra pair of holes saved me.
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Old 02-03-23, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts
Very few shoes have the 4 hole insert.
never seen a pair of mountain bike shoes with only 2 so I made an assumption, even using google I can't find any. Maybe the combo roadie shoes like OP posted come with 2 hole SPD setups on the norm.

Last edited by Canker; 02-03-23 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 02-04-23, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts
Very few shoes have the 4 hole insert.
Really? Pretty much every spd type shoe I remember seeing has had two sets of holes. I think some of my first spd shoes may not have (I was a very early adopter of spd), but since then two sets seems to be the norm. Just for fun I scrolled through most of the MTB shoes shown on REI, and all that I saw had two sets.

Anyway, your comment made me curious what shoes might have only one set of holes since I had not seen any. So I was curious enough to dig a little and with a bit more digging I managed to find a few, but they tended to be for indoor cycling and were generally brands I never heard of.(Gavin, CyclingDeal, Roknemo, Honosuker, etc.). Also they were likely to be for shoes that were trying to accomodate both two bolt cleats and three bolt cleats.

Of the ones I found the Gavin models were the only ones that had models that were available in what looked like MTB, road, and generally the range of models rather than tailored to indoor cycling. I had vever heard of them, but they did look like they got reasonably good reviews. The rest looked like cheap no name junk.

All that said the standard good quality brands, Sidi, Pearl Izumi, Bontrager, Shimano, Specialized, Lake, and so on tend to come with two sets of holes.

FWIW, shoes are an area where I tend to splurge. I'll ride a lower end bike before I'll wear cheap shoes. So you won't see CyclingDeal, Roknemo, Honosuker, on my feet. I'll stick with Sidis. That may be why I hadn't see SPD shoes with one set of holes in the last 2-3 decades. Some things are worth opening the wallet on to get quality. Shoes and sleeping bags are a couple places where I don't bat an eye at a steeper price tag. The payoff in comfort is worth it.
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Old 02-04-23, 08:00 AM
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if you mount the spd cleats in the forward holes you will not be able to slide the cleats all the way to the back and vise versa. I recently was trying to slide my cleats back and they would not go and I could tell I had more room to slide them back further so pulled the cleat to see what was stopping it from sliding back all the way and it was of course the rear holes. Not a lot of difference but if fine tuning might make a difference.
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Old 02-04-23, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Really? Pretty much every spd type shoe I remember seeing has had two sets of holes. I think some of my first spd shoes may not have (I was a very early adopter of spd), but since then two sets seems to be the norm. Just for fun I scrolled through most of the MTB shoes shown on REI, and all that I saw had two sets.

Anyway, your comment made me curious what shoes might have only one set of holes since I had not seen any. So I was curious enough to dig a little and with a bit more digging I managed to find a few, but they tended to be for indoor cycling and were generally brands I never heard of.(Gavin, CyclingDeal, Roknemo, Honosuker, etc.). Also they were likely to be for shoes that were trying to accomodate both two bolt cleats and three bolt cleats.

Of the ones I found the Gavin models were the only ones that had models that were available in what looked like MTB, road, and generally the range of models rather than tailored to indoor cycling. I had vever heard of them, but they did look like they got reasonably good reviews. The rest looked like cheap no name junk.

All that said the standard good quality brands, Sidi, Pearl Izumi, Bontrager, Shimano, Specialized, Lake, and so on tend to come with two sets of holes.

FWIW, shoes are an area where I tend to splurge. I'll ride a lower end bike before I'll wear cheap shoes. So you won't see CyclingDeal, Roknemo, Honosuker, on my feet. I'll stick with Sidis. That may be why I hadn't see SPD shoes with one set of holes in the last 2-3 decades. Some things are worth opening the wallet on to get quality. Shoes and sleeping bags are a couple places where I don't bat an eye at a steeper price tag. The payoff in comfort is worth it.
I think I may have mixed which is which in my head. My shimano shoes have 2 holes but could have been replaced. My wifeís Sidiís are also 2 holes but theyíre really small and a bit older.

Ive also never used junk shoes. My racing preferences were Diadora or the Trek OCLV Nikes. That pretty much tells you exactly how old I am. They were all 3 holes and I removed the spd insert to ďsave weightĒ. Ha.

Currently I use pseudo-retro looking Bontragers on the road, and another pair of Speedplay specific Audiís that get exactly as much use as my Speedplays (Iíll make you a great deal on them). On drop bars I mostly ride gravel, I find that Shimano agrees with my foot injuries more, so I use them. Once I wear those out and only Boa is available for better quality, Iím not sure what Iíll do.

When I got back into mountain bikes, I switched to flats and have been a lot more satisfied than I ever would have expected​​​​​​. I think the broader market would agree with me.

Seems nowadays, SPD style is almost gravel specific or spin class. And my single pair of Shimano shoes is no sample size.

That 4 hole plate sure is a lot more robust than the 2. That alone is probably why it gets used.
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Old 02-04-23, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts
When I got back into mountain bikes, I switched to flats and have been a lot more satisfied than I ever would have expected​​​​​​. I think the broader market would agree with me.
I wouldn't dream of choosing to ride unclipped even (or maybe especially) on technical stuff, but got my start riding MTB SPD with the very earliest availible spd pedals and shoes and old habits die hard I guess. So I tend to thing of MTB shoes as clipless. I have to remind myself that lots of folks do not share my preference.
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Old 02-04-23, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I wouldn't dream of choosing to ride unclipped even (or maybe especially) on technical stuff, but got my start riding MTB SPD with the very earliest availible spd pedals and shoes and old habits die hard I guess. So I tend to thing of MTB shoes as clipless. I have to remind myself that lots of folks do not share my preference.
Brother, I preach the truth!!

My first clipless pedals were Onza H.O. Ti. I used the black elastomers. I was 13 or 14 and I bought them with my paper route money. 1993 or so. Between road, mountain, and even my pedicab I used clipless.

I literally havenít been unclipped until my Canfield last spring. It took a couple rides to get used to it but itís great.

I do put my XTR pedals on for longer rides. I no longer believe that I get anything from the upstroke, but I find the more uniform pedaling circle of clipless to be less fatigue once the ride is longer than about 4-5 hours.

I seem to pass everyone on technical descents, MTB or gravel, no matter what is on my feet. As long as big air isnít part of it (Iím a chicken).
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Old 02-04-23, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts
My first clipless pedals were Onza H.O. Ti. I used the black elastomers. I was 13 or 14 and I bought them with my paper route money. 1993 or so..
Paper route money in 1993? You are making me feel old, That was 20 some years after my paper route days I was in my 40s by then.
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Old 02-04-23, 11:08 PM
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I rode for many years with my MTB shoes and MTB pedals on my road bike. I was used to riding with clipless pedals on my MTB so when I got a road bike I just added some MTB pedals to the road bike and off I went. It was much later that I actually switched and got regular road shoes and pedals for my road bike.
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Old 02-06-23, 04:20 PM
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Unless one is referring to Five Ten type shoes and flat pedals with pins, the cleatless pedals work the same. The SPD-SL pedals and shoes in theory provide more support but if a shoe is made properly the sole will provide enough support with a SPD or even a clip and strap arrangement. Last year I ordered a dozen pairs of shoes to find my new pair and there was a great deal of difference in the stiffness of the soles. I want as rigid a sole as possible along with a good fit for my "normal" width feet. I found quite a difference in sizing and stiffness even within the Shimano bike shoe line.

Different companies have different ideas as to what is a normal width and normal foot pocket. People with very narrow or very fat feet need to spend more time searching for a brand that has lasts that work for them. When I find a shoe that does fit well I always buy a second pair as a future replacement.
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Old 02-11-23, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
This was always my assumption.

FWIW, I did once have a stripped thread in a shoe and the extra pair of holes saved me.
You can replace the threaded inserts. That's what I did when I stripped one years ago.
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Old 02-11-23, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Canker
That actually makes no sense and having used nothing but mtn bike shoes I've never once thought about why they all have 4 holes. 2 holes or 4 holes makes no difference to how far forward or backwards you can move the cleat. It is all in the slot. Maybe the metal plate would have to be longer to be strong enough to cover for the full movement of the plate if it only had 2 holes.
It makes sense because the plate doesn't slide fore-aft far enough to cover the whole slot with one set of holes.
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Old 02-11-23, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Camilo
You can replace the threaded inserts. That's what I did when I stripped one years ago.
It varies with the shoe. Yes some (most?) shoes you can just take out the insole and swap plates. I had a pair that the plates didn't come out without cutting the sole. It probably could have been cut from the top inside the shoe, but I didn't think that was a great idea and would have only done it as a last resort. Since I could get the same cleat position with the other set of holes it was not a problem to just use the other holes.
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Old 02-11-23, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
It varies with the shoe. Yes some (most?) shoes you can just take out the insole and swap plates. I had a pair that the plates didn't come out without cutting the sole. It probably could have been cut from the top inside the shoe, but I didn't think that was a great idea and would have only done it as a last resort. Since I could get the same cleat position with the other set of holes it was not a problem to just use the other holes.
Yeah, you're right. My shoes had a very subtle, almost invisible perforation inside under the insole that I could (with some effort and a blade) remove and get at the plate.

The fun part was on the trail: of the two bolts, one stripped and IIRC, fell out, so the cleat would rotate around the other one. I couldn't unclip from the pedal, so had to take the shoe off to get off the bike. Of course I fell down the first time. Since then, I've made sure to grease the bolts and check them every now and then.
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