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Anyone else find SPD shoes on a hardtail painful?

June 7, 2024, 2:28 p.m.
Posts: 579
Joined: May 11, 2022

Maybe it's the carbon-fibre shank in my shoes but jesus christ compared to Five Tens and Specialized flat pedal shoes I have there's zero shock absorbancy.

Debating getting spd shoes that are less stiff but I ride flats 95% of the time so maybe I'd be wasting my dough.

You are cordially invited to be my special friend.

June 7, 2024, 5:50 p.m.
Posts: 655
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: BC_Nuggets

Maybe it's the carbon-fibre shank in my shoes but jesus christ compared to Five Tens and Specialized flat pedal shoes I have there's zero shock absorbancy.

Debating getting spd shoes that are less stiff but I ride flats 95% of the time so maybe I'd be wasting my dough.

Nope. I ride XC702 shoes on my hardtail. No issues whatsoever other than the right shoe was a bit tight in the toes and had been painful. But a bench sander to the right insole to thin it out fixed that.

I actually find soft flexing flat shoes to be uncomfortable. Long descents cause some pain and my feet can go numb at times too but that’s probably the fit of those particular shoes as opposed to the soft flax.


 Last edited by: andy-eunson on June 7, 2024, 5:52 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
June 7, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
Posts: 579
Joined: May 11, 2022

Maybe I should cool it with the road gaps.

June 8, 2024, 7:04 p.m.
Posts: 16079
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

no, I would assume its the fit and personaly I'm a specialized fan boi


 Last edited by: XXX_er on June 8, 2024, 7:33 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
June 8, 2024, 9:57 p.m.
Posts: 825
Joined: Jan. 2, 2018

Posted by: andy-eunson

Posted by: BC_Nuggets

Maybe it's the carbon-fibre shank in my shoes but jesus christ compared to Five Tens and Specialized flat pedal shoes I have there's zero shock absorbancy.

Debating getting spd shoes that are less stiff but I ride flats 95% of the time so maybe I'd be wasting my dough.

Nope. I ride XC702 shoes on my hardtail. No issues whatsoever other than the right shoe was a bit tight in the toes and had been painful. But a bench sander to the right insole to thin it out fixed that.

I actually find soft flexing flat shoes to be uncomfortable. Long descents cause some pain and my feet can go numb at times too but that’s probably the fit of those particular shoes as opposed to the soft flax.

Same, stiff SPD is less tiring. The softer the sole, the more prone my feet are to going numb.

June 9, 2024, 7:22 a.m.
Posts: 76
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I find the biggest difference to be tread material. I've got a fairly stiff sole but the tread is a softer rubber that does a good job of taking the sting out of hits compared to my XCish shoes with a harder tread.


 Last edited by: joseph-crabtree on June 9, 2024, 7:23 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
June 9, 2024, 10:39 a.m.
Posts: 579
Joined: May 11, 2022

Maybe I need to experiment more with cleat position.  They’re pearl Izumi x alp or something from years back.  Never been particularly comfortable to me.  Toe box really rubs my weird big toe.  Not a length issue but I think my toes need more room vertically. 

Now that I think of it I was pretty comfortable with some Shimano years ago but still not as cushioned as flat specific shoes on a hardtail.

June 9, 2024, 12:21 p.m.
Posts: 16079
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

well IME xc type speciaized shoes always fit awesome so i have 3 pair,

while I have given away 2 pair of Shimano both xc and soft sole touring to different girlfriends cuz they sucked

the shoes that is

June 9, 2024, 10:16 p.m.
Posts: 429
Joined: Jan. 21, 2013

I find clipless hurts less on my hardtail. “Cured” my knee pain. No idea how, just grasping at straws. I figured I would give clipless a shot (on a mountain bike) for the first time in 15+ years  

2FO shoes for reference. The super stiff SWorks shoes I also had handy gave me foot cramps.

June 10, 2024, 8:04 a.m.
Posts: 1078
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Sounds like it's time for some experiments with cleat positions and maybe insoles? I rode the same shoes on my hardtail as my FS bikes running clipless for years and no issues for me. But then again my shoes aren't carbon-soled - I don't know how to control for that? Though all of my shoes are quite stiff. I think the cleat position is important.

June 11, 2024, 7:33 a.m.
Posts: 483
Joined: Nov. 25, 2013

I had the same discomfort - new insoles in some "experienced" Shimano AM9s took care of it. Eventually, I'll get new shoes.

June 11, 2024, 9:12 a.m.
Posts: 16079
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I have Rx foot beds cuz i have flat feet, they are so hard they are clear plastic which I can see thru but they are still comfortble. So its not the being hard but maybe its cuz your foot needs support ? I have never used foot beds in a bike XC shoe but they take up space in the shoe so I would look at the thinnest you can find, I suggest the thinnest soles at yoursole.com

June 11, 2024, 2 p.m.
Posts: 579
Joined: May 11, 2022

^Likes it so much he said it twice!

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