Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strange Things Afoot: The Search For Wide Shoes

This is why it sucks to be a paddle-footed cyclist.

The low-budget wide shoes I lucked into way back in ought-nine are starting to show their age, and -- knowing how tough it is to fit my mutant flippers -- I have started the Quest for Replacement Footwear. That quest started locally today, with trips to two local shops with my orthotics and a favorite pair of Smartwools in hand (and a very tolerant spouse in tow).

I tried some model from Giro and couldn't even cram my clodhopper in there sans orthotic. Granted, this was not Giro's wide model (the Privateer HV), but if a regular won't even come close, I have little to no hope for the wide.

Okay, so a little research led me to believe that Shimano makes a wide shoe, the MO87G -- and as luck would have it, a local shop stocks the wide. Nice try, fat foot. Even in the wide (clearly labeled WIDE on the tongue), the two Velcro straps barely made it over my vast expanse of forefoot, and the ratchet strap was clinging desperately to the last couple notches. The internal volume was tolerable in a  very thin sock, but come winter, I'd be hurting. Strike two.

And here's where things get weird: I'd read on the Internets (where everything can be trusted) that Specialized shoes are being made on a pretty wide last this year. So, with little hope in my heart, I tried a Comp MTB. The angels sang, my toes wiggled, and nothing got squooshed. But that's a $150 shoe, and I'm a cheapskate (which is why the Sidi Dominator Mega is notably absent from my footwear fashion show, despite rave reviews from just about anyone who's tried on a pair), so I tried the less-expensive Sport MTB. BZZZT. You lose, cheapskate. Torture-device narrow.

And now, home in the comfort of my jammies, I notice that there's even a wide(r) version of those darn-near-heavenly Specialized Comp MTBs listed on the Specialized site... as "out of stock." Which only means that if I can quiet the Cheapskate Within and go back for those regular-width ones, I'll always wonder if they could be just that much better (grumble, grumble, grumble...)

The moral of this excruciatingly dull tale: If you have normal feet, count your blessings.

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