Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gam Jams Review - Shoes - Northwave and Pearl Izumi

This one will be a big deal. I'm sure that unlike floor pumps, everyone has an opinion on cycling shoes. I'm not terribly well versed in the options out there as I've only owned one pair or road shoes and two pairs of mountain bike shoes but for what it's worth here are my thoughts.

My road shoes are your very basic Northwave Vertigo's I got at Performance on sale for around $80. Price was key here as I knew next to nothing about cycling shoes in general much less road shoes. They were on the small side but with the thinner summer socks I wear they were just about right and down from something like $140 I figured I couldn't pass on the deal.

Been riding them now for I guess two and a half to three years. They're mostly fine though I believe the cleat may be in the wrong position on them since during longer rides my feet will begin to go numb. Part of this is likely also the smaller size of the shoe; not necessarily uncomfortably tight normally but after a couple of hours of jamming my foot down in them they don't feel great. Otherwise these shoes are pretty good as an entry level road shoe. Those problems (all more my fault then the shoe) aside they could be stiffer in the sole and I'd prefer the buckle clasp over the Velcro, but for the shoe I own that I got for a good deal... I won't complain much more.

My current mt shoes are Northwave Chameleon's with clasp. Much stiffer then anything I've used before with the upper strap clasp. Love these shoes, though they run a half size large so order down. $85 with shipping from

My previous pair that are now my commuters are 3+ year old Pearl Izumi Vegabonds. Probably cost $65 new from REI. Nothing special and certainly not nearly as stiff as the Northwaves but I found them extremely comfortable. So much so that I'd wear them out to bars with friends when I'd ride there and completely forget about them. I was also known to be still wearing them come lunch time after biking to work. After well over three years of use, mainy days of wet commuting, muddy dirty mountain bike rides and hours upon hours of regular use as shoes, these things are still holding together. The Velcro straps have worn down significantly are beginning to show signs of failure, but until that day comes these will remain my basic commuter shoes that I forget to change out of when I get to work.