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Old 2018-03-08, 01:35 AM   #1
Up Rite
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Unicycling Shoes



I think I should invest in some decent shoes for unicycling.

I checked some of the therads, which seemds to be at least 2 years old. Sam Hill 5.10's seemed to be the best out there. I have read that Kris Holm likes and uses them, so they must be pretty good.

I am most likely to go towards Muni as I progress. Should one spend the going rate for these, or is there another alternative that gives you a better bang for the buck?

What would AL do?
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Old 2018-03-08, 03:42 AM   #2
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I go to a giant thrift store that sells second-hand Converse sneakers by the pound, and I feed them to my unicycle, which devours them pretty quickly. Converses are good because they are thin-soled, so you know what your foot is doing, whether it's on a pedal, on the tire or on the crown of your fork.

For muni, you might want something more solid, but for basic learning, as well as for more advanced freestyle skills, thin-soled sneakers are best. I also use Converses for distance riding (though I've never gone more than 50km in one day), hopping and drops up to 30cm, and rarely, a bit of muni. I have never tried 5-10s, but they are very expensive, and to me they also look terribly clunky for unicycling.
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Old 2018-03-08, 03:45 AM   #3
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I have the FiveTen Impact High and Freeride High, and like them a lot. I use them when muni'ing and they really grip the pedals well. also have the Shimano AM41, which I use when I practice in the basement. I prefer to ride muni using the high cut shoes for added protection? (maybe?).

have tried using high top basketball sneakers with flat soles, but they just don't grip as well as FiveTens, so I am sold on the FT brand. only regret is I should have bought more during their closeout before Adidas took over the site.
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Old 2018-03-08, 08:54 AM   #4
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Five Ten are great for muni or agressive riding. Song is spot on: you want to feel where your feet are, especially in the beginning. When you go to a unicycle convention, it's striking how all the freestyle riders, distance riders, track riders and indoor riders almost ALL wear Adidas Sambas. Only thing with those is they are not protecting the ankles.
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Old 2018-03-08, 01:26 PM   #5
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Flat soles are the only important thing for unicycling in my eyes. I personally use Adidas Sambas, because they last a decent amount of time, are reasonably priced, and easily available. I use them for everything, Trial, Street, Flat, Muni, Freestyle.
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Old 2018-03-08, 03:57 PM   #6
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I'm a big fan of skate shoes like Vans. Not much ankle support though.
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Old 2018-03-08, 05:24 PM   #7
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Everything about unicycling is subjective and everyone has their own personal tastes. That includes shoes. Here's what I found.
When I first started, I just wore whatever shoes were handy. After a while I noticed that softer soled shoes tend to flex around the pedals. As noted above, some riders really like this, especially the freestylers. You really have a good "feel" for what's going on with your feet and the pedals. Then later on I noticed that over time I could feel the pins in the pedals through the soles. I began to think a more solid sole would be a good idea. I also noticed that one source of UPDs (particularly when riding muni) was my feet slipping off the pedals on rough terrain. So I began to think that a grippier sole would be nice. Somewhere along the line I also read that for any kind of pedaling the stiffer the shoe, the more power is directed into the pedal. So I bought a pair of 5-10s (Impact).
Big difference from what I was wearing before! The first thing you notice is how big and clunky they feel. I felt like Herman Munster! (For those not old enough to remember that TV show, he had huge feet.) The second was that my feet stuck to the floor as I walked across the kitchen. The sole rubber is really sticky! (Not that noticeable after wearing them around for a while.) When I went riding it took a while to get used to the feeling of being kind of disconnected from my pedals, but in a short time I really liked riding in them. I couldn't feel the pedal pins anymore, and my feet didn't come off the pedals as easily. With the added stiffness, I felt like I could apply more force to the pedals when going through tough uphills. Some time later I also purchased a pair of 5-10 Line Kings, which are lighter weight, for road riding. Again, I really like them. (Caveat -- they seem to run on the small side, so buy a size that's slightly larger than you normally wear.)
They are kind of expensive, but if you watch their website they sometimes have clearance sales and you can get a deal. I've heard that the company was bought by Adidas a while ago, so I'm not sure how that will affect the cost, quality, or availability.
Just my personal opinion, as always -- "Your mileage may vary."
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Old 2018-03-08, 06:37 PM   #8
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When i started Unicycling approx 12 months ago i just wore any flat soled shoes. After a few months i bought a pair of Five ten freerider contacts and i love them. They are about as close to feeling clipped in as you can get without actually being clipped in. In fact if there is a bad point with them it is that it is very difficult to readjust your feet on the pedals. I have used them pretty much daily for a good few months and they are still in great condition. Unigeezer did a review not that long ago on the latest version that look slightly easier to readjust your feet.

Regards Phil
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Old 2018-03-08, 07:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LanceB View Post
The second was that my feet stuck to the floor as I walked across the kitchen. The sole rubber is really sticky!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimeara View Post
They are about as close to feeling clipped in as you can get without actually being clipped in.
Five Ten are amazing, once you can ride! Before that I would never recommend them, they are too sticky. I have too pairs (bought on their outlet section on their website), I've had a couple of UPDs because I was just stuck to the pedals and couldn't get my feet of them quick enough! You don't want that when you're in the learning phase where you have to be able to jump off the uni before you hit the ground!
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Old 2018-03-08, 07:59 PM   #10
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You may want to consider the angle that your cranks make with the Uni when selecting shoes, especially when considering the fairly wide and sticky 5.10s.

If your cranks do not "angle out" from the Uni very much, then the inside of a wide shoe like the 5.10 will more likely rub against the crank. And with the stickiness of the 5.10s, it will be harder to re-position your feet on the pedals to avoid the rubbing.

You can always move your feet more outboard on the pedals when free-mounting, but it does take additional practice, and it may seem unnatural at first, if you are used to a more narrow footing on the pedals.

I use 5.10 "Lows" with Profile cranks for Muni and it works great since they angle out a lot, but it does not work well on cranks that angle out less.

BTW the 5.10 Lows are on sale.

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Old 2018-03-08, 11:04 PM   #11
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I've got a pair of Shimano AM7's, I really like them but they are wearing down seriously quick. I'm curious to know how long you folks with your fancy 5.10 shoes expect them to last, because it seems like a softer, stickier sole would last an even shorter length of time!

Before I got my Shimanos I wore Salomon trail running shoes, which are amazingly comfy for long days but due to the *very* flexible soles, I found they caused my toes to cramp up fiercely when doing long rides due to my toes curling over the end of the pedals (Or, if I dragged my feet back a bit, due to my toes bending when I push them into the pedal).

There really doesn't seem to be a lot in the way of a solid, flat cycling shoe - something like a road clipless shoe, but without the clip. 5.10's are all well and good but they are very overbuilt if you're not a muni rider! I'd prefer something slim and lightweight if possible.
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Old 2018-03-09, 03:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LanceB View Post
Everything about unicycling is subjective and everyone has their own personal tastes. That includes shoes. Here's what I found.
...... I began to think a more solid sole would be a good idea. I also noticed that one source of UPDs (particularly when riding muni) was my feet slipping off the pedals on rough terrain. So I began to think that a grippier sole would be nice. Somewhere along the line I also read that for any kind of pedaling the stiffer the shoe, the more power is directed into the pedal. So I bought a pair of 5-10s (Impact).......)
LanceB, You bring up a question I have. Maybe you or anyone can answer. When your feet slide off the pedals, do they always slip of in the same direction?

Off hand I'd guess that if your shoes or pedals are not grippy enough that your feet are way more likely to slip off the front of the pedal then slipping in any other direction. This leads me to an old recommendation of wearing shoes with a good heel to prevent your foot from slipping off the front of the pedal. With a good heel the foot would be more secure then the grippiest shoe or the wickedest pined pedal. I learned to ride on rubber peddles and if I remember right, rubber barn boots (with heels). I never had any problem with my feet slipping off pedals.

One problem with using heeled shoes is that normally the heel is too far back to hold the ball of your foot near the center of the pedal. Maybe some kind of "heel extension" could be used to properly position your foot.

My thinking right now it to find some shoes with heels and/or add a heel or heel extension to provide a near clipless pedal security. This could eliminate the need for wicked spiked pedals and shin-guards.

Jim
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Old 2018-03-09, 04:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Up Rite View Post
I think I should invest in some decent shoes for unicycling.
Of course any useful answer to that question would require knowing what type of riding you will do most. It matters a lot!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Up Rite
Sam Hill 5.10's seemed to be the best out there. I have read that Kris Holm likes and uses them, so they must be pretty good.
Kris and many others (Nathan Hoover, me) love them for Muni! As mentioned above, they have a crazy amount of grip, which helps keep them on the pedals when the going gets bumpy. Of course this can make it hard to adjust your feet on the pedals, but this is just a skill you will learn with more experience. It helps to learn to ride one-footed, but I don't do that to adjust my feet.

I also depend on a really secure grip for riding my geared 36 at high speeds. I don't go that fast, but anything approaching running speed is "high" (and dangerous). A poorly placed bump in the road could bounce one's foot into a position where you might auto-shif -- which would be bad. I never worry about this with my 5.10s.
Quote:
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I am most likely to go towards Muni as I progress. Should one spend the going rate for these, or is there another alternative that gives you a better bang for the buck?
I'd spend the bucks. Any with the button-pattern soles will have the grip. For Muni, it's also good to have a stiff sole, to transmit maximum power to the pedals without flexing and reflecting it back to your foot.
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Originally Posted by song View Post
I go to a giant thrift store that sells second-hand Converse sneakers by the pound, and I feed them to my unicycle, which devours them pretty quickly.
That was always my impression of Converse shoes (expendable), but they're so much less expensive! Not good for Muni or Road due to the soft sole, but good for Freestyle and other types of riding where you move your feet around a lot.
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Originally Posted by pierrox View Post
When you go to a unicycle convention, it's striking how all the freestyle riders, distance riders, track riders and indoor riders almost ALL wear Adidas Sambas.
I've seen those but not tried them. Clearly a good grip, light shoe, and good feel for the pedal. For Track, possibly the most important feature of a shoe is weight (long as the grip isn't terrible).
Quote:
Originally Posted by LanceB View Post
Everything about unicycling is subjective and everyone has their own personal tastes.
Yup. You never really know what works for you until you've tried a few different things.

Like Lance, I started out riding with whatever shoes were available (I was 17). Later I wanted more grip, and for many years wore artificial turf shoes. For a while in the 80s they were pretty mainstream, but in recent years I haven't seen soles like them. I'll attach a picture that shows what gliding did to them (in 1987 or so). The turf shoes were great for Track and tricks, but when I got into Muni, not so good. I started using sharper pedals for grip, and I could feel the pedals distorting my feet as I ground my way up the hills. Stiffer soles were needed! Many years later, the 5.10s filled the bill better than anything else I've encountered.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piece Maker View Post
I'm curious to know how long you folks with your fancy 5.10 shoes expect them to last, because it seems like a softer, stickier sole would last an even shorter length of time!
I got my original pair around 2005 I think, and only "retired" them a couple of years ago. The soles were still in near-perfect condition, while the rest of the shoe was starting to fall apart. Lots of miles on those, including Ride The Lobster!
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Old 2018-03-09, 07:05 AM   #14
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I'm with Jim on this one. I like heels as a safety for muni.
I have monkey feet so Keens are my hikers of choice for riding.

My routine is to buy a quality pair of hiking boots and use them for a year or two for hiking then switch them to your riding boots and use them for two years of muni while your new hikers are broken in for riding.
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Old 2018-03-09, 07:31 AM   #15
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I think I have several Vans and Converse court shoes I have not even worn yet. I might start to use them, instead of whatever happens to be on my feet the days I go out to practice.

Going by what I am reading here, the Sam Hills once I am better at this and hitting the trails look like the right investment. Big and clunky is Ok, as I am big and clunky, so the shoe should be a good match. If I get into trials practice the Sambas for those days I suppose?

Great info, thanks everybody!
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