Choosing a single pair of shoes for a long tour is more difficult than baptizing a cat. There isn't a pair manufactured that would suit the stiff demands of clipless pedals and exude the comfort of Bruno Maglis when strolling around off the bike.

I scoured touring message boards full of advice on the right shoes to wear. The chorus of opinions ranged from hippies sold on sandals to hardcore 'roid monkeys bent on "making time" with the latest carbon racing cleats.

I just want to cruise with a stiff enough sole to climb comfortably in SPD cleats, preferably recessed in a shoe that allows for walking in the woods and the mall. So, I ordered two models that would fight it out on my feet before one was returned to its "free shipping" Internet purveyor. The finalists were the Keen Springwater 2 and the Specialized Tahoe. Both set me back a hundred bucks. Pretty reasonable.

Using no scientific criteria to decide between the shoes, the Tahoes emerged victorious. The picture above illustrates that neither shoe is concerned with haute couture. However, the Keen's do maintain the "Frankenstein Boot" chic they favor across all their lines.

Here's a listicle of my final judgment:

  1. The Keen's run small. So small that I had to order a second pair to try on. A whopping size 13 for a guy that wears an 11.5. The giant rubberized toe box looked like I was prepping for life in a steel mill.
  2. My heel slipped in the Keen's despite the generously fat Velcro straps. Bad for riding and walking.
  3. The Tahoes feel much lighter, eventhough they weigh just 3 oz. less per shoe than the Keens.
  4. The Tahoes are roomy, bit narrower which interferes less with the bike cranks and creates fewer scrapes and bumps against the panniers.
  5. I wish the Tahoes were free of laces, but they tuck under an upper Velcro strap pretty well.
  6. The Tahoes just look less dopey. It's bad enough that truckers and hillbillies will elicit visceral reactions to my rivulets of fat packed in the spandex sausage casings I'll be donning.


05/30/2013 2:34am

Hey Brother,

I see that you have began making your trek across the country. I am thinking of you and Praying for you as you take on this endeavor.

Send me a note or call me when time permits and/or if you are in the area. We look forward to seeing you at the wedding.


Jonathan Leahey
05/30/2013 2:39am

Hatch, you're top shelf in my book, always.
The journey starts on Saturday. Hopefully, we can chat before them. No matter, I'll have my phone and calling card with me. I'll be ringing you to send me contacts in your vast network of friends in happenin' places like Idaho, Montana, and Maine. Dig deep Brotha!

05/30/2013 7:12am

The final pick looks faster...they'll make you look blurry and inconvenient to any rabid bear out there on the pass. Good choice.


Leave a Reply