May 14, 2011
While most touring specific shoes have tennis shoe-like soles with plenty of traction and grip, we still see a lot of touring cyclists who prefer road shoes for various reasons. Road specific shoes often have an exposed cleat, in addition to a hard molded plastic or composite sole. This can make walking on hard floors a little difficult and noisy as well.
If you really enjoy the feel of a road shoe over a mountain/touring cycling shoe while riding, Bikeskins by Cleatskins offer a good solution to making your time off the bike a little easier. Bikeskins are a soft and pliable rubber pad that fit around the toe box of your shoe, encompasses the bottom of your forefoot, and slings around the heel for a secure fit. This provides great traction for when you hop off the bike for some site seeing or a pit stop, and will protect your cleats from taking on excessive wear. Bikeskins will adequately cover any cleat style that you use, including Look, Shimano SPD-R, Speedplay, and Time cleats.
When you're not using the Bikeskins, they can easily be stashed in your panniers, or even your rear jersey pockets. They are a one size fits all, and there are a few color options available (black, white, blue, yellow, red). I did find that the lighter colors do start to look pretty grimy in a hurry, however, they do clean up well with soap and water. If this is something you would be concerned about, black hides the dirt very well.
At around $20, these are a good inexpensive solution making life with road shoes a little easier, and won't be too cumbersome to tote around on your tour.
Photo by Josh Tack.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.