Which uni shoes?

I am currently going through my ‘learning curve’ (just completed hour 9), and have been wearing my lightweight leather walking boots for uni.
These have been fine so far as they are narrow and are basically flat with no indent under the foot. However, the soles are stiff and they do not let me ‘feel’ the pedal through the boot, which I think would be an advantage. Also, they do not grip enough when they get wet. (I currently have plastic pedals with no pins)

Can I ask for recommendations for uni shoe/boot with -

  • Good high protection for ankle roll over.
  • A flat sole front to back.
  • A sole soft enough for some pedal feel.

I will be riding basically flat paths and trails, as we have no hills.


I use pinned pedals and a pair of leather/breathable material mix hiking boots.

The boots have a slight ‘lip’ in the arch, but I find that useful when I’m tired as I can deliberately let the pedal slip back to that point to rest my ankles for a while. :smiley:

I find they grip the pedals really nicely and I can still feel exactly where it is.

I’ve learned to shuffle my foot around slightly when I don’t quite get the freemount placement spot-on. This generally involves moving my right foot just as it is finishing the downstroke before the pedal catches it again on the way back up.

Hey, I’ve used many types of shoes while doing MUni, and have made some observations.

For a long time I used my waterproof leather work boots, which were awesome and probably my favorite MUni footwear. They were completely waterproof which was nice for UPD’s into puddles or mud. They are 8" high, which provided protection from striking my ankle on the cranks and from rolling ankles. The tread was also deep and the rubber was pretty “sticky” to keep my feet on the pedals. The only reason I stopped using them was because, obviously, they were my work boots and I would have to wash and polish them after every ride.

Then I went to low top Keen hiking boots. These were actually my least favorite and not recommended from me at all. They are decently waterproof but have a low cut, non-padded ankle. The soles were nearly flat (although this is partly due to the fact that they are 2-3 years old and well worn) and harder rubber that did not grip the pedals well.

Right now, I’m using 5.10 impact high top biking shoes. These came at a high recommendation from other users on the forums. They are not technically waterproof, but they can take quite a bit of splashes before your feet get wet as the material is very thick. The sole is among the best kind for MUni, having a “dot matrix” pattern that is sticky and grips the pedals awesomely. Honestly, if you’re going to get these shoes, get the low top or even better, the karver, which is the same shoe but with a Velcro cover for the laces. The reason for this is because the high tops are pretty excessive. The low tops, as UniGeezer says, have the padding where it counts. They have padding to protect striking your ankle on the cranks and would decently prevent rolling your ankle.

So, based on previous recommendations I’ve read on the forums, and my limited experience, I would highly recommend 5.10 impact low top shoes or 5.10 karver. They are pretty expensive, bu you won’t find better shoes and they’ll last you for many years.

Edit: realized you asked for high-top recommendation. In this case, you would probably be happy with the high-top impact. Also, I decided to include a link to the type of work boots I have as I actually like them more than my 5.10’s. funny enough, the brand is called 5.11. Or maybe I’m the only one who finds that funny :stuck_out_tongue: anyway, here’s the link: http://www.galls.com/CGBCSTYL?PMSTYL=SP583

+1 for the 5.10

There are a bunch of reviews on the gear page, so check them out.

I have ridden in a lot of shoes, Five Tens are popular and I have tried them all, Impacts are bulky and hot, kinda Duro Wildlife of uni shoes, the Freeride series suffers from poor support and quick softening mid soles. I think there are better Freeride shoes.

For long rides and drier days, I ride a Five Ten Hellcat, it’s a spd clipless shoe I modified to work for flats, it’s really stiff, so not a lot of pedal feel, but it has great arch and forefoot suppport, also super durable. You wouldn’t like it for learning.

For shorter rides and muddy days I have been riding the Teva lows, they continue to perform well after a year of hard riding, sole is not quite as sticky as a Five Ten, but the sole is also lasting longer and the sole has remained ~80% stiff as new, compared to all of my Five Tens which lost considable sole stiffness over time.

Impacts are bulky and heavy, try em before you buy em. I ride a lot, and the weight and bulk of a shoe can be really noticeable, esp in the Summer when you get hot. The Tevas are hydrophobic so they don’t get soaked and they dry fast. They also come in some cool colors and you can get a mid; the mid and low have the same design, and they can often be found on sale. Sizing is pretty close to street/running shoe.

Most of the time i wear my Nike 6.0 for unicycling.
It’s a pair of hightop sneakers which protekt the ancle very well.
The sole is in comparison to runingshoes very hard but flexible enough that you can feel the pedals reaction.
In combination with the Point Racing Alien 2 cagepedals on my muni they get grip like hell.

I use nike 6.0 for street and flat and teva links for MUni and trials so if i could have only one shoe it would be teva links

I don’t think you will find a shoe that fills all three of your criteria well.

The 5.10 impact is bulky and doesn’t have the greatest pedal feel. The shoe is so big and heavy it doesn’t seem to fit so great (at least my foot).

My favorite is 5.10 freerider, has awesome pedal feel and grip, nice flat sole, BUT has no ankle protection as its a low top.

I don’t think a high top skate shoe (like the nike 6) offers any ankle rollover protection. A shoe that has good stability will help more on this aspect, but most shoes don’t offer much.

I’ve got a pair of keen light weight hikers (these are talked about in the gear review section in a shoe thread), a flat sole with no pedal feel at all and pretty sucky grip. Good ankle support though, I use em when I’m riding muni on steep terrain where I need the ankle support and trail grip when I bail.

I’ve tried the teva links, they have good grip in the dry, not so hot when wet. Pretty good overall support.

Most shoes out there (and mentioned here) cover 2 of your criteria well. You’ll just have to decide which two are most important.

Hi top Fox Racing Overload,more of a BMX/skate shoe,but pretty good ankle support.
May try my Run w/ The Bulls motorcycle hi-top sneaker.They have great ankle support.
Shoot I’ll probably wear my 3-way ankle braces as well.

I’m not Muni tho.Just fence learning at this point.

Five Ten Karver.

If you’re after protection for rolling your ankles then get some ankle braces. I don’t believe that any high top shoe provides decent protection against this - even most walking boots, whilst they provide support in normal use will let your ankles roll in the sort of situation where you get an injury. I speak as somebody with a chronic ankle injury - rolled it whilst wearing hi-tops on Friday (the hi-tops protect my ankle bones from impact).

I usually use riding specific flats for “serious” riding - I have either Shimano AM41s and Vans Gravel. I wear the Shimanos when it’s wet or cold as they have better protection and grip, and generally when riding my guni as I tend to ankle shift (I need to get myself some more ankle protectors). Also for a quick ride as they have a lace cover which means I can just tie and go without having to worry about lace management. The Gravels are a bit nicer for riding though, with a stiffer sole and more cushioning for UPDs - also nicer for just walking around, apart from anything else, unlike the Shimanos they look like normal skate shoes.

Oh, and I also have a pair of normal skate shoes I tend to use when using a uni for short distance transport, or when practicing skills.

I had some 5ten mountain masters that I used for MUni until they died. They were super grippy, and just about perfect. I wanted a high top to protect my ankles, and a narrower boot for my skinny feet. Enter the Mad Rock Fury. It answered all of my problems, and it has lasted for at least a year. The sole has soften up a bit, but still supportive. I can feel the pedal, and it grips the cage on my pedals (XT II) really well. I can’t say if the grip is as good, worst, or better than the 5tens, since they were pretty toasted by the time I replaced them. The fury was certainly better than the dead shoes. There is a small rise in the sole at the heel, but the dot rubber goes toe to heel in one piece.

The price is also really great if you get them from the Madrock.com webstore. I think I paid under $50 for mine. They are narrow. Look elsewhere if you need a D width boot.

The Impacts are not flat soled, they have a narrow arch area that is “cut out” and the “imprint of a puma or whatever animal they use” tends to wear off and provide less traction than the dots. The heel is made overly wide with thick rubber, so they get in the way/rub and for my life I cannot figure out why a riding shoe needs a thick rubber heel; I ride on my midfoot and forefoot. I wish they’d redesign the Impact sole so it is flat, narrower in the heel and forefoot, and has the small dot pattern lilke the Barons/Freerides.

The problem with Five Tens is that they are more about looks than performance, so they have the burly “I drive a big truck” thing going on, but they are poorly made with an insole that is not waterproof, tends to delam from the rubber sole which is only stiff as long as the insole is firmly glued to the sole; which is not too long if you sweat much. I also had sole issues with delaminating out soles peeling away from the uppers on the Freerides and Barons.

Simply put, the Five Tens are waaaaay overrated for what they are: expensive, heavy, absorb sweat/water, get hot, and are not long wearing. Granted, I’m hard on shoes, I sweat a lot which wears shoes out fast, and I ride mud and pins which wear out the soles quickly, but after having worn out a lot of shoes over the past few years (Shimano, Five Ten, skate shoes, boots), the only shoes that I would stand by are the Teva Links, over a year of constant use and still ticking!

Also, don’t limit yourself to riding shoes, there are some great boots out there that are fairly flat soled and would wear better than skate/riding shoes. I recently bought some Keens for hike and bike tours where I figure on hiking a fair amount and wanted a riding shoe that hikes well. The Keens are flat soled, waterproof, comfy, and durable.

If you want ankle protection get a mid height shoe, if you want ankle support wear a brace, if you are just worried about knocking your ankle bones get some ankle bone pads from some soccer shin guards.

Sorry to harsh on Five Ten, but it is what is, the King’s new clothes and all that…

I just bought myself a set of Five-Ten Warhawks. After hearing so many unicyclists rave about the sole and the grip of their Karvers or Impacts, I still could not bring myself to wear something that weighs a ton and looks like a gangsta boot.

The Warhawks (300g) are quite a bit lighter and marketed as a parkour/light climbing shoe, so hopefully it will be a good compromise. I’ll do a review of it once I’ve had a chance to ride it for a week or so.

I should also mention that I wore a pair of these for mountain mayhem last year. I knew I’d be doing a lot of running in the mud, so wanted something good for running and with good grip - I have running shoes which would have been a bit better for running in those conditions, but they wouldn’t have worked so well for riding. They’re not what I’d choose to ride in most of the time, but they actually worked surprisingly well, and I’d be happy to ride in them again.

Now that looks like my kinda shoe :slight_smile:

I’ve used (and still use) similar styled trail running shoes- mostly Salomon because they have a lacefree system to keep from tangling up your Uni. Lately however, their racing shoes have been getting beefier at the heel, now looks really stupid and clumsy. Also, they’re not the most durable.

Those Helly Hansens look pretty tough and well priced. How much do they weigh?

They’re also really light - 280g for one of my UK7, EU 40.5, US 7.5. Mine are an old version though (I think from back when HH first got into running shoes and other stuff like that) - I should also point out that I got mine for free as part of marketing package.

I also own Salomons and wouldn’t use those for riding for similar reasons to those you mention - at least not any of the current ones (which to be honest I kind of regret getting as they have too much in the heel for me to even want to run in them), though I have some really old ones which might be suitable.

I feel I should also mention a similar shoe from my ex-sponsor http://www.gear-zone.co.uk/outdoor-footwear/mens-footwear/mens-walking-shoes/inov8-flyroc-310-$9-azure$1stone - would probably have used those except I wore out the ones I had and replaced with shoes better for running, but worse for riding.

has anyone ridden vans graval vs teva links

As soon as the weather warms up, I’m in my flip-flops for 36er-ing. They are the most comfortable things in my closet, so why not? I’m not worried about speed, so I don’t need a rigid sole. Injuries from UPDs, failed mounts, etc. seem to involve knees, wrists, shins–never feet (at least that’s been my experience so far, but I’m still sort of noobish). Also, your toes will never go numb in flips. I know it’s unorthodox, so flame away! heh. :wink:

I’ve been riding in my keen sandals lately (since summer has arrived in the great NW)… Not for off road, but for cruising around the neighborhood it’s all good.

youneeNoob, you have some sick flex in your frame :wink: