Do hiking/approach shoes really work with flats?

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  • Do hiking/approach shoes really work with flats?
  • simonralli2

    Having accidently left my new 5 tens in a lock up in Leeds, I am currently wearing my Northface hiking shoes and they are fine!


    Hiking boots won’t be good, look at Mazzochi, 5Tens or Shimano. The Mazzis and 510 use the stealth sole and are super sticky, the Shimano uses the vibram soles which you find on some of the walking shoes and are ok. What state are the pins on the pedals?

    Premier Icon chakaping

    Approach shoes with Vibram soles were pretty good, but I started using Five Tens a week ago and they’re so much better.

    Recommend getting them if you’re buying a new pair anyway.

    Premier Icon BigDummy

    I get on fine with V8s and Merrell hiking shoes. But I also get on fine with V8s and Merrell sandals, which may give you some idea of the RADness my gnarl. 🙂

    It’s nice to have a pair of shoes for weekends etc that you can ride, walk and pub in. Quite important when you don’t have a vehicle.


    Yes me! Over the winter I use some old Karrimor KSB walking boots. I tested out various old trainers/boots and these gripped the best, I mean really good, not the best of a bad compromise. They have a soft Vibram sole and the pattern is sort of traditional wedge grips round the outside and circular knobs in the middle, they work a treat.

    My pedals have big pins in aswell.


    Yeah, I have heard many good things about 5:10’s. The reasons I haven’t taken the plunge are:

    -Don’t always look great
    -Look a bit heavy/sweaty for an all-day fitness type ride

    I did think about Shimano, the only shoe they seem to do is the MP56. Not sure if they would fit me particularly well though, I have wide shovel-like feet.


    My brother’s been using flats and hiking boots (lightish ones) for years. He never has any problem and could probably outride a lot of people you know….

    I’ve said it before, but people put far, far too much emphasis on getting EXACTLY the right shoes for riding flats (Read most fashionable, most expensive…) when pretty much anything will do. You don’t need masses of grip, velcro flaps, stiff soles or all that rubbish if you know what you’re doing with them
    For example, I can bunnyhop my Pitch whith SPDs fitted, whilst wearing my slippers….

    Hiking boots will be fine.

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop

    Merrill walking shoes for me too. Though thinking of getting some Northface hikers.


    Use Merrell approach shoes with no problems, pretty old and knackered so in a lot of places no tread left but still plenty grippy enough. Over winter i use salmon hiking boots no problems and in the snow i used my salomon b2 rated boots. Anything works really


    An old pair of Merrell approach shoes and cheap V8 knock-offs are working well for me.


    Question is the title really! I have flats, but my shoes I use with them are really crap. They are hiking type shoes, but the tread does not seem to work well with the pins, and the rubber compound seems too hard, so my feet don’t feel very secure. The irritating thing is that even the everyday shoes I wear to work grip better.

    So does anyone have any positive experiences with this type of shoe? What sort of tread pattern and compound should I be looking for?

    It’s the lack of chunky treads and the soft rubber compound that makes the difference. Vibram is OK, they sometime use dual compound now, but Stealth is really soft which is why it’s used on climbing shoes and 5.10 cycling shoes.

    I don’t have too many probs with karrimor trail shoes, but I’d really like some 5.10s even though I don’t like the sk8terb0y styling.


    These work fine for me…


    Premier Icon Hooter

    The SO uses approach shoes, but with traditional style pedals rather than BMX flats. She raves about how well it works for her.

    Premier Icon BigDummy

    Do you mean clips and straps Hooter?


    I use something like these – cheap and pretty grippy. They are about 2 years old now, so the sole is starting to show signs of pin wear, but for £20 I can’t really complain


    i totally agree with what peterpoddy says. you can read too much in to the ‘need’ or hype about riding shoes. sure they do have a sticky sole but you dont really need it. i ride with a pair or etnies skate shoes and dont have any probs sticking to the pedals. the only problem i have is walking in muddy conditions and getting small stones inside me shoes. 510’s look ugly.


    decent pedals and average shoes is as good as average pedals and good shoes.

    i was amazed how slippery my mates rubbish pedals were last night, he wears 5:10s and doesn’t have much problem – although he was loving my wellgos.

    Premier Icon ampthill

    My KSB were great on flats

    North face Hedgehods grip well but are to flexible for me

    Are shoes like the 5.10’s stiffened?


    Really depends on whether you have problems keeping your feet on the pedals. 5-10 dotty rubber is way more grippy than anything else out there.

    My 5-10s have started disintegrating so I’ve had 1 ride on a pair of Nike Air Whistlers (with supposedly supertacky bike specific soles). Nowhere near the grip of the 5-10s. Which for me is fine if I’m pootling along, but hitting rocks fast and with my less than perfect technique (I’ve only been riding flats for about 1 year) would soon leave me with scrapes all over my ankles from my feet bouncing off the pedals.

    Bottom line is that some of us could probably rip the DH tracks in a pair of slippers or hiking boots. Others need more help!

    I’ve just dropped my Nikes off at Feet First for a 5-10 dotty rubber resole.

    Premier Icon miketually

    I’ve used some cheap New Balance trail running trainers that I got in Brantano on some Planet-X flats for years with no problems.

    Currently using Innov8 MudRocs (trail running shoes) on Wellgo V8 copies, also with no problems.

    I’ve not tried sandals, as my skinny feet don’t get on with them, but my gnarl quotient is probably set at a similar radness level as Big Dummy.


    I once had the dilema that my walking/approach shoes were soaking wet from the previous days ride.”WHAT TO DO?” i grabbed a pair of black converse base ball shoe trainer things, as it was only a quick ride down through the local woods.

    WOW loads of grips on the peddals, plus they also got wet but had dried by the time i had rode home. The best bit is they only cost £12 and i still use them now.


    5.10 Guide Tenne’s, the sole is pretty stiff, it’s very low-pro so good connection to the pedal less chance of rolling, the ball of the foot is slightly curved so awesome for concaves, there’s no real grip pattern to speak off just the circle sole so pin grip is very good, no need for long pins and they come out of the washing machine looking good.

    I’m biased though as i wear them as my footwear of choice anyway so YMMV..

    used KSB’s for a while

    then got some cheep (£5) skate shoes from netto (so bad the sole split after a couple of months!). Must be the tread pattern meaning only half the pins grip the rubber, but approach shoes were poo compared to skate shoes.

    Currenlty wearing element townsends, but any stiff ish shoe seems to work quite well.


    In my Karrimor KSBs, pedals are Wellgo Mags

    Premier Icon Tracey

    Had my hiking boots resoled with 5-10 rubber at a place in Chesterfied Cost £35, first class job



    Merrell seem to be quite good (well my chameleons were). I now use a set of Nikes which are fine.

    Try not to use anything with too aggressive a tread like afell running boot and you’ll be fine. The flatter the better though.

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