Winter Boot and Burning Rubber
Friday, February 22, 2013
For all of you out there that ride flats in the winter, you know it is especially hard to find a good boot that has all the different features you want. One of those key features is a sole that works well with a pedal. The large tread in a winter boot causes the pins on your pedal to float between the tread bloks. This causes your boot to slip around and forces you to hunt for a foot position, while riding, that interfaces with the pedal pins better. This is annoying.
I wear a pair of Columbia Agent-X boots for most winter riding. They have a slim profile, really wide spacious toe box, they're waterproof, relatively warm, and they are pretty easy on the wallet. Not a bad choice in my book.
However, like most other boots, the tread lug is too aggressive and deep to work well with platform pedals. So, about a month ago I decided to try and fix this. I figured that if I could just cut off the tread lugs on the boot, the pins in the pedal would dig in to the flat rubber sole.
Fortunately for me, I have a tire groover that I picked up for modding tires a while back. It gets wicked hot and the u-shaped blade slides right through rubber. It was the perfect tool for my experiment.
After breathing burnt rubber for a while, I chopped off pretty much all the lugs on the front portion of my boots. I left the lugs on the rear because they don't touch my pedals and I figured the extra grip might come in handy while walking around.
The result has been great so far. The boot definitely hooks up with my pedals far better now and I can feel the pedal a little better through the sole. I was nervous about the loss of traction for walking, but I haven't really noticed it. Plus, I figure that I want these boots to work best when I am on the pedals, not walking around, so I am willing to compromise.
I don't know if this modification would work for everyone, but I am going to continuing doing this with future riding boots until I find a decent sole out of the box. If you can get your hands on a rubber cutting tool of some sort, you should give it a try as well. Good luck.
Also, my buddy Jed is rad.