I’ve been wearing Shimano cycling shoes since about 2003. My first 2 pair lasted about 2-2.5 years each. I then bought a pair of Adidas cycling shoes for part of the 2008 season, and they just didn’t work for me. So, I went back to my old Shimano’s for my Ironman training and couldn’t have been happier even though they were past their prime.
Anyway, you aren’t here to read about my cycling shoe history. I just got a pair of the newly updated Shimano TR-51 cycling shoes. These are their “2nd Tier” model in that they are not the heat moldable like the top-of-the-line TR-70. If you don’t go with a custom shoe or even one that has moldable insoles, I would recommend getting either a pair of custom cycling orthotics or a pair of off-the-shelf orthotics to add a little bit of extra support to your cycling shoes. I use custom orthotics made by Elite Feet USA. Off-the-shelf options that work well are SuperFeet, Archmolds, or Sol.
The shoes didn’t disappoint. The carbon sole is super stiff and no energy is wasted on the pedal stroke. The uppers are very comfortable and after only 5-6 rides in the shoes, they fit my feet perfectly. Like the previous models of Shimano’s triathlon shoe, the TR-51 has a single strap that closes towards the bike. This is a bonus so that the strap does not get caught in the cranks while pedaling if the shoe is open at the start or finish of the bike. If you pedal very closely to your crank; however, you might notice some rub marks from the strap. Entry is easy, and it has been re-vamped from the previous models. Lastly, the heel cup is a neoprene/plastic mix so that the heel of the shoe does not get scratched or torn if you ever leave your shoes on the pedals.
All in all, this has to be one of the better tri-specific shoes on the market. If you are in the market for new cycling shoes, you owe it to yourself to check these out. Since a pair of bike shoes can last years, it pays to get a good pair. The carbon sole upgrade over the plastic sole of the TR-31 as well as the different upper, make this a superior shoe. When compared to the top of the line TR-70, you can get the same custom fit with the TR-51 and an off the shelf or custom (if you already have them) orthotic for less.