Picking the Right Footwear
Among EUC riders, one word is both a blessing and a curse: predictability. We all chose this mode of transportation precisely due to its ability to inject both spontaneity and reliability into an otherwise boring and difficult commute. That being said, the last thing that a rider wants to be spontaneous is the feel of the ride. When it comes to safety, maneuverability and precision are key.
Picking the right footwear is essential to staying in control, as it’s the main point of contact with your wheel. Losing your balance or your grip can have disastrous consequences. We took a look at some of the shoes worn by riders in the EUC community from YouTube to reddit and other forums and took note of the most common trends, pain points, and styles. Here’s what we found:
Riders mentioned a number of desirable traits for their riding shoes that help with everything from comfort to safety. There were a wide range of types of shoes mentioned but even between riders with different routes, from urban commuters to outdoor trekkers, these traits were most often described as crucial:
1. Ankle Protection
Many riders are quick to suggest a mid or high top shoe for the protection and comfort it offers the ankles. Having a solid cover between you and any obstructions that you pass by on trails or surfaces that you might scrape a little close to during a commute can save you some uncomfortable scratches. More importantly, in the event you need to suddenly step off of your wheel, a shoe that provides some rigidity around the ankle may help prevent impact or twist-related injuries
Of course, the main safety concern is staying on the wheel! That’s a lot easier to do when your foot isn’t sliding back and forth or in and out on your EUC’s pedals. This trait however, lends to some interpretation. Some people go for rugged tread with the thought in mind to provide resistance to sliding in any direction you might be bumped, while others prefer a smoother, but rubbery sole to provide more friction. In order to pick which feels right to you, you have to be mindful of the interaction of the shoe and the pedal. That’s why some riders even customize their pedals, with some favoring the grit of a skateboard-style grip tape type of surface, and some favoring the “give” of rubber to maintain grip. Then there are options like these upgrade pedals for the InMotion V5 and V8 that combine the best of both worlds.
Sure, safety does come first, but what good is the best and safest gear if you don’t actually wear it? For now, one of the main concerns in EUC comfort is how well the shoes allow you to stand on your feet for extended periods without feeling the urge to shift to unsafe foot positions and without impairing circulation. This point, it seems, is a subjective one with vastly different preferences in terms of style.
Most Popular Styles
Looking at the shoes worn by a number of personalities in the EUC community we saw three styles most frequently worn, and one that’s almost universally disliked.
The Athletic Shoe
The gym shoe, the running shoe, the athletic shoe- Whatever you call it, most of us have at least a pair, and riders like Hsiang and Kuji Rolls are often seen in them.
Balancing that ever-important stiff sole with style, riders like The Creative Nomad prefer a boot. This allows the rider to absorb impact in an everyday shoe that won’t look out of place at the office.
The Skate Shoe
The ubiquitous skate shoe is an obvious choice for many riders, like Mickey Miklos. Shoes like the instantly recognizable Vans offer a combination of cushion to give a comfortable ride and the flat, hard sole riders are looking for to stay in control while absorbing the impact of bumps by keeping their knees engaged. This has been the most common method of dealing with irregularities in the road or bumps in rough terrain.
While shoe choice may be subjective, there seems to be one kind of shoe that is widely advised against specifically because of its inability to allow the rider to absorb impact:
The Motorcycle Boot
The motorcycle boot may come up because, after all, when traveling at any speed more than 20 mph, the thought of hitting the pavement immediately makes us think of the most padded or armored gear possible. While many motorcycle boots are fitted with hard plastic ‘armor’ pieces to protect the rider, this won’t do much good if your other gear isn’t similarly armored. What’s worse, the motorcycle boot doesn’t allow enough bending and movement for the rider to stay in control, which would actually negate the safety benefits of a more protective shoe.
This need for manually absorbing impact could change if the trailblazing Inmotion V11 and the innovative King Song S18 are any indication. Both of these wheels have built in suspension that sets a new precedent for EUCs, taking some of the burden off of the rider and making for a confident ride much more quickly.
What's your footwear of choice? Let us know in the comments or on social media @euco.us everywhere!