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Jeff Mandel's latest: Stylish, custom, and classy bike touring boots

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 16th, 2012 at 9:31 am

Tweed Ride Portland 2010-9
Jeff Mandel, shoemaker.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Remember Jeff Mandel? He's a local leather artisan and master shoemaker based in southeast Portland who also loves to ride bikes. Back when he came onto the scene in 2008 we shared his handmade leather saddles and a pair of his bike shoes. Jeff is still going at it, refining his skills and making beautiful shoes that are purpose-built for pedaling.

I thought you'd appreciate his latest creation: A pair of SPD-compatible boots made for bicycle touring.

Mandel made these boots specifically for a client who requested he use a type of leather known as Cordovan. The client also requested the clipless pedal cleats. "He didn’t want them too stiff such that walking would be difficult or too soft such that the pedals pushed into the boots," Jeff notes on his blog.

If you've been very good this year, maybe Santa will bring you a pair! (Oh, and they're not cheap, but if price is an object you're probably not an ideal customer.) Learn more about Jeff and his amazing work at ExitShoes.com.

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Comments
  • dan November 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Those are indeed beautiful boots, but sadly I lack the fixed-gear lugged Rivendell with artisanal canvas panniers that I would need to properly show them off.

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    • Champs November 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

      No Rivendell rider would be caught dead riding "lollipop pedals" of any sort.

      Some people do commute on their road bikes, whether that's because it's their only bike or some other reason. I can see this work for them.

      Personally, in the "if you have to ask..." price range, I might consider similar shoes, but on separate bike with convenient platform pedals.

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    • kww November 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      If you have ever bothered to read the free Rivendell Reader, you would know that they advocate for non-clip pedals.

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  • wsbob November 16, 2012 at 11:07 am

    $560-$1200 for shoes, handmade here in Portland isn't bad, considering the cost that some designer shoes cost. The extent to which people in our area can actually afford to buy shoes at this price level may help to suggest something about the health of the economy. The design and finish of Mandel's shoes look great. I'd probably buy a pair if my budget allowed for them.

    I'm disappointed that almost all bike shoes today in the $56-$120 price range today are plastic with velcro, instead of lace-up closures. I kind of like the bike shoes with velcro closure that I have, but I wish manufacturers would offer a few lace-up models priced at non-pro levels.

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  • Spiffy November 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

    they look a bit bulky and heavy for touring...

    but if I commuted into downtown for an office job every day I'd consider them...

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  • Steve B. November 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Nice! Way to go, Jeff.

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  • Rol November 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Beautiful shoes. SPD for touring is a terrible idea. But there are limits to how much you can educate a client.

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    • John Lascurettes November 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Please educate me. Why is SPD so bad for touring?

      And I think by calling these "touring" boots – they don't mean long distance touring, but simply for city riding and walking hybrid purpose.

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      • Rol November 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

        Well I'm not really in the education business, and I doubt you actually intend to learn from me, and furthermore the SPD cult has been debunked pretty well elsewhere. So I'll just tell you my point of view and leave it at that. Long days on the bike with your feet mechanically fixed (without the ability to shift them around on the pedals) is contrary to the evolved purpose of knees, even more so than bicycling itself, and leads to tendonitis, bursitis, repetitive stress injuries etc. And for what? To get from 95% of one's potential power output to 100%, as if it mattered? As if one is in a race? Maybe I'm confusing "tour" with "Tour" here. Or I dunno, maybe people are worried the beautiful landscape isn't rushing past them fast enough. Regardless I think the ubiquity of these pedals represents one of the greatest triumphs of marketing over common sense.

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