NOTE 23 January 2014: New posts are no longer posted to this blog. New stuff at my new blog, Please go there! All old and new posts are there, and you can also comment, too!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Safety Shoes

If you follow the local bicycle scene (especially if you are on the Shift List), you are probably aware of the big discussion going on about safety and visibility. How bright do you have to be in order to be effectively seen by car drivers? How many lights should you have? Should you wear reflective clothing? All these questions and many more have been asked, but there have been few definitive answers other than "the brighter, the better."

One thing that gets left out in these discussions is footwear. Maybe because it's assumed that everyone wears bike-specific shoes? I don't know. I do know that I do not wear bike specific shoes. Boots in winter and Chucks in summer is my usual foot attire.

But I may have found the answer! Perusing the fine selection at the Ghostown Project's Clothing Swap at NW 6th and Flanders, I found this pair of shoes. Not only were they Doc Martens with substantial soles, but they were also my size! Of course, the colo(u)r is pretty non-standard, which may be the reason why they were so willing to give them to me without the prerequisite clothing swap.

And what's so wrong with these shoes? Sure, they are yellow (which may be a relic of the 90's and the overdone color selections in Doc's during that heady era). But yellow is visible. Yellow dazzles. Yellow STANDS OUT. Everybody notices these shoes. And that should include car drivers. I mean, if I get hit by a car while biking with these shoes on, will the judge believe the motorist when s/he says "I didn't see him?" Everyone in the tri-state area can see these shoes! I may even add an element of traffic calming to city streets with these shoes. All the car drivers will be stunned with my footwear, they'll be driving extra slow!

I mean, look at the photo above! Look at how the shoes stand out against the ugly carpet! The only thing that can make it better is by putting some reflectors on the heels (as suggested by Robo), which I may just do. Watch out, Portland, these shoes DAZZLE!


  1. I’m searching back through your blog history for info about footwear for rainy weather. I recall when you visited you typically use leather shoes/boots, as this post also suggests. I assume you use some sort of water-proofing spray on them? Or just shoe polish? What about shoes/boots that reach above versus below the ankles? What have you found that works?

    Footwear for rainy weather is one of the last missing items in my cycle commuting gear that I need to address. I've put up with riding in my cloth sneakers with bags inside around wool socks until now (or just driving when heavy rain), which is crazy as the shoes just act as giant sponges soaking up all the water.

    This year I want to ride rain or shine, so need to do something. I want footwear I could walk in if needed and don’t want to pay a fortune for something like gortex shoes. Maybe it’s time for a blog post on the subject?

    1. Man, PV, you are digging up some old and obscure posts here! As for shoes, I usually wear leather shoes with wool socks in rainy weather, and I don't worry much about waterproofing. I may do a post about all this stuff.


I'm no longer allowing new comments on this blog. You can comment on the exact same post on the new blog. Go find it over at

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.