As a California-based publication, we’ve tossed around the idea of SPD-equipped flip flops before. It’s a joke, but there’s always a touch of seriousness at the root of it. (What if we actually had casual shoes for taking a gravel bike to the beach?) Well, Shimano is on to a similar idea, but one that is infinitely more practical than our flops: SPD sandals.
Actually, Shimano has been on to the idea for a while, introducing the concept a quarter-century ago. Called the SD50, this SPD-cleat compatible sandal developed a cult following in the Midwest. The fandom of this clipless shoe is such that when a mint condition pair surfaced on eBay a few years ago, it was bid up to a final price of $900.
Well, the good news is that the shoe is back, and it can be had for a just $130. This 25th anniversary edition of the cult classic, called the SD-501A, is actually based on the second generation of the sandal, introduced in the year 2000.
Shimano has brought modern touches to this retro shoe. A dual “comfort-lined” strap closure provides comfort and a secure fit. And the wide rubber sole provides enough comfort for walking around while still providing a semi-rigid midsole plate (rated 4/12 for stiffness) for pushing out watts while enjoying the breeze on your toes.
This unisex shoe is available in sizes 38-48 for $130.