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Lake CX 238, MX 238 & Gravel Review: The Best Cycling Shoes for Wide Feet

I can be hard to find comfortable cycling shoes when you are blessed with wide feet. After suffering for years, I finally discovered Lake Cycling shoes. Now, I can ride super long distances pain-free, and I would recommend these shoes to anyone walking around with a pair of flippers like mine.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Gravel

I’ve always struggled to find comfortable clipless shoes thanks to my EE-width feet. As I’ve focused more on endurance racing and doing longer rides, foot comfort has become a bigger priority. I’ve tried more than a few shoes that are supposedly good for wide feet. Then in 2019, I finally found my holy grail: Lake Cycling shoes

Lake is based in Illinois and takes its name from Lake Michigan. It’s been making cycling shoes since 1982, and it’s one of the few brands on the market that make shoes specifically designed to fit wide and extra-wide feet

Over the last few years, I’ve done thousands of miles in my Lake shoes. I can safely say they’re the best-fitting cycling shoes I’ve ever owned. As long as Lake is around, I’m not going to be wearing another brand. 

The Lake CX 238 Wide & MX 238 Wide

Lake CX238 road MX238 Gravel cycling shoe reviewMy Lake collection: CX 238 Wide, MX 238 Endurance Wide, CX 238 Wide, & MX 238 Gravel Wide.

Lake shoe models use letters and numbers. Road shoes use “CX” while gravel/mountain shoes use “MX.” The number that follows denotes where the shoe sits in the Lake line-up. 100-series shoes are entry-level, 200-series shoes are mid-range, and 3- and 400-series shoes are top-of-the-line offerings. 

My mid-range CX 238 road shoes and the MX 238 gravel/mountain shoes feature stiff carbon fiber soles, full-grain water-resistant leather uppers, and two BOA dials. There's also a bit of cat tongue-like material in the heel cup that adds grip to prevent heel lift.

The MX 238 has decent lugs for off-bike excursions, and a nice rubber pad in the center to stamp on a pedal when you can't get clipped in.  

These both retail at $350, so they’re not cheap shoes, despite being the “mid-range” option. But they’re completely worth it for me because no shoe has been able to match their fit and comfort. 

Competition Lasts Made for Wide Feet

The best cycling shoes for wide feetI wore socks to spare your eyes. Banana for scale.

My feet are pretty wide (EE), especially at the metatarsal heads. They essentially look like flippers. I tend to feel a lot of pressure against my 5th metatarsal head (note how it juts out from the outside edge of my feet) when wearing “normal” cycling shoes. On longer rides, I’ll get soreness and numbness along the outside edge of my feet. When I started researching wider alternatives, I came across the usual recommendations: Shimano Wide, Bont, and Lake. 

I had already experimented with Shimano’s Wide shoe models, and while I found them wide enough to be comfortable, I also found the toe box to actually be a bit too spacious in terms of overall volume. My foot would move around too much. I wanted a sportier feeling shoe where the upper would cinch down snuggly on the top of my foot, without giving up the wide forefoot. Bont was intriguing since they are heat moldable, but that just seemed like too much faff to me, and I couldn’t find my size in stock anyway. 

Lake cycling shoe size matrixLake's Size matrix is just one tool of many it offers to help riders get the ideal fit.

So I turned to Lake. What impressed me from the outset was the detail of its sizing charts. Lake recommends tracing the outline of your foot and measuring your foot's actual length and width. You can then compare these measurements to its charts to make sure a specific shoe/size will fit. 

Different Lake shoe models will use different lasts (the sole/base of the shoe) — Comfort, Sport, Competition, or Race (there are a few more too). My 200-series shoes use the Competition last. It’s stiff and designed for racing, and it comes in a Wide version that provides a very wide forefoot paired with a tighter heel. This is exactly what I needed. 

If you have wider feet than me, the Competition last also comes in an Extra Wide version. The Sport and Race lasts come in Wide versions also.  

Wide Cycling Shoes That Provide All-Day Comfort and Last for Years

Lake cycling shoes carbon soles for wide feetThe carbon soles still look good after 4 years of abuse.

My Lake shoes all needed a brief break-in period. While the sole is wide enough to fully support my foot (yay) the toe box has significantly less volume than my old Shimanos. When brand new, it presses down on my toenails. But thankfully, after a week of riding, the upper loosens up, and I get a glorious, race-worthy fit — snug, but comfortable. 

With Lake, I finally found a shoe that felt like it disappeared while I was pedaling. If your shoes don’t do that, then you should fix them. 

The carbon soles of the CX 238 and MX 238 are fantastically stiff and perfect for racing and high-watt efforts. While they are not as stiff as Lake’s own Race last, or other top-end options like Specialized S-Works or Shimano S-Phyre carbon soles, I highly doubt any rider can actually feel the difference on the bike. For me, mid-range shoes like these are the perfect option for serious riders who care about performance and value.  

Lake MX 237 and CX 238 best cycling shoes for wide feetThe leather uppers have a lot of life left.

With premium full-grain water-resistant leather uppers, the shoes have held up to a lot of abuse. I don’t pamper them. I throw them around, walk in them carelessly, and rarely clean them. There are a few scuffs here and there, but I feel can easily get another 4-5 years out of them. To me, this sort of durability, plus the comfort, completely justifies the cost. 

Lake CX 238 Wide review best for wide feetSo fresh...

I actually like my Lakes so much, a few months ago I decided to get a second pair of each model, for no reason other than to have more color options for my cycling wardrobe. Yes, I’m vain, so it’s a good thing that Lake makes many of its shoes in super hot colors. This time, I decided to go with the CX238 and new MX 238 Gravel in classic white.

Lake MX 238 gravel review best shoes for wide feetLooking forward to years of abuse and thousands of comfy miles.

Lake is now the brand I recommend to anyone asking for wide cycling shoes. Me and my wide feet are happy. If you have wide feet, you should be happy too. 

TPC currently doesn't carry Lake Cycling shoes, but I hope we do someday. For now, you can order shoes directly from Lake's website