I, like many people I'm sure, used to ride with sneakers. I got my first pair of bike shoes, Northwave Rockers, a couple of years ago. Northwave, because I had read that they seem to be a bit wider than lots of other brands of bike shoes, and Rocker because it was their cheapest. INFINITELY better than riding in sneakers. Then I graduated into the Northwave Missions. Northwave because I was thrilled with the fit and comfort that indeed did fit my somewhat wide feet like a glove, and Mission because it was literally, their next step up their ladder. I couldn't be more satisfied. They are definitely a "beefier" shoe... more protection on the uppers although nicely ventilated as well, nice stiff soles that really grip well with the Vibram material, and walkability off of the bike. Although I don't use cleats (I use PowerGrips straps), I understand that the cleats are recessed more than most, so you don't end up "skating" on hard surfaces. To find them at this price is wonderful. I know bike shoes are quite subjective, but both myself and my wife are really thrilled with the Mission.
Make sure you use the Northwave sizing chart, which is a bit different than many (including Shimano) riding shoes. Northwave just sizes a bit differently it seems. I normally wear anywhere between an 8 1/2 and 9, depending on the width. The 42 works out perfectly for me in Northwave shoes.