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.
Updated on February 28, 2015, almost one year later...
After riding with the Missions for a few more months, I switched over to clipless pedals and still could't be happier. The clips recess nicely into the sole so you don't end up scratching your friend's new hardwood floor with your cleats. Still a great entry shoe and even though it's not a current model, Northwave normally does have a comparable model. I'm sold on theIr comfort. I don't know if they're technically as good as the higher end models, and I'm guessing they're not, but they are still, in my opinion, a great pari of entry shoesl