Cycling: Are You Wearing the Right Shoes?
You can ride a bike wearing any shoes, but if you regularly ride a bike, you can benefit from shoes that are designed specifically for bicycling. Bike shoes, in comparison to typical athletic shoes, have stiffer soles to provide more efficient energy transfer when pedaling.
Regular Pedals and Clipless Pedals
There are basic cycling shoes that are made for regular, flat pedals. There are also some shoes with more features for use with clipless pedals. Clipless pedals are more popular with experienced mountain and road bikers because they lock onto the clipless shoes, providing great pedaling efficiency as well as fast and easy pedal entry/exit.
Flat-pedal shoes are great if you are walking and stopping frequently, like when you are on a tour. They are also a great choice for downhillers who need to take their feet off and get them back on quickly. Clipless cycling shoes, on the other hand, are more efficient because you can apply power through more of the pedal stroke. The stiffer soles eliminate foot flex, having more energy transferred to the pedals. The soles are also lighter for comfort especially on long rides.
Road Bike Shoes
All road bike shoes provide lightweight construction, good ventilation and smooth outsoles. They can be distinguished by their stiff soles that are used for power transfer to your pedals. These road bike shoes are not meant for extended walking since they lack traction on the sole and the ability to flex.
Mountain Bike Shoes
This type of cycling shoes has a fairly stiff sole for efficient pedaling and it also has a rubber-lug outsole and enough flex to allow good traction for walking on rugged or slick trails. Mountain bike shoes have cleats that are typically recessed into the soles – this makes walking easier. This type of shoes is a more popular choice for casual road biking, touring as well as indoor cycling classes. Some shoes have removable toe spikes for traction in loose or soft ground conditions. Some mountain bike shoes have flat soles and these styles are meant for use with platform pedals since they can’t accept cleats.
City Bike Shoes
This type of cycling shoes is the best choice for urban, recreational, and indoor cycling. This is a hybrid between cycling and casual footwear. City bike shoes have rubber outsoles and recessed cleats that allow easy walking.
Whatever type of cycling shoes you choose, make sure that they fit perfectly. You don’t want to have a pair that’s too loose or too tight