June 11, 2014
The Right Shoes for Cycling
If you were planning to start jogging or hiking, you’d probably put some thought into what to put on your feet. It might not seem as critical for cycling, but the right shoes can make a big difference in your comfort and performance, especially if you’re gonna be commuting several miles or more everyday.
Shoes made specifically for cycling have stiff soles. That added foot support really helps prevents arch fatigue and cramping. Shoes that don’t bend also deliver more of your muscle power into cranking the pedals.
Photo Credit: Matt Haughey via Flickr
Serious cycling shoes come with cleats on the bottom. You’ve probably seen spandex-clad road warriors clomping awkwardly into a coffee shop wearing these. The “clipless” shoe-pedal system (so-called because it supplanted the old fashioned toe clip) clamps your feet to the pedals so that your leg muscles can power through the entire pedal stroke. It makes uphill climbs feel a lot easier.
Cycling specific shoes have some downsides, though. They are spendy. It’s hard to find a pair for under $100, and many cost closer to $200. There’s a learning curve to overcome when it comes to popping your feet out of the pedal clamps when you come to a stop. It’s easy at first to forget you’re clamped in and then topple like a felled tree. It can also be a hassle having to change shoes when you get to your destination, or else walk around sounding like a steel-shod horse.
Photo Credit: Mike Prior/Rupert Fowler via Cycling Active
For my daily commute and casual riding, I’ve found that a well-chosen pair of street shoes works best. My go-to shoes are a pair of slip-on boots. The soles are stiff enough. They are water resistant. They don’t have laces to get snarled in my bike chain. For pedals, you can compromise with a set that has cleats for cycling shoes on one side, and platforms for streetshoes on the other, for example, Shimano’s dual platform pedals.
What cycling footwear solutions have you come up with?