Cycling shoes have become so popular that you’ll see plenty of cyclists at the gym, on the bike path, and the road wearing them, but what are they?
Cycling shoes are cycling-specific shoes that are designed to help you ride your bike in comfort and style. They’re often made of high-quality materials and include features such as extra foot protection and stiff soles that provide better pedaling power.
Although it is clear that proper footwear is needed to run, in disciplines where the feet are not the protagonists, we tend to downplay it. However, if I want to practice cycling, my feet must rest correctly on the pedals and push them easily. So, do I need cycling shoes?
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What Are Cycling Shoes?
Cycling shoes are designed to fit your foot snugly to maximize power transfer from your legs to the pedals, and they often come with other performance-enhancing features such as stiffer soles and retractable cleats.
Beginners in cycling are often apprehensive about using road cycling shoes and car pedals because having the pedal attached to the shoe is disconcerting at first!
The right shoe can make a difference in how comfortable you feel while riding, so you may want to spend some time reading reviews and testing out shoes in-store before making your final decision.
Some of these women’s cycling shoes are designed with extra cushioning that can help you pedal comfortably on long rides.
If you prefer a barefoot feeling, there are models that offer minimal padding and protection. The materials used in the construction of a women’s cycling shoe will also vary depending on its style.
There are Two Main Types of Cycling Shoes
- The ROUTE model with plastic or carbon compound wedges that hold with three screws and are not intended for walking.
- The MTB model (SPD) with metal wedges (it must be solid to face stones and tensions). They hold with two screws. It is possible to walk with it because the chocks are smaller. And on mountain bikes, it is often necessary to walk to overcome obstacles.
You must check that the road cycling shoes you want are compatible with the automatic pedals model installed on your bike.
Indeed, road cleats are not compatible with MTB pedals and vice versa. Likewise, cleats from the manufacturers’ Giro will not be compatible with Shimano pedals, each brand having its system.
Do I Need Cycling Shoes?
Cycling shoes are an important part of every cyclist’s kit and should be worn when riding with clipless pedals.
When you get the right pair of cycling shoes, they can transform your cycling experience by helping you pedal more efficiently, making it easier to maintain proper posture, and most importantly, prevent injury and soreness.
With the right pair of cycling shoes, you can ride longer distances more comfortably, lead more enjoyable rides, improve your performance, and extend your cycling career.
Below are some of the reasons why you need cycling shoes when you hit the road on two wheels.
The reality is that although you can ride a bicycle with any footwear. If you are looking to become a good cyclist, the idea is to look for suitable shoes. These shoes tend to improve your performance and provide comfort and safety while pedaling.
Cycling shoes need to have a good grip on the foot. They also have to adhere very well to the pedals, so many have a hook to connect them easily.
In addition, the soles are often more rigid. They generally do not have laces or have a system or protection. So they do not catch on the pedals or impede pedaling.
On the other hand, specific shoes are depending on the type of activity you do. If you practice road cycling, your footwear must have a flatter. They need a more rigid sole than mountain bikes. And the specific shoes for triathlon prioritize the closure above all to reduce speed. And gain security with it.
It is best to have a specific pair of shoes to pedal efficiently and safely for all these reasons. If you can and want to dedicate yourself to cycling, a good pair will help you a lot!
How to Choose The Right Cycling Shoe?
Cycling can be a fun and rewarding way to exercise while getting some fresh air, but it’s important to choose the right pair of shoes before you get started. Cycling shoes have features that traditional running shoes don’t offer, like stiff soles and recessed cleats designed to make pedaling more efficient and comfortable.
There is a large variety of shoes according to the style you prefer. Choosing the right pair of cycling shoes can be tricky, so here are some tips on how to choose the right cycling shoe for you.
Mountain Bike Shoes
Mountain bike riders need sturdy shoes with stiff soles.
- The mountain bike shoes have a top made of a material resistant to mud and rain. They also have the function of protecting the foot from stones and roots.
- The very nature of this discipline also involves walking a lot. You need to carry the bike through the most difficult terrain or simply to maintain balance. Shoes must, therefore, meet these needs. And for this, the rubber sole and studs are essential. The part of the sole that hooks onto the pedals is recessed inside the sole to facilitate walking.
- Mountain bike shoes differ according to the intended use. Those for cross country or marathons, for example, are more rigid than the shoes used in Enduro.
- The mountain bike shoes are available with both soles compatible with quick-release pedals and flat pedals.
- Downhill shoes are a type of mountain bike shoe, but more robust and flexible.
- They are focused on stability and safety, as well as on grip.
- The top is made of a durable material that protects against weather, stones, and debris.
- They are available with both soles compatible with quick-release pedals and flat pedals.
Racing Bike Shoes
- This type of shoe is very light and extremely rigid for maximum power and efficiency.
- The sole of these shoes has studs. And it doesn’t have much grip as you generally don’t tend to walk in these shoes. The pressure exerted by the foot is evenly distributed. This allows transforming the thrust of the legs into energy for pedaling optimally.
- Some types of running shoes can be molded with heat. They allow themselves to adapt to the personal shape of your foot by reducing the pressure zones.
Trekking and City Bike Shoes
- These shoes have a stiffer sole than normal shoes. But they are more comfortable for walking compared to all other cycling shoes.
- They are very similar to normal sneakers with the addition of a reinforced toe and a stable rubber sole.
- Most of these shoes are compatible with quick-release pedals. And the attachment system is located inside the sole for easier walking.
- They are highly recommended for spinning classes in the gym.
- You can also use shoes for trekking or city bikes, but not for racing bikes. Because they have a quick-release system that is not compatible with the pedals of spinning bikes.
- Mountain bike shoes are stiffer than those for trekking/city bikes. But at the same time, they are harder and, therefore, more uncomfortable to walk on. We, therefore, recommend that you use the shoes you feel most comfortable with.
Insoles – Comfort and Stability
Wearing insoles inside your cycling shoes improves pedaling and reduces the risk of injury.
Each pedal stroke increases the tension on the instep. This can cause damage in the long run. Pressure also tends to build upon the knees and pelvis, increasing the likelihood of getting hurt. In this regard, the insoles help support and stabilize the foot.
Wearing specific cycling shoes facilitates walking and increases the efficiency of performance; at a competitive level and an amateur level. And that is what we are trying to tell you. So, next time someone wonders, do I need cycling shoes; you say ‘YES.’
Besides, make sure you take your time when choosing a pair of cycling shoes. They’re not something you want to purchase based on a whim or in a hurry.
With that said, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to selecting the right pair. Comfort is really important here—so if you find a shoe that fits well and feels good, go with it! And make sure you try them on inside with your cycling socks. Happy cycling!