Cycling Shoes Buyer’s Guide



Taking a Closer Look at Cycling Footwear

The beauty of cycling is it can be undertaken pretty much anywhere, and with pretty basic kit. However, the type of cycling you intend to do can certainly have a bearing on which accessories are necessary, and shoes are typically the first point of call.

Selecting the right footwear is ultimately the instrument with which you can be begin moving on the bike, and while conventional shoes like trainers will suffice for casual riding, you’ll find your feet will slip off the pedals more often than not.




If you aren’t familiar with cycling-specific shoes and the correct terminology, it can be slightly confusing at first. To elaborate, “Clips” refer to pedals with cages, baskets or toe clips. With this particular style of pedal, riders wear regular shoes and place their toes in and out of metal or plastic fixtures to prevent excessive movement. Conversely, “Clipless pedals” refer to clip-in pedals, which for beginners or first time buyers can be somewhat baffling. Be sure to check which shoes are compatible with the pedals on your bike before investing.

However, with those principles covered, lets take a look at when clip-in cycling shoes may be necessary.


Who Wears What?

Nearly all disciplines on cycling bar road cyclists will wear flat shoes. This isn’t to say there aren’t road cycling-specific flat shoes on the market – many brands such as Giro and Specialized have lightweight footwear with lots of grip and traction to maximise the power transfer from your legs to the pedal.


Mountain Biking

There is also an exception for some models of mountain biking shoes, with some featuring a similar clip-in system to road cycling shoes.




The way that mountain bike shoes cycle shoes clip into the pedals is pretty similar but you may see a prevalence of two point connecting systems in the mountain bike world, while they are made out of more durable material and feature flexible soles to deal with tough terrain and slower speeds.

However, most mountain bikers will stick with flat platforms in case they need to stick a leg out to the side and stabilise.


Road Cycling

Road cyclists usually clip in to maximise efficiency when cycling – they allow riders pull up and push down on the pedals when spinning. This massively helps on climbs and sprints, and is even said to balance out your muscle tone in the legs.


They may take a bit of getting used to at first, but the fundamental movement for engaging and detaching is as follows; clip in with your toe first, and unclip by swinging your heel out and away from the bike.

They are not very walking-friendly, so if you are planning on stopping off for a mid-ride refreshment or a walk, consider packing a spare pair of flat shoes or opt for simpler mountain biking shoes where the cleats are recessed into the sole.









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