Whether you take cycling as a passionate outdoor sport or an exercise routine, consider buying the right apparel and gear. They not only look cool and make you more comfortable but also improve your overall performance. Cycling shoes are undoubtedly one of the most important gears after clothing apparel and helmet.
Even though your feet hardly touch the ground and stays on the pedal most of the time, the kind of shoes you wear while riding makes a lot of difference. They come with special features like rigid soles, cleats, clips, and breathable uppers to fuel up your workout or race.
If you haven’t tried on the cycling shoes before then you may find it hard to adjust initially, but over time your feet will be more relaxed and comfortable. It doesn’t matter whether you cycle as a daily routine or only on weekends, the right cycling shoes can protect your feet and ensure a more comfortable experience.
#1. Transfer of energy
When compared to the running shoes, their cycling counterparts tend to have much stiffer soles. Thus, the power generated by your leg muscles are utilized more efficiently to push the pedals. Less energy is lost while transferring the energy as it does not get absorbed by cushions in the soles. Besides making it much easier to pedal, the stiffer soles also provide more protection. When compared to regular shoes, they cause less muscle cramping and fatigue.
#2. Enhanced comfort
The soles of cycling shoes are made of stiff materials, but the upper part comprises of breathable mesh with well-designed ventilation. They allow proper air circulation within the shoes making it more comfortable for the rider. Additional features like toe cushions and arch protection ensure that your feet stay snug and comfortable inside.
#3. Clipping advantage
One of the biggest benefits of clipping is that your feet stay more comfortable. For example, people with larger feet find it difficult to place the balls of their feet at the center of the pedal for optimal positioning. Hence, they ultimately end up pedaling with their toes, which is not comfortable.
Those with smaller feet usually end up keeping their feet into the cage which goes over the pedals. This means their feet arches are placed over the midsection of the pedals. This is again not comfortable for feet. With clipping, you can avoid both these uncomfortable situations.
#4. No Slipping
The running shoes are designed in a way to put emphasis on the ‘push’ factor and less on the ‘pull’. This exerts a lot of pressure on your quadriceps. When you wear cycling shoes that are SPD compatible, it enables you to easily clip it on the clipless-pedals, which are also known as SPD pedals. This creates no slipping motion while pushing the pedals down.
As the cycling shoes perfectly fit the contours of your feet, there’s no room for side to side movement. This also helps in eliminating the risk of your feet slipping while pedaling. Thus, proper fit and no slipping is also one of the biggest advantages of wearing the cycling shoes.
#5. High Quality Workmanship
The cycling shoes are made of durable materials to make them able to take a lot of beating in outdoor weather and in case of an accident. The workmanship is of high quality and as you go up towards the high-end models they tend to get better. The upper body is typically made from high-quality leather and breathable mesh material.
#6. Better Alignment
If you wear sneakers or other types of shoes while riding a bicycle, you will find it difficult to keep your feet on the right position. A well-made pair of cycling shoes helps keep your feet locked in the place or ‘clipped in’ as that they don’t slip around and you are able to concentrate on the road. It means that you legs are better aligned to prevent any type of knee, hip, or ankle injuries.
#7. Building muscles
When you wear cycling shoes while riding, it helps in targeting the right places to build lean muscles. As your feet stays in place with the clips, stress is lifted from other parts of the body such as shoulders and hip flexors. This greatly improves the quality of your indoor workout and helps you build muscles.
#8. Boost efficiency levels
As you build and strengthen your leg muscles, the cycling shoes enable you to perform a lifting action to pull up the pedals and then push downwards. With this you get a significant boost in energy levels and this increases efficiency. This also means that less energy is wasted in inefficient movements and you deliver a better performance.
#9. Prevents accidents
Some people feel it’s unnecessary to wear a special footwear for cycling and they look at it as a needless expenditure, until they run into problems. The primary objective of wearing these specially designed shoes is to provide protection and prevent any type of injury resulting from minor accidents. When your feet are well protected with proper fitting shoes, there will be less injuries in case of a clash or crash.
#10. Feet stay dry even after long hours
As mentioned earlier, good quality cycling shoes (see Amazon) are made of breathable materials. Hence, you can wear them while cycling outdoors or indoors for longer hours without feeling uncomfortable. With proper air circulation, your feet don’t get sweaty. They stay dry and happy, resulting in an enjoyable cycling experience.
#11. Multi-purpose use
The cycling shoes are multi-functional, hence they can be used both by professional cyclists as well as the casual riders. These shoes may also go with your gym attire and perform well when using the indoor gym equipment. So, you can see that there are many uses of the footwear so that investment is worthwhile.
#12. Durable and long-lasting
The cycling shoes have stiffer soles and they are made from high-quality materials. As a result, these shoes last really longer to give you better service and good value for money. The shoes may come with different types of enclosures and fasteners in the form of Velcro, laces, or buckles to give more firmness and durability. You get a good value for money as they don’t wear out so soon.
#13. Safety in all weather conditions
Cycling tends to be hard in rainy and snowy weather when the shoes slip due to moisture, making it difficult for you to pursue your fitness goals or passions. With the right cycling shoes, weather conditions (unless they are very severe) will not stop you from riding on the wet roads. As these shoes are specially designed for better grip and angle, you are able to cycle in safety.
#14. Better control
When you are riding on a road filled with obstructions and hazards, the cycling shoes play an important role in providing better control. As your shoes stay clipped on the pedal, it’s easier to avoid any hazard by shifting the cycle quickly when you suddenly see an obstacle.
#15. Adds more power to practice
If you are preparing for an upcoming racing event or a mountain biking trip, it’s important to practice hard to push yourself towards your goals. With cycling shoes, you can find more power and dedication to exceed your limits and deliver a better performance.
#16. Advanced and unique features
Cycling is an old sport but the footwear manufacturers are always trying to come up with new and revolutionary features to give you better control and improve your performance. While the existing and new brands compete to be the number one, the customers benefit with newer features and better comfort at affordable prices.
#17. Avoid blisters and other hot spots
Wearing a comfortable and properly fitting footwear keeps your feet well-protected from external accidents but also from inner injuries. It saves you from hot spots, rashes, and blisters that may otherwise develop if you go cycling for an extended period wearing regular shoes.
#18. They come in different price ranges
You don’t necessarily need to buy the top of the line footwear to experience the benefits of wearing cycling shoes. Expensive does not translate to best in quality, although they do exhibit better workmanship. Even the entry-level cycling shoes are designed to do a better job than the regular footwear at helping your feet stay on the pedals.
Things To Look For In Different Types Of Cycling Shoes
Now, that you know why wearing cycling shoes are so beneficial, you may want to get your perfect pair soon. However, don’t rush into ordering one because the ‘perfect shoe’ may be different for different individuals and this depends on the type of cycling you wish to do. For example, there are road cycling, mountain biking, casual cycling and so on. Let’s look at the special features required in each of them:
Road Cycling Shoes
This is a common type of cycling most people do to commute and stay fit. There may also be professionals practicing for races conducted on the road routes. Look for shoes with lightweight construction, good breathability with vents, and smoother yet stiff outsoles. The stiffness of outsoles should be able to transfer more power to the pedals to enable you to give your best performance.
The road cycling shoes (see Amazon) may also have clipless pedals at the place of the cleats to securely attach to the pedals. This unique feature provides more efficiency when transferring power from the legs to the pedals. It also helps in improving the performance.
Please bear in mind that these shoes are not good for walking for extended lengths because of their inflexibility and lack of traction on the road. They may cause discomfort to you. They also have cleats on the soles that make noise like tap shoes while walking.
Mountain Biking Shoes
The mountain bikers can choose between two different styles – clipless or flat styles. It’s important to choose the right style depending upon the type of cycling you do. Do you spend a lot of time off the cycle? Do you like taking the rough and challenging terrains? Considering these factors can help you narrow down the choices.
The clipless mountain bike shoes typically use a 2-bolt cleat system. Unlike the road cycling shoes, these footwear are mainly recessed into the soles, which make it harder for them to walk on the trails. They are more suitable for non-technical riding, cross-country races, or long-distance biking.
Flat or platform biking shoes come with a wider platform pedal without any cleats. They have rubber outer soles that provide a good grip and better traction, enabling the soles to stick to the pedals. As the shoes are not clipped in or out, it is easier to get on or off the bike. They are well suited for technical riding, trail riding, and casual riding.
In the high-end biking shoes, you can find additional features such as lighter weight, stiffer soles, advanced ankle/ foot protection, hook-and-loop straps, waterproof liners, removable toe spikes, buckle-and-ratchet strap for better fit and security.
Casual Cycling Shoes
Cycling doesn’t have to be an aggressive sport or challenge. Some people enjoy recreational or casual cycle rides. For this purpose, we would suggest that you look for shoes that are a cross between casual footwear and cycling footwear. The recreational biking shoes may come with recessed cleats and rubberized outsoles to help you walk with ease.
While the casual cycling shoes may not have a stiffer sole as the mountain biking shoes, they definitely help in transferring the power to the pedals. These shoes also use a two-hole cleat system or they feature a flat style with no cleats at all.
Important Tips To Ensure A Proper Fit
It goes without saying that cycling shoes should properly fit your feet, and to know more in detail, we suggest that you read our post – how cycling shoes should fit. Here are a few important points that you should not miss out when looking for the right pair:
Don’t get a small size shoe hoping that they will stretch and fit perfect eventually. Look for shoes that comfortably fit from the beginning because if they do not then the stiffer soles do not leave any chance to break-in.
These shoes should snugly fit your feet without leaving any room at the sides. However, there should be a one-toe space at the front to allow your toes to wiggle comfortably.
Make sure that the arch of your feet is held snugly and well-supported by the interior of the shoe. The heel should not slide up and down or you will have a hard time exerting force on the pedals.
If you want optimum efficiency and maximum pedal power, we suggest that you look for shoes with the lightest weight and stiffest soles. Look for shoes made from carbon fiber as they reduce weight significantly and increase sole rigidity.
People who get on and off the cycle several times when commuting or touring may want to look for shoes with a two-cleat system. The city cycling shoes make it easier to walk with the footwear on.
How to take care of your cycling shoes?
These footwear are prone to getting dirty and covered with mud, especially if you go mountain biking or exploring the muddy trails. To keep them clean, wipe with an old rag or towel when soiled. If there’s stubborn dirt or stains, use a soft brush along with warm water and liquid dishwashing soap for cleaning.
What’s the best way to dry your biking shoes?
We have always been in situations when our shoes get wet due to a sudden shower or a pool of water on the road. When you get back home, make sure you dry them well to add more years to your footwear. Use a soft towel to soak up as much water as you can and then remove the footbeds to dry them separately. An efficient way to dry is to use a boot dryer that blows warm and gentle dry air. Another alternative is to pack wet shoes in newspaper and let them sit overnight to remove as much moisture as possible.
When do you know it’s time to replace the cleats?
You must check the shoes regularly following the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that the cleats are fine. If the cleats become hard to release or they release with very little effort then maybe it’s time to change them. Also, if you notice any issues with clipping that seem to be unusual then you may need to replace them.
How long do the cycling shoes usually last?
Today’s footwear comes a wide range of materials, technology, and style, so their lifespan also varies accordingly. While these shoes are built to last for long, a few signs may indicate that it’s time to get a new one. When there are prominent wear-and-tears at the contact points at the bottom of the shoes, damages under sole, or when the laces or straps don’t work, start looking for a new pair.