Do you need cycling shoes? Although it is perfectly possible to ride a bike wearing regular trainers, if you want to go faster or be more comfortable on a bike, cycling shoes are essential. Cycling shoes are designed to make the best use of the power you generate through your legs, so that all the effort that you expend is transferred directly into moving the bike forwards.
To maximize the work of your pedal stroke, you need to use clipless pedals and shoes. Clipless pedals connect directly to the pedals, with no cages or straps, so not only is pedalling efficiently maximised, but weight is also reduced.
You will find two main types of cycling shoes – road and off road. Road shoes are designed for just one thing – biking – so walking even short distances is not recommended, or comfortable! Off road shoes have soles that are better for walking, so if you need to get off the bike and walk for a bit you will find it more comfortable. The features that all these shoes share include:
• Stiff soles: Stiff soles serve two purposes. Firstly they protect your feet from the hard pedals, and secondly they make sure that no energy is lost, maximizing the transfer of power to the pedals.
• Snug fit: Bike shoes need to fit well so that your feet don't move around in the shoes while you're pedalling – this can also cause a loss of power.
• Minimal Cushioning: Shoes need to be firm so that the movement doesn’t interfere with pedalling.
• Lightweight: To minimize overall weight
• Well ventilated uppers: To keep your feet cool and dry
• Special fixing points: These allow the use of specialised cleats that attach to the pedals.