It can be hard to choose the right shoes for biking, no matter if you’re a veteran rider or just getting into cycling. Just like with bikes, there are several different kinds of cycling shoes to choose from, all with a wide variety of features, technologies, and price points. We’ll cover everything you need to know to make the right choice for your feet, including the benefits of using cycling shoes, how to use clip-in cycling shoes, what sort of pedals you’ll need, and how to take care of your new kicks.
What are cycling shoes?
Cycling shoes are pretty much any shoes you wear to pedal your bike. Nearly everyone starts off riding in their sneakers, but if you find yourself heading out for longer rides or training for events, you’ll want to look into shoes designed just for cycling.
Cycling-specific shoes will help you stay more comfortable and perform your best on the bike. There are two main types of cycling shoes: flat-pedal shoes, which have flat bottoms like sneakers but also have some cycling specific features; and clip-in shoes (also known as clipless shoes) that clip directly into your pedals. There are many different styles of flat-soled and clipless shoes for different types of riding, including road riding, mountain biking, and spinning.
There are many benefits of cycling shoes, but in general they will keep you more comfortable and help you ride better than non-cycling shoes like running or training shoes. This goes for both flat-pedal shoes as well as clip-in shoes.
Better power transfer, less wasted effort
Power transfer is the amount of energy your legs produce that is actually transferred into your pedal strokes and turned into forward motion. Cycling shoes have stiffer soles than cushy athletic shoes, making them better able to move power from your legs to your bike, which saves you effort and fatigue.
It may seem counterintuitive, but a good amount of stiffness in your cycling shoes offers better support for your feet on longer rides—especially when paired with proper insoles. Shoes that are too flexible become uncomfortable on long rides, as your feet wrap and flex around your pedals creating painful hot spots and wasting energy.
Whether you opt for platform pedals, clipless pedals, or platforms with toe clips, having the right shoes will help you maintain better contact and connection with your pedals for a confident, fun, and more comfortable ride.
The resources below will help you confidently pick out a pair of cycling shoes so you can start enjoying the really fun stuff—riding your bike! If you’re still not finding the information you need, stop by your local Trek store for in-person expertise.