Ambitious mountain bikers, road cyclists and bike tourists take the connection between foot and pedal very seriously. Specific shoes for road or off-road use in combination with clipless pedals guarantee a great interface between rider and bike. In general, the
more race-oriented a shoe is, the stiffer and lighter it'll be. Models more suitable for walking in usually offer less-efficient power transfer and are heavier. For bikers less fond of clipping in, there are grippy mountain bike shoes available that provide the right balance of power transmission, grip and freedom of movement.
For better safety and efficiency on the road, many riders should consider cycling shoes. Bike shoes feature stiffer soles than conventional sports shoes – significantly improving the power transmission to the pedal and offering greater comfort over long distances. This makes them a worthwhile purchase already for riders who enjoy longer bike tours and for performance-oriented athletes.
Another benefit of cycling shoes are clipless pedal and shoe systems. These attach your foot to the pedal and create a firm bond between you and your bike. This prevents your feet from slipping and reduces the risk of injuries. In terms of efficiency enhancing characteristics, these systems enhance control and ‘round kick’ on the pedals and generate up to 20% more tread energy during the backward movement of the crank.
The fit of bicycle shoes
Bicycle shoes should, above all, fit perfectly and allow no slipping on the heel. Your toes don’t need as much clearance as they normally would in running shoes. High-quality cycling shoes are often equipped with special ratchet systems to achieve the best possible fit around your foot.
Cycling shoes: The ideal footwear for every type of ride
Cycling shoes: their contribution is often underestimated! There are suitable models for all types of cycling – and for a good reason. Cycling shoes protect the feet from damp and cold, bumps and abrasions. Their specially designed soles ensure that you don’t slip off the pedals. They need to be comfortable, not only on the bike, but also on occasions when you may have to push your bike. To make it easy for you to quickly find your perfect new bike shoes we’ve split our men’s and women’s cycling shoes into the following types of categories:
Touring and city shoes
Cycling shoes for mountain bikes
MTB-specific shoes comes in two types: SPD-compatible shoes and flat pedal shoes.
SPD stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics; the 2-hole cleat and pedal design which form the fixed connection between the bike shoe and the pedal. For bicycle shoes with this clipless system, the tension force can be individually adjusted to make it more difficult or easier to clip in and out. Bike shoes with this clipless system are also quite comfortable for walking and running in – because the cleat is recessed into the sole.
However, in downhill or freeride riding for example, it may be important that you’re able to quickly put your foot onto the ground. The firm connection created by an SPD shoe would prevent this; likely causing you to fall. In these disciplines, flat pedal shoes may be a better choice. These come with protective and comfort-enhancing features such as toe cap reinforcement, ankle protection, inner sole reinforcement and heel cushioning.
Cycling shoes for road bikes
Unsurprisingly, cycling shoes for road riding are designed differently to MTB bike shoes. The materials used – such as fiberglass and carbon – point to the specialisation of these bicycle shoes.
Clipless models usually feature a 3-hole design which connects the cleat and pedal. Popular versions include Shimano’s SPD-SL and Look system designs. Bike shoes with a form of this clipless system are trickier to walk and run in – as their cleat isn’t recessed and protrudes out from the shoe.
Other special features include non-slip inserts to prevent your feet slipping forward and to keep your toes straight. All models are typically anatomically preformed to offer a perfect fit and Velcro fasteners ensure a firm hold on your foot within the shoe. Road bike upper materials usually consist of skin-friendly, breathable and water-repellent synthetic fibers.