Using cycling-specific shoes can reduce weight, improve closing mechanisms, provide a greater connection to the bike, and improve overall performance. The difference between cycling shoes and sneakers is their greater rigidity and stiff soles, enhanced ventilation, and connection points for you to attach them to your pedals, as well as their onboard adjustment mechanisms.
Getting the perfect shoes is not a cakewalk; you need to understand the primary difference between the several types of shoes before thinking about anything. Regardless of your preferred discipline, this guide will help you understand the different types of cycling shoes and make an informed choice.
Choosing A Cycling Shoe That’s Right For You
Even though cycling shoes are all connected to the pedals somehow, they have different features based on the discipline they are used for. Here are the different types of shoes for you! With various pedal, cleat, and shoe combinations, you can cross over in different kinds of cycling, but choosing the right option for each will improve performance, comfort, and functionality.
Road shoes need to prioritise performance factors, such as stiffness, weight, and cleat/pedal engagement. Mountain and urban shoes are often unclipped, have shallow shoe engagement (how well the shoes grip the pedals). It is common for road cyclists to rarely walk in their shoes as the cleats are external, whereas the recessed cleats provide some grip, and there is also some tread or rubber on the heel. Furthermore, road shoes are lightweight, have good ventilation, come in a wide variety of closures, and have aerodynamic qualities.
Even though walking and dismounting are more frequent than when riding on a road, mountain bike shoes typically feature recessed cleats, more tread, and lugged soles. Off-road riding often causes mud and debris to accumulate, so the mountain bike cleat sheds them instead. Having a stiff and light sole is essential, but not as much as with a road shoe, as mountain bike shoes need to be much more versatile, considering how they will be used when walking, clearing fragments, and how easily clipped into and out of. In addition to various closing mechanisms, mountain bike shoes frequently form an upper cap to prevent water from getting into the shoe and protect the toes from remnants and obstacles.
In triathlon shoes, stiff soles, lightweight construction, and a high level of pedal engagement are factors that maximise performance. There is some difference in the types of shoes. Shoes that provide easy entry and exit for triathletes are necessary. To ensure quick transitions, most triathlon shoes feature a simple velcro closure. The heels are equipped with main loops to allow triathletes to pull their feet inside the shoes easily. Since triathlon is a summer sport, it is essential to keep the body adequately ventilated when the feet become wet from the swim leg.
People will walk more in urban shoes because they have recessed cleats, more tread, and lugged outsoles, as they will be walking a lot more. Walking is also easier with more flexibility in the foot sole, so these shoes will often resemble urban or leisure walking shoes.
While you can cycle in just about any type of footwear, you’ll benefit more from cycling-specific shoes on regular rides. Bicycling shoes feature stiffer soles than running or jogging shoes, which transfer energy efficiently. Additionally, riding in flip-flops or sandals might put you at risk of a crash because your boots will likely slip off the pedals. Thus, you need to know the type of shoes from the points mentioned above.