Round up: Shoes

Cyclescheme, 24.03.2014

Round up: Shoes

Normal shoes are designed for walking, not pedalling. Cycling shoes don't have to look like space-age slippers, though.

It is, of course, entirely possible to ride a bike in any kind of shoe (although those Manolo Blahnik slingbacks might not be ideal). But shoes made specifically for cycling have a number of advantages. They're usually stiffer than normal a shoe, which is more comfortable and efficient for pedalling, and will either be grippy underneath to avoid slippage or be compatible with clipless pedal systems.

Walkability

Pure cycling shoes aren't designed to walk in – they're very stiff and there's only vestigial tread underneath, so getting around on foot is more akin to hobbling and slipping. If you've got a long commute and/or like to go fast, this might not be a problem (especially if you can store your bike very close to your workplace) but for most purposes a shoe that gives at least a nod towards walking is a good idea. There are lots of shoes available that look like trainers or lightweight hiking shoes while still having the pedalling performance you're looking for.

Flat or clipless?

There are two kinds of pedals in common use. Flat, or platform, pedals are just that – a platform that you rest your feet on. Usually there are pins or serrations on the pedal surface to stop your feet slipping around, but a shoe with a flat, grippy rubber sole helps a lot.

Flats are great for just hopping on and off, but if your commute is longer or faster (or if you're already a keen cyclist) then you might want to opt for “clipless” pedals. They're called that because they replaced the toeclips that used to be used to hold feet in place on the pedals. Instead there's a sprung mechanism in the pedal that engages with a cleat attached to the shoe. Shoes need to be designed specifically for this purpose. There are several types of clipless pedal, but in general those designed for off-road use low-profile cleats with two bolts and road systems use more prominent plastic cleats with three bolts. The off-road type have the advantage that the cleat can be recessed into the sole of the shoe so as not to impede walking.

Fit and fastening

High-end race shoes tend to feature an array of exotic fastening solutions, including ratchet straps and dials that tension a monofilament line. Less expensive shoes usually rely on Velcro straps, and the majority of “everyday” shoes have traditional laces. These are often supplemented by a Velcro strap, although that doesn't always contribute much to keeping the shoe on – in some cases it's mainly there to keep the ends of the laces out of the way of the chainset. If there isn't a strap, you'll need some way of keeping laces clear of whirly bits – the end of a shoelace in the chain is a good way to come to an abrupt halt.

You can find a fantastic selection of cycling shoes from all of our Partner Stores - below we have listed some of our favourites:

Endura Deluge Zipless Overshoes

Endura Deluge Zipless Overshoes

Waterproof shoes are available, but they're expensive. Neoprene overshoes like the Deluge go over your cycling shoes and keep the worst of the elements off, keeping your feet warm even if there's rain and puddles. Most overshoes are designed to fit over slim road-style shoes – seek out bigger ones if you're using chunkier shoes.
www.endurasport.com

€32.99

Five Ten Dirtbag low

Five Ten Dirtbag low

Five Ten made its name in climbing shoes, and it uses the same super-sticky rubber on the soles of its bike shoes. A lot of Five Ten offerings are pitched at mountain biking, and look it, but the Dirtbag Low is a more subtle, skate-style shoe that won't look out of place with jeans.
www.bigstone.co.uk

€72.00

Specialized Women's Tahoe

Specialized Women's Tahoe

Five Ten made its name in climbing shoes, and it uses the same super-sticky rubber on the soles of its bike shoes. A lot of Five Ten offerings are pitched at mountain biking, and look it, but the Dirtbag Low is a more subtle, skate-style shoe that won't look out of place with jeans.
www.specialized.com

€79.99

Bontrager Solstice

Bontrager Solstice

The Solstice comes at the “walkable cycling shoe” concept from a different angle, with an upper modelled on a conventional race shoe but equipped with a thicker sole. You wouldn't want to walk a long way in it, but it's a good solution to having a “proper” cycling shoe that doesn't make you walk like a duck.
www.bontrager.com

€92.00

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