What Shoe For You?
Don’t make the mistake in thinking that one type fits all when it comes to riding shoes. In reality, bike shoes are designed specifically around the type of riding that will be done. Road bike shoes, mountain bike shoes and triathlon shoes are three of the most popular types of bike shoe, although there are of course more; and from there the options are seemingly endless.
Mountain bike shoes tend to have fairly small cleats and often they are embedded into the sole of the shoe. This makes it much easier to get off the bike and walk, which often is required given the ever-changing terrain of mountain biking.
Cleat in, cleat out! Road shoes come with cleats that are attached to the sole of the shoe, and lock into the pedals. The shoe soles themselves tend to be quite stiff and the cleats quite broad (more so than mountain bike shoes) so that pedalling efficiency is maximised.
Like road shoes, triathlon shoes also have stiff soles and broad cleats, but the way in which the shoes are put on and taken off differs considerably. Tri shoes are all about speed – they usually come with a Velcro band that means they can start to be removed as the triathlete approaches transition entry, and can therefore jump off the bike and run quickly into transition. Some triathletes will have their shoes already locked onto the pedals so that when they come out of the swim, they simply run their bike out of transition, jump on and then start to get their feet into their shoes.
BMX shoes have a wide, flat and flexible sole and tend to be a more casual-looking style of bike shoe, though there are clip-in BMX shoes also available. BMX shoes come with really good traction that is particularly handy in wet weather.
Like road bike shoes, track shoes also have a stiff sole and broad cleats so as to maximise pedalling stroke efficiency. However, track shoes also have Velcro closures meaning you can make the fit particularly tight/ secure.
If you are going riding and you don’t want to wear cycling specific shoes, then just make sure the pedals you are using either have cages or are combination pedals. Trying to push a pedal made for cleated shoes if you’re wearing runners or fashion footwear could be a very awkward job indeed, not to mention a potentially unsafe one!