The glorious tool to that little bit of additional comfort and secret power – shoes, more specifically, cleats.
What are cycling shoes?
Shoes specifically designed for cycling, you get various types for different disciplines. They’re great because they can improve performance, comfort and prevent injuries.
They secure your feet to the pedals. On the bottom of the cycling shoe is something called a cleat which bolts into the bottom, this cleat clips into your pedal and holds your foot in place. This allows you to push and pull the pedal, and prevents your foot from slipping off the pedal.
Solid for pedal revolutions
The bottom of cycling shoes tend to be made out of very solid material, which allows for less movement in the shoe when pushing or pulling the pedal and transferring power through the pedal. This provides better performance and ease of power response.
Having your foot locked in place reduces wobbling, slipping or generally moving around. When you’re looking over your shoulder, indicating or moving around a pothole, you don’t have to worry about becoming unbalanced through the foot.
Finding some cycling shoes
An important part to choosing shoes is knowing what kind of cleats and pedal system you want to use. Some pedals and cleats are better for people with creaky knees – they have more float within the cleat, whereas some will hold you much more rigid, allowing for very little movement.
Road cleat options:
- Red 0° Float
- Blue 2° Float (provided with high-end e.g. Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals)
- Yellow 6° Float (provided with most Shimano SPD-SL pedals)
- Black 0° Float
- Grey 4.5° Float
- Red 9° Float
Speedplay – these cleats have the clip-in system incorporated within the cleat rather than the pedal, but it does mean the pedals are double sided for clipping in. They have a very fine tune-able float adjustment.
Once you know what cleats you want to use, then you can choose a pair of shoes. We’d always recommend going into a store to try a variety on. Every shoe is different and so are everyone’s feet.
Some shoes will be better for narrow feet with narrow achilles and others have wider heel cups and toe boxes. When we say there is a shoe for everyone, we’re not kidding.
You’ll also need to decide if you want lace ups, Velcro or a Boa system.
- Velcro is most common on entry level cycling shoes and is usually a more economical option.
- The Boa system is a dial which you turn to tighten the shoe – ideal for ease although it can create a little movement and come loose.
- Lace-ups are great for those who want a closer fit from the get go. They are also more aero for those aero kings and queens.
They also vary in price, so you need to set yourself a budget before looking. It’s handy to know, you can try shoes in-store but then order them online – sometimes websites have better deals. You can also purchase them second hand if you know your size and desired fit.
Some brands we recommend:
- Specialized – higher end of the price range (their top end shoes are under the S-Works brand)
- Fizik – mid-range
- Shimano – mid to higher end
- DHB – a good budget shoe
- Giro – mid-range
- Lake – higher end
- SiDi – higher end
Best online places to search online for cheaper deals:
Give it a go, pop into a shop and try on some different pairs. We promise, getting up that outrageous hill will be so much easier.