Are you ready to take cycling to the next level? In many sports, the equipment you use can make all the difference, and cycling is no different. If you aren’t wearing proper cycling shoes and using the right pedals, then you’re not riding as efficiently as possible. When it comes to cycling, road riding, mountain biking, commuting, recreational riding or racing, pedals are one key to optimizing efficiency. For riders who hope to become the best cyclist or competitor that they can be, or those just looking to optimize their energy, an upgrade to clipless pedals and proper cycling shoes will provide immediate results.
How Cycling Shoes Help Your Ride
Cycling shoes are designed to work with clipless pedals. There are various pedal designs and styles to choose from. Most pedals are road cycling or moutnain bike specific. Clipless pedals like the Wellgo Clipless ATB Bike Pedal are pedals without toe-clips (the cage that holds the front of the foot). Clipless pedals and cycling shoes work much like ski bindings, allowing the rider to connect to the pedal. This creates a more efficient, single unit, instead of a shoe that can slide all across pedal, slip-off or stray laterally, or a soft shoes that fatigues the foot.
Ultimately, riders with clipless pedals get more efficiency from each stroke. Consider a quick analogy: Imagine your legs as the piston rods in a car’s engine cylinder, and your feet and pedals representing the piston heads. It only makes sense to desire the tightest, most efficiently operating pistons possible. No wasted motion. That is what cycling shoes and clipless pedals offer.
In addition, a proper shoe and cleat set up will keep knee injuries away. Always have your bike fit to you to further reduce the possibility of injury.
The Design of Cycling Shoes
Cycling shoes are generally designed for road bikes or mountain bikes. Road specific shoes are smooth on the bottom for aerodynamics and light weight. Mounain bike shoes, which can be used for Spinning and road cycling as well, have treads on the bottom. The treads allow for traction when off the bike- and in the gym for Spinners. Road shoes and pedals offer a stiffer interface while mountain shoes and pedals allow for more play, making it easier to navigate technical terrain safely.
Cycling shoes are stiff, which translates into a more efficient pedal stroke, and most closures are made of velcro rather than laces.
A Note of Caution About Cycling Shoes & Clipless Pedals
Before you invest in a pair of cycling shoes and clipless pedals, it is recommended to be proficient on two wheels; especially if you’re planning to ride any technical off-road terrain or within traffic on local streets. One of the best places to work on clicking in and out of clipless pedals is at the shop when you make the purchase. Always bring your bike to the shop when you make equipment changes so the bike fit can be adjusted. Once the pedals are on the bike, the shop will allow you to sit on your bike on a stationary trainer to check fit and give you the practice you need to get on the road or on the trail. For more practice, slowly cruise around a residential street or in an empty parking lot. Once you get the hang of your new pedals and bike shoes, you’ll be on your way to improving your overall cycling speed and efficiency.