Your feet don't touch the ground much while bike riding, whether you're on the road, trail riding, riding up a mountainside or indoors on a spin bike. The shoes you choose to wear can make a pretty big difference.
Cycling shoes are made for the sport. They can improve your performance and total riding experience, indoors or out.
A Solid Foothold
One of the biggest benefits of cycling shoes is that they clip into the pedals on your bike. Cycling shoes have holes drilled into the bottom where you attach cleats, a metal or durable rubber plate, that match the holes on your bike pedals.
When biking with spin shoes, you don't have to worry about your foot flying out from under you.
With your feet flat and stable, you can powerfully move through the entire pedal stroke. Your hamstrings work through the pushing motion, while your hip flexors can do the pulling and thus improving your riding experience.
Attaching your foot to the pedal increases your overall stability and reduces how much your legs have to work to keep your feet in place. That makes your stroke smoother and improves your overall pedaling efficiency.
Clipping into your bike helps you to be more aerodynamic. Because, when you clip in, your torso lowers itself toward the handlebars creating a more uniform experience.
To Clip in Bike Shoes
All you have to do is align the metal plate to the matching pedal holes and push down to clip in. To unclip, twist your foot, heel first, away from the bike.
It may sound simple but learning how to clip in and out takes a little practice and patience. Try leaning against a wall and practice clipping in and out before you head out on the road. If this proves to be difficult, just unlace the shoe and use your hands to clip off until you learn the motion.
Most spin shoes aren't good for any other activity but riding a spin bike. However, today you can buy a variety of shoes or sneakers for your type of cycling. Some are like a hybrid shoe. They clip into a bike, but remain flexible enough to wear on a walk.
Which Cycling Shoes are Best
This depends on the type of pedals your bike has. Different shoes are compatible with different cleats, that match the pedals on your bicycle.
Each type of shoe is compatible with either an SPD cleat, two holes on the bottom, or a Delta cleat which has three holes on the sole.
All cleat systems are pretty much equal, one isn't better than the other. It boils down to preference. It's really important you buy the right kind of cleat for your type of bike pedals. To find the correct cleat for your bike just look at the pedals or ask a bike shop if unsure.
Look for a pair of shoes that are compatible with your type of cleat, or pedal. Read the product info for any pair before you buy to ensure you're getting the right shoe. All that's left is buying the cleat you need since they're usually sold separately from the shoe.
Indoor cycling shoes work pretty much the same way. The best spin bike shoes are ones that clip into the pedals on your exercise bike. So, if your indoor bike has SPD pedals, SPD bike shoes are what you need.
If your bike has flat pedals instead of cleat compatible pedals, look for a pair that has a firm sole so you can easily push down on the pedal. If you're not sure, check the product description on your bicycle. And always read the product description on any bike shoe before buying a pair.
I use water shoes to workout on my mountain climber. The pedals are bigger than bike pedals, but the idea's the same. If your exercise bike has flat pedals, water shoes can be a comfortable alternative to cycling shoes, and less expensive too. They also have rubber bottoms that help grip the pedals.
Enjoy the ride!
Karen Knutson, Althena Fitness 2022