15 April 2008

The best cycling shoes are the shoes you already have

Despite her rusty chain this girl had cute shoes! While chatting she told me she's Dutch. When I told her I wanted a photo of her shoes she laughed and pointed out that at home her shoes wouldn't be considered special. Everyone wears cute shoes cycling in the Netherlands.

So let's talk about cycling shoes. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine does not think casual cyclists ought to worry about clip systems or special shoes. Sure, you could shave five seconds off your commute but what a logistical challenge to add multiple pairs of shoes to your commute! For a short, more casual ride it's best to select shoes from your own closet.

As for which to choose, traditionally cycling shoes have a stiffer sole, allowing more energy from the leg stroke to translate to the pedals. This is consistent with high heels, most boots, and clogs. Soft-soled ballerina flats may not be great for cycling, but honestly I'd wear them.

If cycling is not fun it's not worth it - wear what makes you happy!


Unknown said...

shoes are an inevitable choice for a safe mountain bike.
Shoes designed specifically for cycling have stiff soles, which helps the cyclist in transferring the power from his legs and feet to the pedals and thence to the chain for greater speed.These would enhance your comfort, performance and safety irrespective if you are recreational rider or a seasoned racer.

Charlotte said...

Certainly for mountain biking, and for any performance road riding, I would always wear my cycling shoes with cleats for my clipless pedals.

For getting around the city I will wear whatever I have on my feet!

Anonymous said...

yeah, the trouble is that when you get good at pulling up on the pedals with your clipless bike shoes, you'll bang your shins into the pedals when you're not clipped to the bike.

Charlotte said...

You know, I've never had that problem? The local coach/Olympian John Allis described the pedal stroke as more complete than just push/pull, so perhaps I just started the clipless world with a different paradigm...

That and my position on my townie is just SO different from that on my road bike, it's a bit like driving a pick-up truck or a sports car. There's no way to confuse the two! My shins have escaped unscathed.

Paul Shirkey said...

Please...oil that chain!