Having an awesome pair of cycling shoes that fit well can make all the difference on any ride. Cycling shoes are specific to the kind of riding you are doing and to the pedals you purchase-a lot of shoes can only accept either road or mountain cleats, but only some can take both. Cycling shoes come in men’s and women’s specific fits to accommodate for the different bone structures between men and women’s feet.

Road shoes

Usually have very stiff soles that are either made from nylon based material or carbon which is super stiff. This maximises pedal power and efficiency. Road shoes are pretty slippery to walk in though because of their stiff, smooth soles, but you don’t lose much power in the shoe flexing while pedalling. Road shoes use a variety of different fasteners including velcro, ratchet and wire systems, and buckles. It’s important to get a good fitting shoe because your feet may swell slightly during a ride so you don’t want them to be too tight at first, but you also want them to be securely fastened to prevent heel movement during a ride.

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Mountain bike shoes

Also have nice stiff soles compared to normal shoes, but they are a little bit more flexible than road shoes to enable a rider to hike over obstacles and walk parts of trail if necessary. They will have tread around the edges for grip while walking on the trail, and will be made of tough material that stands up to branches and rocks. Racing specific mountain bike shoes have stiffer soles and less tread to make them lighter and pedalling more efficient, whereas an all around trail shoe will have more tread and a more flexible sole for walking.

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Commuter shoes

Have the least-stiff soles and are awesome for getting around town on a bike on days when you’ll also be walking a bit. They are also perfect for touring as they are more comfortable due to the flexible sole, and if you can’t take too many pairs of shoes with you they are also suitable for walking. They often look less like a cycling shoe and have laces combined with velcro straps or buckles.

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Cycling shoes are specifically designed to help optimise pedalling performance on the bike, ultimately making your ride easier and faster. The most noticeable feature of the cycling shoe is that they 'clip-in' to compatible pedals, meaning the pedal stroke is benefitting from both the 'pushing down', and 'pulling up' motions of the pedal stroke.