The anatomy of a road cycling shoe
In general, you can wear any kind of shoes when you ride a bike. However, if you want to achieve efficiency, comfort, and possibly avoid injury, you’ll want to wear a good pair of cycling shoes. These shoes are specifically designed to create more power with each pedal stroke. Using the clip-in system, they are attached to the pedals. By doing this, an even distribution of force is applied on both the upstroke and downstroke, resulting in a more productive cycling activity.
Looking for the perfect fit
Cycling shoes come in two types. There are for road cycling and also for off-road cycling. The first type is characterized by its exposed studs. These shoes are purely for biking as they are very uncomfortable to walk on. The second type has sunk heels, which also makes them ideal for walking. There are different styles of cycling shoes that use different materials and technology.
The fit of your cycling shoes has to be perfect to achieve its purpose. They should fit comfortably and there should be enough room in the shoe for you to wiggle your toes without restriction. It is very important that the heels fit snugly inside the shoes and that they do not move while you pedal so that you can perform correctly. The top of your feet should not be pressed hard when lacing up your shoes. You’ll know you’ve found your fit when you can rest the forefoot loosely and the widest part of the shoe can comfortably cradle the ball of your foot.
Desirable features to consider
Good quality cycling shoes are distinguished by their soles. Cheaper brands often use plastic soles. Although they cost less, these cycling shoes are also heavy and the soles are softer. Road cycling shoes should be light and the soles stiff so you can pedal more efficiently and powerfully. Higher-end brands use carbon fiber as soles to allow more flexibility without the burden of weight. Although expensive, they are a good investment for avid cyclists.
The upper of the cycling shoes also uses a lightweight material to provide comfort and durability to its wearers. Depending on the price of the shoes, the materials can range from genuine leather, synthetic leather to plastic. Different methods are also used to fasten a pair of cycling shoes. You can do this by tying them, buttoning them, or tying them. When you wear a cycling shoe, you should not feel any pressure when lacing it up. Any pressure can leave the feet numb as the blood cannot circulate properly. It is also important to see if the shoes can be fastened securely. Any loose pieces can get caught in the sprocket and hurt you in the process.
Cycling shoes for different types of uses
Each discipline of cycling has corresponding cycling shoes designed to meet their needs. Road cycling shoes have narrow designs with lightweight uppers and stiff soles to ensure speed. The studs are exposed so that hard materials can be used for the sole. The stiffness of the sole in cycling shoes is very important so that the rider can easily apply powerful force on the pedal. Mountain biking shoes don’t need such hard soles, so they have recessed cleats. Softer materials are used for the sole to accommodate walking.
Touring shoes are similar to ordinary sports shoes, since riding a bike means long trips and also a lot of walking when you are not on the bike. The studs are not exposed and the sole is usually made of rubber for flexibility. Cycling shoes for downhill racing need more stability, control and speed. It is very important that the soleplate can hold the specialized pedals needed for this specific type of bike. The ankle and toe area have additional support to ensure fluidity in movement.