What? Road bike shoes? Do road bike shoes really exist? These questions often come from people who just started riding road bikes, or those who ride them occasionally. The real thing is, road bike shoes, just like football shoes, are made specifically for regular riders.
If you’ve just started bicycling, you can learn why rad bike shoes are so important for riders. This post covers all the aspects of road bike shoes that you should be aware of.
Road Bike Shoes: How they Work
If you are an athlete, you can instantly feel the difference of sole between road bike shoes and ordinary athletic shoes. The former pair has stiffer sole for better energy transfer onto the pedal. As a result, you can cover more distance with the same amount of energy consumed via typical athletic shoes.
Professional cyclists put a lot of emphasis on balancing. Your balance largely depends upon the compatibility of shoe with the pedal. Road bike shoes offer better compatibility and you get the best control to run as fast as you can.
Road Bike Shoes: How to Use
Following points will help you learn how to choose and use road bike shoes:
1. Pedal Compatibility
Most road bike shoes are made for clip-less pedals. Sole of these shoes has holes in it to attach cleats for secure connection.
Road bike shoes may have any of the following systems
- 2-hole system: used in all kinds of cycling – road cycling, mountain biking or touring
- 3-hole system: this system is used for road cycling. It offers maximum stability and transfer of energy.
- 4-hole system: this is specific for road cycling
You can modify 3- or 4-hole system into 2-hole system but 2-hole system cannot be m
2. Closure Styles
There are different types of shoe closures. For example:
- For customized comfort, you can wear shoes with laces. Laces do get dirty though, but offer the best fit. If you buy such pair of shoes, make sure their laces are not too long, and have short ends.
- You can have road bike shoes with rip-and-stick straps that can withstand muddy surfaces and offer quick closure as well. Cycling shoes often come with 2 to 3 straps.
- Then there are shoes that have notched cam straps and buckles. These road bike shoes are best in terms of security and clamping. They are most expensive though.
3. Road Bike Shoe Accessories
These accessories are meant to offer long-life, endurance and comfort.
- Toe covers: For cold weather, make sure your shoes have toe covers. They provide extra warmth to your toes and share the burden with shoe covers.
- Shoe covers: During rainy weather, your road bike shoes need extra protection to keep you moving forward. In such situations, you can use rubberize laminated booties over your shoes to protect them. Shoe covers have soles featuring cutaways for cleats.
- Shoe dryer: If you’re riding in mild-to-hot weather, or heavy weather, keep a shoe dryer to dry your wet shoes.
Road bike shoes come in two different sizing; Euro-size or U.S size. Manufacturers often follow any one of them, so, if you’re buying Euro-size shoes, you need to refer to the bike shoe size conversion chart on any reputable website to get check which size will suit you.
While trying road bike shoes, consider the following things:
- Choose the item that comfortably fits your feet.
- The road bike shoe must offer enough space for your toes so that you can wiggle them slightly.
- The sole will be stiff initially and there may be a little chance of breaking and adjust to your foot.
- The sole of the road bike shoe is meant to support your foot in stable position, not for walking.
- The arch should supported and snug
- Your heel should be in line with the toes, or slightly up.
- After wearing them, your heels may feel a little slippage. It’s due to the stiff sole.
- If you think the slippage is due to the poor fit, try a different shoe with smaller size.
Road Bike Shoes: How to Buy
Follow these steps while buying road bike shoes:
- Determine the pedal compatibility based on how much you use your road bike. You can easily go for 2-hole system, if you’re an occasional rider. Or you can go for the perfect 3-hole system.
- While material of the shoe is also important, the sole is something never to compromise on. Pay attention to the off-set as well. Experts recommend that your foot should be Plantarflex (toes slightly down) for efficiency and speed.
- Next thing is the upper. It should keep your foot aligned with the knee.
- There are quite a few road bike shoe brands you can refer to, depending upon your budget. Mavic Avenge is the most affordable brand, available in the range of $60 – $120. Then there are other brands, such as D2 Fly, S-Works Road, Fizik and more!