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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so I usually wear lowtop converse sneakers when I ride. as I have just purchased my first road bike i'm thinking about cycling shoes and clips.
advantages?
disadvantages?
do they give more pedaling power? do they isolate certain muscles like the calves, making for more efficient pedal power? is it worth the extra money? will I be faster? will I notice a difference? how do I pick the right shoe? I don't really have the big performance or nashbar anywhere near me.
 

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so I usually wear lowtop converse sneakers when I ride. as I have just purchased my first road bike i'm thinking about cycling shoes and clips.
advantages?
disadvantages?
do they give more pedaling power? do they isolate certain muscles like the calves, making for more efficient pedal power? is it worth the extra money? will I be faster? will I notice a difference? how do I pick the right shoe? I don't really have the big performance or nashbar anywhere near me.

Only disadvantage is you are gonna fall at least once.

The right shoe is, as was said earlier "the one that fits you best". I'm not smart enough to answer whether they isolate muscles or not but you will be more efficient because you're attached so you are always "in" a pedal stroke., You sound like me, nearest lbs is a half hour away but I like the shop and that's where I'll get mine.
 

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You absolutely want cycling shoes and pedals! They allow you to apply power all the way through the stroke - 360 degrees.

First, all modern pedals are callled "clipless". This differentiates them from the old toe clips that looked like a cage with a strap.

The most popular pedals are Shimano SPD and competitors' "SPD compatible". With this system the cleat (the part that is affixed to the shoe) is frequently recessed into the sole, making walking easy. These are especially common with commuters and mountain mountain bikers, but will be found on many road bikes.

Most roadies prefer road-specific pedals, the most popular brand/type probably being Look. I use Speedplay because I like their "float" feature that allows my foot to move side to side. There are loads of other choices.

Almost all road shoes will have a stiff sole, helpful for maintaining power transfer to the pedals. They are a bear to walk in though, especially as the cleats are mounted on the outside of the sole. Nearly everyone at the coffee shop will think you look like a tool, but other cyclists will give you the "Hey, wassup?" nod.

Road shoes use three screws to attach cleats, SPD shoes use two. Some shoes allow the use of both.

if you budgeted $100 for shoes and $100 dollars for pedals you'd be able to find setup that would last until you developed a clear preference going forward.

I always buy shoes (of any kind) in the store. IMO, sizes vary too much to buy on line.
 

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It depends what type of riding you do.

If you're a casual rider and ride where you have to make frequent stops (red lights ect) and like to stop and go for a walk they are a disadvantage. Although mountain style are pretty easy to walk in.

If you ride aggressively and the primary purpose of going for a bike ride is to ride your bike then clipless is the only way to fly.

If you're on the fence I'd suggest mountain style not road.
 

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Next to synthetic padded lycra shorts, pedals/shoes are the most essential riding accessory there is. You will be amazed how much better they are compared to platform pedals and Converse All-Stars (they still make those things?). The soles are stiff and give you much better power transmission, and they are a lot more comfortable to ride in. I really like shoes with carbon soles, but that might be outside of your budget. Any cycling shoe is far superior to your All Stars.

I highly recommend mountain bike pedals and shoes. Either Shimano SPD (XT is a good choice), or Time ATAC (XC4 is a good choice). They're double sided entry which makes them a little easier to use. The shoes have recessed cleats so they're easier to walk in than road shoes. I commute a lot, and part of it involves walking down a hallway with a polished marble floor. It's a lot easier to navigate with mountain bike shoes. Do they look silly on a road bike? Some people think so. I don't. I have 4 high end road bikes and they all have Time ATAC pedals on them. Andy Hampsten suggested it when I did his bike tour in Tuscany years ago. Good enough for Andy ... good enough for me.
 

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- Stiffer sole is more comfortable, maybe more efficient, especially for longer rides.

- Secure attachment to the pedal makes for safer and more efficient (and proficient) riding, not (as often said) because you can pull up (you don't really do that), but because it keeps your feet on the pedals in the right place in all situations - high cadences, jumping out of the saddle for more torque for climbing and accelerations, etc. You'll be a better rider, and have more fun, if you're attached somehow. Toe straps and clips are one way to get that attachment, and they work, but clipless pedals and cleats on the shoes are more comfortable, and easier to get in and out of, once you learn.
 

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A dude I raced against in Cat 5 CX finished in the top 5 a few times racing on flat pedals and chucks.

Only disadvantage is you are gonna fall at least once.
Why is this always the first answer? I was told this by numerous people, still haven't fallen because I couldn't clip out. Funny enough, 5 minutes into my first ride with clipless shoes, a guy that had been riding for years couldn't clip out and fell over at a traffic light.
 

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Sneakers while riding..... what.... cycling specific road shoes is the only way to go.
 

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I'll chime in with the rest of the posters. Using cycling specific shoes and clip-in pedals is the proverbial whole world of difference. If your saddle height is properly adjusted, that is.
 

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Hey now, Grant Peterson has claimed that Converse All-Stars are the best touring shoes you can use. Personally, I think he is nuts since they have absolutely no support to their footbed and are going to be the cause of extreme foot fatigue (if not worse) on a heavily loaded tour in hilly/mountainous terrain.

Even if you don't clip in, a cycling shoe will give much better support to your feet making for greater comfort in a long ride. In that case you will want entry level mountain bike shoes without an exposed cleat mount (but not some of the trendy downhill type shoes which don't have much in the way of sole stiffness).

I won't ride without being clipped in, as I prefer the efficiency of a solid attachment to the pedal. This is especially important if you are a high RPM spinner. It is nearly impossible to maintain 90+ RPM without being locked into the pedal .
 

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No socks for this guy. It's the way me and my friends did it in the early 1970's. I just like the grip I can get with my toes against the insole when there's no slippery sock between them. It also allows me to use a shoe with a bit more toe room. I only use socks if it's really cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
how is it that someone who has been on this site for 8 years is just getting around to sorting out such basic issues...?
well, this is my first road bike. I've always ridden mountain and i'd wear whatever with platform pedals. now that i'm a roadie I wanna do it right.
 

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feet sweat, socks absorb sweat and can be washed...so, yeah you probably want to wear them to keep your shoes from getting stanky...

there's a current thread on sock height...check out what people's preferences are.

I'll wear just about anything that isn't above mid-calf or white...
 

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well, this is my first road bike. I've always ridden mountain and i'd wear whatever with platform pedals. now that i'm a roadie I wanna do it right.
As a fellow platform mtber after decades of riding clipless since they were introduced, yes and a few years on Chucks before that, here are my recommendations:

If you want the most efficiency, go clipless and road shoes even though they are ridiculous for anything but pedaling.

Or, my preferred setup, clipless and good mtb shoes since you can walk with them and you aren't giving away that much in the efficiency dept.

Or, if touring, flats with 5 tens. Which really with the sticky soles are almost as efficient as clipless. Seriously, you guys should give it a try.

You need to get 5 tens or similar for your mtb regardless, a world of difference.
 

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Some LBSs don't carry shoes, or have a very limited selection, but will refer you to one that does. Specialized usually has a good selection. If you have a wide foot you'll have trouble. I have a 11 EE foot, to get a shoe that was wide enough I had to get a Lake wide size 14.
 
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