When cycling, your feet move rapidly and must keep in contact with the pedal. What you wear on your feet can make a load of difference.
We get asked often if you can cycle barefoot and if you should. Others ask us, are sandals good for cycling?
Do you need shoes, or can you ride barefoot? We’ll explore the benefits of wearing cycling shoes, why you should avoid riding barefoot or in flip-flops, and what types of shoes are best for cycling.
Cycling shoes are an essential piece of equipment for any serious cyclist. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rider, wearing the right shoes can make all the difference in terms of comfort, safety, and performance.
Here’s a look at why cycling shoes are so necessary
Check the video below for a quick summary
Why Should We Wear Shoes While Cycling?
The first question that comes to mind when it comes to cycling shoes is, “Why do we need them in the first place?” The answer is simple: cycling shoes provide the necessary support and grip to keep your feet secure on the pedals, which is essential for efficient pedaling and maintaining control over your bike. (Source)
Cycling shoes are designed to be stiff, so they transfer power more efficiently from your legs to the pedals. The more rigid sole of the shoe ensures that none of the power generated by your legs is lost due to the shoe flexing.
This results in a more efficient pedal stroke, which means you can ride faster and farther with less effort.
Another advantage of cycling shoes is the security they provide. They’re designed to fit snugly on your feet, which reduces the risk of your foot slipping off the pedal. This is particularly important when cycling in wet or slippery conditions and when competing at top speed..
How Do You Ride a Bike Barefoot?
While cycling barefoot may seem like a liberating experience, it’s not recommended. Riding a bike barefoot can be dangerous as your feet can easily slip off the pedals, and there is nothing to protect your feet in case of a fall or an accident.
Riding barefoot exposes your feet to the elements, and they can quickly become cold, wet, or sunburned. It is also worth noting that cycling barefoot can lead to blisters and other foot injuries due to the friction between your feet and the pedals.
We highly recommend that you wear shoes while cycling.
Is It Ok to Cycle in Flip-Flops?
While flip-flops are great for going to the pool or the beach, they’re not suitable for cycling. Flip-flops provide very little support to your feet, and just like bare feet, they can easily slip off the pedals.
Additionally, flip-flops do not offer any protection to your feet in the event of a fall or accident. If you’re cycling in flip-flops and take a tumble, your feet are likely to get scratched, bruised, or even worse.
Are Running Shoes Ok for Cycling?
While running shoes may seem like an option, they’re not ideal for cycling. Running shoes have a flexible sole designed to absorb shock, making them unsuitable for cycling.
The flexibility of running shoes means they do not provide the support and stiffness required for efficient pedaling. The sole of the shoe can also flex while pedaling, which can cause discomfort and even pain in your feet.
Therefore, it is not recommended to use running shoes for cycling. It’s best to invest in a pair of cycling shoes specifically designed for cycling.
Do You Really Need Cycling Shoes?
The short answer is yes. Bare feet, flip-flops, and running shoes aren’t appropriate, so you really need the correct type of shoes, and cycling shoes are the best option.
Cycling shoes are essential for efficient and safe cycling. As mentioned earlier, cycling shoes provide the necessary support and stiffness to transfer power efficiently from your legs to the pedals. They also provide the grip needed to keep your feet secure on the pedals.
In addition to the performance benefits, cycling shoes offer protection and comfort. They’re designed to fit snugly on your feet, which reduces the risk of your foot slipping off the pedal.
What Shoes Are Preferable When Cycling?
When it comes to cycling shoes, there are several options available. Here are the four that we prefer: (Source)
1. Road Cycling Shoes
Road cycling shoes are designed for road cycling and have a stiff sole that provides efficient power transfer. They also feature a snug fit and a secure closure system that keeps your feet firmly in place.
2. Mountain Biking Shoes
Mountain biking shoes are designed for off-road cycling and have a more rugged sole that provides excellent grip on uneven terrain. They also feature a durable construction that can withstand the demands of wherever you plan to take them.
3. Commuting Shoes
Commuting shoes are designed for urban cycling and are characterized by a casual look that you can wear both on and off the bike. They feature a flexible sole that provides comfort during long rides.
I wouldn’t suggest you wear these when training or competing, but if you’re just taking the bike out for a casual ride, they’re a neat choice.
4. Triathlon Shoes
Triathlon shoes are designed for the demands of triathlon events and have a quick and easy closure system that allows for quick transitions between the swim, bike, and run stages.
Choosing the correct type of shoe for the cycling you’ll be doing is vital. Whether you’re a road cyclist, a mountain biker, or a competitor, there is a cycling shoe that will meet your needs and provide the necessary support, grip, and performance to enhance your cycling experience.