Have you ever wondered if cycling shoes are necessary for biking? When you were first starting out, did you ever ask yourself if you really needed to buy a pair or if your running shoes would do the job?
Many commuters, city cyclists, don’t necessarily go out and buy the latest and most expensive foot gear. Often, they commute with a pair of sneakers and don’t find any problems with their rides.
In our experience, one can ride in flats with running shoes without a hitch for months and months. And you know what they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s why many of running shoes wearing cyclists don’t plan on buying proper foot wear anytime soon.
Which is perfectly fine. For a lot of people, road and mountain bikers included, practicality comes first.
But what if you’re into mountain biking? What if you’re a serious cyclist who trains and participate in races? What if road cycling is your passion?
Well, you can still use your good ole comfy sneaks. There are a lot of riders who simply don’t care about looking amateurish when they ride as well as others who are really on a tight budget. And still, there are those who are just starting out so they don’t mind looking like an amateur (coz they are), while at the same time, they are on a budget.
There are a number of drawbacks, of course, for going this route and we’re talking about drawbacks from not buying cycling road shoes.
One is sneakers are not very stiff so they have a tendency to deform under pressure. This causes you to lose power and part of your pedal stroke goes to waste. Not an ideal trade off unless you don’t mind a few extra pedal strokes or you intentionally want to delay getting to your destination.
We kid, of course, about that last bit but we’re serious about conserving energy. From a physics perspective, road bike shoes, particularly the ones with stiffer soles, transfer your pedal stroke power directly to the bike. When riding long distances, this is the kind of energy output you want.
So that’s something to consider the next time you pass on buying decent shoes.
Equally important to think about when riding in your easy-breezy-soft-soled-not-the-best-cycling-shoes is protection. This is absolutely lacking in sneakers particularly when you’re riding in any technical terrain. It’s hard to miss. You’ll feel your feet completely exposed, and you risk wrecking them.
Not only that, if your feet manage to dodge getting injured, well, your running shoes will not. Flat pedals can do a number to the soles after frequent cycling use.
Now, it’s up to you to decide whether a pair of road shoes are a worthy investment. Keep in mind that buying a good enough pair (doesn’t have to be the most wallet busting), even when you’re just starting out, is an investment not only in the shoes but also in your feet’s protection and the kind of riding experience you want to have.
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