Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
I'm not a big clipless fan, either--I've had them on three bikes, and I can use them and I'm not afraid of them, but they don't make me any faster or stronger. For most of my riding now, both onroad and off, I use mountain bike shoes with no cleats and old-school pedals with toe clips. Gear geeks are always telling me how much faster I'll be "when you upgrade to clipless," but I've been there; I don't consider clipless necessarily an upgrade and I like to wear shoes I can walk in.
Having said all that, most people DO use clipless these days, and there's no reason she shouldn't--she'll get used to them quickly. But if she doesn't, she won't lose much, if anything, in the way of performance or efficiency.
As for shoes, since style is more important than function (I'm SO glad I don't have a teen-age girl around the house anymore), how about going to one of the mail-order bike companies' Web sites, www.nashbar.com
, and shopping by looks and price? Diadora is one brand name I've been happy with--I have three pairs of mountain shoes and two pairs of road shoes, none over $70, and they're all strong, comfortable and fairly light. I use the mountain shoes for nearly everything now, though.
Oh, FWIW, there's a HUGE selection of shoes in most of the common sizes. I wear 15 U.S, 50 or 51 Euro, so my selection is pretty limited.