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  1. #1
    My custom user title. kdos's Avatar
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    Will regular shoes do?

    Will regular shoes do for riding?

    I've noticed pedals with clips, and also clipless ones. Do I need "biking shoes" for the clipless ones? Or would regular shoes grip it just fine?

    I didn't think this was an issue, as people ride "regular" bikes with regular shoes, but suddenly after spending time on this forum and going to bike websites I find that special shoes are common. Are they really a necessity, though?

  2. #2
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    Clipless systems only work with clipless cycling shoes. These have holes for mounting a metal cleat onto the sole. It can be quite dangerous using un-cleated shoes with clipless pedals (although some are double sided clipless/platform).

    You can use cycling shoes (without the cleat) on a normal platform pedal. The extra stiffness will give some advantage over floppy shoes.
    You dont have to use special cycling shoes with platforms or toe-clips. Light trail shoes are plenty stiff enough for efficient cycling.

    In the USA clipless systems are de riguer for almost every "serious" cyclist but elswhere in the world, people still ride long distances with conventional systems.
    For long duration expedition riding in wild places, clipless systems can suffer from poor failure characteristics (ie they stop working) whereas toe-clip systems keep working.

  3. #3
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    I think that for the majority of recreational, non-racing, bike riders, firm -regular shoes-and platform pedals should work fine.

  4. #4
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    People tour long distances with normal shoes just fine. But if you're curious, get the clipless/platform combo pedal and a pair of shoes with cleats. That way you will be able to try it out. If you find out clipless is not for you, you can still use normal shoes with those pedals.

    --J
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    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  5. #5
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    I've never had clipless, though I had the old system. Unfortunately ankle problems mean I can't use clipless. However, you would be so much more comfortable with a proper shoe. I still have shoes that can be fitted with clips, and the stiff portion of the sole is much more comfortable even when worn without clips. When you are straped to the pedal, with or without clips, you are so much more powerful and efficient, there is no comparison. The clipless system can be integrated into shoes where it hardly shows while walking around. If you can wear some form of appropriate shoe or sandle, it is well worth while.

    If you aren't going to use the clipless etc... then get some proper pedals. The ones that come on bikes, and have the metal trap design are not the most comfortable, like cycling on a knife edge, if you don't have specialized shoes. They can certainly be used, but a platform design as on some MTBs, or BMXs, cruisers would be more comfortable, thought hey can be very heavy, and rotating weight should be kept down.

    Of course, you need to place the ball of the foot over the peddle axle, to have any hope of efficient peddling.

  6. #6
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    Stiff, low cut hiking shoes work fine for me, and offer the advantage of being able to hike around when off the bike. I have SPD pedals and shoes for the roadbike and mtn bike but find regular shoes, as mentioned, more comfortable on rides over a couple of hours. I notice very little difference in pedaling efficiency.
    Specialized Roubaix SL4 Disc, Cannondale T2000 (touring), Stumpjumper M5 (Mtn - hardtail), Cannondale Rize4 (Mtn - full susp)

  7. #7
    'Mizer Cats are INSANE Mentor58's Avatar
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    I rode with toe clips for a long time before going clipless. A good pair of stiff soled shoes helps relieve pressure on your foot from the edge of the pedal. I used to wear a set of 'touring shoes' from avocet, they looked like black sneakers with a very stiff sole, and a set of ridges running across the sole to help lock into the edge of the pedal. A lot of tourist now wear MTB shoes, there are a lot of them that have a nice lugged sole, enough flex to walk easily, and look like casual outdoor shoes. If I were going with toeclips, I'd want to check and make sure that the pattern on the sole would work well with the ridge on the back of the pedal. If you go clipless, the SPD's install into a recess in the sole, and you can walk and never have the cleat hit the ground.

    Hope this helps,

    Steve
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  8. #8
    royal dutch of dukes
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    i think regular shoes are the way to go, especially if you plan on going out to the ocassional bar, or, as i did, hike to campsites and/or go on backpacking daytrips from your bike. there's no question that clipless increases efficiency; its a simply matter of physics. however, the other benefits to regular shoes, especially on a long tour, outweigh the negatives. for instance, if it rains, you're fu55ed, but if you have platform+toeclips, you can ride in your camp sandals or (if its a really flat day, and nice) in your barefeet!

  9. #9
    I'm one of the freaks. hujev's Avatar
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    I've been absolutely sold on look clipless pedals since frist usin them about 15 years ago.

    BUT, not for long-distance touring! (per the reasons already given here), which is what i've got in the works now... touring...

    Can we add peoples' touring shoe reccomendations to this thread? Are there any really good, stiff touring shoes? No more bata bikers, i guess...
    robert
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  10. #10
    'Mizer Cats are INSANE Mentor58's Avatar
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    here's a thread that talks about it..... Shoes and pedals
    Rule of thumb, the more it looks like a dedicated racing shoe, the less flexible it's going to be. Shoes good for touring tend to give up a touch of stiffness for a bit more 'walkability', but still MUCH stiffer than a regular walking shoe or sneakers. With SPD cleats you can walk without problems, the cleats are safely tucked away in a recess in the shoe sole. If you have Look type cleats, you are going to be doing the "Duck Walk".

    Steve W.
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    * Now that I'm 'Bent, I will probably unload all but the Fixie.

  11. #11
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    I resisted clipless pedals at first. BIG MISTAKE, HUGE. Don't fight it, your cycling will be so much more efficient going clipless and you will really enjoy it more, trust me.

  12. #12
    Member gemini's Avatar
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    Ah, this is getting to be one of those never-ending debates (alu vs. steel frames, Brooks saddles etc.). For what it's worth, here's my 0.2 euro.

    My toes go numb in most regular shoes if I pedal for an hour or more. The softer the sole, the worse it is. With rigid cycling shoes, I can pedal all day with no problems. I haven't tried rigid hiking boots or the like.

    I did find a significant improvement in efficiency when I started using clipless. I can go faster and pedal for longer before I get tired. You need to learn to spin to get the benefit, though. I suspect that many of the people who say that going clipless made no difference for them continued to pedal the same way as with platform pedals, pushing the pedals down, that is. Learning to use force over the entire circle that the feet travel when pedaling takes a bit of getting used to, but it's not difficult. To me, the movement or at least the coordination feels sort of similar to running (which is a bit strange, considering how different the transfer of muscle force to the ground is in running).

    I had two-sided platfrom/clipless pedals on my only bike (it got stolen and now I have none!) that I used for getting around town, too, wearing regular shoes. Regular shoes slip on the clipless side of the pedal, so you need to learn to turn the pedal with your foot to get the platform side every time you step onto the bike. When you have to stop for traffic lights every three blocks or so, this can get a bit annoying. I was not too bothered.

  13. #13
    Hooked on Touring
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    Yes, it is an ongoing debate. I've toured thousands of miles and have been very pleased with using two pairs of footgear - mid-weight hikers cut low in the back of the ankle and Tevas for the campsite. I have hiked across the Grand Canyon, in Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, and Denali into the backcountry while on tour. You can't do that with clipless shoes. Plus, I think clipless may cause some knee stress problems with a certain percentage of riders. Everybody finds a different mix of things that works for them. But, if you are going on long tours and planning to be off your bike a good part of the time as well -- I recommend regular shoes and toe clips.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    When I bought my first modern road bike four months ago, it came with SPD clipless pedals. The salesman put me into mountain bike shoes, with the cleat wholly recessed. When I came to realize what he'd done--mtb shoes instead of cool-looking road shoes--I felt ripped off and foolish, but in time I saw the wisdom of it. I can walk quite normally in them; in fact, while strolling around REI the other day after a ride a salesman in their footwear department didn't realize they were bike shoes at all, and thought they looked "cool." They raise no blisters, and I use lightweight hiking socks in them.
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