If you seriously want to include cycling in your fitness routine, participate in cyclothons, or venture into mountain biking, the first step is to invest in the right gear. While protective equipment such as helmets, knee pads, gloves, and reflective, moisture-wicking apparel is essential, what can truly enhance your performance is specialized cycling shoes.

Chances are, up until now, you have been wearing your running shoes while cycling too. The truth is they are cushioned shoes that compress and flex when pedaling, causing energy loss and foot pain. Cycling shoes, on the other hand, have a firm sole with a solid grip that helps you power through without feeling tired. 

Brooks Running brings you the different types of cycling shoes and why you should consider buying a pair like other seasoned cyclists.

Type 1: Clip-in cycling shoes

Shoes with a cleat on the sole that attaches to the pedal are called clip-in shoes. In simpler terms, you become one with your cycle! They are alternatively known as clipless shoes as they don't require the need for toe clips or cages otherwise attached to flat or platform pedals. 

Most clip-in shoes have a 2-bolt locking system recognized as Shimano Pedaling Dynamics (SPD). To secure your shoe to the pedal, align the recessed cleat or metal plate on your shoe to the pedal holes and firmly push. To release, twist your foot outwards. What sets these shoes apart from other shoes is the ability to both pull and push the pedal.

Pros of clip-in cycling shoes

  • Improved power transfer
  • Efficient pedaling
  • Enhanced control
  • Speed improvement
  • Reduced foot slippage

Cons of clip-in cycling shoes

  • Practice needed
  • Initial discomfort
  • Fear of falling and accidents 
  • Walking difficulty
  • Costly

Type 2: Flat pedal shoes

Flat pedal shoes do not have cleats, but the flat, stiff, sticky rubber sole offers a good grip on platform pedals, almost giving a 'clipped-in' feeling. It may not allow you to pull the pedal like in clipless shoes, but the ease of putting your foot down whenever you want is a big plus, especially if you are navigating through traffic areas. 

Pros of flat pedal shoes 

  • Easy to use 
  • Free movements 
  • Less fear of falling 
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Comfortable to walk in 

Cons of flat pedal shoes

  • Less control over the cycle
  • Possible foot slippage 
  • Reduced pedal efficiency 
  • Limited speed potential

Buy shoes online: Explore Brooks Running range of Ghost and Adrenaline cushion running shoes.

What are the best cycling shoes for me?

The decision between buying clip-in or flat pedal shoes depends on your cycling goals, preferences, and the type of cycling you plan to do the most. Here's a simple breakdown:

Opt for clip-in cycling shoes if: 

  • You are focused on road cycling and plan to go for longer rides. 
  • You will be engaging in cross-country or trail cycling. 
  • You are aiming to maximize your cycling performance and efficiency.

Opt for flat pedal shoes if: 

  • You are a beginner cyclist wanting to graduate to clip-in shoes later on. 
  • You participate in downhill, freeride, or more aggressive mountain biking. 
  • You cycle for leisure or use it as a means of transportation within the city limits.

Can I use my cushion running shoes for cycling? 

Ideally, no. As mentioned earlier, cushioned shoes will deter you from reaching your cycling goals. However, if your primary sport is running and cycling is simply a part of your cross-training routine, you can consider using your athletic shoes for cycling. But do not use your everyday trainers for cycling—keep aside an older pair of running shoes for it. 

If you want to buy shoes online, Brooks Running offers lightweight shoes for men and women with max support, soft cushioning, and breathable fabric mesh.