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Different Types Of Cycling Shoes

By Jessie SwiftLast update: 2024-01-22

In fact, you can ride a bike in any type of shoe, including sandals or sandals. But that's only for those who occasionally cycle around the house or large yards. But when you are already involved in professional cycling, preparing for cycling competitions every year, you should equip yourself with a cycling shoe because they are designed specifically for cycling. For casual sports shoes, cycling shoes are designed to be stiffer for high efficiency when pedaling. She also depends on the model you will participate in such as road cycling, mountain biking or commuting and running errands around town. In general, cycling shoes are well-structured to keep the foot firmly on the pedals of the bike. Moreover, many shoes are designed with 2-hole or 3-hole soles for you to clip onto non-clamp pedals, helping you to pedal more efficiently.

On the other hand, thanks to bicycle shoes, everyone's training process will be more powerful in the middle of the foot and pedal. Besides, with the design and pedals with shoe hooks attached as described above. They give you control and stability when moving on the roads. To better understand the performance of cycling shoes, ordinary cycling shoes only exert force on the pedal on the way down when you push it. If it's a cycling shoe, you not only apply force to the pedal when you push, but also when you pull back. This gives you more balance and won't put too much strain on your leg muscles.

In short, before choosing shoes you should also make your shoes compatible with the type of pedal you plan to use and the sole that hooks to your shoe. In order to better analyze each shoe type, we will explain the differences between the types of bicycle shoes and an overview of the information.

1. Mountain cycling shoes

Mountain cycling shoes are called SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) shoes. This type of SPD shoe works by using a two-hole system to attach the sole to the pedal. Therefore, it is also considered a shoe with a flexible design and provides the driver with the ability to react faster when used. In terms of design, they are shaped like a hiking shoe but in fact can be used for both purposes. For grippy mountain bike shoes with a non-rigid sole that is great for hiking use, made from a rubber sole that also provides more traction when walking. Besides, mountain cycling shoes also have soles placed in the soles so they don't stick out, thereby increasing the effectiveness of flexibility. Therefore, it is important when choosing shoes that are suitable for the type of pedal you are using. On the other hand, in addition to non-clamping climbing shoes, there are also hiking boots that do not have a snug fit. And they cannot be used with clipless pedals, but only with flat pedals. Practically speaking, mountain bikers can choose from one of two styles such as flat or clip.

In general, you should also determine the cycling shoes factors before participating such as:

  • Clipless mountain cycling shoes: use a two-pin system (like SPD, crankbrothers or Time). Unlike other road cycling shoes, the soles are often recessed into the soles to make it easier to walk on trails or other places. Ideal for riding, long-distance running or non-tech. However, there are still some cases when choosing this pair to create comfort when operating.
  • Flat mountain cycling shoes: most of these pairs do not have a base and are well suited to flatter and wider pedals. Design a flexible rubber outsole from there for better traction and pedals. Because it does not clamp, it is also an advantage to help you move up and down the car faster. They are great for casual riding, trail riding or more technical riding.
  • Pedal compatibility: for grips, two-hole locking systems from manufacturers such as Shimano (SPD), crankbrothers, Look or Time are used.

Other features of the mountain cycling shoes: quality comes at a price, higher prices get you stiffer soles, lighter weight, better foot or ankle protection, extra lining waterproof and additional hook and loop straps or buckle and ratchet straps provide a strong feel for the foot. In addition, some shoes add removable toe spikes for traction in soft, loose soil.

2. Road cycling shoes

Compared to mountain cycling shoes, the road cycling shoes are not so versatile. And they are only designed for cycling, so their soles are often very stiff and are almost made of plastic or carbon to give maximum rigidity to the user. But such rigidity allows the user to effectively pedal and transmit more force forward.

In general, the sole of the road cycling shoe does not concave into the sole but protrudes outward, which also contributes to discomfort when wearing shoes on long distances. On the contrary, they are usually much lighter in weight. The road cycling shoes, on the other hand, can use both a two-hole and a three-hole system, known as SPD-SL. The word SL is interpreted as the Italian word "Superleggera", which means "Ultra-light". Along with the lightweight construction, comfortable exterior and good ventilation, this shoe is divided into two distinctive parts:

  • Hard soles are more suitable and facilitate the transfer of force to the pedals because they are a high-performance product.
  • Shoes that are not designed for prolonged walking often have soles that will lack traction, are not flexible quickly, notice the spikes protruding from the soles, it will create a knocking sound when walking.

In addition, the road cycling shoes often use a combination of clipless pedals in which the pads on the bottom of the shoe are firmly attached to the pedal. Furthermore, clipless pedal systems allow for greater performance and efficiency as you need to transmit power while pulling up and pushing down on the pedals.

Like the mountain cycling shoes, the road cycling shoes also have pedal compatibility features.

Pedal compatibility:

  • 3-hole cleats: these are typically drilled into the base to accept nails and pedals from Look, Time, and Shimano (SPD-SL) manufacturers. For the three-hole groove system that provides stability and good energy transfer when riding the bike. In addition, the large cushions can spread the force applied to the pedal over a large area. This will relieve pressure on the connection points and allow a secure connection when pedaling hard.
  • 2-hole cleats: however, there are still some shoes on the market that use 2-holes (apart from 3-hole locking systems), thanks to a combination of pedals from manufacturers Shimano (SPD), crank brothers or Time.

Note that when buying shoes, consider the type of cycling you plan to participate in. Above all, for maximum pedal power and efficiency, professional cyclists will often be primarily concerned with performance, so choose the stiffest soles and lightest shoes. However, there are additional carbon fibers that limit weight reduction and increase sole rigidity for fast performance, but they also come at a hefty price tag.

Next case, if you spend a lot of time getting on and off your bike or just go sightseeing, a pair of double track mountain bike shoes or city bike shoes for walking around is the right choice well suited.

3. Casual cycling shoes

The casual cycling shoes are athletic shoes and are great for urban cycling classes, recreational cycling and indoor cycling. It is known that they are a combination of cycling shoes and regular sports shoes. In general, basic cycling shoes will offer compatibility with gripless pedal systems, but feature a rubber outsole and concave sole for everyday walking needs. In fact, the casual cycling shoes are not as stiff as the road cycling shoes or the mountain cycling shoes, which will reduce the effect on your pedaling force a bit. However, they are still comfortable to walk on and more stylish. If you don't have a lot of need for cycling, this is the shoe of choice for many light walks. In terms of pedal compatibility, like the mountain cycling shoes, these shoes typically use a two-hole system or flat style without a sole. And they will become more flexible and efficient for both cycling and walking.


No matter what type of bicycle you participate in, investing in a pair of cycling shoes is an indispensable thing to pay attention to if you intend to choose this sport for the long term. There will be three basic types of shoes and the functions that we have shared, although they will not be of much assistance, our information believes that it is essential to provide you with a thin knowledge surface, help you better understand the type you choose and pursue. In addition, thanks to our information, maybe it will be quite reasonable for someone with a medical condition and choosing the right shoes for the right purpose will reduce the impact of objective factors. But not only that, but you skip the step of cleaning your shoes before continuing your trip. Simply need a small movement, you only use a towel or rag to clean when dirty. For hard-to-treat stains, use a brush combined with warm water and a soapy pad. Then let your shoes dry, if you are more thorough you can remove the foot pads one by one and the rest. However, the most effective way to dry shoes is to use a boot dryer, which will help warm air, dry your shoes in a few hours. Or you use newspaper to put in shoes overnight, this method helps to absorb all the moisture inside. However, it also depends on the type of shoe and the material it is made of.

In case you use shoes a lot at high intensity, you should also check the insoles to change regularly. Or locks if you find a problem, another suggestion when you don't have much time, bicycle repair shops will help you check it. That's all the information, it will help you somewhat understand the type of cycling shoes you choose. Thanks for reading.

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