Are cycling shoes really necessary

Tips for the right cycling shoes

The selection of different shoes depends on the requirements of the owner and the sporting scope to which the shoe is to be used. As with running shoes, however, there are some basic rules and conditions that should be clarified before buying cycling shoes.

Find the right size

When buying, it depends first of all on the intended use that the cyclist is aiming for. Speed ​​is the top priority in road cycling, which is why the equipment has to be as light as possible and still be stable. Mountain bikers need sturdy footwear that transfers the power well to the bike and at the same time stabilizes the foot, and protects against abrasions or bruises in the field. In contrast to running shoes, most cycling shoes do not require any additional space in the front area, as there are no rolling movements. However, you should pay attention to the width of the foot, because in the course of training and driving activities this can expand, so that a few millimeters of leeway is quite useful. Cyclists should therefore measure their feet after they have been on the road for some time. To do this, measure the length from the heel to the big toe and pay attention to the manufacturer's width specifications. Some give the sizes in English measurements, which is why buyers should compare the sizes with one another and try the shoe on or try it out carefully.

There is a practical overview of dimensions at Happy Size.

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The click system for cyclists

When it comes to safety at high speeds, click shoes have become an indispensable part of racing. These enable an optimal connection between foot and pedals in order to be able to transfer the energy optimally to the bike. These shoes are latched into the pedals using a click system so that the driver can use his pedaling movement flexibly. In racing bike systems, the shoe has a smooth sole, while in mountain bikes there is a profiled sole. The main reason is that mountain bikers also have to cover some routes on foot and racing cyclists rarely have to cover distances or sections on foot. The shoes have a part that is screwed onto the sole, called a cleat or cleat, which can be snapped into the pedals. The different plates are available in different thicknesses and allow or prevent rotational movements for the foot, depending on the training position of the driver. Mountain bike shoes often have steel or brass plates, while road bike shoes use high-quality plastics to increase the lightness. When choosing a shoe, it is important to have the best fit, as this is the best way to control the application of force and energy transfer. In addition, the different click systems are not compatible with each other, so the driver should choose his favorite when buying in order to avoid further costs.

The advantage of the click systems is that the driver cannot slip off the pedals and that energy can be generated effectively in any weather. The mountain bike or trekking shoes are designed in such a way that they can be removed quickly, for example in the event of a fall or a quick dismount during the route. This way, additional accidents can be avoided. With these shoes, the threads for the clipless pedals are already integrated in the shoe and the screwing is usually done with counterweights. When installing, riders should ensure that the plates are evenly attached to the shoe, both when placed on the shoe and at the angle of inclination for the pedals, so that the power is not unevenly distributed, which can lead to back or knee problems. Cyclists can get out of the fixture by turning their foot slightly outwards; a movement that is possible in a few moments for experienced drivers.

More tips for cycling shoes

The cycling shoe fits perfectly when the heel is well secured and neither slips out of the shoe nor has any pressure on it. The heel must no longer move and the back of the foot should also be in a fixed position. Buyers also pay attention to the locking system, whether Velcro or buckles, because these should not push and withstand the stress of driving. Wrinkled folds can cause painful pressure points and the system should be easy to use so that quick corrections can be made. Insoles can sustainably improve the climate in the shoe through air circulation and sweat absorption, but should not cover the air ducts of the shoe. Experimental click systems with magnets are being developed that can do without cleats and allow an unrestricted walking experience.


Click shoes help ambitious cyclists to improve their performance and have better control over their own energy output. Locking in and getting out is no longer a problem after a while and with the right shoe, the training or the excursion becomes a new experience.

First published: October 16, 2014