Are biking shoes really useful?


Apr 8, 2016
I have been asking myself this question basically since I started riding, I know helmets are really important, gloves are as well, they protect your hands and stuff, glasses are somehow good, the biking dress is also important but, what is the deal with shoes? what do they do or help me to do? are they really relevant for biking properly?
Well if you have clipless, then yes of course.
Otherwise I say no it does not matter if you have biking specific shoes, many will disagree with me though. I mean as long as the shoes are decent and good for what kind of riding you are doing then you should be fine, I don't imagine slippers or dress shoes are going to make good bike footwear.
Some people swear they need certain shoes to perform, some don't.
It really depends on you man.
I say yes, and have reasons why.
Biking shoes (Mountain or road) have a very stiff sole, which directs all of the power from your foot into the pedal, giving you more power for the same effort, as well as tending to protect from tearing the tendons in the bottom of your foot. Add to that that the construction of cycling shoes helps to let heat escape, causing less sweating and therefore more comfort. The particular kind of biking shoe you need, however, depends entirely on the kind of riding you plan to do.

Performance road, or distance road: for this, you would need a road specific shoe as the sole is stiffer and the ventilation is better. They also tend to be lighter, and have more advanced fastening systems.

Performance mountain: For this you will need a mountain shoe, which will give you a walking surface, in case you need to carry your bike over obstacles that you cannot otherwise navigate.

Urban, cruising, touring: For this as well, I recommend a mountain shoe, generally. The primary reason is that they can be walked in fairly easily. This will help if you are spending time off of the bike after or in the middle of a ride. For touring, you can use a road shoe, bit stopping on the way is a bit more problematic in that instance.

If you are considering a clipless system, simply match the type of clipless system with the kind of cycling shoe you will be using (based on your riding needs)
I rode a few years without dedicated bike shoes and clip less pedals, it diffidently makes a difference, more efficient, give it a try, I'll bet you won't go back.
If you want to be more efficient in the transfer of power to your pedals then cycling specific shoes are the way to go. They will also allow you to maximize your pedal stoke which will increase your power and speed.
I never worn biking shoes and I do just fine without them. I might try them some point in the future but I am happy without them.
One feature I like about cycling shoes and urban/city riding is that it's so easy to bring a pedal up into the proper starting position when stopped in an Intersection or at a light. And particularly for MTB riding I like the fact that I don't come off accidentally, which can really hurt.
Yes, with clipless pedals you get the advantages of being able to power around with either foot (this helped me recover from an injury on a tour once), you never have to worry about where on the pedal your foot is (making for optimal power from your foot), and knowing that your foot will not leave the pedal until you specifically make it do so. The one downside to this is that you have to specifically make it leave the pedal, which may be disconcerting to riders unused to clipless pedals.
Having you foot slip off the pedal while you're standing and hammering a climb will be all it takes to convince you that positive foot retention (either by toe clips and straps, or clip-in pedals) is much safer. I haven't ridden a road bike without one or the other since I was about 22.

On the rare occasions where I decide to ride my old hybrid cruiser, or on those times I borrow a bike while on vacation across the pond, I have to use flat pedals. And every time my cadence gets to a certain point---around 70-ish bpm---they remind me why they suck. ;)
Global Cycling Network did a YouTube video test comparing actual power output using flat pedals vs. clipless pedals and analyzed blood oxygen/lactic acid, etc. The result was...yeah, not really comparing the effects of a cycling shoes here, but I'm guessing clipless pedals & shoes is the real question as cycling specific shoes used on flat pedals is kind of odd...there is very little to be gained or lost if power transmission improvement is the goal.

mpre53 hit the nail on the head. The prime benefit is stability on the bike and control of the bike.

Any shoe with a somewhat soft sole and a metal or fiber/polymer stiffener will work well on flat pedals or quill type (rat trap) pedals. Like mpre53 sais though...get your RPM's up and stability goes out the window and those sharp pedal plates can really tear up a shin or ankle in a hurry.
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I'm just now getting back into cycling but I've done it enough in the past that I know bike shoes make a HUGE difference. I've always been a recreational rider and have no desire to be more. That said dedicated riding shoes that clip into the pedal are something you won't regret. The ability to be able to push and pull on the pedal is really helpful. Sure you can do that with straps or cages and sneakers but it just isn't the same...not even close. Furthermore you are 100% sure that your foot won't slip off. That's my POV anyway.
I rode my bicycle bare footed several times because of my lazyness. I don't suggest it. Oww

I usually wear sport shoes with stiff rubber sole. They also clip into the pedal and are very durable in almost any climate's circunstance. Never tried biking shoes before so I can't attest if there is any significant difference.
Night and day difference once you move to proper clipless shoes. I recommend it strongly. You won't regret it. Takes your riding to another level...almost overnight.
Yeeeeeah! l tried biking in socks before and it really really hurts. :p

Well, you're somehow right but I am mostly talking about special shoes for cycling, do not get me wrong but I still see it as a senseless thing for real.
Honestly I thought the same thing til I tried them. I have several bikes so only one had the shoes. I hot on another bike then realized I couldn't go back. So much more comfortable and efficient. ;-)
For professional bikers they matter of course. As for me I only care that my shoes have hard and tough soles so I don't end up with soar feet. I have seen guys cycling in their slippers or even barefooted and I think it is a very stupid thing to do for the reason we all mentioned probably. We need to protect our feet because they are very important and sensitive.
Clipless are the best. My friend uses biking shoes and loves them. I'm going to buy myself one too soon!