By Meghan Hurley
DHAC Cycle Instructor
My cycling shoes are not the trendiest or stylish shoes. While they are the least likely pair of shoes that I will ever get complimented on, I at least know that they provide me with three major benefits when I am cycling: comfort, safety and POWER!!!!!
While my UGG slippers are extremely comfortable, unfortunately, they are not appropriate attire for cycling! Cycling shoes provide the rider with comfort because they are made to help your feet circulate heat that is created while riding. The shoes are specially made to have a stiff, rigid sole, which helps the rider with maintaining proper foot alignment on the pedal. In addition, the stiff sole forces the rider to keep their feet flat and centered on the pedal and to push through a downward pedal stroke with the ball of their foot. This is important because when pedaling, we have the tendency to pedal by pushing down with our toes. Moreover, cyclists who wear these shoes are also less likely to develop pain in either the arches and/or balls of their feet, which are common issues for people who wear soft, flexible soled shoes.
My indoor cycling shoes may not be Glamour Magazine’s “must have shoe of the season”, but they will help make your ride that much more safe! Since safety is a key component to indoor cycling, cycling shoes provide safety to the rider because they have special clips on the soles of the shoes that help the rider fasten to the pedal. By being attached to the pedal, a rider’s foot is more secure and the rider is less likely to incur an injury by having their foot slip out of the cage while pedaling. Serious injuries can take place when shoes aren’t appropriately strapped into the cages of the pedal and/or become loose or undone.
The most important reason why I wear cycling shoes is because they help give me POWER!!! Unfortunately not “super human” powers, but more power with my pedal stroke! By being clipped to the pedal, you are able to create more power with each stroke, primarily with the upward stroke. This is essential because the more power that you generate during this motion, the more likely you are to optimize the use of your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and glutes!!
I remember before I bought my shoes I used to detest doing sprints on the bike! I always felt like I had no control over my feet while I was trying to maximize my effort. As soon as I put on my spin shoes and tried sprinting for the first time, I felt more control over my pedal stroke and could feel the difference in the muscles that I was targeting! They worked!! Now I LOVE SPRINTS!!!…. and if you take any of my cycling classes, you know this statement holds true!
Not sure where to buy these shoes? Unfortunately, you will not find them at Nordstroms or on the sale racks at DSW! Where you can find them is online, at a bike specialty shop or an athletic store. If you are not sure where to go or start, just ask a cycle instructor, they can help you! You also do not need to drain your wallet to buy these shoes. If you do some research, you can find a pair of shoes for a reasonable price. Unfortunately, they do not come in a multitude of shades (preferably green for me) or feature a platform heel, BUT one thing that I can tell you is that you will love riding in them. As soon as you put them on and ride, you will notice a complete transformation with your comfort, safety and most importantly, POWER!
So which is more important when cycling….style and trend……. or comfort, safety and power? You know my answer!