It’s one of the most commonly asked questions in a Spinning class … “Do I really need those shoes?” I’ll be honest; when I first started taking indoor cycling classes, I was skeptical. I figured I’d never wear those ugly shoes. They couldn’t make that much of a difference, right?
Wrong. It’s amazing how much of a difference a good cycling shoe makes! The biggest factor lies in the rigidity of the shoe. A running shoe (which is what you’ll see most people in a gym wearing) is designed to be flexible and light – allowing a runner to hit his or her stride comfortably. It’s padded, and with the right fit, provides for a little extra room for the toes. All these things are great for running … but not so much for cycling.
A cycling shoe is best when it does one of two basic things: to create a solid, firm base, and a snug fit (when I bought my first pair of cycling shoes, I actually joked with the guy in the bike shop – basically everything I wanted in a cycling shoe was everything I DIDN’T want in a running shoe). The hard base allows for an even distribution of power through the pedal stroke, while the snug fit will keep the foot from shifting as you cycling … saving you from some painful blisters. Another plus? Your foot is locked into the pedal by a specially-designed clip (most indoor cycles take SPD clips – your local shop can install them for you, and many will even do it for no charge with the shoe purchase – just make sure you know what kind of clips are installed on the bike or bikes you’ll be riding).