Shoes and pedals, I'm confused

Formernuke

Member
Region
USA
Ok my bike experience. As a teen and kid I rode my bike everywhere as I'm sure others did. My parents didn't drive me, I rode a bike.

As an adult I would drive to a campground, park the car and then ride everywhere for the rest of my errands on the week long camp trip.

I have not been on a bike in several years, though I was considering starting to ride to work (4.5 miles away) rather than driving but there is a steep hill and I'm not a spring chicken anymore plus my son just reached riding age. One the guys at work rides in and he mentioned that used a e-bike which I had never heard of. After some research I realized that this will work very well, so I ordered a e-bike.

All the previous times I rode I never realized that there are shoes and pedals just for bike riding.

So now my plans are to ride to and from work, grocery store and all other local errands. I will also by riding with my son and doing local forest type trails (groomed type not actual mountain type).

Will using specific bike shoes with clipless pedals actually matter instead of just my sneakers? Or is it just wasting money?
 

dmourati

Member
Region
USA
City
Mountain View
I'll take a crack at this one.

When it comes to pedals, there are three types to be aware of:

Flat - the kind you rode when you were a kid
Clipless - the kind that require special shoes with a cleat on the bottom
Toe Clips - a pedal with a plastic/metal loop to hold your toe to an otherwise flat pedal. These are pretty old school so you don't see them anymore.

In deciding between flat pedals and clipless, think about it this way:

Flat pedals work great, with most any shoe, and don't require much thought or care.

Clipless pedals offer more efficiency because you can "pull" the pedal up towards you as you are clipped in. This matters on long road routes on road bike. On a e-bike, probably not so much. One other thing on clipless, you need to be aware/alert when you come to a stop. It takes an extra half second to "clip-out" of the pedals to free your foot and get it on the ground. Failure to do this in a timely fashion results in an embarrassing but slow speed fall. Happens to everyone.

More details (and explains why clipless are the ones you clip into, rather confusing):

Takeaway, start with flat pedals. If you get motivated for longer riding, more efficiency, or just want a more connected to the bike experience, it's an easy upgrade down the line. Any bike shop could do it for you. Even if you upgrade to clipless pedals, you can still ride them wearing regular shoes. I did this as a work week bike commuter, weekend long ride warrior for many years. Only issue is in the rain, your feet slide off clipless pedals more easily.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@Formernuke: The world has changed a lot. A perfect alternative to the clipless pedals/shoes exists now.

You've heard about flat and clipless pedals. There is a third flavour: Platform (MTB) pedals. The platform pedals differ from ordinary city flat pedals: the former are profiled and equipped with traction pins. The beauty of the platform MTB pedals is you can absolutely ride them in regular shoes but you also can further improve the experience by wearing specific cycling shoes. The grip for such combination is improbably good, and you actually feel as if you were riding clipless. You can adjust your foot position on the pedal (impossible with clipless), and removing feet from pedals is extremely safe. Let me name some excellent pedals, and one model of specific shoes:
  • Race Face Ride are excellent and safe platform pedals. Instead of metal traction pins, these are equipped with 18 moulded traction studs. You just wear trainers or any regular shoes for these pedals. In case a pedal incidentally hits your shin or calf, no damage. Greatly recommended.
  • Race Face Chester are classical metal-traction-pin MTB platform pedals. The pins hold the sole of your shoe as it were glued to the pedal.
  • Crank Brothers Stamp 1 pedals are equally good as Chesters are. Stamp 1 pedals can be ordered as Large for large feet or for more foot positions.
Now: I often ride Stamps in trainers, and it is perfect. If you would like to get exactly the same feeling as using clipless pedals, Adidas FiveTen FreeRider Pro MTB cycling shoes are the best of the best for MTB platform pedals. Their soles feel as connected with metal-traction-pins of Chesters or Stamps. You actually need to raise your foot to remove it from the pedal!

As I said, Race Face Ride pedals are safe. Metal-traction-pin pedals can hurt your shin or calf a little in case you're not careful.
 

WattsUpDude

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
San Francisco, Bay Area
I was a road cyclist a decade ago and was all about clipless to have that efficient push and pull stroke while pedaling. It helped and it counted on a bike under your own power. With the eBike, I can be much more casual about my footwear while riding. Extracting every bit of efficiency no longer matters that much. I now ride with flat pedals and whatever shoes I have on. Vans, 510, adidas sneakers, whatever.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
All my cycling is paved asphalt and urban park trails, so all my bikes have what you call city pedals, and I will pedal with whatever I am wearing on my feet at the time I decide to ride.

I don't like wasting money.
The OP intends to do some forest rides. Any type of MTB platform pedals will be better than city flat pedals.
 
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soyabean

Active Member
Region
Canada
The OP intends to do some forest rides. Any type of MTB platform pedals will be better than city flat pedals.
Please re-read the OP again:
So now my plans are to ride to and from work, grocery store and all other local errands. I will also by riding with my son and doing local forest type trails (groomed type not actual mountain type).
Again, I gave my reasons why I use city pedals.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
All my cycling is paved asphalt and urban park trails, so all my bikes have what you call city pedals, and I will pedal with whatever I am wearing on my feet at the time I decide to ride.

I don't like wasting money.
I think the real issue is that you do not recognize or understand the advantage of purpose specific shoes and pedals or don't think those advantages warrant any added cost.

Not wanting to put words in your mouth but your statement seems to imply those who recognize the added performance and are willing to pay more for it are wasting money.
 
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Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Ok my bike experience. As a teen and kid I rode my bike everywhere as I'm sure others did. My parents didn't drive me, I rode a bike.

As an adult I would drive to a campground, park the car and then ride everywhere for the rest of my errands on the week long camp trip.

I have not been on a bike in several years, though I was considering starting to ride to work (4.5 miles away) rather than driving but there is a steep hill and I'm not a spring chicken anymore plus my son just reached riding age. One the guys at work rides in and he mentioned that used a e-bike which I had never heard of. After some research I realized that this will work very well, so I ordered a e-bike.

All the previous times I rode I never realized that there are shoes and pedals just for bike riding.

So now my plans are to ride to and from work, grocery store and all other local errands. I will also by riding with my son and doing local forest type trails (groomed type not actual mountain type).

Will using specific bike shoes with clipless pedals actually matter instead of just my sneakers? Or is it just wasting money?
It's very much a matter of personal preference but I would say given your riding experience and the cycling you are looking at doing - then no, sneakers will be just fine. I cycle 20-40 mile trips regularly and just use platform (flat) pedals and trainers/sneakers. Long a go I raced and used toeclips and later clipless, but now I think it's fine and plenty comfortable just in ordinary footwear. You may find there are one pair of sneakers that become your favourite cycling shoes, or if you want something a bit stiffer, cycling sneakers like Five Ten from adidas are well recommended. Hope this helps.
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
Will using specific bike shoes with clipless pedals actually matter instead of just my sneakers? Or is it just wasting money?
Just out of curiosity, what kind of pedals does the new e-bike come with?

I'd say don't even worry about it until the bike arrives. Then once you've ridden it a few times, you'll have a better idea of where you might want to change things up, to make a better ride for you.
 

Formernuke

Member
Region
USA
It comes with just regular pedals just like any other bike.

With even regular pedals or the MTB ones mentioned above is there an advantage to different shoes?
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
It comes with just regular pedals just like any other bike.

With even regular pedals or the MTB ones mentioned above is there an advantage to different shoes?
I personally think so.

The FiveTens that others have mentioned are much better than regular shoes. They're essentially sneakers with a much stiffer and heavier sole, along with a really grippy texture.

I find they "stick" to the pedal a lot better than regular sneakers, so a lot less foot slippage,

I also think that in the long run I'm saving money. :)

Since the FiveTens are designed for MTB riding, they're really durable. I've had mine for two seasons now and they're in great shape. Prior to getting them, I wore my regular sneakers, but they only lasted a year, so I had to get a new pair.

If I'm doing longer rides, and possibly on trails etc., I'll wear the FiveTens (so about twice a week). For around town, running errands, I wear my regular shoes.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
Stefan is right on the money. A good set of platforms - the Race Face Rides being plastic without steel pins will involve less blood - are a great way to go. Especially with softer sneakers, they’re large enough to spread the contact pressure so you don’t get sore feet if you ride a whole lot. Add in a pair of FiveTens when you know you’re going out for a more vigorous day and you’re pretty well set.
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I have tried the dual clipless on one side and platform on the other and they were very annoying when not wearing clipless shoes as they would default to the flat side down (or maybe it was the other way, I can't remember). I just use MTB pedals now as Stefan suggested. I use them with my regular running shoes and they don't slip. Grant Petersen isn't everybody's cup of tea, but he makes some beautiful bikes and is a proponent of platform pedals.

51J6FRCCyfL.jpg


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0074QGFES/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
There is no correct, universally applicable choice of pedals and shoes.

There is a best combo for each of us willing to try a bunch of choices to see what is most stable, enables the greatest power transfer and most comfortable.

All of those on this forum, and for that matter all the self anointed expert reviewers, in magazines, on web sites, and blogs, can offer is there own opinions and experiences. Anyone appearing to offer their choice as the only sensible one for everyone else, does not pass the smell test.

People posting an opinion should let us know what bike they ride, where they ride it, how often and how far as well as what other options they have tried before arriving at the present solution. Without that information, their comment and suggestion lacks adequate context to be of any real value.
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
There is no correct, universally applicable choice of pedals and shoes.

There is a best combo for each of us willing to try a bunch of choices to see what is most stable, enables the greatest power transfer and most comfortable.

All of those on this forum, and for that matter all the self anointed expert reviewers, in magazines, on web sites, and blogs, can offer is there own opinions and experiences. Anyone appearing to offer their choice as the only sensible one for everyone else, does not pass the smell test.

People posting an opinion should let us know what bike they ride, where they ride it, how often and how far as well as what other options they have tried before arriving at the present solution. Without that information, their comment and suggestion lacks adequate context to be of any real value.
This is true. The reason I wanted the dual clipless/platform pedals to work for me was that I didn't want to change shoes when commuting to work or going to the store, but liked clipless for pleasure/exercise rides. The reality is that I am not a high performance athlete and clipless only helped some on hills, but didn't really make that much of a difference for my casual style of riding even on pleasure rides. For fast pace group rides, I would think most people clip in.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Ok my bike experience. As a teen and kid I rode my bike everywhere as I'm sure others did. My parents didn't drive me, I rode a bike.

As an adult I would drive to a campground, park the car and then ride everywhere for the rest of my errands on the week long camp trip.

I have not been on a bike in several years, though I was considering starting to ride to work (4.5 miles away) rather than driving but there is a steep hill and I'm not a spring chicken anymore plus my son just reached riding age. One the guys at work rides in and he mentioned that used a e-bike which I had never heard of. After some research I realized that this will work very well, so I ordered a e-bike.

All the previous times I rode I never realized that there are shoes and pedals just for bike riding.

So now my plans are to ride to and from work, grocery store and all other local errands. I will also by riding with my son and doing local forest type trails (groomed type not actual mountain type).

Will using specific bike shoes with clipless pedals actually matter instead of just my sneakers? Or is it just wasting money?
Don´t matter, to quote Grant Petersen, ¨just ride¨, I ride in $10 walmart size 13 moccasins, 14s when
not riding, platform pedals. I don´t agree with everything in his book; I still think stretching is a good
practice to minimize injury & reduce soreness. Got a copy in my desk. Loved my old Bridgestone, but
the Rivendell bikes were pure snob appeal.
 
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Goodleg

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Pennsylvania
Regular pedals and regular shoes are best but only if that works for you. Remember you need to be able to walk when you get somewhere and you do that best in everyday shoes.
If you want more traction on the pedals or to spread out your weight on a pedal there are more grippy ones.
And then there is attaching your shoe to the pedal. To me it doesn't sound like you want to do that.
Just my opinion.
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Don´t matter, to quote Grant Petersen, ¨just ride¨, I ride in $10 walmart size 13 moccasins, 14s when
not riding, platform pedals. I don´t agree with everything in his book; I still think stretching is a good
practice to minimize injury & reduce soreness. Got a copy in my desk. Loved my old Bridgestone, but
the Rivendell bikes were pure snob appeal.
I wouldn't say they are snob appeal. More of a cult following. Steel lugged frames are a very niche market these days. I think the Atlantis is a gorgeous bike and I would love to own one, but you get a lot more bang for the buck with a Surly if you want a steel frame.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I could push my pulse up to 192 just by pushing. Pulling too is for competitive racers. Per Alaskan I pedal 30 miles twice a week 100-156 bpm, with 4 or more errands of 2 to 10 miles. My rest pulse is 66 summer. I push the bike miles with a problem a lot more often than I would like to. Like Thursday, pushed a flat home 3 miles. Try that in special pedal shoes. New tire lasted 3 miles. My Mommy won't come get me if the bike has a problem. Comfortable walker shoes is important to me. With a narrow foot (B), the chance of a special bike shoe coming in my size is zero. Walking in D width rolls the shoe over so the outer last contacts the pavement.