In bike riding, a tiny little thing can have a huge influence. The shoe is a clear example of this. A pair of shoes significantly influence the overall performance of a road bike. However, you will find a particular type of shoes for road cycling. It comes with cleats that attach to the clipless pedals. Thus, paddling gets super efficient, and road bikes achieve high speed. Does it mean you can’t ride a road bike without special cycling shoes?
Not at all. You can still ride in your normal training shoes. But there will be a considerable difference in the riding experience.
What is the difference? How to ride with regular shoes? I will clear all your doubts. Before that, let me answer the question you are here for.
Can you ride a bike with normal shoes?
Yes! You can ride a road bike with normal shoes. However, the paddling efficiency and comfort won’t be as high as you get from special cycling shoes. But you can still ride with them. To maximize performance and comfort, choose suitable shoes and prepare the peddle correctly.
However, here are the pros and cons of using regular running shoes for road bikes.
- Cheap price: A pair of professional road cycling shoes can cost 200 to 400 USD. It’s pretty expensive for a beginner. So, a couple of regular training shoes are the only available option. It costs 100 to 200 USD, which is half of the cycling shoes.
- Ease of use: Regular running shoes are easier to use than cycling shoes. There is no need for any setup to attach the pedals with the shoes. Just put them on and go for a ride. Again, you also don’t need to detach the shoes after riding.
- Versatility: The most crucial benefit of using regular shoes is their versatility. I mean, you can use it with both flat and clipless pedals. Whereas cycling shoes work better with clipless pedals. Also, you can use it with MTBs where cleats have no use. Besides, running, exercise, or other training activities can also be done with them.
- Low efficiency: You won’t get high performance from regular shoes as with special cycling shoes. Most road bikes come with clipless pedals, and cycling shoes come with cleats. The pedal attaches to the shoe cleats and provides push and pull force while peddling. You will only get push force by using flat pedals or regular training shoes. Thus, the difference is made.
- Slippery: Another problem with regular shoes is that they have poor grips. When you ride road bikes, you tend to peddle hard. In this process, your legs can slip from the pedals. It will interrupt your ride as well as hurt your legs.
- Uncomfortable: Regular shoes feature soft and flexible soles. This type of soles allows the paddle to transfer high pressure on your feet. It leads to a painful and uncomfortable riding experience.
How to ride road bikes with normal shoes
You have learned the limitations or disadvantages of using regular shoes for road biking. You can overcome or reduce them following the below steps.
Step-1: Choose a suitable pair of shoes
Regular shoes won’t come with cleats. So, the attachment is not possible. But you can get other facilities that you get from cycling shoes. For that, you must choose shoes similar to cycling shoes by specifications. Here are features you should consider while selecting regular shoes for road bikes.
- Soles: Sole is the main component of any shoe. The sole should be stiff and steady when talking about cycling shoes. More rigid soles prevent your feet from absorbing shock while paddling. Besides, it keeps your legs stable during a ride,
- Grip: While getting shoes for road cycling, ensure the shoes have excellent grip. It helps to improve the connection between the pedals and feet. Your feet will stick to the peddle and slip less frequently if the grip is good. Thus, you can ride fast without any stoppage.
- Weight: The shoes you choose for road cycling must be light in weight. If you use lightweight shoes, it will boost your confidence and make you feel light. Moreover, lighter shoes offer low resistance in paddling.
- Size & Fitting: This is the most important thing you should be careful about. I know everyone is conscious of it. Still, you will need extra attention while getting shoes for cycling. Don’t get too tight or too loose shoes. Otherwise, it will be an uncomfortable ride. Get the right size and fitting to obtain the highest output.
- Other features: Finally, check out some basic components of your shoes. For example, check the lace or strap. It should be firm but soft. Also, you can check the padding. It’s the primary factor of comfort. Besides, consider the material and built quality to ensure durability.
Step-2: Prepare the pedals
Getting a suitable pair of shoes is not enough. You must check if the pedals are compatible with your shoes or not. Then follow the below tips according to your observation.
- Fliping: Most road bikes come with hybrid pedals. These pedals have a cleat mount on one side and a flat surface on the other. In this case, flip the pedals to the flat side and put your feet on them. Otherwise, the ride will be very uncomfortable and painful.
- Switching: Some road bikes feature true-clipless pedals. It means they have cleat mounts on both sides of the pedals. In this case, you can’t ride with regular training shoes. It will be very uncomfortable and painful. So, you have two options. Get cycling shoes (with compatible cleats) or switch to flat/hybrid pedals. In my opinion, the second option is much more affordable.
- Using adapter: If you don’t want to miss the benefits of clipless pedals, consider pedal adapters. It helps to convert any flat pedal into a clipless pedal. However, you can also make an adapter yourself. Get a velcro and attach it with the pedals in such a way that you can insert your feet comfortably.
Frequently asked questions about cycling shoes
Do road bike shoes matter?
Yes, road bike shoe matter. They have a significant influence on performance and comfortability. Bike shoes come with stiffer soles and a better grip. It helps you to obtain higher performance and comfortable riding. Regular running shoes with soft soles and poor grip fail to provide your expected performance. Moreover, it can lead to foot pain and soreness.
How much faster do bike shoes make you?
Bikes shoes (with cleats) can increase peddling efficiency and speed up your bike. They can offer 10-15 percent higher speed than regular shoes. The cleat and pedal attachment make it happen. Alongside pushing power, it provides extra pulling power. Thus, the bike sped up with bike shoes.
Do lighter cycling shoes make a difference?
Of course. Lighter cycling shoes make a difference. When you wear lighter shoes, you can peddle more comfortably and efficiently. Whereas heavier shoes can feel uncomfortable. Besides, it creates mental resistance to high-speed riding.
The importance of a suitable pair of shoes is often ignored in cycling. But you have learned how much crucial this thing is. It’s okay if you are not willing to get expensive cycling shoes. But, you must get something that provides an added value. That’s why I came up with this blog. I tried to explain how you should utilize your budget and get something worth getting.
You can enjoy an enhanced riding experience by following 2 simple steps. So, swipe up to the how-to section if you skipped it earlier. I hope it will clear all your doubts. If you have more queries, don’t forget to check out the FAQ section. I have tried to answer other relevant questions.
Anyways, good luck with your next ride.