How to choose your cycling shoes

How to choose your cycling shoes? The answer is not simple. Considering that every rider is different and uses the bike in a different way, there are some aspects that should not be underestimated.

Rigidity, lightness, closing systems, just to name a few.

What is certain is that, being a point of contact between the cyclist and the bicycle exactly like the saddle and the handlebars, choosing the right shoes is essential.

So, let’s try to give you some advice, hopefully it will be useful!

HOW TO CHOOSE THE SIZE

Choosing the right size is more important than any technical or aesthetic aspect.

The fit must be precise: not too tight because excessive compression could lead to problems, but not too wide either, as this would risk abnormal movements and rubbing especially in the heel area.

Not all companies have the same fit and very often the same number does not correspond to the same size. The advice we give is to always trust the centimetres that (in theory) should not lie.

Another tip: there should always be at least 0.5 cm of space between the tips of your toes and the shoe. This is to avoid chafing, nails hitting against the top, and to leave room as feet swell in the heat.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE SHAPE

The choice of shoe shape is also very important. Often a shoe is perfect in length but is too narrow, so it’s too tight, or too wide and doesn’t support the foot well. Unfortunately, there is no other option: you just have to try them on.

THE VARIOUS CLOSING SYSTEMS

The closure system is a critical detail because it affects the feel and comfort of the fit. A tight fastening transfers power better and limits various problems.

Let’s look at the various systems on the market:

1. Double ratchet with micro metric adjustment (the Boa system is the most used, but there are other very good ones).

This is the solution usually found in mid and high-end shoes. Allows for micro-adjustments and creates even compression throughout the shoe. It also allows adjustment even on the move, just like the pros before the sprint.

2. Ratchet with unique micro metric adjustment.

It is a solution found in high-end shoes, to limit the weight of the shoe, even if it has less adjustment possibilities to tighten the shoe.

On the other hand, in mid-range shoes, it is used to save costs.

3. Single ratchet + Velcro strap

Here is the middle way between the two previous solutions. In this case, the function of the second dial is performed with Velcro. Even if the performance is not the same, it is still a good system.

4. Velcro

One of my favourite solutions, especially for shoes where performance is not the basis of choice. Practical, lightweight, economical. They rarely get damaged, so they are definitely recommended for travel as well.

The Velcro may break after a while, especially in case of rain and humidity.

5. Lace-up

The system is back in fashion, especially as a matter of style. Also, here, definitely recommended for long trips and outings where performance is not the ultimate goal. You can still get a firm and comfortable closure.

These are the shoes I personally wear the most. But, you know, I’m not a professional.

THE SOLE

The sole is the point of contact between the rider and the pedal: it influences transmission and also comfort. There are basically two solutions on the market:

1. Carbon

The solution for all high-end shoes. Rigidity and lightness together. On the other hand, on long outings, they can cause pain and the sensation of a hot foot.

2. Nylon or plastic material (usually injected with carbon).

A cheaper, but still satisfactory solution. They make comfort their most important feature.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE INSTEP

The upper should wrap around the foot and let it breathe. High-end shoes use different types of technology, all of which are state-of-the-art.

Here too, support is the master. The advice is to avoid insteps that are too stiff because they could cause long-term discomfort.

THE WEIGHT

Lightness is a very important element, and must be taken into account depending on the use of the shoe.

There can be as much as a 400g difference between a high-end pair of shoes and an entry-level pair. Obviously, if you’re a professional, it’s something to consider.

It is also true that a light shoe improves pedalling and makes it more harmonious, so a light shoe can also be useful if you use your bike for long rides without a stopwatch.

SO?

Obviously, there is no ideal shoe for all feet. Often, when we find a brand that fits us it will be difficult to change, and understandably so.

Our advice is to always think about how and when you will wear the shoes and then choose them. Not always the most expensive shoe is the best for what we have planned for them.

Remember that it is also necessary to give the foot time to get used to a new shoe, and the shoe to adapt to the foot. So, from time to time, patience is needed. Not too much, though… If we really don’t like a shoe, it is better to change it before discomfort becomes a very annoying problem.

Find all cycling products at Deporvillage

Stefano Francescutti

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