James has not had cycling shoes with clips/cleats before; he wants to know the proper fitting, tight or loose? Your feet are crucial to your cycling, and we help James choose his new shoes.
Question: What can you tell me about the proper fit for a cycle shoe? I have never had a cleat system, should it be snug like soccer shoes or have “toe nail” space like a running or tennis shoe? Etc. Thanks. James Karl.
Hi James, If you have not worn cycling shoes before, then you will notice a big difference from whatever shoes you are wearing now. Mostly the solid sole and the cleats holding you to the pedals are the most significant change.
Look for a shoe with three straps over the top of the foot.
This holds your foot in the right position in the boot with the heel held back into the heel cup of the shoe.
Your toes should have enough room to “breath” so you can wiggle your toes in at the front of the shoe. You don’t want them pushing against the toe of the shoe.
The secret is that the foot is held comfortably tight, so it doesn’t move around. It’s the straps that do the work in holding you in the correct place. They are adjustable. You see Pro cyclists tightening or loosening the straps as they race to get there feet comfortable.
Check the width of the shoes for your feet as you don’t want then crushed across the way. Different manufacturers have different widths. This is very important as any discomfort will ruin your ride.
Many shoes now are made with carbon soles.
These are very hard. You need to have an insole to take some of the harshnesses of the sole away. So you have to allow for this with the size unless you know your exact size for the shoe manufacturer you’re interested in buying.
Then it is not a good idea to buy a mail-order or on the internet. If you are going to buy this way, try the shoes on at a local shop first and if you can make a saving, including the postage, then order them.
When you fit the shoe plate, it is essential to get it in the correct position. The knuckle of your foot has to be over the axle of the pedal. Feel for the bone on the inside of your foot, just back from the big toe that should be over the spindle.
Remember, your points of contact with the bike are the most important, hands, bottom, and feet, look after them, and you should have a comfortable, pleasurable bike ride.
And here it comes a video contribution from one of our readers; Victor, who runs bicyclelab.com, thanks to Victor, for this lovely video!
Another excellent resource I’ve just found while editing this article was this great triathlon bike shoe review at tri-sports.com. It talks about the differences between road and triathlon shoes. As you can read on their post, there are five differences…triathlon shoes:
- Upper or lower with fewer closures
- Velcro and use no mechanical buckles
- Closures hinge to the outside of the foot
- Have lighter construction
- Have enhanced ventilation and drainage features
Full article at university.tri-sports.com