I have been riding in some old sneakers. Real cycling shoes have very stiff soles so that the force you put on the shoe is in turn put on the pedal with no losses in the process. They also have the means to fix the shoe to the pedal until such times as you want to put your foot on the floor.
That is ideal. Unless you want to walk in them, which you might want to do when you’re mountain biking or taking part in cyclo-cross style activities. In those cases you’d like some flexibility and some grip for a steep muddy surface.
The last time I used real bike shoes the toes were strapped into contraptions that we fondly referred to as rat traps. You don’t see those any more. These days shoes are married to pedals by a system derived from ski bindings. Cleats fixed on the shoe click into place in the pedals and stay there until you swing your heel laterally to unclip. Forgetting to unclip leads to your shoulder heading towards the ground at 9.80665 m/s2 (32.1740 ft/s2).
In ideal circumstances the furthest you walk in your road bike shoes is from your bike to the barista. Cleats and pedals are broad, shoes are stiff and flat. Mountain bike shoes range from stiff to flexible and have a bit of a heel. Cleats are narrow so that they can be recessed into the sole. Mountain bike shoes are incompatible with road bike pedals and vice versa.
Does this mean that the well-rounded cyclist with both a mountain bike and a road bike must have two sets of shoes? Do I need even more trouble with the wife? Fortunately not. Pedals are unconcerned whether they are attached to road bikes or mountain bikes so a reasonable compromise is within reach.
The terrain I tackle on the mountain bike doesn’t normally require me to walk therefore a stiff mountain bike shoe is the go. It has the added benefit of protecting the cleats from the cafe floor when I buy the road bike and venture into town.
I toured the bike shops of Ballarat and settled on the Bont Riots.They are made of carbon composite and can be heat molded. The retention is by a velcro strap and the Boa quick fastening quick releasing system.
Bont is a little Aussie company. I feel good about that and I don’t need to feel like I’ve made a sacrifice. So far the company trophy cabinet holds :-
59 World Track Championship titles.
3 UCI World Road/ TT champions.
12 x Olympic Gold Medals.
A TDF title (Sir Bradley Wiggins).
1 x Paris-Roubaix win.
2 x Tour of Swiss.
3 x Ironman World Championships.
3 x 70.3 World Championships.
2 x UCI BMX World Championships (Caroline Buchanan).
Numerous Grand Tour Stage wins, classics and countless stage races.
If you add silver and bronze you could probably triple those figures.
I’m sure they can barely wait for me to add a top 1000 finish in next year’s R3R.
One quibble with the design. As you insert your foot the tongue tends to recede into the nether reaches of the shoe. A tag on the front of the tongue would make that easy to prevent.
They have now made approximately 63,680 revolutions on my pedals and are as comfortable as my old sneakers.