For cyclists, shoes can have a major impact on performance. Cycling shoes are stiff-soled and lightweight footwear that clips onto the bicycle pedals. Plastic or carbon material is used to make the shoes, making feet comfortable and enhancing the ride. These shoes come in many styles and are available within various price points.
A cycling shoe is more convenient than a flat pedal, toe clip, or strap. The cleat clicks in and out of the pedal so riders do not need to bend down or remove their hands from the handlebars for adjustments. Riders have more control of their bikes because their feet are clipped into the pedals and will not slip. This added control is especially important on group rides, wet roads, uneven terrain, and in heavy traffic.
Traditional pedaling without a cycling shoe involves pushing the pedals. Quadriceps muscles are quickly exhausted by repeated downstrokes. With a cycling shoe, the rider makes circular strokes that are more efficient and use the full range of hamstring and quadriceps muscles. Riders pull up at the bottom of pedal strokes, improving stroke efficiency even when they change gears.
There are many brands of shoes for cyclists and Sidi is a major one. Available for men and women, Sidi shoes have all the features a competitive cyclist needs such as durability, breathability, Velcro straps, and ratcheting buckles. The Sidi brand is not cheap but riders receive everything they expect in a cycling shoe and much more. Different colors and styles carry this popular brand name.
Northwave also makes shoes for male and female cyclists, with prices that are slightly less expensive. The GTX line is particularly interesting because it features a Gore-Tex upper and easy to operate Speed Lace System. Transfer of power is more efficient during a ride due to the carbon reinforced sole. The natural rubber tread is designed for maximum grip when riders are off their bikes. GTX styles are designed for cyclists who ride in all types of weather.
In addition to bicycle components, Shimano makes reasonably priced cycling shoes for men and women. The SH-WR35 shoe for women features a slightly flexible sole made from polyamide, making the transition from the street, to a flat pedal, to clipless pedals an easy one. This footwear promotes airflow and the fit is designed for the narrower width of the female foot.