Q: I’m doing a weeklong tour in Colorado. How much performance am I giving up if I use mountain bike shoes and pedals so it’s easier to walk at rest stops? — Gary G.
COACH FRED: There’s very little downside, if any, for the type of riding you’re talking about.
The soles of off-road shoes are a bit more flexible to aid walking, but any power you lose for that reason will be negligible. Also, they’ll probably weigh a bit more (and it’s rotating weight, which counts the most) but for touring this isn’t a big issue.
In fact, off-road shoes are a good choice for most recreation riding. The recessed cleats mean you can walk without damaging them or slipping on a store’s hard floor and pitching headlong into the Twinkie display. These benefits outweigh the small performance penalty.
Racing is a different story, of course. In competition, small differences add up, so you want to use light, stiff road shoes.