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.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred's full bio.