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I have a hybrid bike that I use for commuting (8k round trip to work). Currently, I wear low-backed converse shoes when biking.

I've been biking for about 5 months. After the first 2 months, I started getting Achilles tendon pain. I read about ankling and think that could be part of the problem. I'm also concerned it could be my shoes.

So, what type of shoes should a commuter/hybrid biker look into getting? I'm willing to spend about $100-$150.

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Ankling could be caused by having to reach too much to the bottom of your pedal stroke. Before going out and buying new shoes, you might want to consider lowering the saddle or making other adjustments to see if that helps. It could also be that the pedal is too close to the end of your food. Try placing your foot with you toes further off the end of the pedal. –  Kibbee Sep 19 '12 at 2:12
    
What sort of pedals do you have? If you are just using the shop pedals that came with the bike they could be the real problem. –  Martynnw Sep 19 '12 at 11:49
    
They just came with the bike. I don't know much about bikes so I can't be more specific. –  Lindsay Sep 20 '12 at 20:48
    
Before spending money on shoes, lets focus on what @Kibbee said. Another thing to look at is your saddle position. Do you have it lowered down too much? Ideally, your body should be positioned on a bike like a stretched and slightly left-tilted Z. You don't want your thigh to be at 90 degrees to your upper body, because your legs will be overworked. –  hagubear Jun 20 '13 at 6:39

7 Answers 7

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I assume those shoes don't have cleats of any sort.

Do you currently ride without toe clips? Adding toe clips might let you maintain a steadier foot position on the pedals.

But many regular commuters go in for cleated shoes of some sort, very often the "mountain bike"/touring style with SPD cleats/pedals because they're "walkable".

Whatever, you want a shoe with a relatively stiff sole. Basically this means a biking shoe of some sort, perhaps the afore-mentioned "mountain bike"/touring style.

Shimano MT33 Men's Multi-Use Touring Cycling Shoes

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+1 for pointing out that mountain shoes are walkable, which is a big benefit for many commuters like myself. See also: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/3906/… and bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/827/…. –  amcnabb Sep 19 '12 at 3:31
    
I've had a couple of pairs of the exact shoes you link to and would highly recommend them. They have the look and feel of a "normal" trainer, but as you say the stiff sole makes them great for cycling, whether or not you put cleats into them. –  PeteH Sep 19 '12 at 16:25
    
Thank you Daniel and ammcnabb. I think I'm going to invest in some stylish SPD shoes (so I don't have to bring extra shoes to work/wherever I'm going). –  Lindsay Sep 20 '12 at 20:58
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@Lindsay - Do be aware that while the above style shoes are not amazingly uncomfortable for walking, and are fine for, say, biking to the mall and walking around for an hour, they are not ideal for wearing all day at work or wherever. So at least try out a pair (walk around the shop for 5 minutes or so) before committing. When I used to bike in (gotta get back to that!) I kept a pair of old running shoes at work to switch into. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 20 '12 at 21:39
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@heltonbiker -- Yeah, I was just meaning to say that it's a personal thing, and also dependent on the specific shoe and how much walking/standing you do during the day. So try out the shoes for more than 30 seconds before buying. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 21 '12 at 18:36

For what I know from personal experience, experience from friends, and from discussion on forums and sites like this one, the shoes are one of the many things about bike equipment about what the answer to the question is "whatever suits you best".

It is very common for riders to use a lot of very different shoes: sandals for grocery, regular shoes for commuting to work, clipless for trails or long distance, fast rides, and so on.

From what you said, I'd suspect:

  1. Your bike setup, specifically saddle height, saddle position (fore-aft and tilt), and/or handlebar reach could be "wrong" for you;
  2. You are riding too much, or too hard, or without proper rest, or in the wrong gear, or in a bad terrain CONSIDERING that you started to bike for just four months now. Muscles and cardio usually get strong fast, but joints, bones and tendons take more time, so they can having been overused;

In any case, I'd suggest you assess the situation by yourself and alter some of these things before blaming the shoes. If it doesn't solve the problem in some weeks, look for a doctor.

Hope this helps!

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This is good advice. For me personally, "whatever suits me best" is shoes with cleats, even when commuting. –  amcnabb Sep 19 '12 at 3:28
    
I need to take the bike in for a tune up. I'll ask them to take a second look at the set up (saddle height/position and handlebar reach). I used to have a longer commute before I moved (about 16 km round trip). I have already made an appointment with a chiropractor/physiotherapist. Thanks for the advice. –  Lindsay Sep 20 '12 at 20:56

I ride the same distance. And normally im a huge advocate for being clipped in both road biking and mountain biking. But for commuting i really like just having flat steel pedals with some teeth. I wear what ever shoe i feel like for the day. I ride a hybrid bike as well and often wear flip flops, running shoes or dress shoes.

Proper riding position and a general level of cycling fitness should be more than enough to avoid leg pain. Also making sure you pedal with the ball of your foot centered on the pedal. I ride 200k a week between road cycling and mountain biking. So my commute is a bit more leisurely as I dont want to be sweaty and tired by the time i get there.

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As a female bike commuter, I find that shoes with a low chunky heel, something like this, work rather similarly to toe clips, keeping my foot on the pedal without me having to work at it.

That said, my next bike will probably have toe clips... it's possible to find tallish ones that will take street shoes well.

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Relying on a heel block to keep your foot on the pedal could be a bad thing. That implies you pedal with the center of your foot. The arch is not all that great for both position, range of motion and can cause other issues. You should always position your foot with the ball of your foot centered on the pedal. –  Matt Adams Sep 21 '12 at 13:12
    
"Always keep the ball of the foot over the pedal" - why? –  Ritch Melton Jun 20 '13 at 10:31
    
It is said to allow maximum exertion of force on the pedal. –  dsalo Jun 21 '13 at 0:52

I HIGHLY recommend cycling shoes with cleats and the appropriate pedals for them.

The difference is AMAZING! You get firm contact with the pedals when you're spinning (you are averaging 85+ RPM, right?) plus the stiffness of the soles means much better efficiency in transmitting the energy from the leg to the crank.

If you only do a very tiny amount of walking and have a pair of work shoes at your workplace (or are bringing your own) then road shoes are just fine, however if neither of those hold true then get MTB shoes (is what I used while I was a bicycle courier).

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85+ RPM for a commute to and from work is pretty high and likely to leave one pretty sweaty. Maybe I just live in a hot state, but I try and take it easy especially to the office in the summer. –  Matt Adams Sep 21 '12 at 13:13
    
Racing, going fast on a training ride, and commuting are different things. A lower cadence and easier gear makes me far less sweatier when I get to work. –  Ritch Melton Jun 20 '13 at 10:18

As others said, you really want something that allows you to walk. Take a look at mountain biking shoes. Regarding cleats or not, get both! I have this:

http://www.rei.com/product/764688/shimano-a530-spd-sport-road-pedals

and they are awesome.

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There are various shoes which will really help you to ride your bike long time & among them few are common such as Road Shoe, Mountain Shoe, Triathlon Shoe, BMX Shoe, Track Shoe. You also can find out the Orthaheel Tide shoes for your long comfort. As I am using my shoes, give last one is very supporter for feet.

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Are you really suggesting that flip flops are good for long term cycling comfort? Also, if you're associated with that website or that brand of shoes you must declare it within your answer. –  jimirings Jun 20 '13 at 11:44
    
Sure,I am using these ...... –  user7264 Jun 22 '13 at 4:32

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