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I'm currently traveling to work by bike. I intent to by a new sport shoes and discovered that there is such thing like special cycling shoes?

My question: Are they appropriate for wearing in the office, or I need to bring another pair of shoes and change before/after cycling?

EDIT: This seems reasonable for me (from Benzo answer).

"If your commute is short, you can always try your regular office shoes. They may not be 'optimal' for cycling, but you don't always have to have specialized gear to ride a bike. Do what works and what you're comfortable with."

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Is it acceptable to wear trainers in your office? If so, then you definitely have options, but if you need to look smart then buying some proper shoes to keep at the office would be better. –  PeteH May 22 '13 at 12:22
    
    
See also bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/15377/… –  Kibbee May 22 '13 at 12:26
    
Also also: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/12357/… –  WTHarper May 22 '13 at 12:34
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Even for long bike tours (i.e. ~8h on the bike per day) I still use regular shoes. –  Claus May 22 '13 at 16:01
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Unless you're using clipless pedals, you really don't need much in terms of special shoes for cycling. However, there are plenty of advantages to using clipless pedals, so many people choose to use them.

The big categories of clipless shoes are:

  • Road shoes tend to have the cleat exposed and you walk on it any time you step. This is really bad for regular wear off the bike. These shoes are meant to be lite and used on the bike.

  • Mountain Bike Shoes tend to allow you to walk around a bit. Some models resemble athletic shoes and some are more firm and the stiff soles make it hard to walk normally. However, you can usually get buy walking a bit in these. I wouldn't want to wear them for extended periods of time off the bike if possible.

  • Urban Shoes (like Chrome and DZR) tend to look like sneakers and feel a lot more like regular shoes. They still contain a cleat mount, but these shoes are designed to blend in like normal shoes and walk a bit better than most other cycling shoes. I've worn Chrome and DZR shoes with SPD cleats around all day and didn't really notice much. The soles are still stiff, so they are a bit different feeling than wakling around in regular shoes.

    If you pick up a pair of clipless shoes, you'll still probably want to swap them out for regular shoes at the office if you're going to be there for a few hours or more. Regular shoes are going to be more comfortable and your cycling shoes might be a bit sweaty.

    If you're not planning to pick up clipless shoes, then look for a pair of athletic shoes that doesn't have a lot of flex in the sole when you try to bend the toe downward. A flatter type of tread on the bottom of the shoe will probably help keep you from sliding on the pedals as much too. Skateboard shoes and Adidas Sambas are generally pretty good choices, but pick what works for you.

    If your commute is short, you can always try your regular office shoes. They may not be 'optimal' for cycling, but you don't always have to have specialized gear to ride a bike. Do what works and what you're comfortable with.

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    There are also flat pedal specific cycling shoes, such as Five Ten (shown in the image). These are shoes with a special sticky rubber compound which offers better grip on platform pedals. I have not personally tried the model below, but flat pedal cycling shoes are generally more flexible than clipless cycling shoes, since they don't need to be stiff because the pedal already is. This means that they are similar to a normal shoe when walking, while still providing cycling specific benefits such as ankle protection and grippy sole compounds. These can be a worthy alternative if you want to use flat pedals and still have a pair of cycling shoes that are easy to walk in.

    Five Ten Freerider VXi Shoe sole

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