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Is there anything wrong with wearing mountain biking shoes (SPD) with a road bike? I find that it makes sense because you can still walk around with them on but you still have the ability to clip in and pull the pedal up like a normal road bike shoe would allow. Am I missing any aspect of the situation?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

I wear my MTB shoes with my road bike all the time. A number of the other guys in our group ride also do, nothing wrong with it at all. Road shoes are often stiffer than MTB shoes but not always. My SIDI's are just as stiff as the road version.

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Plus road shoes don't usually allow recessed cleats. This is why I use MTB shoes. –  darkcanuck Mar 24 '11 at 16:39
A lot of people use SPDs for commuting on road bikes because you can walk in them more easily –  mgb Mar 24 '11 at 20:54
This. For commuting and such, there's no need for dedicated road shoes. –  Scottie Apr 2 '11 at 7:12

I always use my MTB shoes on my road bike using SPD pedals:

  • I don't have to buy extra shoes
  • There are MTB shoes for cold and wet weather, road shoes are nearly always designed for summer.
  • You don't have to be a member of the ministry of silly walks to walk on using MTB shoes
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There are plenty of road shoes designed for winter, and plenty of MTB shoes designed for summer. –  zenbike Jun 20 '11 at 14:24

While many people use MTB cleats for road use, and are quite happy with them, there are down sides to them. Because the cleat is embedded in the shoe, they are easier to walk on. That same thing requires the cleat to be far smaller than a road cleat.

A smaller cleat is less supportive of the foot that a larger road cleat. On long rides, the additional muscle activation (flex in the sole of our foot) causes cramping and hotspots. Better quality MTB shoes with a stiffer, usually carbon fiber, sole will be better than soft rubber.

You will not likely notice the difference on rides of less than 25 miles. You are also unlikely to notice the difference, if say, you've only ever ridden on MTB shoes and cleats. I would recommend road shoes and cleats as ideal for performance, but there are a myriad of reasons why you could consider compromising performance for ease of use or immediate short distance comfort.

They do design the road cleat for a road bike for a reason, however.

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The sight of a cyclist trying to walk around the local art fair (or whatever) in his road cleats is quite amusing, however.... –  M. Werner Jun 20 '11 at 19:37
Very true. :) Still very much more effective, and I'd always rather be comfy and look a bit silly. Why else would we wear those shorts? –  zenbike Jun 21 '11 at 15:52

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