I have never been more than a casual rider, maybe 5 miles at a time. I signed up for a 500 mile multi-day bike event that i need to train for and was thinking about getting real bike shoes due to more energy transfer to the pedals. I just have regular simple platform pedals now. so would it even make sense to get special shoes with hard soles if I don't have regular pedals?


  • So you want to keep the same (flat) pedals, but possibly use different shoes if they can of transfer more power to the pedal than you do now? What do you ride in right now?
    – PeteH
    Jan 31, 2015 at 23:06
  • You want a comfortable shoe with plenty of toe room, and a reasonably stiff sole. But you needn't go overboard with "stiff" -- I rode for about 20 years with ordinary "athletic" shoes. Just avoid shoes that are super-flexible. (Or you can get a standard bike shoe.) Don't switch shoes at the last minute, and take a spare "old favorite" pair of lightweight shoes if you have the room -- it's nice to switch shoes at the end of the day, or if the first pair is "rubbing you the wrong way". Feb 1, 2015 at 0:18
  • I will note that you want a shoe that is not too bulky on the outside. This is especially important if you're using toe straps, but even without straps you don't want a shoe where the edge of the sole is constantly bumping into the crank arm. Feb 1, 2015 at 4:17
  • See also: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/27402/…
    – freiheit
    Feb 1, 2015 at 19:09
  • Light shoes help, but not ones with thin or soft soles. I've destroyed a new pair of shoes by riding a climb with "edgy" flat pedals. The grippy parts of pedal ate a hole through the shoe's sole in a couple of hours.
    – Criggie
    Oct 5, 2017 at 21:50

6 Answers 6


Even with platform pedals, a stiffer shoe will help. If you're riding in squishy running shoes, switching to a shoe that is stiffer with less cushion will improve your riding.

Those all mountain flats would be fine, or even skate shoes.

However, unless multi-day refers to a month or more, I would really encourage you to look into getting clipless pedals and bike specific shoes. 500 miles is a long ways on a bike, everything you can do to improve efficiency and comfort will help.

Having said that, you don't need to invest in new pedals right away and any reasonably stiff shoe will help. ( Some people like riding in dress shoes. ) Once you've gotten some miles under your belt, you can look at the issue of pedals again.


I like downhill larger platform pedals with what is commonly referred to as street shoes.
I don' like advertising a brand but an example is the best answer.
All Mountain Flats

You have people advising clipless (spd) and I don't agree. Ironically clipless means the ski boot type clip in. But I don't agree with spd. I would do a 500 mile multi day ride on some big platform downhill pedals with the little spike and some and some nice street shoes. There is enough traction to hold your foot in position. You can move your foot around a little bit to change how you hit muscles. I will ride an uphill is a little different foot position. When you get off you can walk around and loosen up you legs. You don't have to carry another pair of shoes or sandals. Now a one day 100 mile ride - then I would ride spd.

  • For flat pedals and giving the "clipped in" feel without being clipped in there is nothing like FiveTens. The Stealth rubber is so sticky.
    – Brady
    Feb 1, 2015 at 16:37

Please note that contrary to popular belief, there's no scientific proof that clipless pedals and/or stiffer shoes are more efficient. The few experiments that have been done actually seem to point in the opposite direction! Having said that, clipless pedals and stiffer shoes may help you feel more confident and powerful on your bike, which is a great reason to get them. But if you're just trying to be fast and/or comfortable, you should be just fine with regular shoes on flat pedals.

  • 1
    Note the question is "what type of shoes for regular pedals?" Your last sentence is the only bit that relates to the question. Have a browse through our Tour in the Help menu to see how SE varies from a chat forum.
    – Criggie
    Nov 25, 2016 at 23:43
  • 1
    Welcome to Bicycles @Kart. We recommend that new members take the tour to make best use of the site. I don't agree with either of your claims ...
    – andy256
    Nov 26, 2016 at 3:40
  • 1
    Welcome to Bicycles SE. We're looking for answers with more detail. Please consider expanding your answer to explain what you mean by "regular shoes." Depending on your point of view, "regular shoes" could be hiking shoes, tennis shoes, or dress shoes. Also, please remove the irrelevant commentary about the lack of benefits of clipless pedals. If you do not make these updates, your post is likely to be downvoted, flagged for moderator intervention, and possibly deleted.
    – jimchristie
    Dec 3, 2016 at 17:49

I used Nike clipless cleats for most of my first two years in road biking, but have moved to normal Adidas running shoes and replaced clipless pedals with flat (with spikes) pedal. No plan on going back yet, as I enjoy the combination, plus I don't have to carry two pairs of shoes since I run before and after my 30K ride. So there. I know clipless turns me to automaton and never even have to bother my feet moving here and about but since I have used to riding it, my pedaling habit hinge on my clipless shoes habits, and so I am not bothered at all with the movement etc.

my two cents worth. cheers!


I strongly recommend that you combine the cycling shoes idea with "clipless" pedals.

The key advantage of such shoes is that they give good support for cycling and you can comfortably walk in them. And the advantage of the clipless pedals is that because the shoes attach to them, you can drive the pedal all the way around the stroke. Your pedal will be about 3 times more efficient!

There are different kinds of clipless pedals; look for pedals that are SPD on one side and flat on the other, so you have the choice while you're learning. SPD were originally made by Shimano, but now there are many clones.

If you Google spd cycling shoes you will find a heap of brands, styles, and price levels. Often the shoes are called MTB (Mountain Bike) shoes.

My daughter started this way (single sided SPD pedals) some years ago. And I used my MTB shoes for a whole 5 week holiday once, so that I didn't have to take a second pair of shoes.

Another answer I wrote may also help you. The question was How long does it take to be ready for a multi day ride as a newbie?.

  • Single sided SPD pedals are great if you use your bike for things other than riding for the sake of riding like taking a trip to the store. Many SPD shoes are completely unusable with street shoes, and it's nice to not have to use cycling shoes all the time.
    – Kibbee
    Feb 1, 2015 at 10:43
  • 3 times more efficient? Even if up stroke was as powerful as the down strode (and it is not) that is 2x. I train on flat shoes for CX as I don't want to eat up my $200 spd shoes on running stairs. Before a race I will take a couple sessions in spd. In a 50 minute session cleats are worth about 10 seconds to me.
    – paparazzo
    Feb 1, 2015 at 17:55
  • @andy256 Do you have any sources verifying the claim that clipless pedals make you 3 times more effective than when using flat pedals? Feb 1, 2015 at 19:00
  • @Blam I'm surprised that point it so contentious; it's a common rule of thumb. It's not about power: it's efficiency, especially on long rides. Clips or clipless pedals enable us to drive the pedal through 360 degrees, not just 90 to 120 degrees; they allow the use of more muscles, so we can spread the load when getting tired; they help us they keep our feet in the pedals rather than use attention and effort to do that.
    – andy256
    Feb 1, 2015 at 20:21
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    If it is so easy to find 3x then post supporting data. It is sure not a common rule of thumb to me. My experience is 3% not 3X. Power is efficiency. If I am 3x as efficient then I should be deliver 3x power. Do you anything to back that up?
    – paparazzo
    Feb 2, 2015 at 3:37

There is no problem riding with ordinary shoes and platform pedals. It is a myth that clipless pedals make you more effective, so if you don't race you are probably just as well off with using the equipment you already have.

Using clipless shoes for flat pedals would be the worst solution since road clipless shoes usually have hard and stiff soles that does not get a good grip on the pins on flat pedals. My personal opinion is that skate shoes, tennis sneakers, and other flat soled rubber shoes are good alternatives for flat pedals. You also have flat pedal specific shoes, such as Five Ten, with very sticky rubber compounds that are designed to increase grip on flat pedals.

If you are interested in seeing more good arguments for using flat pedals (i.e. why you can safely ride with the equipment you already have) you can check out the links below: http://www.bikejames.com/strength/the-flat-pedal-revolution-manifesto-how-to-improve-your-riding-with-flat-pedals/ http://www.bikejames.com/strength/two-more-ways-that-clipless-pedals-can-unknowingly-screw-up-your-pedal-stroke/

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