I have been contemplating clipless pedals as the next logical step. So after a bit of research and reading this question and it's answers

I find myself a bit unconvinced mainly because nothing covers something I notice myself doing a lot.

I change my feets position on the pedals quite a lot for no conscious reason, it feels right when I'm going uphill and my feet get hot spots at other times so I change to another part of the foot for a while. Mostly I move them a bit forwards or back, but I also move them outwards sometimes. Particularly when coasting I change position. For the first six months I wore jandals (flip flops), but for about a month I've been using very cheap flat soled sneakers with a pretty rigid sole which work really well for me.

When zooming around a tight corner I also take my inside leg off the pedal as you do on a motorbike, I've never come off on a corner but it's a reflex action when leaning I think. I lean right over so couldn't pedal anyway without the pedal hitting the ground.

I'm pretty old and I don't recall anyone back in my younger days using anything but normal pedals, not that I'd have noticed. I had assumed moving your feet around was normal, but now I'm wondering if I should train myself out of the habit. Possibly it's all in my mind, but making a small change when working hard on a hill seems to use the leg muscles slightly differently and give me a stamina boost (I don't stand in the pedals).

I'm not racing anyone except myself, I just commute, but I like speed and I like pushing my limits.

My question is, how important is it to keep your feet in one position on the pedals. How much of an advantage do you gain from doing so?

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    Sounds like your riding style would not work well with anything but flats. However I thought the same, and I borrowed some shoes, and bought some super-cheap road cleat pedals online. TBH I didn't notice a huge difference, so I returned the shoes. And only then did it become obvious just how much good the cleats did. Now both my MTB and Road bike are cleats. You should try some, if nothing else.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 10:57
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    you change position because in some situations you have to input more power into petal so you use the center of you feet in order to not spit out or hurt your fingers. But with clipless you dont have to do that because you can use your both legs pulling with one and pushing with the other and you cant split away because your legs are fixed in the pedals.
    – kifli
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:36
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    I just got clipless pedals and I'm pleased with them, because I can get more power through the stroke. I especially notice when I'm going up a hill; I can just pedal harder now, whereas before I would need to downshift. I had been told that shoe stiffness makes a big difference, but I think that effect is small. You might consider trying pedals with toe clips. It would be an inexpensive way to see how having your feet restrained a bit bothers you, and you would get a decent performance boost. Keep the straps loose at first! If you like that, then you'll like clipless pedals even more.
    – rclocher3
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 16:55
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    @Kilisi Power through the stroke is enhanced for a few seconds, but personally I find the main advantage is keeping the foot on the pedal. Honestly you'll get a lot of opinions on this one, you should trial clipless and see how it works for you individually.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 20:05
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    Old? Some of the fast guys I ride with in one bunch are well over sixty, another "retired" when he was seventy five.
    – andy256
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 2:45

2 Answers 2


Clipless pedals are a matter of preference - you don't have to use them. There are alternatives such as "half clips" which might suit you better.

I've come to like mine, with mtb shoes and pedals that are designed to be rideable with clipless or normal shoes on either side. These allow you to ride in an alternative position (with the pedal under the arch of your foot if getting ready to stop, for example). It's often wet here and feet sliding around on the pedals can be a real nuisance. But since buying my clipless pedals & shoes I've also bought a pair of pedals with much better grip against the soles than my old plastic platforms, so you don't need clipless to keep your feet from sliding

  • I've been reading up, and I'm leaning this way, I've been looking at some flat pedals with quite pronounced teeth on them which would give me a pretty good grip even when wet.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 13:56
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    The ones I got are these: evanscycles.com/fwe-atb-pedal-EV160657 -- I use them on holiday when I'm riding a lot with a toddler seat and don't want to be clipped in. If the grippy bits are plastic, they don't work so well (can't find a picture much like my old ones; they're dicontinued)
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:01
  • Those pedals are not bad, but you can do much better if you have the budget - really good platforms are not cheap, but the stick as well as clipless till you have no pressure on them.
    – mattnz
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 19:48
  • @mattnz, indeed. These are used for <1% of my riding so I didn't want to spend a lot. My old plastic pedals do nearer 20% on a battered old bike - I occasionally consider modifying them with grub screws as grips like some platforms have.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 19:52

Keeping your feet in one position is important when you want to use all your power to pedal in the most efficient way, or you want your feet to be stable on the pedals, because you tackle some hard stuff and your feet tend to move from their position without you wanting it.

For you, you use your bike for commuting, which means you have to swing around to avoid traffic and people, or hit the brakes hard when someone/something pops up in the middle of your way. In all those cases, you will have to put your feet down at some time, or change their position, as you normally do. Plus, you will always have to wear the cycling shoes, because no other shoe will let you ride with ease. Don't go clipless. They are for special types of usage and inconvenient when not racing.

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    If you use MTB clipless pedals you'll have shoes with clips recessed in the soles that allow normal walking. And you can find pedals that have one side with a platform and the other with the mechanism.
    – Carel
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 10:18
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    You shouldn't use clipless EVER if you're unable to release you foot when you need it. I see plenty of people commuting where I live using clipless pedals - the advantages they give when climbing hills or the extra acceleration at traffic lights are very helpful when coming home from work.
    – Nic
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 10:52
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    @Kilisi If your brakes don't stop you so you need to scuff your feet on the ground get that sorted out before you spend money on anything else. Mind boggled!
    – Aidan
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 11:06
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    I would stay away from clipless for commuting, i don't personally ride them ever, just not my cup of tea, and after a severe ankle injury the twisting motion to release and my leg don't get along. you might consider some toe clips or straps however as you can use them with any kind of shoe and their easy to get in and out of. And yeah, get some proper brakes ;)
    – Nate W
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:52
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    Better get a set of flat downhill pedals. They work. Always Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 16:27

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