Just how many times will you ride in cheap shoes before running your sore dogs to the store screaming with hot foot? Probably only once before you’re willing to pay a high price for comfort and performance.
Cyclists today are spending upwards of $500 dollars for a single pair of premium gold cycling shoes.
After all one of the easiest ways to increase your comfort and performance is to perfect the contact points between you and your cycle. And how a foot sits on the pedal is perhaps the most important flesh to machine interface.
In fact aside from ultralight racing wheels, upgrading from clips and straps to clipless pedals can be the single best improvement to your riding experience.
In the old days – 25 years ago – the best cycling shoes and pedals were leather straps across a poor excuse for tennis shoes and cost $60. And while you can still buy a pair of kicks for $60, there’s a distinct difference between your sale pair and the three C-note shoes, particularly the high performance carbon-soled level.
Besides a solid, safe helmet, a pair of chamois-laden cycling shorts, shoes are the most valuable clothing you will invest in your cycling hobby. But unlike a helmet or gloves, you will see a dividend paid in performance and power.
Even among the high priced shoes, not all are the same. Differences in construction, ventilation, customization, lacing, soles, design and fit mean differences in performance and comfort. A stiffer sole for a quicker sprint while also avoiding knee and ankle injury is one of the major reasons some shoes fly off the shelves while others are just a bad racing-celebrity endorsement.
But isn’t $200, $300, even $500 a little too much?
Prices continue to rise more as new technology creeps into our sport and new customers are willing to pay top dollar in hopes of a better sprint or climbing experience.
No one needs a pair of $500 shoes, just like no one needs a 2-pound carbon road frame or a Porsche. However, given that most of what is sold in our sport is a luxury item, a pricey pair of kicks can offer genuine and specific performance benefits.
And with promises of making cyclists ride faster and look better, who can resist?