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Compared to typical shoes, cycling shoes, for both road and trail riding are designed with stiffer soles, narrow heel cups, and superior arch support. These features provide a more efficient platform to transfer your power to the pedals as you ride. Cycling shoes, like other pieces of cycling kit, come in a variety of models and styles with various features for every type of rider.
Typically road shoes will be stiffer, lighter weight, and often have a carbon fiber sole. The sole, whether carbon or nylon, will usually have a three-bolt patter for use with road-specific clipless pedal systems. The wider cleat, which acts much like a ski binding, is perfect for road riding where you spend extended periods clipped into the pedal.
For trail riding, shoes will be slightly less stiff, although some MTB race shoes are as feather weight and stiff as their road cousins, have a more lugged and rugged sole for easier walking when the trail gets too rough to ride, and have recessed cleats to protect them when walking. Some versions even offer toe spikes, extra ankle protection, and waterproof materials for more rugged adventures on the bike. Mountain bike shoes utilize the 2-hole cleat system and also require compatible pedals.
Casual riders need not miss out as urban, recreational, and indoor cycling shoes can greatly improve your ride efficiency and enjoyment. These shoes are a mix of typical athletic shoes and cycling shoes for use with a clipless pedal system--often the same two-bolt design used on MTB shoes. The recessed cleat and the more rubberized soles allow for easier walking around the spin class studio or the coffee shop.
While we stock a number of shoes from Bontrager, Fizik, and Shimano in our Austin store, we sometimes feature a select number of cycling shoes online. These are typically limited edition models or special editions that might be otherwise hard to find.