Indoor Cycling or Spinning has been around for a long time now and it looks like it is going to be here for a lot longer. It is a good low impact way to raise your heart rate, burn some calories and increase your lung capacity.
So if you haven’t given it a try yet, maybe you should get into it now. And when you do you are going to need to get some proper spinning shoes.
You could use those sneakers that you wear for going to the store, running on the treadmill and taking your dog for a walk but after your first class wearing proper cycling shoes you will wonder how you ever managed without them. And really who doesn’t want an extra pair of shoes?
You have running shoes for running, dress shoes for date night and now it is time to get some cycling shoes for indoor cycling. Before you say “but they are so expensive” take a minute to read the following 10 advantages to owning a pair.
Then realize that they will last for years. Then realize that they can be used on your mountain bike and you don’t have to spend a fortune on them. Immediately you will be off to your nearest bicycle shoe store before you can say “and spin”.
When you do go and get yourself a pair of cycling shoes make sure they are a snug but comfortable fit. Take them for a test ride if it is convenient.
You do not have to get the latest model with all the new bells and whistles. A simple Velcro fastener and being lightweight are probably the main 2 criteria you should be looking for when you talk to the salesperson.
The indoor cycling class will result in minimal wear and tear to your new footwear. And although it is true that if you wear them while riding the trails on your mountain bike they will get dirty, they will still last a long time. Also you will get admiring looks from the rest of the class when they see your mud spattered shoes.
When indoor cycling first started the indoor bicycles had SPD (Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) cleats on one side and road bike cleats on the other. In those days some riders would bring in their own pedals and switch them with the ones that were on the indoor bikes.
These people either wanted to use their shoes on their own pedals or had shoes that didn’t match the pedals that were supplied. It was much more of a niche fitness trend in those days and the people taking the classes were pretty hardcore bike riders.
These days there is only one type of pedal on the indoor cycling bike and that is the SPD. The other side of the pedal usually has a cage on it. You can use the cage with your regular sneakers but just be careful. Usually your foot is way too far forward on the pedal when you use the cage. With a cleat your foot is in the perfect position.
Other problems that can occur with the cages on the pedals include the fact that sometimes they will be broken and at other times they will not tighten properly. This means you end up having to pedal with no cage and to be honest, because of the minimal power and effort you will be able to put into your pedalling you may as well pretend you are biking to your local coffee shop (not a bad thing at the right time of course).
With proper cycling shoes you will always know you will have a good workout and won’t have to cross your fingers for a good bike when you walk into class
Also to be on the safe side before you go to your local bicycle shop, ask your instructor which type of pedals are used on the bikes in the class that you take. Hopefully it is an SPD pedal because that gives you a larger selection of shoes.
When you buy a pair of shoes, the cleats are sold separately. You can get the bike shop to fit them for you if you like. The great thing about cleats is that you can adjust them to the way your legs and feet line up on the pedals.
Ideally they will be straight but maybe you broke your leg and your foot points slightly to the left or right (like mine). You can adjust the cleat to accommodate this.
Here are 10 reasons for why spinning shoes are the best choice for indoor cycling classes.
1 – The cycling shoes have stiffer soles
Unlike your running shoes the soles of your cycling shoes are stiff. In fact you can have a very stiff sole on your indoor cycling shoe because you won’t be going over any bumps that your shoe has to dampen.
The stiffer the sole the better the power transfer you get when pedalling. This means that less power is lost as the shoe flexes or bends around the pedal so more power goes from your leg to the pedal and the faster you go.
The stiffer sole also means you will feel more comfortable and have better balance when you are standing out of the saddle.
2 – Your feet will stay in position
Of course another important reason to buy proper cycling shoes for your indoor cycling class is that you will look cool! Well you will, but more importantly they will help your feet stay in position on the pedal.
Your foot will not move forward or backward on the pedal so you will have one less thing to worry about as you try to follow the instructor’s directions.
3 – Comfy feet means happy feet
Your feet will be more comfortable. If you wear soft athletic shoes you will get “hot spots”. ‘Hot spot” refers to the particular area of your foot that aches after riding for a while. The stiff soles of the cycling shoes dissipate the pressure of the pedal over a larger area so avoiding the pain associated with “hot spots”.
Your feet will also appreciate the mesh fabric of the shoes which helps with the ventilation. Cycling shoes also have plenty of room in the toe box to avoid any grinding of the toes against the shoe. Also important for comfort is that your cycling shoes will have a more snug fit and your heel will not move from the heel cup.
4 – You get a smoother pedal stroke
Once you use cycling shoes in the spinning class you will realise another huge advantage of having them is the fact that you can help lift your pedals on the up stroke when pedalling. This smooths out your pedal stroke.
Also if you ride a mountain bike on loose trails the fact that you have a smooth pedal stroke is going to lessen the chance of your rear wheel spinning out as you go up the steep trail. Your friends will look on in awe.
5 – No laces to worry about
Spinning shoes do not have laces so you don’t have to worry about them getting caught in your chain or around your pedals. The shoes are tightened very efficiently with either Velcro or a ratchet system. The Velcro fasteners are usually lighter than the ratchet systems.
6 – You can walk with your shoes on
The shoes should have recessed cleats that enable you to walk on the floor of your gym without damaging the floor or your cleats. Your shoes may even have rugged soles which will protect the cleats and the floor and will help you if you need to walk your bike up a trail outside.
7 – You get unmatched control (after a bit of learning)
Having cleats in your cycling shoes will give you unmatched control and after a brief learning period you will find it easy to click in and out.
On your first visit to class with your new shoes you may want to take some WD40 to spray on your cleats and the pedals so you can get in and out more easily. Sometimes the cleats are a bit tight before they get worn in. I have seen too many people who have to leave a shoe on the bike and then come back with a ratchet or hammer to take it off.
In fact because of the learning curve it is a good idea to wear your new shoes on an indoor bike before riding outside with them on.
Otherwise you could find yourself approaching a red stop light in your neighborhood and realise you can’t get your feet free from the pedals. Slowly you fall to the road still seated on your bike. Embarrassing and painful.
However once you get used to the click in and click out it becomes second nature.
8 – Your shoes are light weight
Your spinning shoes should be lighter in weight which will again make you more comfortable and your feet will not feel as tired. It is possible to buy very light shoes made from carbon fiber but the price does become a bit high.
Regular cycling shoes are pretty light and still affordable. Unless you are a professional racer the difference of a few grams should not make too much of a difference in your performance.
And to be honest it is cheaper and easier for most of us to lose a few grams from our bodies than from our bicycle shoes.
9 – More powerful pedal strokes
With no chance of your shoe moving you will be able to increase your power on every pedal stroke and so get even more benefit from the class.
You will be confident that your shoes are in the correct position at all times so all you have to think about is exerting as much power from your legs into the pedal stroke as you can. Your pedal stroke will be stronger.
10 – Your workout and your enjoyment will improve
In conclusion your workout and enjoyment of the class will both improve. This will improve your fitness level and those lycra shorts will look even better on you.