Bicycle Shoes – Compared to typical athletic shoes, bicycle shoes are designed with stiffer soles to provide more efficient energy transfer as you pedal. They are also designed to protect your feet while riding and support the full length of your feet to reduce cramping and fatigue. The uppers are also relatively rigid for extra support. Bicycle shoes are usually paired with a compatible pedal to hold your feet securely on the bicycle. This “clipless” shoe-pedal combination offers unmatched control with a minimum amount of your pedaling energy lost before it reaches the rear wheel
Casual (Sport) Cycling Shoes: If you ride casually (5 miles or less) and walking comfort off the bicycle is your primary concern, you may not need bicycle shoes. Consider a light hiking shoe or outdoor cross-trainer instead, they can be used with platform pedals outfitted with toe clips or straps. Hybrid cycling/casual footwear shoes look like casual shoes (or even sandals) and allow easy walking, but their soles offer compatibility with clipless pedal systems. This versatile style of bicycle shoes is a great option for the casual rider or bike commuter.
Mountain Bike Shoes: These bicycle shoes have a fairly stiff sole for efficient pedaling, but one with enough flex and a rubber-lug outsole to allow good traction for walking on slick or rugged rails. These bicycle shoes offer a lacing or hook-and-loop strap system to adjust the fit of the shoe and offer a bit of protection for your toes. Clipless mountain-bike shoes use the 2-hole cleat system, so you’ll want to match it up with a compatible pedal. Some mountain bike bicycle shoes have a flat sole and cannot mount cleats. These styles are meant specifically for use with platform pedals (and optional toe clips).
Road Cycling Shoes: These bicycle shoes are distinguished by their exceptionally stiff soles to facilitate power transfer to your pedals. Road shoes and cleats are not designed for extended walking and therefore do not have much in the way of traction on the sole. They are uncomfortable to walk in over longer distances due to their inability to flex. Virtually all road bicycle shoes offer lightweight construction and good ventilation.
Indoor Cycling Shoes:- Spin classes at your local gym offer another common use for bicycle shoes. There are a variety of indoor bicycle shoes made just for this purpose. In addition, most mountain-bike shoes usually work fine. Check with your gym for specific compatibility questions for cleats or bicycle shoes.