Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Right Shoes Makes All The Difference

It took three years but I finally purchased a pair of cycling shoes for spinning.

I was using my old faithful Nike Shox Monster sneakers and they had become worn on the sides and on the soles from all the friction. At one point I was riding seven classes a week and they were taking a beating.

I eventually decided I needed a new pair of shoes and first I bought a newer Nike Shox TL with the full shox (front and back). The old pair just had the shoks to the back and they did an excellent job or so I thought. Therefore in my nieve logic, I thought I would buy the more expensive full shox to get even more performance.

That was a huge mistake because the full shox are designed for running and they provide a soft, cushioned support for minimising the impact when your foot hits the road.
They are definitely NOT for cycling and I quickly realised that when my feet began to hurt during the spin class as the soles of the shoes bent and contorted as I was pedalling. The other thing that happened is that the sole quickly started coming apart.

I put them away after three classes and went back to old faithful.

After a few sessions at Spinners World where "everybody" is wearing cycling shoes, I finally gave in and went to Gene Samuel's place and bought a pair of Shimano SPD mountain bike shoes. Best decision I ever made.

There is no comparison to the ride from these shoes. From the very first class, I realised I was riding with a higher cadence with less effort. They allow me to concentrate on my pedalling action without worrying about straps coming loose or worst yet - bursting just as I am at 100% performance.

I should have read this guide a long time ago:

When shopping for a good cycling shoe for your Spinning class, whether it’s a road or mountain shoe, you should always look for a stiff sole, good retaining system (how the shoes hold your foot in place) and stable, breathable, durable construction.
Stiff soles boost your leverage on the pedal and decrease foot fatigue.
Laces, Velcro straps or other retaining systems hold your feet securely in place, which aids the upward movement of your pedal stroke.
They also lend stability, reducing movement keeping your feet and body aligned correctly on the pedals.

Shoe breathability is also very important for all types of cycling, especially indoors. Riding indoors enerates considerable body heat and sweat, so make sure the shoe features mesh or another breathable fabric that circulates air to your feet.
Last, but certainly not least is safety. Gym flooring is often a hard surface and can become slippery from sweat after class. Most road cleat systems have large protruding cleats that can make walking difficult and even hazardous in a gym environment. Even the most experienced riders can experience loss of traction and balance.
For Spinning class, your best bet is a shoe with a recessed cleat or SPD® (Shimano Pedal Design) system and a rubberized sole for safety.

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