One of the best-kept secrets in the world of spin bikes is that the shoe decides how much and how fast energy would be transferred from your leg muscles to your toe and then to the pedal. This can be as critical in deciding the winner of Tour de France as it can be in ensuring that you get all of the benefits of using a spin bike. As any athlete will tell you, there is no one shoe that fits all bikes since the shoe and the pedal must complement each other. That said, there are some basic tenets that one should keep in mind when wondering how to choose spinning shoes in order to obtain the best results from one’s session on the spin bike.
Shoe Size and Breathability
Because spinning demands rapid movement without high impact, the excessive tightness of some of the common running shoes is not desirable here. Instead, the shoe should fit snugly with just enough room for the toes to wiggle when the laces are done at normal tightness. For this reason, many trainers suggest that users purchase shoes that are one-half to a whole size larger than what they would normally wear. Of course, such shoes should also be good enough for the person to walk abut normally and so choosing an excessively large size is not desirable.
Choosing a slightly larger size, on the other hand, also aids breathability. Breathability refers to the ability of the shoe to remove sweat and odor from the surface of the foot while allowing a little air to circulate around the foot. If the shoe is slightly large, it creates a minimal space around the foot that allows for quick removal of odor and sweat.
Such removal, of course, must be done by the fabric itself. While there is no single fabric that can boasta of better breathability than others, it has been found that nylon mesh provides a decent amount of breathability in most circumstances.
Cleats : LOOK vs SPD
Cleats refer to attachments that interface between the shoe and the pedal allow the user to transfer energy onto the pedal quickly and efficiently. While it is entirely possible to carry out spinning classes with normal shoes, many users these days are shifting to special cycling shoes that have dedicated receptacles for cleats. These receptacles, further, must match the receptacles for the cleats in the pedal. Since both the pedal and the shoe can be changed, we shall herein assume that the shoe will decide the type of pedal and not the other way around.
Cleats can be of two types – LOOK or SPD. Let us take a more careful look at each of them:
- LOOK: Used more in road bikes than the best spin bikes, LOOK is known for being more stable and secure of the two. It generally requires shoes with protruding soles, however, and this may make normal walking difficult using these shoes.
- SPD: More common among spin bikes, SPD comes with recessed cleats that make walking easier. Numbering two, these cleats need to be screwed onto the shoe using screws generally provided with the cleat. Hence, many beginners prefer to have these fitted by a professional and this therefore makes SPD a slightly difficult choice for those intending to use the product at home.
If you’re looking to buy shoes as part of following up on a spinning class, you may want to talk to your trainer to decide which cleat variant to go for since the spin bikes in the class may only be compatible with one of the two cleat types.
Whether you decide to use specific spinning shoes or go for normal sports shoes, it is vital that the sole of the shoe be hard. A hard sole ensures that there is minimal curling or folding of the fabric. Since folding/curling can lead to waste of energy and poor foot-pedal contact, a hard sole is necessary for maximum energy transfer.
Further, one should avoid soles that are too thick as this would again increase the distance between the foot and the pedal. Thin soles with adequate reinforcement (to guard against wear and tear) are thus the best option for any wondering how to choose spinning shoes.
Like the shoe itself, the sock also needs to be comfortable without being too thick or too soft. Ideally, the sock should reinforced at the toes and heels so as to protect against excess wear and tear. Such reinforcement would also ensure that the slight movement of the foot inside the shoe does not lead to any major dislocation of the foot even when the shoe is for any reason proves to be loose or comes loose.
Furthermore, the fabric should be such that moisture is easily removed from the skin. Stagnant moisture on the skin leads to increased risk of skin problems like blisters, rashes, skin irritation, etc. Skin problems aside, moisture buildup can lead to excess friction between the foot and the sock/shoe and this, in turn, can cause the cycling rhythm to be disrupted. With cycling being a fast-paced affair, such disruption can even lead to injuries to the user and damage to the spin bike.
While we have assumed in this essay that the choice of shoe would decide the choice of pedals, it often happens that the pedal has already been chosen and the shoe must then adapt to it. Further, specific spinning classes have their own rules regarding the shoes and socks to be worn and the type of cleats to be used. Hence, it is important to ensure that one consults the relevant instructor and user manual before investing in any shoes. On the other hand, comfort is equally important and if you find that the shoes recommended by the manufacturer or instructor don’t fit you well, you may want to go through the above how to choose spinning shoe guide to decide your priorities. Once these priorities have been settled and the question of compatibility has been solved, there would be little standing between you and the perfect spinning workout.