Just as you could run in almost any sneakers, you could also wear almost any pair of shoes to cycle. If you’re going to cycling regularly, however, you’re better off taking some time to find the perfect pair of shoes. Cycling shoes are designed with stiffer soles than average sneakers. Stiffer soles allow you efficiently transfer energy through your pedals, which will make your cycling experience easier.

After you decide to purchase shoes that are made specifically for cycling, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the selection available. All cycling shoes are not created equal. Here are some tips to help you choose the right pair of shoes for you.

First, you need to consider the type of cycling that you will be doing or planning to do most often. If you’re going to be biking mostly on roads, then you’ll want to purchase shoes that specifically for road cycling. These typically have smooth outsoles, very stiff soles, and cleats that protrude from the soles.

If you’re going to be participating in triathlons, you’ll want to find shoes that have more flexibility than most cycling shoes. The stiff soles on most cycling shoes will not allow you to run comfortably. They also don’t provide enough traction to safely run on. So, if your plan is to complete a triathlon, look specifically for “tri shoes.” 

If you’re planning to mountain bike, there will be plenty of times that you’ll need to walk along the way, so you’ll also look for shoes with slightly more flexibility and traction. Mountain bikes shoes don’t have the protruding cleats that road biking shoes have, so they’re easier to walk on.

If you live in the city and will be doing mostly city biking, you’ll want to get city bike shoes. These shoes are made to be worn around all day, as well as to cycle. The outsoles are made of rubber, so you’ll be able to walk easily in them.

Bike shoes have holes drilled in them to attach cleats. Shoes with two holes are the SPD system, which stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. Three-holed systems are known as the Look-style system. The SPD system is used for all types of riding, while the Look-style system is used mostly for road cycling.

As you can see, the most important thing you can do when choosing cycling shoes is to determine what type of cycling you’ll be doing and choose shoes that are specifically suited to that purpose.