Everyone knows one of the most important components to cyclists set up, are cycling shoes. “Is it the shoes!”, that make the cyclists badass or is it the cyclist?
Let’s get real, it’s all about the skill of the cyclist but in response to this, I dare you to dig into what makes up the cycling shoe that has everyone swearing by it.
Less expensive cycling shoes are mostly made up of an injection-molded plastic sole.
- These shoes are a bit heavier
- More prone to flex
- Similar feel to tennis shoes
More expensive, but cheaper than competitive cycling shoes, are a combination of plastic and carbon fiber.
Now the expensive cycling shoes, which are sometimes custom made, and used for high-end competitive cycling, are either full carbon fiber or full carbon fiber soled.
What Are The Cycling Shoe Materials
The upper part of cycling shoes are made of breathable nylon mesh
The shoe toe box is sometimes made of synthetic leather. The toe box is part of the shoe that covers and protects the toes.
Characteristics of shoe toe box material:
How Many Pieces of Fabric Makeup One Cycling Shoe
There are about 18 pieces of fabric that make up one cycling shoe. Some of the basic materials are listed below:
- Mesh and synthetic leather
- Synthetic leather Left side
- Synthetic leather Right side
- Nylon thread binds two synthetic sides
- Heel Cup- polyurethane
- Kevlar thread
High-density plastic inner sole
- Foot mold
- Epoxy glue-high strength glue
- Carbon fiber
- Non-slip clear coat
- Tough nylon mesh
- Cleat mount
- Cable closure
- Velcro, lace or ratchet style plastic straps
How Cycling Shoes Are Made
Like most shoes, cycling shoes are handmade with the assistance of machines. There are mechanical presses that help bind, sow and glue the individual pieces together.
Check out this youtube video, “How It’s Made: Cycling Shoes”. I think you will find it very interesting!
This job here is done and you just walked through the steps of how a cycling shoe is made!
What Do Cycling Shoes Weigh
Since there are a variety of cycling shoe designs, materials, and quality, there is not a standard weight and it really all depends.
Road cycling shoes on the expensive side can weigh as little as 0.881849 lbs. What?
For example, this is close to the weight of an NFL football (American) which is about 1.027670213281 times that weight.
Now some mountain bike shoes, on a budget, might weigh between 1.87393 to 1.98416 lbs.
This is about two times as heavy than a football (soccer) up to six times as heavy as a baseball!
So here’s a little tip for you if you are looking for the lightest cycling shoes known to cyclist:
Check out the Bont Chrono Aero shoe which checks-out weighing as much as a hamster! How’s that for an aerodynamic shoe?
Why Some Cycling Shoes Cost $50 and Others $500+
A lot of it has to do with the materials, tech, fit and quality from the brand that makes them.
Like the detail steps mentioned before, most of these shoes are handmade with the aid of machines.
The more expensive shoes are designed and built by highly skilled craftsman.
Higher quality materials, like leather and Lorica, are going to be higher in cost.
Shoe soles made of full carbon fiber versus plastic and rubber are going to be more costly.
Add in some other trinkets such as ratchet buckles, laces, “self-lacing” back to the future shoes are all going to cost a lot more to produce.
All these components are what make up a high performing, quality fitted, cycling shoe.
How Well Should A Cycling Shoe Fit
It is important to ensure a proper fit in cycling shoes to prevent such things at hot spots, blisters, and numb feet.
A cycling shoe should fit snug but not tighter than what is comfortable for you
You also don’t want a shoe that’s too big that your feet move back and forth loosely
Your heel should not be slipping up and down out of the shoe
The toes of your feet should be able to touch the front of the shoe without any pressure
How Long Do Cycling Shoes Last
A host of different materials, technology, and style of cycling shoes make up today’s market.
Given that information, it’s really no good answer as to how long cycling shoes could last.
But here are some factors that could affect how long your shoes last:
- When you get tired of them
- If you lose weight in your feet
- When they break
All kidding aside, you’ll want to consider these few things:
- Wear and tear of the contact points at the bottom of the cycling shoes
- Non-slip material under sole is worn down
- The shoes no longer lace or strap together
Are Cycling Shoes Really Necessary
If you don’t do any competitive cycling the short answer: No. When you consider the advantages and disadvantages, then it really comes down to personal preference.
For instance, if you are a casual bike rider, you cycle short distances, and really don’t care about what shoes you wear, then cycling shoes may not be for you.
Whether you are an avid cyclist or a serious rider who participates competitively or professionally, it may be more advantageous for you to use cycling shoes.
Another factor in this choice is what type of pedals you are going to attach to your bike.
If you equip your bike with just the standard flat or wide mountain bike pedals, then, No, it’s not necessary to use cycling shoes.
Some prefer to upgrade later from flat pedals to a pedal that allows you to clip-in. These are called clip-less pedals and in this case, you are going to need cycling shoes or cleats to ride efficiently.
Advantages of Using Cycling Shoes
- The soles of a cycling shoe are more rigid and stiff to allow more pressure and force on each pedal stroke
- Using cycling shoes with clipless pedals allow even more targeted power throughout the whole pedal stroke. Therefore your feet make better contact with the bike.
- You eliminate hot-spots that develop under your feet versus regular footwear
- With proper positioning, the shoes don’t slip around
- Cycling shoes place your foot in a more comfortable position on the pedal
- You get more use out of cycling shoes as they do not wear out as easily compared to other footwear
Disadvantages of Using Cycling Shoes
- There is a learning curve on how to clip-in and out of clip-less pedals
- Every time you come to a stop you will have to clip out of them or surrender yourself to the asphalt
- You can only use them with specific cycling pedals
- It’s not as comfortable walking around in them as with other shoes
- Your feet are locked into the bike making it difficult to avoid things when having to bail out
Homemade Cycling Shoes
We’ve considered all that we know about cycling shoe materials, what they are made from, how they are made and if they are worth it.
It’s been touched on as to which materials are needed to create a custom shoe.
We should be able to make these from scratch, right?
That would be awesome!
We might not get that look and feel that we hoped for.
But some hacked tennis shoes or sandals might suit our taste more.
Better yet, we may be better off leaving it to the pros and saving ourselves the trouble.
In conclusion, before you make the leap to try cycling shoes, you should consider the pros and cons of doing so making an informed choice.