During cycling, there are three parts of the bike that come in contact with rider’s body. These are the handle bars, the saddle, and the pedals. Among the three, the pedals are the most significant point of contact because this is where the athlete transfers his power and converts it into speed. The single most important link that connects the athlete to the bike pedals is his cycling shoes.
Cycling shoes are very different from normal shoes. Triathlon cycling shoes is a subcategory of cycling shoes that are modified and sport-specific with one essential goal, which is power transfer.
Some important features of good triathlon cycling shoes are:
The most important factor to consider when buying triathlon cycling footwear is getting the perfect fit. They should fit tight; allowing no major movement of the feet inside, but not so tight so as to interfere with the blood circulation. Cycling shoes that are not tight enough allow movement of the feet inside the shoes and this movement decreases the transfer of power.
When fitting triathlon cycling shoes, one should consider his usual bike riding time because the feet tend to swell throughout the day. If the shoes are fitted and bought in the evening, they will end up being too big for the feet in the morning. Wearing cycling shoes that are too big has undesirable effects like blisters, blackened toenails, numb feet, and so on. Wearing perfectly fitted cycling shoes that restrict movement of the feet will eliminate the risks of experiencing those adverse effects.
Another thing to consider when fitting cycling shoes is to never stand up and try to walk with them. Keep in mind that these shoes are not designed for walking. Just remain sitting when trying them on. Triathlon cycling shoes are also usually worn without socks. So bear that in mind when fitting them.
Sole stiffness is another important feature to consider in the performance of triathlon cycling shoes. Nowadays, bike pedals are smaller and lighter so the soles of cycling shoes must be light and stiff to facilitate maximum transfer of power.
The most recent technology in cycling shoe soles includes the use of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber makes cycling shoe soles stiffer and lighter than molded plastic soles. They also tend to last longer than molded plastic soles.
One important feature that sets triathlon cycling shoes apart from other types of shoes is the fastening mechanism. Triathlon cycling shoes do not have shoelaces; instead they have one or two fastening Velcro straps that open the shoes wide enough for quick and easy access and exit of feet on the shoes. This is important most especially in reducing the transition time.
Triathlon cycling shoes are specially designed with the strap openings facing away from the bike. If the shoe strap’s opening faces the bike, it might get caught up and interfere with the chains of the bike and that could be dangerous. There is also a loop or a “pull tab” at the back of the shoe for easy pulling on and pulling off.
In general, triathlon cycling shoes are fairly expensive. The more expensive shoes are lighter and their soles are stiffer. They are also made with high quality materials that facilitate good ventilation and help boost performance.