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Do cycling shoes improve your avg speed by at least 1mph?

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Do cycling shoes improve your avg speed by at least 1mph?

Old 12-18-11, 04:09 PM
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teachme
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Do cycling shoes improve your avg speed by at least 1mph?

Just wondering... My speed is less than 15mph on avg. and I am hopeing going from Nike training shoes to a good pair of cycling shoes would improve my effeciency by at least 1mph. I'm kinda believing the hype about carbon bikes being faster and so forth. Can't afford a new bike right now, but I could upgrade my shoes...
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Old 12-18-11, 04:20 PM
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I'd think that clipping in would be worth at least 1 mph average to most people. From when I started 2 years ago with a big box store Schwinn hybrid to now with a Bianchi road bike with upgraded wheels and 105 components, probably shoes and pedals were the single biggest.
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Old 12-18-11, 04:30 PM
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I think that the thing that slows you down the most is wind resistance, by a LONG shot. Therefore, look for ways to reduce it. Getting your bike adjusted (and your body adapted) so that you can get in the right position for lowest wind resistance is liable to make the biggest difference, and it's free.
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Old 12-18-11, 04:53 PM
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Decent road shoes and clipless pedals will increase your speed by at least 2 mph. I guarantee it.
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Old 12-18-11, 05:00 PM
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I won't stray into quantifying but a lot of little improvements (like shoes and clipless pedals) will add up. Having said that reducing your resistance against those pesky air molecules by adjusting your posture makes for the biggest improvement.
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Old 12-18-11, 05:11 PM
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If speed is the most important aspect of cycling to you, then go for it.

I must confess, however, that I still don't understand how something you "clip into" and "clip out of" can be considered "clipless."
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Old 12-18-11, 05:14 PM
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Don't know, but if you ride longer distances and have good bike shoes, you're less likely to get hot spots.
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Old 12-18-11, 05:18 PM
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For higher speed, increase your cadence (rpms).
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Old 12-18-11, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Condorita View Post
I must confess, however, that I still don't understand how something you "clip into" and "clip out of" can be considered "clipless."
Clipless refers to the lack of clips (as in the clips and straps that used to be the norm).
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Old 12-18-11, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Condorita View Post
If speed is the most important aspect of cycling to you, then go for it.

I must confess, however, that I still don't understand how something you "clip into" and "clip out of" can be considered "clipless."
If you had ridden twenty plus years with "toe clips" and straps and no other option secured , you wouldn't care what they called them.

BTW: "Clipless" pedals have cleats and traps, not clips......
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Old 12-18-11, 05:30 PM
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Going for clipless cycling shoes will make a measurable difference providing you're clipped in and learn to 'pull up with one as you're pushing down with the other'. The shoes themselves, although they are a bit narrower than sneakers, won't make that much of a difference in wind resistance. Using any cycling shoes, including ones without clips, will make your feet very happy, as they are rigid on the bottom where your foot meets the pedal, and consequentially reduces the discomfort of hot and sore feet.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:09 PM
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Teachme Hi,
I have Toured and Road Raced and Track Raced on and off for close to Fifty years and I have always used Toe Clips and Straps I do not think your shoe change will lift your speed. Your overall Fitness is the only factor that will lift your speed plus you must be sitting right on your Bike.
Cheers Ian
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Old 12-18-11, 07:23 PM
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I think that buying new stuff always increases your speed - but only until the newness wears off!!! Then you have to buy something else.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:28 PM
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Does anyone have any science about clipless and speed advantage? I recall reading somewhere that elite riders do not actually "pull up" on the pedals. But I could be remembering wrong.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
Does anyone have any science about clipless and speed advantage? I recall reading somewhere that elite riders do not actually "pull up" on the pedals. But I could be remembering wrong.
I have read mixed refiews of the "pulling up" argument. I wish I could remember where. I believe Sheldon was not in favor.

[EDIT]

Reviewing Sheldon's stuff, it was more likely he was debunking "ankling" rather than "pulling up."

But, I know I have read articles about "pulling up" that were not positive.

Perhaps Jobst? I'll check around.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 12-18-11 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:45 PM
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Being attached to your pedals allows you to accelerate faster, and allows you to climb very steep hills more quickly. But in general, it won't make you any faster, because in general, you aren't pulling up with every pedal stroke. Even top racers aren't doing any more than "lightening up" on the pedals during the rearward/upward phase of the stroke, except when making near-maximum efforts.

So the short answer, I think, is that if you spend a lot of time accelerating and climbing short, steep hills, then clipless (or clips and straps, which still work just fine) will increase your average speed. But if you spend most of your time cruising the flats and/or mildly hilly country, then being attached to your pedals won't do much at all for your speed.

For myself, FWIW, average speed isn't that important. I use clipless (and clips/straps, on some bikes) because they locate my feet on the pedals correctly (so I don't have to think about it) and keep my feet from flying off on rough roads.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:00 PM
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Here is an article of interest:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18418807
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Old 12-18-11, 08:00 PM
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Clipless pedals can help improve pedaling efficiency and speed. Guaranteed to keep your foot affixed to the pedal. Most of the time.
Same can be said of using toe clips or Power Grips on pedals, too.
I prefer clipless pedals.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:09 PM
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I am slow when riding with street shoes but that's likely because after so many miles riding clipless I don't know how to pedal efficiently any other way.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:15 PM
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"Pulling up" on the upstroke is not the whole picture. The idea is to pedal circles. You can pedal circles with clipless pedals and to a lesser extent with old fashioned clips or baskets, but not with platform pedals.

THe aim is to get some power throughout the stroke- when your foot is coming over the top and moving backwards at the bottom, as well as in the up and down strokes. Clipless pedals are a huge help to this, but you don't get all of the advantage the day you first put them on - you have to slowly modify your technique.

THere are particular situations when pulling on the upstroke with clipless pedas is unquestionably and immediately faster than platforms. For example, standing up to power over a short steep hill or to get a quick acceleration.

I don't think you can quantify the net improvement of a pedal system (or a different wheel, etc.) on one's average speed. As someone already said, it's many things all put together that gradually make us faster. Most of all, it's training and gaining strength. Secondarily, it's technique. Clipless pedals definitely facilitate improved technique.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:27 PM
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Cycling shoes and pedals will be a lot more comfortable than trainers.

You will also be faster with cycling shoes and pedals. You can get traditional toe clips and straps, or clipless. Cycling shoes for toe clips have a cleat with a slot that hooks on the pedal. Clipless pedals are both safer and more comfortable. With clips and straps you can either leave the strap loose in which case you can pull your foot out readily for stops but it will also pull out during sprints and standing on climbs. Or you can tighten the strap to keep the foot from pulling out (it used to be easy to know when a city limits sprint was coming up on a group ride because riders would tighten their toe straps) but then you would forget to loosen them and fall over at the next stop light when you couldn't get a foot out. Clipless pedals don't have that problem. With the toe straps tightened to keep your feet from coming out, your toes eventually go numb.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Here is an article of interest:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18418807
Interesting. From the abstract I am not sure that I understand the difference between the clipless and the pedals with the feedback.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:39 PM
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But there's something else....

Clipping in produces that wonderful feeling of being at one with the bicycle.

Flesh and frame become part of the same machine.

It's really only with clipless that cycling feels like flying.

Teachme - we know that you are new to this addictive world of dedicated cycling, but if you really want to have the whole experience......clipless.

As to your dissatisfaction with your speeds, it won't really be the pedals. You just haven't put in enough miles or enough hard miles yet.
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Old 12-18-11, 09:04 PM
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Thanks to all for the good advice! Clipless will definitely be my next upgrade, along with more quality training.
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Old 12-18-11, 09:09 PM
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"Even top racers aren't doing any more than "lightening up" on the pedals during the rearward/upward phase of the stroke, except when making near-maximum efforts."
You said it better than me....I only pull up with any amount of force while clipped in when I'm standing and pumping hard uphill, otherwise only "lightening up" as "Six jours" stated. I didn't mean to mislead anyone into thinking you should try to 'pull up' with any force as you're cycling along normally. You would over work your Achilles tendon, and tire out quickly.
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