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Cleats, Toe-Clips, or Platform Pedals with Standard Footwear?

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View Poll Results: What type of footwear and pedals do you prefer?
Platform pedals and standard footwear.
36.21%
Toe-clips and standard footwear.
27.59%
Cleats.
36.21%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

Cleats, Toe-Clips, or Platform Pedals with Standard Footwear?

Old 05-22-21, 06:19 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
I haven't done any long tours yet. Maybe I'll feel differently afterwards...
I suspect you will, at least about riding only 20 minutes or less at a time.
Are you stalking me?!?
Your comments were unusual enough that I considered having a look at your posting history, but stopped at just looking at your profile for join date and number of posts. Sometimes it is useful to know where someone is coming from. For example I like to know if someone is a first time poster. I'd stop short of calling it stalking.
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Old 05-22-21, 07:35 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
...I'm seldom on my bike more than about 20 minutes at a time, so I'm sure that's a factor.
yes, that would be a factor in any activity, not just cycling.

honestly can't remember the last time i rode for 20 minutes or less (excluding the hotel to hotel riding at the end of the day looking for a place that will accept foreigners). if less'n a couple hours riding, not worth taking the bike out. easier to walk or take a bus if i'm staying in town. same with motorcycle, never bothered to take it out for under 100 miles.

wait, yeah, i think it was 1989. once a week rode bicycle from my apartment in berlin to the px to buy vittles.
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Old 05-22-21, 08:04 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
I'm somewhat surprised there don't seem to be many threads discussing pedal and footwear options. I'm curious what the preferences are. I preferred SPD shoes/cleats when I was younger, but now I prefer the simplicity of platform pedals with standard footwear. While cleats are supposedly more efficient, the difference seems pretty minor and they are significantly less comfortable for walking. I love that I can park my bike, go for a long walk or hike and not have to change footwear. I'm curious what others think.
Ditto. Only exception is I've never tried clipless, I just never saw it as an advantage for me, only something that complicates the bicycling experience. The ability to hop on and off a bicycle with regular shoes that are easy to walk around in is something I don't want to loose.
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Old 05-22-21, 08:36 AM
  #29  
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I've been wearing nothing but steel toe low cut shoes in summer, on bike or not. Steel toe rubber boots in snow and for riding in spring puddle conditions. They do get hot on hot days. So I have zero worries about comfort, protection or terrain.
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Old 05-22-21, 10:56 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post

To be fair we all change our minds on some of this stuff. You can go back and find me espousing different opinions than I hold now. You generally have to go back years or more often decades though.
Getting close to century, if you ask me
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Old 05-22-21, 03:33 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
Getting close to century, if you ask me
I have no doubt someone will bring back a thread about me and my penny farthing any time now.
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Old 05-22-21, 06:33 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
He said he preferred SPD when he was younger. Apparently that was less than two months ago. It makes me wonder if Alan is yanking our collective chains or if he is just that new to all this that he is still changing his mind very quickly while figuring it all out.

To be fair we all change our minds on some of this stuff. You can go back and find me espousing different opinions than I hold now. You generally have to go back years or more often decades though.
I'm just getting back into cycling after a long hiatus; about a decade. So, yes, I'm re-familiarizing myself and figuring things out.

I think I was more of an enthusiast when I was younger. Now I regard cycling primarily as efficient transportation that also enables me to get some exercise. Practicality and simplicity is more important to me now.

Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I've been wearing nothing but steel toe low cut shoes in summer, on bike or not. Steel toe rubber boots in snow and for riding in spring puddle conditions. They do get hot on hot days. So I have zero worries about comfort, protection or terrain.
That's why I prefer to just don weather-appropriate footwear with platform pedals. If the weather is warm and dry I wear sandals. If it's cool and dry I wear sandals w socks. I don't ride much in inclement conditions, but if and when I do I can wear boots or whatever.

So far it's interesting the preferences are pretty evenly distributed. I guess that's why they all still persist.

Last edited by AlanK; 05-22-21 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 05-22-21, 08:23 PM
  #33  
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Old 05-23-21, 05:16 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
So far it's interesting the preferences are pretty evenly distributed. I guess that's why they all still persist.
I wouldn't read too much into it. I doubt it is reflected in the real world. Any sampling is going to be skewed no matter how it is done. Some will be geographically skewed. Some will be skewed by who is sampled. Some will be skewed by who is inclined to respond to a particular line of questioning.

In my view, which is going to be skewed toward riders touring in the US (some of them will be from other countries) and mostly doing long distance routes, I'd guess that it would be more like 80% clipless, 18% no retention, and 2% clips and straps. That is just a guess based on observation of the folks I met along the way and it would vary a good bit with the route. If I had ridden different routes (or maybe even ridden the same ones at different times) I may have had entirely different observations. Also there may be some observer bias, but I am not off by enough that it would be anything close to even numbers. I have rarely ever seen anyone touring with clips and straps these days.

I think this forum is populated by a wide variety of folks. They are distributed geographically. They range from young to old. From active to want to tour. They include folks who just collect stuff to tour and never do so and folks who tour with whatever they have. In my observation it tends to give the impression that certain things are way more popular than what I observe on the road. At the risk of starting a religious war, I will mention one. Brooks saddles sound like the end all saddle that everyone who is serious about touring must have, an absolute no brainer. Then out on the road I see one every now and then.

I would also suggest that there is some possibility that the wording of your choices affected the outcome. I am not sure if or how much it might have, but I almost didn't choose to click a choice due to the wording. I didn't think "cleats" clearly described the choice I wanted. Some may not have like "platform" pedals if they used cage pedals. Some people didn't like the use of "standard" footwear. I figure it is enough to invalidate the results to some extent at least.

So perhaps that near equal mix may be the case somewhere, but it is definitely not what I have observed in my travels which while limited to the US have been fairly extensive.

Edit:
For what it is worth in my opinion better choices might have been:
  • Clipless pedals
  • Clips and straps
  • No retention system.
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Old 05-23-21, 06:16 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
...
So far it's interesting the preferences are pretty evenly distributed. I guess that's why they all still persist.
I think if you would have asked the question - what type of footwear do you use for a bike ride that is 20 minutes long, you would get very different answers.
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Old 05-23-21, 06:31 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I've been wearing nothing but steel toe low cut shoes in summer, on bike or not. Steel toe rubber boots in snow and for riding in spring puddle conditions. They do get hot on hot days. So I have zero worries about comfort, protection or terrain.
Are you serious, steel toe for bike riding?

I have half a dozen pair of steel toe boots from before I retired, but almost never wear them.

The only ones I still regularly use are the tall rubber boots on canoe trips. When you are standing in nearly freezing water that is a foot deep on a canoe trip, tall rubber boots are nice to have. The reason I use those is it is not worth the cost to replace them with non-steel toe boots.

And when it is below zero, my only pac boots are steel toed Sorel boots, but it is pretty easy to find a reason to stay indoors on such days if you are retired and do not need to go outside for work.
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Old 05-23-21, 03:30 PM
  #37  
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1. Cleats and SPD should both be classified as the same in this context, since both refer to shoe-attachments that hinder one's ability to walk.

2. "Clipless" implies that there are no other options to choose from, other than clips. Platform pedals are often used without clips. All of my bicycles are free of clips but I don't use footwear with them that is bicycle-specifc in any way.
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Old 05-23-21, 03:54 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I wouldn't read too much into it. I doubt it is reflected in the real world. Any sampling is going to be skewed no matter how it is done. Some will be geographically skewed. Some will be skewed by who is sampled. Some will be skewed by who is inclined to respond to a particular line of questioning.
Yeah, I know it's not a methodical scientific poll by any means, and just reflects the preferences of this forum. Even considering these limitations, it tentatively indicates a fairly even distribution of preferences options.

Last edited by AlanK; 05-23-21 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 05-23-21, 05:32 PM
  #39  
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This afternoon I rode to a C-Store, wine store and then my local for a beer wearing my SPD- fitted shoes. Didnít slip once.

For those who donít get it, not all clipless shoes are created equal.
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Old 06-05-21, 04:52 PM
  #40  
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Everything old is new again

I don't know much about newer platform pedals but when I look at them it seems like they are trying to recreate what Shimano achieved with their first generation Deore dyna-drive pedals - very thin large area pedal with metal spikes to grip any shoe securely.
I like to tour as light as possible which means only one pair of shoes - usually a lightweight pair of canvas boat shoes. I don't do a lot of hiking when I am touring so the boat shoes work in all other circumstances for me. The dyna-drive pedals have a large broad platform so no support is needed in the shoe sole. The combination of toe clips with the spikes in the pedal keep me attached to the bike and give me as much efficiency as I need.
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Old 06-05-21, 07:40 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
I don't know much about newer platform pedals but when I look at them it seems like they are trying to recreate what Shimano achieved with their first generation Deore dyna-drive pedals - very thin large area pedal with metal spikes to grip any shoe securely.
I like to tour as light as possible which means only one pair of shoes - usually a lightweight pair of canvas boat shoes. I don't do a lot of hiking when I am touring so the boat shoes work in all other circumstances for me. The dyna-drive pedals have a large broad platform so no support is needed in the shoe sole. The combination of toe clips with the spikes in the pedal keep me attached to the bike and give me as much efficiency as I need.
I'm currently using One Components composite pedals, and am very happy with them. They have a large platform and grip very well. So far I don't miss SPD footwear at all.
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Old 06-06-21, 04:29 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Nyah View Post
2. "Clipless" implies that there are no other options to choose from, other than clips. Platform pedals are often used without clips. All of my bicycles are free of clips but I don't use footwear with them that is bicycle-specifc in any way.
It may be a confusing term, but it is the widely accepted term for all clip in pedal systems and does mot mean all pedal that don't have clips. The term was coined because they replaced "clips" and straps. Google "clipless pedals" and there will be an endless list items about clip in pedals, but no platform or cage pedals without clip in capability. The bicycle pedal wikipedia article had a good section on clipless pedals, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_pedal
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Old 06-06-21, 04:57 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
...
I like to tour as light as possible which means only one pair of shoes - usually a lightweight pair of canvas boat shoes. ...
I find a pair of deck shoes comfortable for short distances only, the soft rubber sole concentrates my foot pressure on the pedal to a small area. If they work for you, great, but do not work for me.
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Old 06-06-21, 10:26 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I think if you would have asked the question - what type of footwear do you use for a bike ride that is 20 minutes long, you would get very different answers.
Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
Yeah, I know it's not a methodical scientific poll by any means, and just reflects the preferences of this forum. Even considering these limitations, it tentatively indicates a fairly even distribution of preferences options.

I agree with the others that imagine questions posted on a touring sub forum would pertain to touring.

In any activity, the gear selected generally begins to become more selective the longer you do the activity. Riding less than 20 minutes? Probably platform just because whatever I am doing involves very little riding overall. Touring - usually riding is the focus of at least a larger part of the day.

Also, access to information, technology and influence plays a role. For example:

For me the first thing that went when I began riding longer was soft soled sneakers, my usual shoe when younger. The flex of the arch over a long period became tiring. One has to hold the foot somewhat rigid by muscle contraction instead of relying on the advantage of mechanical design (stiff sole).

When I started thinking about touring, instead of just riding all over the place (I was car free until 28) I read what was probably the only a book in our rural library (pre internet) about touring. It suggested some people rode with hiking boots to provide a stiffer sole. I had hiking boots and tried that for a bit but it was clunky. I also tried an experiment of filing the cleats off of a pair of soccer shoes and filing the soles flat to have a stiff leather shoe (the soles were re enforced). It actually worked combined with clips and straps but they were slippery for walking. Ah.. young and poor and no cycling shops nearby.

The first "bike specific" shoes I bought were flat soled, stiff cycling shoes with no clips like those shown in post 18 by Cougrrcj. I loved those shoes like they were magic and wore them until there was nothing left. If I saw some more around I'd buy them again, just because. Nostalgia.

Then I went through a long period of using clips and straps with various shoes. That was ok and I still have a bike that has them. I used to cinch the strap but now just use the cage as a rough reference for where my foot should be, something I find clipless does better btw.

Eventually I discovered clipless, my current choice. For touring I generally favour a clipless/platform pedal and touring shoes with recessed cleats so I can walk. Most of my tours have riding as the main activity so I choose the this set up because it maximizes that. I can walk around with my touring shoes comfortably and they clip in to the pedal to orientate my foot and relive the attention and care needed to maintain proper contact with the pedal. That's what clipless does. It eliminates any need to think about the foot in relation to the pedal. Once set up your foot always goes where it is supposed to go. Also, you can pull up in the shoe and keep pedalling to relieve hot spotting on the ball of the foot.

I prefer the mix of platform/clipless as a failsafe in case something goes wrong with the clip system (then I can convert to platform).

Steel toed shoes - that I have not tried.

I did not answer the pole because I am represented in all three, depending on what year it is

Last edited by Happy Feet; 06-06-21 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 06-06-21, 10:26 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
It may be a confusing term, but it is the widely accepted term for all clip in pedal systems and does mot mean all pedal that don't have clips. The term was coined because they replaced "clips" and straps. Google "clipless pedals" and there will be an endless list items about clip in pedals, but no platform or cage pedals without clip in capability. The bicycle pedal wikipedia article had a good section on clipless pedals, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_pedal
I guess I was sloppy in my description since I should have said my "toe-clips" instead of "clips" and the spikes on my pedal keep me attached to my bike and give me all the efficiency I need.
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Old 06-06-21, 10:31 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
This is the touring board...
Missed that in the OP. If touring I certainly would go for more bike specific shoes and pedals, but probably end up with just toe clips again. But I'm an old guy and I need to change my foot position on the pedal every now and then...

Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
...For what it is worth in my opinion better choices might have been:
  • Clipless pedals
  • Clips and straps
  • No retention system.
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Old 06-06-21, 11:17 AM
  #47  
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Because of the confusion when referring to clips for cycling, I always use the word "toe" when I refer to toe clips to make it unambiguous. As more and more people that are unfamiliar with toe clips refer to cleats as clips, the confusion of the phrase clipless pedals can be quite apparent. I often refer to shoes with SPD cleats as SPD shoes or as cleated shoes, trying to avoid using the word clip if I am not referring to toe clips.

Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
...
I also tried an experiment of filing the cleats off of a pair of soccer shoes and filing the soles flat to have a stiff leather shoe (the soles were re enforced). It actually worked combined with clips and straps but they were slippery for walking. Ah.. young and poor and no cycling shops nearby.

The first "bike specific" shoes I bought were flat soled, stiff cycling shoes with no clips like those shown in post 18 by Cougrrcj. I loved those shoes like they were magic and wore them until there was nothing left. If I saw some more around I'd buy them again, just because. Nostalgia.

Then I went through a long period of using clips and straps with various shoes. That was ok and I still have a bike that has them. ....
Interesting, I have a few old pairs of Nordic Norm 50mm cross country ski boots from the 1980s, sole is designed to flex a bit but I think is almost as stiff as my cycling shoes. I call them ski boots, but they are low cut, shape similar to tennis shoes. And much lighter than most cycling shoes that are affordable. You needed gaiters over your ski boots in that era to keep the snow and slush out of your socks.

And I have toe clips on my folding bike. At the time I bought quick release removable pedals for that bike, you could not buy Shimano or Ritchey compatible SPD quick release pedals. Thus bought toe clip compatible pedals instead.

I have considered cutting off the toe binding portion of the sole of the ski boots and trying those with the toe clip pedals. They lack a grippy sole, I could add a little bit of Shoe Goo for that. One of these days I might do that. The only downside is that I still have three pairs of skis with those 50mm bindings.

I have an old pair of shoes that work with toe clips, a slot in the sole fits on the pedal. But one of the two shoes appears to have gone walk-about (pun intended), thus have not used them for some time, and they were terrible for walking.
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Old 06-06-21, 03:39 PM
  #48  
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Deore AX pedal

I am an old guy like many of you and I have just returned to touring after retiring 4 years ago after 40 years of indentured servitude. I am very happy with my old bike and set-up so I haven't investigated the newer technologies.

But I am guessing that my Deore AX pedals are as comfortable and efficient for touring as any pedal ever designed (maybe not as reliable but I am hoping not to experience this).

Last month I rode Big Sur from Carmel to SLO and as I mentioned the only pair of shoes with me was a lightweight pair of canvas deck shoes. The pedal platform is large and flat with metal studs to which a toe clip is attached. My feet have never felt any discomfort in any shoe on these pedals and it seems the lighter the shoe the better. The toe clips and large area of the pedal platform probably keep my foot from over flexing.

If something similar is not yet available for mountain bikers my guess is that it eventually will be as the increased efficiency with toe clips is significant.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:07 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
...tried an experiment of filing the cleats off of a pair of soccer shoes and filing the soles flat to have a stiff leather shoe (the soles were re enforced)... now just use the cage as a rough reference for where my foot should be...
So I am not the only one. Bought some cheap stiff soled soccer shoes years ago and did the same thing. They were GREAT! I eventually wore the tops out and at replacement found soccer turf shoes to have the same stiff sole without the lugs.

I do think if I were doing real Touring per say I would go with a quality set of clipless shoes, maybe.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
...I also tried an experiment of filing the cleats off of a pair of soccer shoes and filing the soles flat to have a stiff leather shoe (the soles were re enforced). It actually worked combined with clips and straps but they were slippery for walking. Ah.. young and poor and no cycling shops nearby...
Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
..Bought some cheap stiff soled soccer shoes years ago and did the same thing. They were GREAT! I eventually wore the tops out and at replacement found soccer turf shoes to have the same stiff sole without the lugs....

sounds like a winner!

my last two pairs of cycling shoes have rotted away in the tropical humidity. nothing available on the island, so i've been searching taobao for something my size, here in the land of little feet.

the only shoes currently available in 46/47 (12E) are stiff carbon sole roadie shoes for the weekend worriers, or soft-bottom flexible shoes, similar to water shoes, but with velcro straps and flashy pvc bits to look fast-ish.

i can prolly find some soccer shoes that fit........to use with platforms with clips and straps.

do you two have any photos, or advice for what to do or not do when surgically altering football shoes?
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