Why spin shoes, and is it necessary to clip in to get the best ride?
Chances are if you have ever taken a spin class at Wheel House, you have seen some of our members clip into their pedals. This might have sparked a few questions in your brain and caused you to wonder “What is the point of those shoes?” and “Are they essential to my ride?” If you have asked yourself those questions then this post is for you! Well just like any other sport or exercise class you might, indoor cycling has specific shoes that are meant to improve your ride.
We are here to help walk you through some of the questions you might have, and to give insight into why if you are considering buying a pair you should.
Let’s start with the benefits of spin shoes
The three biggest benefits to wearing a clip-in pair of spin shoes when taking class are: they allow you to get a better ride, to go faster, and perfect your stroke.
Getting a better ride has to do with the way the shoe is made, from the clips you pick to the hard sole, even the snug fit of the shoe all positively impact your ride. Spin shoes are made with the ride in mind, starting with the sole you will notice how stiff and inflexible it is compared to your average gym shoe. This is to allow the rider to have more stability on the bike, when getting in and out of the saddle your foot will be secure and stiff. This will help prevent your foot from trying to bend or move because its being forced to stay straight and parallel to the ground. Following along the lines of keeping your foot straight and flat, the snug fit of the shoe allows your foot to stay in the proper place. Many people may not notice it, but when spinning with your trainers on, often times your toes will start to curl trying to grip the shoe. By staying nice and snug and not having much wiggle room, your toes are able to lay along the insole properly limiting any toe cramping you might have after your hard workout! Finally the shoes are lightweight and breathable which is such an important part especially if you have sweaty feet- don’t be embarrassed it happens to most of us! The lightweight of the shoe will have a bigger impact when it comes to your pedal stroke because instead of having to push and pull a heavy shoe as you would in trainers, spin shoes are made for the rider and to help assist in the stroke. The lightweight of the shoe also allows for your shoe to be breathable, helping to circulate the air as needed to keep your shoes as sweat free as possible.
Riding with spin shoes allows the rider to clip in to their pedals replacing the need for the cages used when riding in your trainers. By clipping in you keep your shoes securely in place while riding, allowing for the movements to be fluid and natural, without the worry of coming loose in the cage. This also allows for proper foot positioning on the pedal which is crucial to having a successful ride. By feeling more secure on your pedal, you will have the confidence to pedal harder and faster without the fear of coming undone or adjusting your foot on the pedal.
When riding a bike be it stationary or outdoors, your pedal stroke is key. In class you will often hear your instructor utter the words push, and pull at some point in reference to your pedal stroke. The push and pull are the motions you the rider are making with each stroke, beginning with your push down, and the pull up on the end of the stroke. Being clipped in allows you more control over each motion, allowing you to engage your hamstrings in the motion and not just rely on your quadriceps. By engaging both muscle groups, and not focusing on your feet to do the work, you will end up getting a better workout in, and might find yourself a little bit sore in places you were not sore before. ( I would call that a win in my book!) This is all because, when using clip in shoes, you are able to pull your foot and pedal at the same time vs when in the cage and your pull motion focuses on pulling up your trainer dragging the pedal after.