Cycling shoes – the who, what, and why.
Whether you’re a serious cyclist or a casual one, an indoor cycling class is a guaranteed go-to for a fun, endurance-boosting cardio workout. Using varying levels of strength and intensity, indoor cycling classes can push you and your body to heightened levels of power, stamina and overall performance. To add to the benefits of indoor cycling, it is a no-impact sport – meaning it is gentle on the joints and especially good for people who suffer from knee issues or are nursing an injury, with appropriate modifications of course.
Indoor cycling doesn’t require any necessary equipment, but breathable clothes for comfort and a heart rate monitor to detect your level of exertion are quite handy. Another thing that is not a must-have but can definitely move your indoor cycling experience to a more quality level is a good pair of cycling shoes. Of course, cross training shoes work for a variety of workouts and many people get through cycling classes with cross trainers just fine, but they will not optimize your benefits from a cycling class like cycling shoes will. Cycling shoes can cost a pretty penny, but if you splurge on professional-quality cycling shoes, you’re investing in a multitude of benefits that will help you get the most out of your workout, in turn, improving your overall health.
Here are a few ways the design of cycling shoes can enhance your workout:
- Tighter fit – Cycling shoes are designed to snugly fit your foot to reduce slipping inside the shoe and blisters.
- Ventilation – Cycling shoes are constructed of lightweight material which allows the shoe to be very well-ventilated.
- Thicker soles – Cycling shoes have a thicker sole which gives your foot abundant support to prevent cramping and further injuries associated with cramping.
- Minimal cushion – Cycling shoes are designed with minimal cushion inside the shoe so that your energy is transferred directly to the pedals without being absorbed into a cushion.
- Option for cleat attachment – Cycling shoes have the option to attach cleats or clips to the bottom of the shoe which attach directly to the pedal. The cleats or clips keep your foot in direct contact with the pedal at all times giving you total control of your pedal stroke.
Cycling shoes – putting them to the test in my indoor cycling class.
My shoe of choice – the Women’s SIDI Dominator 5 Silver Mamba Shoes, which certainly did not disappoint when I put them to the indoor cycling test. Being a certified instructor who teaches several endurance, strength and interval indoor cycling class per week, I’m a good critic when it comes to a pair of cycling shoes. The Women’s SIDI Dominator 5 Silver Mamba Shoes far surpassed the benefits received from riding with a great pair of cross training shoes. Are they really that great – enough to splurge and spend the money? That is up to you to determine, but my answer is yes! Here is exactly why:
Wobble-free – As soon as my shoes clip into the pedals using the attached cleats, my feet feel secure without any wobbling in the pedal. Also my lower body form is naturally corrected since the shoes snap directly into the pedals. That means my toes face forward and my my knees are positioned directly on top of the pedals. Proper lower body form on the bike is crucial to protecting the health of your joints and for using the correct muscle groups during your ride.
Perfect Fit – The shoes are extremely durable and hug my feet so perfectly. Not only does this provide ultimate comfort, I don't have to worry about my feet slipping inside inside the shoes. That means I'm not wasting energy and focus keeping my feet in place as I pedal. Instead, my focus is on alignment and power generation giving me a better more focused, controlled and purposeful ride.
Smooth Pedaling – By clipping into the pedals with cycling shoes, I can take advantage of the up and down portion of each pedal stroke. With regular athletic shoes, the quadriceps (muscles at the front of the thighs) tend to dominate the pedal stroke and do not give the hamstrings and gluteus maximus (muscles at the back of the thighs) a chance to fully activate. But with the clipped-in cycling shoes, I can pick up the pedal as I push down the opposite pedal which activates the fronts and backs of the thighs. This promotes muscle balance and prevents over-development of the quadriceps.
Breathability – These cycling shoes are so thoughtfully designed to keep the feet comfortable in many ways – getting air is one of them. The shoe is constructed of extremely durable materials, which gives the them an indestructible shell but also remains light and airy with the help of Lorica® microfiber and cooling mesh panels. My feet do not feel weighted down or trapped by the shoes, an important quality to demand out of any type of exercise shoes.
Of course, the Women’s SIDI Dominator 5 Silver Mamba Shoes are not the only cycling shoes on the market. They are one of many “worth-it” cycling shoes out there, so you’ll need to find which shoe is the perfect fit for you. Start your search now and see if it is worth the splurge. . . I think so!
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