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Selecting the right biking shoes/cleats/pedals

Hey REI,

I've been leisurely cycling for eons and have an old Trek 820 hybrid (currently with street tires) that I love. With gyms closed, I've upped my cycling game from 2-5 miles a day to 15-20, so I'd like to explore biking shoes/clipless pedals to get a little more pedal power...and a little less strain on my feet (I typically wear barefoot shoes, so very little support).

I'm doing almost exclusively streets and paved trails, with the occasional dirt/gravel trail. But no real mountain biking. I do occasionally like to bike to a destination, so I'd like something with recessed cleats to walk around in without doing damage.

Looks/style are secondary to comfort and benefits. But I'm a total newbie to the clipless thing, so I'd like to start with a setup that's reasonably user friendly to get used to. 

Thanks in advance for your guidance!


4 Replies

Hey there @gelfling83!

Thanks for reaching out to us in the Community!  Exciting to hear that you have been logging some extra miles on your bike.  Impressive too that you've been doing it with barefoot shoes!  I think you will love the power that comes from going clipless!

Here is a link to a previous conversation that I think you will find helpful in making this leap!  As you start to narrow down choices, please feel free to reach back out to us with any additional questions! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks AlyS,

Thanks for the speedy response. I think I like the idea of the T241s, so I have the versatility of clipping in or not -- it's curious that those are $20 more expensive than the ones with clip-ins on both sides. But it's not a deal-breaker. 

As a beginner, which would you reco? Clip-ins on both sides (so I don't have to rotate the pedal to clip in) or the ones with clips-in on one side? 

Also, the convo you passed along doesn't mention much about the shoes themselves. Do you have any recos for a comfortable, supportive shoe (size 9.5/10), that I could also walk around in a bit, that would be compatible with the 2-hole cleats?

Thanks again!



I think you could go either way with the pedals but I find that beginners like the idea of being able to clip in on either side.  It will likely feel like less of a scramble for you.  But if you are fairly comfortable on your bike already, I think you can master clipping in with little trouble.  I personally find having the option to ride with regular shoes on a platform pedal a bonus!

In terms of shoes that you can use the SPD cleat with I am a fan of mountain biking shoes since they have a slightly more relaxed fit and they also are designed to walk a bit in.  You'll notice that Pearl Izumi and Shimano offer several styles. 

To get a feel for what other considerations might be important to you, take a look at this Expert Advice article as well.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Super! Thank you for your help!