Difference between road and MTB shoes.

ben@31 Posts: 2,327
edited February 2014 in Road beginners

Do road cycling shoes have any benefit over MTB shoes? Just wondered if the road specific shoes are worth buying. Thanks.
"The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby


  • Depends on the shoes, the high end cx shoes are basically road ones with tread.

    Road pedals do have some pros and cons
  • "MTB" shoes with recessed cleats are pretty good for walking in (but I wouldn't want to go for a hike in them). "Road" shoes with exposed cleats are not. For that reason, there are plenty of "MTB" (or "leisure"/"touring" branded shoes with flexible soles; road shoes are good for nothing else.

    Based on some conversations on this topic, anybody would think that XC and CX racers use the same shoes as commuters on Bromptons, and don't feel the need for a supportive sole. It might well be that if you test a range of shoes in a modest price range, you opt for a road shoe, but let that be your guide: it is the fit that matters far more than the pedal system. Given the choice, I would opt for SPD over an exposed cleat, as the cleat life is better by an order of magnitude (years vs months or even weeks). Even stiffness isn't the be-all-and-end-all, though (the carbon soles you can buy today did not exist until recently); unless you are experiencing discomfort, don't expect any miracles.

    But if you were wanting to know if there is any performance improvement with 'road' branded kit, there isn't. Every claim that anyone can make about SPD-SL/Look in comparison to SPD mirrors closely the comparisons that Speedplay make about their pedals next to the competition. If SPDs were slowing him down, you would think that Andy Wilkinson would not use them. Same with Graeme Obree.
  • Besides the obvious walking part there is another key difference I have found.

    I've been riding with MTB shoes since I got 'clips' and as easy as they are to walk in they do throw out a slight issue that I never thought about. The mould around the cleet can get in the way, if you have your cleet more to one side than the other. For example, my ideal position of the cleet on my right foot it, is quite a bit to the right side of the foot (due to alignment of knee etc) - its not a problem getting the cleet over far enough, it becomes an issue when I need to clip-out, its tougher when the pedal is wedged right to the edge of the shoe, your left to right movement of the heel is hampered slightly. So I had to move my cleet to a slightly 'non-ideal/ non-perfect' position - just so I dont look an idiot when trying to unclip. (to note: I've only been riding for just over a year now so not that experienced)

    Now on a road shoe you won't face that problem at all!
  • 6wheels
    6wheels Posts: 411
    I've had the same problem due to shoes rubbing on the crank arms. Just cut some of the moulding away, in fact , it is advised by Crank Bros (egg-beaters)if you have this type of problem.