A year ago, I would still have considered myself quite the spinning “noob”. During my first few months, there were two things I noticed that the regulars were using during class that I wasn’t. The first was spin shoes, and the second was a heart rate monitor (this I will talk about in another post).
Today, we’ll address the first: spin shoes aka cycling shoes.
When I saw others with them, I wondered to myself, how much does specialized cycling shoes really matter? Do I really need to buy a pair to be better at spinning? After going to over a year of spin class and finding myself going more often than once a week, I decided to finally ask Google:
“Should I buy spin shoes?” … “Why buy spin shoes?”…
If Googling those thoughts is what brought you here, my answer to you is: Yes, yes you should buy spin shoes!
If you plan to go to spin class at least 1x a week, it’s probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make. There’s a reason why all the top notch spin studios these days require that you rent or have cycling shoes and it’s because truly it will be the best use of your time and workout.
Quick update (08/05/2014): I recently forgot to bring spin shoes to one class and had to ride with regular shoes, I will NEVER do that again. Having used spin shoes for over a year and a half, switching back to regular shoes really highlighted how difficult it was to ride without being clipped into the bike. Couldn’t put my full force into the ride… Please do yourself a favor and upgrade now! It’s 100% worth the investment!
Benefits of Spin Shoes – Ride Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
- Better – A better fit for the ride. If you try on a pair of spinning shoes, you’ll notice that the sole is really stiff, and the toe part of the shoe is very stiff as well. This might get a second to get used to, but trust me, this really helps you put more effective energy to your pedals, stability as well as give you better alignment with your bike. The fit is more snug and doesn’t allow your feet to move around in your shoes, and ultimately helps you alleviate foot pain. They’re also super lightweight and breathable, always a plus when you’re sweating buckets of sweat 😉
- Faster – Stay locked in & ride faster. Sprinting in class was a nightmare for me before when I wore tennis shoes during spin. I was constantly scared that I would slip out of the cage and never truly pushed myself to the max. A friend of mine has even injured herself from twisting her ankle in spin class because of this issue. Spin shoes help you stay clipped in and allows you to really push yourself to the limit.
- Stronger – Maximize your pedal stroke. When you’re cycling, there are two motions that your foot and leg muscles are going through, a push and pull motion. The push mainly happens from the orange zone in the picture to the right. This part can be done with tennis shoes pretty easily. However once it gets to the other remaining part of the pedal stroke where you’re required to pull your foot up, it becomes a lot harder without your shoes being clipped into the bike. Here, you’re not working all your leg muscles, and potentially even straining them in the long run. With spin shoes, you can generate more power and more easily utilize all the muscles. More about the pedal stroke here.
I’ve had my shoes for just about a year now and seriously it’s the best decision that I’ve made for my fitness. Not only does it motivate me more to see better performance during my ride, it also gives me more reason to attend class more regularly (gotta make use of those shoes!)
So now that I’ve convinced you to buy some shoes, here’s some that you can look into. I bought my Pearl iZUMi Women’s All-Road II Cycling Shoe straight from Amazon after reading good reviews from it. I’m usually a 7 in regular shoes, a 7.5 in tennis shoes. I bought the 7’s and they were just right.
It’s worth noting that there are a few kinds of spin shoes, one where the clip part of the bottom of the shoe is recessed so that you can easily walk on them. These shoes are recessed so they are perfect. Also the shoes don’t actually come with the cleats, so you will have to buy the SPD Cleat Set. When they arrived, I asked if my spin instructor would help me set mine up, and he did. Otherwise, there are YouTube videos around to help you as well.
And if you’re still trying to find reasons to be a regular at spin, read my 5 Reasons Why You Should Love Spin.
Happy Spinning everyone!!