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Road Shoes or Triathlon Shoes

After completing my first season as a newbie on a hybrid wearing trainers and toe clips, I have now decided to splash the cash and upgrade to the Boardman Carbon Team LE.

I also use my bike for commuting, 36 mile round trip 2 - 3 times a week.

I'm never going to break any triathlon records, or indeed be placed in my age group but still keen to post a decent time and finish ahead of my mates!

Will I be better off buying a pair of Triathlon cycling shoes or Road shoes?

I obviously know that Tri shoes are much quicker to get on and off but is there a sacrifice from a durability or effieciency which will my my commute harder.

I've got roughly £100 to spend with the following choices....any recommendations or any I've missed off?
Mavic Avenir - (Road Shoes)
Sidi T II CC - (Tri Shoes)
Shimano TR 50 or TR 31 - (Tri Shoes)



  • Triathlon shoes only real come into their own during T1, and a bit in T2, when you have them already clipped into the pedals and mount the bike and then insert your feet as you are leaving transition.

    If you have no plans on actually doing this, instead put your shoes on in T1 and then run in your cleats to the mount line, as most of us do, then Tri shoes are really of no benefit.

    Tri shoes have easy access, a single strap that does cup away from spinning cranks, and a large to loop to allow easy pulling on whilst cycling. However, they are also generally made more open to allow easier access and let any water drain out, which means that if your are using them for non Tri, commuting, general riding etc, the your little footsies are going to get very cold.

    If you are the average joe triathlete, shoes on in T1, run to mount, dismount, run to T2 and remove shoes, get a pir of road shoes. Far more comfortable for cycling, good for commuting etc.

    Now, the downside. Road shoes come with large cleats, which are an absolute bugger to walk in, like skating. You now need to think going for SPD pedals with shoes that have recessed cleats. This are far more commuter friendly, good to walk in, don't slip, and don't sound like you're wearing tap shoes. Trouble is, the shoes have slightly more felxible soles, so not quite as efficient as road shoes, but better than trainers and cages.

    I might have answered the initial question, but raised a hwole lot more there, sorry.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    I have the Shimano TR31's and if you want to use them in the winter then these are not the shoes to wear. They are triathlon shoes for the purpose of triathlon, they have more vents in them to keep feet cool. Def not recomended for communting in the winter.

    Much depends on what you'll get the benefit from tri shoes will help specifically in triathlons since they only have one strap and have the rear loops for latching an elastic band onto.

    If you are strapped for cash, and you are not pushing for PB's on tri, then I'd go for the road shoes.

    However, keep an eye on fleabay and wiggle, there are bargains to be had, and you could end up with both
  • Folks - thanks for your quick responses.

    Totally agree re: shoes on then run to the mount line rather than having the shoes already clipped on.

    You mention shoes with recessed cleats - forgive my poor knowledge - are these the ones typically aimed at mountain bikers whereby you can walk freely in them? I terms of commuting I'll only have to walk 20metres like a penguin before I can whip the shoes off so I guess the large cleats wont be a problem.

    Also what is the difference between SPD and SPD SL is it loosely speaking mountain bike vs road bike?
  • risris Posts: 1,002
    As others have already said tri shoes probably aren't going to make a good all year commute shoe - all those vents and being designed to be used without socks isn't going to be much good right now!

    As you say, spd is really an mtb shoe and -al the road one, although I use -sl's on my mainly rural commute without any probs, and I think they are probably better for racing (spds probably better for q commute use generally)
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    I also have no chance of getting an age group position and as such, purely compete against myself.

    To be honest, for someone of my standard, I don't really see the point of tri shoes, that may save me a few seconds (maybe 30 seconds) and have instead opted for a nice pair of road shoes (Sidi Genius 5.5) that get regular use. I love them to bits and could fully justify the extra expense over a pair of shoes that would at best get summer and race use only!

    The 30 seconds slower bit I can live with. If we were talking a few minutes differnce then I may consider it but to me, I'd opt for something that I'll get more use out of!!!!
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    you appear to have missed the point entirely....tri shoes because you can. you are a triathlete, you must have triathlon stuff & things ergo tri shoes....for racing anyway..your show shoes...in an impractical colour (white is good, silver better)...do you begin to understand?

    honestly they should cover this stuff on rookie days...& I have studied this months 220 & no mention is made of this sort of basic stuff.

    You must use the search function...look for 'red' 'carbon' 'porridge' 'soreen', that will get you onto the right path.
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    I have tri specific shoes (though I've just torn one of the heel loops off so some urgent repairs needed) - I picked mine up from ebay and I think that if they save me 30 seconds, they've been a really good investment, compared to the effort of picking up half a minute somewhere else in an event.

    That said, practice your mounts and dismounts! When you're done practicing, go back and practice some more. I have had a couple of near disasters at mount / dismount...

    It really is much easier running in bare feet than in cleats! Obviously if your focus is middle or long distance, you might prefer comfort over pure speed.
    The other feature not yet mentioned of most tri specific shoes is that they tend to have very thin insoles, putting your foot right onto the pedal, and are extremely stiff. Both of these features will reduce unwanted foot movement and wasted effort...
  • hussler.hussler. Posts: 390
    No reason not to wear tri shoes all year round..... just buy overboots to keep feet warm in winter.....

    Youll have to buy overboots with road shoes anyway so why buy road shoes then have to spend all that extra time in transition??

    buy a pair of tri shoes....shimano are a good buy.... then buy some good overboots....I use Altura neoprene overboots £20 from wiggle....
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    ah yes overshoes... yip I see .... like the over shoes I forgot to buy before the tour of the peaks and ended up with wet feet after 20mins riding...
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Sigh....again point being missed..road & tri shoes, overshoes to fit each..wet weather overshoes & cold weather overshoes...oh & those 'aerodynamic' ones for the summer, to match your club/team jersey..
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Britspin - another word that keeps cropping up in posts like this is 'afford' - again point missed entirely - there should be a FAQ section which clearly states that if something can only be used used in triathlon and not for any other purpose and you can't afford it then you must get it.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    A good point well made..on a more serious note I would always buy the best you can in bike shoes, depending on fit & comfort, my logic being..ever worn a pair of bike shoes out? Me neither, they will last so make them good 'uns.
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