Bike Gear: Favorite Bicycle Shoe and Pedal Combination

What bicycle shoe and pedal combination are you riding on today?


RdeOnPedal shoeEvery cyclist loves to talk about their favorite ride. What was the last ride you went on? Oh, I don’t get out to ride as much as I would like. Then brag about the 10,000 feet they climbed last Tuesday or they only got in 400 miles last week. We love to talk about our rides.

After we talk about our rides, we love to geek out over gear. Bike shorts are one of the first pieces of gear most people purchase.

One of the most customized and particular pieces of gear we purchase are bicycle shoe and pedals. Even if you chose Shimano Shoes and Shimano pedals, like most cyclists do, there are still hundreds of combinations.

So I asked 11 cyclists what is their favorite bicycle shoe and pedal combination is at this point in time.


Gerald Rhodes

One of my favorite bike rides in Boulder County

Gerald Rhodes

~ Gerald is a public speaker and fitness coach. He loves to work with motivated people to make small change in their day so they may take on a new direction in life. When Gerald is not speaking or coaching, he can be found cooking delicious and nutritious meals for his family. 

My favorite bicycle shoe and pedal combination is Fi’zi:k R3 shoes and Time Xpresso 8 Pro pedals.

I love the idea of fine Italian leather shoes. And my Fi’zi:k certainly come through. Soft and supple kangaroo leather. Ultra stiff carbon fiber sole. And an old school ratchet and velcro closure system. Easy to adjust on the fly and they are a perfect fit for me right out of the box.

The Time Xpresso 8 Pro is a good pedal. They do not have top of the line titanium spindles. But they come in a special edition black that looks tasteful against my Campy Chorus carbon cranks. The Time pedal provides a solid platform so whenever I get out of the saddle to mash up the hill, I always feel like I have something light but substantial under foot.

My white shoes against my black Time binders let me feel like a rock star dancing on the pedals.

Graceful. I feel like a rock star dancing on the pedals! Click To Tweet

Victor Jiminez 

~Victor is the driving force behind Bicycle Lab and a recognized bicycle fitting and cycling expert. He is co-host of one of the most popular cycling podcasts in itunes (Cycling360) that is listened to by over forty thousand athletes around the world every month.

Short answer is the one that fits the best. One of the biggest mistakes that I see cyclists make is having a poorly fitting shoe. Here are some things to look for in a cycling shoe

Sole stiffness: A cycling shoe should have a sole that has very little flex in the sole. Many brands (even some high $) miss this fundamental element of cycling shoe fit.

Closure: Most modern cycling shoes have velcro of some sort of ratchet closure. These do work ok but they do not distributed the pressure evenly across the top of the foot. I like shoes that use some sort of lacing system that much more evenly distribute the pressure across the top of the foot.

Fit: A cycling shoe should fit snug. Your toes should be close to the end and you should have very little space on the sides. Check out my video on this topic.

Pedals: So many great options for pedals. I personally use speedplay but any of the name brand pedal systems are great. Setting up proper cleat rotation is critical though. Many companies tout that they have xx degrees of float. Having tested a lot of cyclists over 20 years, I have noticed that very few people float more than 2-3 degrees. Some riders, that sprint or do a lot of standing jumps will prefer the more secure felling of a pedal with very little float.

Find a shoe that fits your foot and don’t look at the price. It’s your main connection to the bike and if your feet are comfortable, you will ride longer and harder. Get a name brand pedal and have it properly set up by a qualified fitter.

Short answer is the one that fits the best. Click To Tweet


bicycle shoe and pedal combinationLentine Alexis 

~Lentine is a pastry chef, athlete + writer and this is the place where she keeps + catalog recipes, adventures + experiences that inspire her to be hungry for whatever life puts on her plate.

My favorite bicycle shoe and pedal combination is the Shimano SPD-SL Ultegra Carbon pedal, and the Rapha Climbers Shoe. I fell in love with this combination on a cycling trip in the French Alps last summer; this cleat + shoe combination was so lightweight I was dancing up the cols, and my feet were comfortable and cool even on a week when we rode over 600 miles!

Back here in Boulder, summer can get really toasty but lucky for us, our Rocky Mountain backyard offers some reprieve from the heat in addition to some exceptional roads – both paved and dirt – to explore. Even here at home, I appreciate a more “closed” cleat because when I step off the bike on a dirt road, debris doesn’t get stuck.

I typically ride my road bike like a CX bike on all terrain (!!) and, even on a mixed surface, I prefer the Climber’s Shoe to any CX or SPD compatible shoe I’ve tried. They’re the first cycling shoes I’ve ever worn that didn’t require a break in period, and it by the way, they’re ridiculously beautiful to wear!

Rapha Climber's Shoe are ridiculously beautiful to wear! Click To Tweet


Bicycle shoe and pedal combinationJon Pace

~Fat bloke attempting to get fit for RideLondon 100 2016. If you want to contact him try

When I first starting cycling,  I was very much a ‘I’m never going clipless’  type of guy but coming up to doing London to Brighton in 2014 I decided to take the plunge and bought a second hand pair of shoes from eBay and some Shimino R540s.

I’m now on my second pair of dhb/wiggle shoes and still knocking about on a set of 540s.

one thing you can always guarantee about an Evans Ride It, the food spread is great, even if my riding partner was moaning about the lack of Chocolate Cake Click To Tweet


Bicycle shoe and pedal combinationMonty Montgomery Sportive Cyclist 

~Each week (give or take) Monty writes a beguiling and tantalising entertaining and informative post to help you develop your sportive cycling knowledge/skills/fashion sense. Sometimes he draw a little something.

This is an easy one for me, as I’m firmly committed to my current bicycle shoe and pedal combination. Both choices are driven by different elements of the same problem. I have flat feet and I used to get pain in my knee from my bike position.

When I had a professional bike fit (which I recommend all cyclists get), the fitter suggested Speedplay Zero pedals, since these were the most flexible in terms of ‘float’. My heels can rotate laterally up to 15 degrees each way, which allows my knee to go wherever it wants throughout the pedal stroke. I bought the Zero Stainless version.

My shoes are Specialized Road Elites. I knew from a previous set of Specialized mountain bike shoes that they were comfortable for me. As it turned out, the bike fitter said that Specialized tended to be good for the flat of foot, since they provide good arch support. I’ve always found them very comfortable (and they’re good value too).

When I had a professional bike fit (which I recommend all cyclists get)... Click To Tweet


bicycle shoe and pedal combinationJosh Crane The Coffee Ride

~Josh began roasting just over 3 years ago out of a modified, hand crank, popcorn popper. After pages of rigorous coffee logs and many cups of bad coffee, he is now able to make one hell of a cup of brew.

I have two favorite bicycle shoe and pedal combination. My most favorite is my road bicycle shoe and pedal combination. I have the first generation of the Look Keo blades paired up with the Giro Factor. I love the stiff platform of the giro which makes it feel like every ounce of energy you put forth equates to power in the bike. I also really like the large platform that the blades give as I have an old injury that requires that extra bit of stabilization. 

My coffee delivery bike on the other hand is a set of Crank Brothers Candy 2 matched with the Giro Code. The Crank Brothers pedals make it easy to get in and out of since I am constantly on and off the bike during delivery days and the giro’s carbon sole gives the high tech performance I am looking for even though my delivery bike is from the 80’s. I am also a bike fan of being seen by both cars and pedestrians, so the highlight yellow colors of the shoe helps with that along with my cateye lighting setup.

More flavor per cubic square centimeter than any other coffee Click To Tweet


Nancy Sathre-VogelNancy Sathre-Vogel

~ Nancy left her teaching career behind to travel the world on a bicycle. The Vogel family cycled 27,000 miles throughout the Americas, including a jaunt from Alaska to Argentina. 

I’ve tried it all, but finally decided that plain ol’ sneaks ended up my favorite. While I’ll admit that cleats are very comfortable for the actual riding time, they were a pain in the rear. Want to go grocery shopping? Change your shoes. Have to walk across a bridge? Change your shoes. I got very tired of the high-maintenance aspect of cleats while touring, so switched to regular trail runners. They work just fine on the bike, but also work off the bike. 

The bike merely the means to an end - with the end being seeing the world and meeting other people. Click To Tweet

There’s no better way to do that than on two wheels.


Jeff Stacy

~ Jeff is the founder of Bike Tourings, that can be considered a metaphor on the musings of bicycling variety. He shares ideas and knowledge regarding bike travel particularly as it relates to bicycle touring, commuting, camping and mountain bike trekking.

I enjoy having plenty of options so finding the best pedal and shoe combination to meet my versatile needs has been a real joy.  For me there is no debate for riding clipless or not as I prefer one to the other depending on riding conditions and activities. 

Shimano’s Dual Platform pedals continue to provide excellent performance after almost ten years of touring and commuting.  When I moved to a hot humid climate my older model Lake mountain bike shoes which are excellent for year round Colorado rides felt too hot and heavy. 

So, for the past few years I have been very happy with the Nashbar Ragster II sandals.  Ironically, these sandals were recommended by a guy who wore the sandals bike touring through a Colorado winter combined with gore tex socks and said it provided the best walking around quality of any bike shoe he’d tried.  I have found that to be true as the cleats don’t make a typical clickety clackety sound when walking on tile or cement and can be used to pedal on either side of dual platform pedals.

Define what type of bike makes the most sense to you for your personal needs. Click To TweetAfter that you can discuss it with your most reputable local bike shop and then get the bike for you.  You’ll be glad you did.


Casey MillerCasey Miller

~ Casey teaches people how to have a healthy lifestyle through fitness and nutrition on his blog, The Best of Fitness.

Do you remember your first time going down the mountain with your downhill bike and tennis shoes?  Well I do. It wasn’t a fun experience and I don’t recommend it as a beginner.  For me, the only way to go is with a platform clipless pedal and any clipless shoes.  Just make sure you are able to come unclipped in case you need to bail. 

Happy riding and always wear a helmet.

Just make sure you are able to come unclipped in case you need to bail. Click To Tweet


bicycle shoe and pedal combinationsPatrick Brady RedKitePrayer

~I (Padraig) decided to launch Red Kite Prayer for a simple reason. I knew companies wanted a chance to associate their brands with quality content.

I’ve got a pretty weird foot and joints that are happiest when they aren’t pushed to their limits. As a result, I’ve been riding Speedplay pedals for nearly 20 years. I continue to sample others, but when it is my bike, my ride, I’m on Speedplay Zeros.

For shoes, I’m wearing a pair of custom D2s. Very few production shoes can accommodate my feet for more than a few hours. The beauty of the D2s is that they are wide enough for my dogs, and can accommodate their volume and high instep. The custom-molded orthotic gives me the support that’s hard to achieve by any other means. Give me those two things and I can ride all day. 

It takes a special kind of talent to crash in the middle of a road while on a mountain bike ride. Click To Tweet


Bozidar Spirovski Fit Citizen

~ Bozidar is pushing hard to feel good

I’ve used only two bicycle shoe and pedal combinations – a Gaerne shoes with Look KEO Easy pedals/cleats on my road – and i’ve been riding the same combo for 4 years now. The only variation is using black (no play) and grey (4.5 degrees play) cleats. The black are much nicer once you find your ideal position.

 Other than that, on my MTB simple platform pedals with tennis shoes are a great combo for me, since the grooves of the tennis shoe soles fit nicely with the studs on the platform pedal for a good grip.

You don't get faster by cycling with the slower group. Thanks fast guys and girls! Click To Tweet

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