Believe it or not, cycling shoes are designed specific to the type of riding a rider does. For example, a road rider will spend long days in the saddle spinning a high cadence. An exact fit to control the foot is needed for efficiency. When mountain biking, a rider will maneuver over obstacles with varying angles of pressure on the pedals and occasionally need to hike up a slope. The cycling shoe will need more room in the toe box but a secure heel not to pull out of the shoe, plus a grippy sole with a tiny amount of flex.
While we are a cross country mountain bike team, our riders cross-train and compete in a multitude of cycling disciplines. Emma refuses to get on a trainer in winter and gets out on her fat bike most winter days. Jen races UCI cyclocross as a Pro as well as the mountain bike. Nikki makes sure to take advantage of the sunny days in SoCal on weekends by participating in Gran Fondos during base season. It is a good thing we teamed up with Lake Cycling this season to meet all our team members cycling demands! Here are some of the shoes we love this season:
Our custom XC race shoe, the MX332 is not just eye catching, but also a high performance mtb race shoe. It features a more snug fit than training shoes to maximize efficiency. One of the unique features that Lake offers is the ability to tweak your shoe even more to your needs with their mouldable heel cup. For riders like Jen, who have a narrower heel, the ability to further adjust the fit so that it does not slip is a huge win! I mean, who doesn’t love to cook their shoe in the oven?!
Our mtb training shoe, the MX241 Endurance, will be worn for long hours, walked in while scouting and working lines, lounged in trailside while recharging on GU Waffles, and standing around the trailhead with friends gushing about the ride. This shoe is a little more roomie in the toe box for trail maneuvers and is a bit more snug in the heel so the heel does not rise when hiking back up the trail.
When coaching skill clinics, we find ourselves running around a lot, getting on and off the bike repeatedly, and still needing to perform (perfectly) bike skills. For this, the MX180 Enduro shoe is a great choice. It is a more flexible shoe that you actually want to stand around in. The tread heavy sole gives confident grip when standing on rocks while spotting a rider in a technical section. The “high tops” protect our ankles from rogue shrubbery when dragging logs to practice jumps over. And, it is still a performance shoe for riding where we can wheelie and track stand as well as sprint off a start line in.
We ride year-round. Even though Nikkis lives in SoCal, her home is in the mountains of Idyllwild at 5,400 ft and she often finds herself riding in colder temperatures on weekdays when she finishes workouts at dusk (and they even get snow). On the mountain bike, fat bike, or even the road, a winter riding boot is a game changer! Warm, dry feet are a must if you want to enjoy riding in the elements.
Running through sand, grinding in mud, and going fast is what Jen loves about cyclocross. The MX237 Supercross has the properties of a mtb shoe, but also is drilled and tapped for 4 cleats so that banana peel turf is no match for her as she tackles calf burning run-ups.
Do you need six pairs of cycling shoes? No. Need is a strong word but finding a cycling shoe that meets a riders cycling demands will make the ride not just more fun but also more safe and enable a rider to do the cycling things they want to do. If Imalga Marco was a cyclist, her closet would have had 3009 pairs of shoes; the extra nine would be Lake Cycling shoes.