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Will MTB shoes cut it?

I recently bought a pair of mountain biking specific Shimano SPD shoes.  I have never clipped in in my life and I thought it would be more practical to have shoes that I can walk around until I have an opportunity to change my shoes or in case of any sort of problem that results in me having to walk my bike up a hill or something.  Is this impractical?  I know they are not as stiff or as aerodynamic, but from photos I have seen there are people that don’t look like they clip in at all so I figured it was better than nothing.

I am obviously very new.  :)

24 Replies

ehlent, February 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Many people do wear mtn bike shoes and cleats.  I prefer road shoes because we are road riding.   The little bit of walking I do is not a problem.   I use a set of kool covers to protect my cleats when walking.


mentor58, February 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I’ve used mtn shoes and cleats for as long as I can remember.  My current pair of shoes are Shimanos, look a lot like plain black sneakers.  Very comfortable off the bike, provide very good support and stiffness when pedaling.  

A good set of touring or MTB shoes (especially ones that have a bit more flex in the back part of the shoe) would be perfect for an event like RAGBRAI, especially since getting off and walking around is part of the experience.  
As for them not being as stiff or aerodynamic, I’m not convinced that for most riders, especially touring mode riders, that’s any kind of a problem.  
If you haven’t ridden with clipless pedals, I recommend setting the bike up next to a wall or something you can hold, and just spend about 20 – 30 minutes practicing clipping in and out.  It’s not hard, just takes a bit of practice.
Hope this helps,


“Bicycle Bill”, February 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I’ve used MTB shoes with the recessed notch for SPD-style cleats and have never had any problems.



CMR1188, February 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm

FYI, within 10 seconds of being clipped in, I crashed into my gate.  I’m just glad the gate was there to catch me.  I got the hang of it, I think. :)


TGIMerv, February 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm

They will be just fine. I did the same as you in 06. Planning on wearing Lake sandals this year.


Wonder Woman, February 6, 2012 at 6:48 am

I personally don’t think it matters at all if they are not as “aerodynamic” because this is not a race, and most of the riders are not riding for speed. I didn’t even have bicycle specific shoes my first year. I now wear Keen biking sandals. They have recessed clips and allow my feet to be comfortable riding and walking around in the towns (which is a big part of the experience). I do suggest practicing with clipping in and out enough so it’s a habit. I’ve often seen people new to the experience, forget they are clipped in when they get hot and tired, go over sideways with their bike when they stop.


Michrider !!!, February 6, 2012 at 7:09 am

Sandals are the “official” footwear on RAGBRAI!!! Wear what works for you!
<a href="Photobucket“><img src="Photobucket” alt=”” />


pHIlo, February 6, 2012 at 8:19 am

I’ve only ridden RAG twice, but wore MBT shoes both times. There’s more walking than you think.

… might get some sandles this year.


shawndev, February 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

I also have the SPD shoes. They worked great. I use the Frog Speedplay pedals and the MTB shoes really helped protect my cleats.

Since you’re new to the cleats/pedals, let me offer one piece of advice. Get in the habit of unclipping your right foot when you come to a stop. That way you’re leaning toward the curb, not traffic, if you should fall starting/stopping. I have a reason for saying that.


shawndev, February 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

And trust me, waalking will be a part of RAGBRAI. I would guestimate you will walk upwards of a half mile at each town, from entering it, through it, to the edge where you get to hop on and ride again. From what I saw last year, there is no riding through most towns.


Michrider !!!, February 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

Ya think?????
<a href="Photobucket“><img src="Photobucket” alt=”” />


grandpat, February 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

Sandles rule on RAGBRAI.


rongar, February 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Michrider, looks like Potter Hill.


Michrider !!!, February 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Yes,it’s Potter


Sandaltan ., February 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Sandals of course.


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