The patented technology X-Comfort Zone allows shoes to fit two different foot widths, from C to D. This technology is available on select road and mountain bike cycling shoes.
When first getting into cycling, it’s easy to focus on the shiny objects, like the fancy bicycle and the pretty helmet that matches your gloves. We know there are a lot of items to buy to go along with your bike, but after you’ve selected your bike and are looking at accessories, be sure to give your feet some love! It’s fine to ride your bicycle in your tennis shoes to start with, but if you’re trying to ride your bicycle for more than 20 minutes at a time, you should definitely invest in a cycling-specific type of bike shoe.
Tennis shoes are designed to support the foot for walking and running purposes. They have soft rubber outsoles and lots of cushion. During walking and running activities, soft and comfortable tennis shoes do a great job of helping the arch of the foot collapse, which helps drive the knee inwards and propels you forward as your foot springs into action.
While this movement is great for running and walking, having this same type of movement while cycling is bad for your pedal stroke. It is inefficient and can even cause tingling/numbness in the feet and pain in the knees.
If you have been riding and are experiencing knee pain, check out this great article from our friends at Cycling Weekly.
Benefits of Cycling-Specific Shoes:
When cycling, you want the foot and knee to move straight up and down like a piston in an engine, with minimal lateral movement of the knee. You also need the foot to act as a rigid lever, having minimal movement and flexion inside the shoe. These two key biomechanical necessities help you transfer all the energy from your legs, through your shoes, into the pedals/crankset, through the bicycle’s drivetrain and into the wheels, thus propelling you forward.
Three Main Features of Cycling-Specific Shoes:
1. A rigid outsole: The outsole is the walking and pedaling surface and serves as the main contact point between the shoe and the pedal. All cycling-specific outsoles will be more rigid than tennis shoes, but there are a wide variety of stiffness that you’ll find in cycling shoes. Outsoles are typically made of rubber, nylon, carbon fiber and fiberglass. The type of material is usually specific to the type of riding someone wants to do. For an in-depth guide on types of outsoles and uses, read our Shoe Buyers Guide
2. Internal support of the foot’s arch:Remember, tennis shoes are designed to allow the arch of the foot to collapse. That’s inefficient for cycling, so a proper cycling shoe will come with a good footbed with good arch support. Most Garneau cycling shoes come with adjustable insoles that you can modify to give your arch the most support. Whether your flatfooted or have a high arch, Garneau has it covered.
3. A toe box that can accommodate your foot as it swells during the ride: Every foot is different, but most feet swell around the toe box during rides lasting longer than 20 minutes. Swelling can lead to numbness and overall discomfort. To alleviate this common problem, Garneau has designed a patented and award-winning technology called the X-Comfort Zone, which allows room for the foot to expand when swelling occurs. Click here to read more about the X-Comfort zone and be sure to check out all the Garneau footwear that includes this technology.
We hope this quick overview helps you understand the benefits of riding with cycling specific shoes. Shoes last for years, so think about investing in a great pair of Garneau shoes today.
For more information on which style of cycling shoe you should purchase, read our shoe buyers guide.
Thirsty for more information on the science and award-winning technology behind Garneau footwear? Then learn more on our Garneau shoe tech guide.