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A special shoe for bike touring?

A special shoe for bike touring? Walking, running, hiking, aerobics ... there are specialized shoes for all these activities, so it's no surprise that there are now shoes for bicycle touring. But do you really need them? A good rule of thumb is to consider them if you ride more than 10 miles (or an hour) at a time.

While most bike commuters and weekend cycle tourists aren't interested in cleated cycle-racing shoes (they're hard to walk in), such riders can still benefit from a shoe that makes cycling easier.

You'll find several difference between these cycling shoes and shoes for other sports. The most noticeable improvement is a stiff sole that protects feet from the numbing pressure of pedal edges; the narrower heel is also less likely to hit the bicycle's crank arms (the parts the pedals are attached to) as you ride.

In addition, most touring shoes have ribbed or textured soles to hold your feet firmly onthe pedals as you ride. This does the most good when you ride with toe clips, which can themselves increase riding efficiently substantially--once you get used to them. At first the ribbing or texturing makes slipping your feet out of the clips a little tricky, but practice makes it second nature. Several brands also have leather reinforcing on the uppers to resist wear from the toe clip and strap.

Let your cycling habits dictate how stiff The soles should be in the pair you buy. On weekend cycling trips, if you spend as much time walking around as you do riding, get the more flexible sole. If you ride more, choose the stiffer one.

Most cycle touring shoes are in the $25 to $60 range. You can buy them from well-stocked cycling stores, sporting goods shops, and mail-order bicycle catalogs.
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Date:Nov 1, 1986
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