21 January 2020

Buyer’s guide: Clipless pedals

April 15, 2010

Your pedals and shoes are one of the key contact points between rider and bike. It’s important that you get the right combination for your style of riding to ensure comfort, stability and also efficiency. Here’s Sportsister’s guide to buying clipless pedals.

clip-in-pedalsMost budding cyclists start off with a normal or ‘flat’ pedal. These are popular due to ease of use and the ability to wear non-cycling footwear. However, many cyclists find these pedals hinder their performance and upgrade to a clipless pedal. So Sportsister has teamed up with Evans Cycles to bring you some of the best shoes and pedals on the market right now if you are looking to switch to clipless pedals.

How do they work?

Clipless pedals use technology similar to ski boots and bindings which essentially temporarily glues you into the pedal. This is achieved by mounting a small metal cleat to the bottom of cycling specific shoes and ‘clipping in’ to a specific pedal. This makes for a much more secure contact between the rider and the bike, making you feel more stable and maxmising your pedaling power.

While clipless pedals can be a daunting experience to get used to they can be adjusted to be set up for easy exits for those just starting out. When your confidence grows they can be tightened up for more response, power, and a better feel.

Clipless pedals and shoes come in a variety of different styles and uses. There is no right or wrong answer to which pedals and shoes can be used for different styles of riding but some are better suited for these styles. Entry level shoes are usually street styled with a softer sole to allow walking off the bike, whereas higher end shoes usually have a very stiff sole to allow for more power to the pedals.

Each rider will have different variants on what shoe is right but it is best to visit your local specialist bike store, like Evans Cycles, to get an expert opinion and try some on. Clipless shoes can feel very strange compared to normal trainers and should be a snug fit so your foot doesn’t move around when the shoe is tightened; this is so your foot is always in the correct position on the bike.


For those just starting out with clipless pedals it is best to use a soft sole mountain bike style shoe. These shoes enable riders to walk around in these shoes comfortably and have an easy mechanism to clip in and out. To complement these shoes, riders should choose a touring pedal (clip on one side, flat pedal on the other) or double sided pedal.

Best buys:

Shimano WM41 MTB £69.99 – Click here to buy

Shimano-WM41-MTBA fantastic entry level shoe that is comfortable, easy to use and great for both on and off the bike. This shoe will be at home commuting, touring, and also mountain biking.

Specialized Sonoma £59.99 – Click here to buy


A true commuting shoe, lightweight yet comfortable with a recessed cleat makes walking easy. With a street style these shoes are great for cycling then meeting friends for lunch.

Specialized Tahoe MTB £64.99 Click here to buy


An entry level mountain bike style shoe that is equally at home in the forest or on the roads. With a flexible sole these shoes are a great balance of comfort and performance.


Shimano M520 £39.14 Click here to buy

A great double sided pedal with several levels of adjustability to make clipping in a breeze!

clip-in-pedals--2Crank Bros Candy £54.99 Click here to buy

Crank bros pedals are easy to use and have a cage around them in case you don’t want to clip in for those tight gaps!

Shimano A530 Touring  £54.99 Click here to buy

A clip on one side, flat pedal on the other. The Shimano A530’s combined with a shoe above are a great choice for those starting out.


When riders fell more comfortable on their bikes and are looking to go faster, longer, harder clipless pedals are a great way to help out. Road shoes are light weight and stiff for the best transfer of leg power to the pedal and have a smooth sole as you are not expected to walk anywhere. Mountain bike pedals have more tread on the bottom and usually have the cleat recessed so you can walk around off the bike. This is also done so it easy to clip the shoe in even if there is a lot of mud around!

Best buys:

Mavic Giova ROAD £109.95 Click here to buy

Mavic-Giova-ROADMavic use the latest technology to create a lightweight, stiff, and comfortable shoe that is at home on long rides and fast sprints!

Specialized BG Motodiva MTB £99.99 Click here to buy

Specialized-BG-Motodiva-MTBThe Motodiva is a purpose built mountain bike shoe that can tackle anything that is thrown at it. Hard wearing and durable this shoe has it all!


Look Keo Classic Click here to buy

Look-Keo-ClassicLook pedals are an easy to use, lightweight pedal that should be on any road bikes.

Some key hints and tips

– Try shoes on before you by

– Get an expert to set your cleats up on the shoe if unsure

– Buy shoes and pedals that complement each other

– Start with your clip pedals loose, so they are easy to get out of

– Have fun!

Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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