Triathlon Shoes Vs Road Cycling Shoes – Which Are Best For Triathlon?


– See, when I started out in triathlon, I got myself a pair of triathlon shoes. And then it wasn’t until a few years later that I got myself a pair of
road cycling specific shoes and I couldn’t believe what
I’d been missing out on. Nowadays, I do all my cycling
training in my road shoes, and then I do my long-distance
triathlons in my road shoes, but then I do short-distance triathlons and draft-legal triathlons
in my tri shoes. Those are just my options, my preferences. There are so many pros and
cons to each of the shoes. So I think it’s time we
put them head to head in a triathlon shoe verses road shoe. [Pulsing whoosh] Now some of you may be watching this now scratching your heads and thinking, “Triathlon shoes for triathlons. “That’s what they’re designed for, surely. “You wouldn’t see the Brownlee Brothers “wearing road shoes for
draft-legal triathlons.” True, but in the same score, we quite often see the
likes of Jan Frodeno, Ben Hoffman, and Sebastian Kienle wearing road shoes. But before we get stuck into all of that, I think we should quickly run through the two different styles of shoes. First of all, the pure road-cycling shoe. They’re built for comfort and they’re designed to keep
the food secure in the shoe and for me, when I first
switched to road shoes it was the support within the shoes that I really noticed. It just felt like it held my foot better, particularly through the arch. And I’ve actually heard
athletes reporting that it’s helped to minimise injuries and also get rid of injuries
all together for them. Whereas, with a pair of triathlon shoes, they’re designed to get your feet in and out of them quickly, so they tend to have a
couple of Velcro straps across the top to help that, but that does also mean they
don’t always hold the feet quite as securely as a pair of road shoes. And then you will often find a little loop on the
back of triathlon shoes and that’s to help with
getting the shoe on quickly and you can actually use that loop for attaching elastic bands to if you’re doing a flying mount out of T1. And then another really
noticeable difference is with the materials used. So, obviously, you’re coming
out of the swim with wet feet, so they use materials that
are slightly more breathable to reduce the moisture within the shoe and then you will actually
find on some of the shoes, a small hole in the sole of the shoe and that is to drain out any water. And then finally, the
materials used within the shoes are there for comfort, particularly for those that are opting to race without socks. The obvious difference with these shoes comes down to the transitions. And this is where the triathlon
shoes are in their element. So whether you’re doing a flying mount or you’re putting your bike shoes on and then running out of your bike, they’re quick and easy to get into. And in draft-legal racing, where every second counts
through transition, to make those bike packs, you pretty much only see
triathlon-specific shoes. They’re relatively short races compared to an Ironman, for example. So whether you’re doing a
draft-legal race or not, if you’re only on the bike for a relatively short amount of time, you might welcome a few saved
seconds through transition. And for long-distance races, transitions are still important and time is still precious
for many athletes, but the odd second lost getting your feet into some road shoes
isn’t quite so obvious. In fact, for fans of road shoes, they would argue that
those few seconds lost getting your feet into, and
fastened into some road shoes is far outweighed by
the performance benefit and the time made up
over a long bike course. But you know what? I think we should just go and see how much time someone might be losing through transitions getting their feet into some road shoes verses
some triathlon shoes. Right, we’re gonna start the clock when I grab my bike from here. I’m going to run up to
the mount line up here which I’ve drawn out. [Beep] [Rock Scratching Pavement] [Beep] Obviously, mount after the mount line and then, we’re gonna stop the clock once I’ve got my feet into the bike shoes and fastened into the bike shoes. First up, the tri-shoes. Alright, ready, go. [Light Music] Okay, next up, the road shoes. Ready, let’s go. [Light Music] Alright, that was really fun. We saw a seven second difference in time, obviously, the triathlon
shoes were quicker than the road shoes. No surprises there. But I do understand not
everyone is doing a flying mount out of transition. [Beep] [Beep] So, let’s do something
slightly different here. We’re going to do the same again, but I’m going to put the bike shoes on before I grab the bike, run to the mount line and then I’m just going to
step over my bike and clip in. Compare the two, first up, tri-shoes. Alright, clock starts as
soon as I grab the shoes. Ready, let’s go! [Upbeat Music] And finally, the road shoes. Ready, let’s go! [Upbeat Music] Ah, interesting. Interesting. Okay, so there wasn’t actually
quite as much difference between the final two
transitions as I expected. And they also weren’t that much slower than the flying mounts, either, so I think that it comes down to quite a short run through transition and I’ll make the excuse of
a new bike, too. Why not? Either way, the triathlon
shoes worked clearly quicker for the transitions, however, it would be hard to argue against the road cycling shoes
being better for cycling. I mean, otherwise, we’d see pro cyclists wearing triathlon shoes. They don’t do that. Either way, I think they’ve
got their place for triathlon. But the main importance,
I think, comes down to being comfortable. The more comfortable we are,
the better you’re going to maximise your performance
when you’re cycling. It’s worth remembering
that we all have different size and shape feet and also our bio-mechanics
are very different. So, my biggest recommendation
would be to try a number of different bike shoes in a similar way to when you’re picking a new saddle for your bike. If you pop into a local bike shop, I’m sure they’d be very happy to help, and you can weigh out that comfort over the distance that
you’re planning on racing. If you’d like to see more videos from GTN, just click on the globe to subscribe. If you’d like to see our
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