Clip-in Shoes or Running Shoes for the Bike

Triathlon Event  I am trying to decide if I should bike in click in cycling shoes or my running shoes. I still have the mouse trap pedals my bike came with. The race is 300 m/8 mi/ 3 mi. The race is so short and I’m worried about the added time to change shoes. Do the cycling shoes really prove to help you have a faster time?

Melissa from Idaho

Triathlon Event  Hi Melissa,
Thank you for emailing your question to!

This is a great question and we have a two-pronged answer for you. Which method of peddling is technically faster? Clips. Which method of peddling is faster for you? We have no idea.

We suggest that you conduct a little experiment BEFORE race day. On your next two bike training session, time yourself using both methods and see which one works best for you. You’ll have your answer!

For those of you beginner triathletes who are unsure as to what we’re talking about, here’s a quick lesson on ways to peddle your bike:

  • Regular Running Shoe: You can simply wear the same sneakers you’ll be wearing for the run.

  • Pedal/Toe basket clips: These allow you to wear your running sneakers and benefit from not only pushing the pedal downward but getting the upwards pull as well. You can easily pull your feet out of them, they are fairly inexpensive and great for newbies.

  • Clip-in pedals: These allow you to get the maximum out of your bike. Your feet are clipped into the pedals and cannot slip off. You get the benefits of pushing and pulling upward and downward and you look like a true professional. The prices rage, but you can get a pair for a decent price. (Just be sure you practice using them before race day)

Whatever you choose, make sure that it is something you are comfortable with on race day.  The only way you can know for sure is to practice with one method or the other.  Pretty soon, you will find that you not only prefer one way or the other, but you can’t imagine trying it any other way.

Nearly all triathletes who finish in the top half of their age groups use clips.  If you have aspirations for becoming a competitive triathlete, we recommend going with the clips early on.  Doing so will also translate to more productive cycling rides if that becomes a hobby too.

Let us know if you have any other questions and be sure to write again after your race!

Be well,
~Megan Staff Recommended Resources:


Triathlon Swim : – Get the low-down on gear and read tips for training and events.

Triathlon Bike: – Learn how to structure bike workouts, find safety tips and read recommendations on great bike gear.

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