Once you start feeling comfortable with your riding skills, you might want to upgrade for Clipless shoes and pedals. These connect your shoe to the pedal, for a no-brainer and surefooted pedalling action.
Let's start with pedals. You have 2 types of pedals out there:
- Mountain bike pedals and road bike pedals. MTB pedals are easier to clip in and out, offer more float and you can choose between mountain bike shoes, commuting shoes or even road bike shoes.
- Road bike pedals, are a bit lighter, only have one side you can clip on, so generally take more focus and fiddling to clip in. Also, only road shoes work with road pedals. The good thing about the road pedals is the much wider contact area between shoe and pedal, offering more stability. This is evident when you stand up for a sprint.
- Mountain bike shoes are heavier but more comfortable. The sole also helps in walking out of the bike, offering grip and foot ergonomics similar to normal shoes.
- Commuter shoes are perhaps more comfortable than mountain bike shoes and feature a flatter sole, not as grippy in mud conditions as a mountain bike shoe would be. Some offer laces or even elastic laces to secure the shoe to the foot.
- Road shoes are a bit more bare inside to save weight. Many riders (me inclusive) invest in customizable inner soles to offer more foot arch support and overall comfort. These shoes are generally super stiff and enhance pedalling performance significantly when compared to mountain bike and commuter shoes.
When you spend more on pedals, they get lighter. All other features remain somewhat the same.
When you spend more on shoes, they might get lighter but usually is more about sole stiffness (pedalling power) and other features like dials and buckles to secure the foot.