Cycling Shoes Blog

Are your shoes slowing you down? With such a wide variety of shoes and fastening mechanisms available on the market, choosing the best shoe for an athlete can become a tricky decision to make! Comfort and aesthetics are often the deciding factor, however, should aerodynamics also be considered?

To find out, we recently headed into the Wind Tunnel to test 6 different configurations, consisting of 3 fastening mechanisms, both with and without an overshoe in order to highlight the differences in power required (to ride at a certain speed) you may expect to see when testing in the Sports Performance Wind Tunnel.

Testing protocol

The speeds selected for the test were 40kph and 50kph, across two yaw angles of 0 and 5 degrees, representative of what a rider may typically encounter when riding or racing in a Time Trial, or Triathlon.

As with our previous blog testing, to ensure the data was both accurate and repeatable, the riders’ edges were captured during the baseline test, which were then projected in front of them for each subsequent run as a reference point in order to maintain the same position on the bike. A pedalling tare was also completed prior to each run to account for any relative changes in mass of the riders set up.



The differential in power required between the slowest and fastest shoe was quite substantial, with a maximal gain between shoes 1 & 3 of 8.3w without an overshoe at 50kph (0 degrees yaw). It was also interesting to observe that the trend of fastest to slowest was also repeated with an overshoe, an item you may think would assist in “smoothing out” any protrusions from the shoe, with a maximum gain of 4.7w at 50kph (5 degrees yaw).

In conclusion, the results from the test clearly demonstrate that there is the potential to find a notable aerodynamic gain from selecting the right fastening mechanism on an athletes shoe, and combining this with a suitable overshoe.

It is however worth noting that each of the shoes used for this test were of a different make and model; therefore the profile of the shoe itself may have influence on the results recorded. Irrespective of this, it was interesting to see the impact of a certain shoe on the riders overall drag, an area which is most likely overlooked by consumers when selecting their next pair cycling shoes.

If you would be interested in arranging a session in the Sports Performance Wind Tunnel to optimise your own equipment choices, please refer to the Performance Consultants section of our website for further information –