Do You Need Special Shoes for Peloton?


The Peloton has become one of the most widely-used indoor exercise bikes around the world. The reason for its popularity is not just the fact that it offers the users to work out at home whenever they want.

Most indoor cycling enthusiasts like it because it connects you to thousands of live and on-demand classes to learn new techniques to get in shape. This improves your likelihood to achieve your fitness goals by feeling motivated and thrilled because of all the competition.

Speaking of which, when you enter any kind of contest or race, you try to get your hands on the best possible gear and equipment that will make you successful. In the case of indoor cycling, one of the most important gears is the right type of cycling shoes.    

And so the question, do you need special shoes for Peloton?

Well, technically speaking, you don’t need any extraordinary shoes to start using this amazing machine. It is designed to work with just about any regular exercise or running sneakers you might already be using. The only requirement is to add a toe cage attachment or cleats on the sole of your shoe (if it supports it).

If you want to wear your regular shoes but you don’t want to attach the toe cage, then you will need to replace your Peloton pedals. This is something the experts don’t recommend.

Having said that, if you decide to use shoes that have been specially designed to use with the Peloton bike, you will experience a huge difference in your spinning experience.

These shoes are designed to be extra comfortable, breathable, and extremely lightweight. All these qualities make them quite suitable for use with a spin bike.

However, what makes them even more useful is the fact that they can be clipped into the Peloton pedal using cleats, which are sold separately. The Peloton pedals are based on a LOOK Delta system, so any pair of shoes that comes with a three-hole arrangement on the back should be compatible with the bike.

Why do you need special shoes for Peloton? This is what we are going to explore in this post today. So, let’s get started.

What Are Cycling Shoes?

Since cycling is an activity with varying levels of intensity, different types of bicycles (both indoor and outdoor) are available so different people can use them for the purpose they have in mind.

Keeping in view these requirements, there are special shoes designed for this workout. Not only do these shoes offer the rider greater control over their bike but also make them more comfortable and feel more secure.

There are many types of cycling shoes available on the market. Most of them are designed for road biking and hence they do not come with cleats at all. And when it comes to shoes designed for indoor bikes, the options are again quite wide-ranging.

LOOK Delta is only one of the pedal systems that many indoor and road bikes are based on and the Peloton is one of those bikes. LOOK Keo is another type but it is available only on road bikes. Other than these, Shimano is a popular brand that provides SPD and SPD-SL pedals systems. However, these require a two-bolt arrangement instead of a three-bolt which makes them quite different.  

The point to note here is that not all cycling shoes are compatible with the Peloton. You can only wear the ones that come with a three-bolt arrangement on the back of the sole compatible with the LOOK Delta system on the bike pedals.

Why Do You Need Cycling Shoes for Peloton?

Special cycling shoes compatible with the Peloton are designed to improve your spinning performance in terms of resistance and cadence. Cadence means your pedaling speed and it is measured in revolutions per minute or RPM.

On a flat road, this measurement is normally between 80 to 110 RPM, whereas when you are climbing a hill, it drops down to 60-80 RPM. If you combine this metric with the resistance (how hard it is to pedal), you can find out the intensity of your ride and adjust it according to your overall fitness.

Why these metrics are important?

You might be wondering why measure all these when you just want to have an enjoyable ride? Well, for starters, indoor bikes are used for a specific purpose. The most common of which is to burn calories and body fat thereby losing weight and maintaining it at an optimal level.

Moreover, some people are looking for an aerobic workout to strengthen their cardiovascular system that wouldn’t be too stressful on the joints. Indoor bikes provide an excellent solution for these.

And so, to make sure you are burning enough calories while working out on your bike or meeting your daily aerobic workout goals, you have to keep track of the above-mentioned metrics.  

Another reason for improving your spinning performance is to be ahead of your competitors when you join a live class on your Peloton bike. Every user wishes to do their best on the leaderboard and it’s possible only when you use the right shoes and feel totally comfortable while riding the bike.

What is Power Transfer and How Does It Benefit the Rider?   

There is another term called power transfer, which means shifting the power from you to your bike so you can experience faster pedaling and less strain on your feet.

Cycling shoes are designed on the principle of increasing this power transfer so you could feel more comfortable on the bike and ride for a longer duration. They also offer the foot to be positioned properly in relation to the bike. And since they are stiff-soled, they can change how your weight distributes over your feet for proper foot and knee alignment.

This entire arrangement helps to prevent all sorts of injuries while you bike including ankle, knee, and hip injuries.

If you want the most efficient power transfer possible, you will need to buy cleats that offer a zero-degree float. In other words, they are totally fixed in position and doesn’t allow any rotation.

Preventing Foot Injuries    

Without proper cycling shoes, most people end up having pain in their feet, especially in the forefoot region. Moreover, people who wear regular shoes for biking have a feeling of numbness in their toenails and ball of the foot.

This kind of sensation can be addressed by stopping in the middle of a workout, taking the shoes off, and stretching or massaging the feet.

The researchers provided a solution for this problem in the form of toe straps for regular shoes and regular road bikes and toe cages for indoor bikes. This gear not only enhanced the performance of the biker but also provided relief to the foot pain.

The most recent advancement in the foot-pedal interface is the “clipless” technique, which takes the spinning experience to an even more advanced level. It allows the shoe to be clipped into the pedal (offering zero or some degree of float or rotation) and the rider to feel more secure and more stable while spinning.

It is recommended to use cleats that offer a 6 to 9-degree float to feel more at ease and prevent knee pain. However, many people also prefer a zero-degree float that doesn’t allow any kind of rotation but it is recommended only for professional athletes and those who use a spin bike on a regular basis.

Do You Have to Use Peloton Shoes?

Absolutely not. In fact, the Peloton shoes are rather expensive than most other brands on the market. Alternatively, you can also choose to wear the Peloton shoes and buy a pair of compatible cleats from another brand.

This combination is very cost-effective in the long run as you can benefit from the durability and comfort of the Peloton shoes and still be able to save some money on cleats.

If you still want to use your regular sneakers, then you are going to need toe cages on your bike. Toe cages come in handy when the entire family and even your friends want to share the bike with you.     

Can You Walk With Peloton Shoes?

No, it’s not possible to use the Peloton shoes regularly for walking or running. This is because the cleats on the back of the shoe stick out a bit in the case of the three-bolt design (compatible with the Peloton bike).

However, if you use the SPD cleat by replacing the pedals on your bike, you can use those shoes for regular wear also. This is because these cleats are recessed in nature and do not stick out as LOOK Delta ones do.

Although not recommended when you have just purchased your bike, the Peloton manufacturers advise replacing your Peloton pedals every 12 months or so. This is part of the bike maintenance process and it also ensures your safety.

However, a proper procedure is to be followed when replacing the pedals and if you are not experienced in this field, do not try it especially with a new bike.

If you want to change your bike pedals to make them compatible with SPD cleats, read this guide. And when you are done changing the pedals, you can rest assured that you will be able to use your spinning shoes for regular walking and running also.

Parting Shot   

The Peloton bike is a huge success the world over with more than 400,000 bikes already sold since its inception. Despite its massive popularity, many people are still confused as to what type of shoes they should use for riding the Peloton bike.

If you have ever been to a spin studio in your area, you would know that they give you those special clip-in shoes to ride their spinning bikes. Well, the same is true for a Peloton because it is essentially a spin bike (with a different name).

So, the answer to the question, do you need special shoes for Peloton is both a yes and a no. If you don’t want to use those special shoes, that’s also fine. You can attach toe cages on the pedals of your bike and use them with any regular pair of shoes.

One downside to using regular shoes for spinning is that you won’t be able to track your metrics or make adjustments to them for a more or less intense workout or better performance on the bike.  

It is therefore highly recommended to wear shoes compatible with the LOOK Delta clipless pedals so you can clip them in and take your spinning lessons to the next level. These shoes offer added security, comfort, and stability while you ride your bike. With these features, the spinning experience not only becomes more enjoyable but also more productive.    

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