General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Run shoes on bike? Rss Feed  
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2018-04-25 4:56 AM


Subject: Run shoes on bike?
For sprint triathlon, is it quicker to wear run shoes on the bike instead of bike shoes?

2018-04-25 6:33 AM
in reply to: Rich325

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?

no. cycling (or triathlon) shoes are much much more efficient.

2018-04-25 2:30 PM
in reply to: Rich325

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Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?
They are a little bit more efficient. They also help you with control since you are "attached" to your bike. They are not going to improve your time a huge amount. How much faster are you mounting without them as opposed to with them?
2018-04-25 2:59 PM
in reply to: Rich325

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?

It depends, but generally no.  

************Geek alert******************

Assume bike shoes increase your bike performance 0.5 mph and it's a 12 mile course.

16-16.5 mph:  At 16 mph, you need 3:45 minutes to go 1 mile and 3:38 minutes to go that same mile at 16.5 mph.  You save 7 seconds per mile, 84 seconds (1:24) using bike shoes.  You probably spend <1:24 changing shoes in transition between bike and run.  

18-18.5 mph:  Same analysis, 3:20 versus 3:14, so you save 72 seconds.  

At some speed, you would spend more time changing shoes, but if that speed isn't achievable wearing running shoes on the bike...

2018-04-25 3:08 PM
in reply to: Rich325

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Cypress, Texas
Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?

Like most questions...this depends. 

My first sprint triathlon I was using standard pedals with toe clips.  It took me about 30 seconds to get socks on my wet feet.  The shoes went on quickly but tying them in loops with cold wet hands was not quick.  I could have got through the transition  much much quicker if I had the right shoes and knew what I was doing.

I didn't do my 2nd triathlon until 8 years later.  I trained 8 months specifically for that 70.3 race and part of my training was on improving my slow transitions.  I got elastic shoe laces which eliminated tying loops in transition but still had to take my time with the socks on wet feet. 

With more practices and tips from others I learned to put my socks on before the race and roll the tops down.  In transition with wet feet I could roll them up and instead of struggling to pull them up for 5-8 seconds each I could roll them up in 1-2 seconds each. So I have reduced my shoe time from about a 45-75 seconds to about 5-10 seconds.

I road in lots of races with running shoes.  One race I got a flat tier and ran my bike for two miles to get bike aid.  That would not have been fun in bike shoes.  My last race in running shoes I averaged over 23 MPH on the bike which put me in the top 10% of the competitors in bike times.  Yes, you can be fast in running shoes on the bike! 

I got bike shoes and speed play pedals from my wife for my birthday last year.  I did one race after I got them last fall but was NOT faster with bike shoes than I was with running shoes and toe clips.  Toe clips hold your feet to the pedal and allow you to pull up just like bike shoes do.  Bike shoes has a stiffer sole than running shoes but didn't make any difference in how many people I could beat in the bike.  When I race with bike shoes my T2 transitions are always lightning fast.  I think at IM St. George 70.3 two years ago I passed more than 10 people in the T2.  All I have to do it mount my bike, take off my helmet, put on my running belt and I am on the run. I think I cut al least 30 second in the T2 using running shoes over bike shoes.  I only have on race under my belt with bike shoes and I have 5 under my belt with running shoes, so like the running shoes I can probably find ways to improve with the bike shoes, but if I were doing a Dualthlon with two run/bike transitions I would consider using running shoes and toe clips on my platform pedals.  For Triathlons I will stick with the bike shoes for the sole purpose that everyone says they are much more efficient and I am trying to figure out what I am doing wrong so I can find that efficiency too (I am sue it is there, I just haven't found it yet).  


2018-04-25 4:16 PM
in reply to: Rich325

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?
Depends on how fast you can switch shoes.

After 14 years of tri's, I use bike shoes to get the most from the ride and switch to run shoes... and I stay clipped in and swap out in transition. No flying dismounts here.

2018-04-25 5:15 PM
in reply to: TriJayhawkRyan

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Western Australia
Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?
In the triathlon relay at the Commonwealth Games this month one of the teams used their run shoes on the bike with straps over them.

From memory it was New Zealand. The amount of time they saved in the bike/run transition was amazing and they generally kept pace on the ride. I believe they came third, behind the Aussies and the English (who's team included both of the Brownlee brothers).

So maybe something to consider.
2018-04-25 5:55 PM
in reply to: Rich325

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, New Hampshire
Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?
No, unlikely that you save enough time to off-set the loss in efficiency. With a well-executed T2, there's no reason not to wear tri shoes.
2018-04-26 8:23 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?
You have to put your running shoes on either way, so the potential time savings is what it takes to get in and out of your tri biking shoes. Even if you don't do a flying mount (I don't), it really only takes a few seconds to step into a pair of tri biking shoes and pull the velcro straps across. A flying dismount is easy to execute, and only costs you a little time of pedaling while you faff with unstrapping and getting out of the shoes. Note that you're not standing still, just coasting, so while it might take 10 seconds a side, you only lose a couple seconds of net progress.

I personally believe you gain more than the lost time back in better pedaling efficiency. But even if it were only a wash, it's worth the hassle so you don't have to listen to the squeak of the widest part of the soles of your running shoes rubbing on the crank arm twice on every rotation!

Edited by gary p 2018-04-26 8:29 AM
2018-04-28 7:18 AM
in reply to: gary p

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Subject: RE: Run shoes on bike?
My local summertime weeknight sprint tri is a great place to experiment with gear and transitions. The transition to the mount/dismount area is a good 150-200 yards of grass. With triathlon shoes on rubber bands you can probably run across the uneven surface no problem but getting back in T2 you will likely be dragging your shoes and possibly getting them caught on the ground. I just have road cycling shoes so they either drag both directions or I run with them on and have terra firma in my cleats.

So the last couple of years I started experimenting with riding in running shoes. I grew up on BMX bikes and I also ride motocross where you are used to your feet being untethered but...this was terrifying! You HAVE to use cages or straps. You really have to be attached to the bike. I grabbed a set of old pedals with toe clips and my next race was magical. I highly recommend running shoes for sprint distance races. I also don't wear socks.
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