Road bike shoes vs. triathlon shoes.

Currently, I am working towards Ironman Wales 2017, for which I am going to be in the bike saddle for 7+ hours. Training rides are going to be similar distances from time to time. However, I do intend to participate in numerous shorter distance triathlons in the run up to IM Wales. Due to this, my latest research has led me to look into the pro’s and cons of Triathlon and Road shoes. The verdict has been that road shoes are best for me at this moment and I will give my reasoning.

From the research I have conducted, seeking the views of numerous people and forums, I have decided that the benefits of Triathlon shoes don’t really outweigh the benefits of a decent pair of road shoes.

Triathlon shoes.

Triathlon shoes provide a loop at the rear to assist in pulling the shoes on, there is only a single strap, which opens outward and has more ventilation. This provides users with a safe option to have the shoes mounted for a bare foot run to the mount line after T1. The extra ventilations helps with quicker drying of feet during the cycle. In reality, this will save a few seconds during the event.

At my level of performance, losing a few seconds isn’t really going to cause me too much concern. I also have to think about when these shoes are going to be used whilst considering my budget.

To be honest, my finances will allow me to purchase one decent pair of cycling shoes. These will also be used (in good weather) for commuting and training rides. So, I also looked at the benefits of road shoes.

Road shoes.

The result is that road shoes provide more comfort, less ventilation to keep my feet that little bit warmer on those cold morning commutes and training rides. For me, the ultimate goal is IM Wales – during which I intend to spend 15 minutes in transition, so time saving is not an issue.

Triathlon shoes tend to be seamless which would also enable a comfortable cycle without socks, however, I for one am a person that prefers socks, particularly in the run, so I might as well put them on before the cycle.

In conclusion, I intend to go out and purchase my new “road cycling shoes”. I will let you know what I buy and how they perform.

The choice is ultimately yours and will, no doubt, be based on what you are looking to achieve.


  • Triathlon shoes are seamless enabling comfortable cycle without socks
  • Triathlon shoes have a single outward strap to enable you to pre mount them onto the pedals
  • Triathlon shoes have a large hoop at the rear to help put them on
  • Road shoes have less ventilation for those cooler rides
  • Road shoes tend to provide more comfort and support with numerous straps
  • Road shoes tend to be slightly cheaper than triathlon shoes


  • Triathlon shoes have more ventilation meaning feet can get cold
  • There is suggestion that triathlon shoes have more lateral gliding motion in the clips which produce a less efficient pedal stroke (this is not something I can vouch for)
  • Road shoes will lose some time in transition due to multiple straps


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