Cycling shoes are relatively simple in concept---they incorporate rigid soles with lightweight, foot-hugging materials and generally include a cleat that clips into special bicycle pedals. But while most riders find the initial transition to bicycle shoes and clipless pedal designs relatively painless, nearly every rider encounters some issues, which, if left unresolved, can sour the cycling experience.
Nearly every rider experiences foot pain at some point. The reasons are usually simple: Cycling places a lot of stress on a relatively small area of the foot. If you're experiencing pain on long rides, try loosening your shoes; or, if you have blisters, be sure your shoes are snug, and apply first aid waterproof tape to sensitive areas before you ride. Check that your cleats are positioned correctly and properly tightened. Wear thin, breathable socks to keep your feet cool and dry. Finally, try smearing your favorite chamois cream over your feet, which will reduce friction and relieve pressure points.
Mounting and Unmounting Your Bike
Transitioning to a clipless pedal system can be awkward at first, and many riders find it difficult to fasten their cleats to their bike pedals. If you're having this problem, double check that your cleats are adjusted to sit at the balls of your feet and angled to provide natural foot placement on the pedals. Loosen your pedals to make it easier to clip in and out.
The large cleats on the bottoms of cycling shoes make it awkward to walk when you dismount. Many shoes offer raised heals to combat the "duck foot" effect of a large cleat. Consider purchasing cleat covers, as well---these lightweight plastic covers slip over and protect your cleats from pavement, dirt and gravel, which can cause riding issues and reduce the life of your cleats and shoes. Finally, you may wish to use a shoe and pedal system that offers recessed, mountain bike style cleats. While these designs generally offer less efficient power transfer, they are beginner-friendly and make walking significantly easier.