How to choose triathlon bike shoes

Bike shoes are imperative for maximising power-transfer gains in a race, and a tri-specific pair will offer even more benefits. Here’s what to look for in a good pair of triathlon-specific bike shoes…

Credit: The Secret Studio


Tri-bike shoes often boast plastic heel and toe bumpers to ease running with your bike in transition and to protect the outsole from damage and scratches. The heel bumper on the Pearl Izumi Tri Fly Elites, above, is removable.



Many tri-bike shoes use reverse main straps – running the opposite way to traditional road bike straps as seen on the Pearls – for a speedier exit and for easier adjustment on the move after T1. The downside of tri straps is they can catch on the crank if they’re too long.

Carbon sole

A carbon sole will save grammes and enhance the power transfer and pedalling efficiency, but will also add to the price of the shoe. The Pearl Izumis here feature an Integrated Carbon Power Plate that aims to produce a lightweight stiffness.


Heel loop

A heel tab, or the double heel loops seen here, should offer a speedier and easier foot entry in T1. The loops need to be large enough to get your fingers into at speed, but not too sizeable to catch in anything or ruin the aesthetic appeal.

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