For many cyclists, their choice of footwear involves finding shoes designed to clip into the pedals. But what about those who ride with traditional flat pedals? Perhaps you're a mountain biker who isn't quite comfortable being so attached to your bike through rough terrain? What are your choices? An unscientific survey of most bike paths would reveal that riders usually wear their running shoes. And while they may to some extent work, the cushy midsole made for running isn't optimal for turning pedals. You want a shoe that transfers almost all of your energy to the bike – a shoe like Pearl Izumi's X-Alp Flow. These shoes feature a sticky rubber grip on the ball of the foot to keep your foot from slipping on the pedal, and durable rubber lugs at the toe and heel give you traction when you hike or scramble with your bike. The firm midsole transfers energy effectively, yet you don't feel like you're walking in ski boots when you're out of the saddle. The seamless upper protects you from sticks and trail debris – and looks great off the bike as well. You probably don't want to walk around all day in these, but they're comfortable enough to grab a bite to eat after a ride. So ditch the running shoes and wear the right shoes for the job, especially if you're taking that mountain bike off-road.
Price: $100, pearlizumi.com