Triathlon Cycling Shoes vs. Road Shoes

– Should I actually get tri shoes? Bam. Learn from my mistakes. What’s up, trainiacs? You know what? About two days ago when
I first emptied out the entire office into my living room, I was a little bit ashamed of it, but you already see my shame now and you’re really not going
to have a choice anymore but to see it more time
in the future, right? Shameful, shameful, it’s so messy. Anyway, onto today’s goods. Now that I’ve got proper
bike cleats on my tri shoes, I don’t need to use my road
shoes that slow me down in transition, and I’ve
had a few questions about like should I
actually get tri shoes, should I invest in tri
shoes and road shoes? Why wouldn’t people
use mountain bike shoes when they can run through transition? Well tri shoes exist for a reason. They’re faster, they’re
better for triathlon, it’s why they exist. If they weren’t the
fastest option for you, they wouldn’t exist
and pros would be using mountain bike shoes or road shoes. So here we’re going to
talk about the differences between tri shoes, road shoes. So differences between
road shoes and tri shoes aren’t nearly as big as you might think, but when you’re talking
about being as fast as you possibly can in a triathlon, the question is definitely
answered very easily with yes, you do need to get triathlon shoes if you want to have the fastest transition you possibly can, and the reason for that is quite simply that most all tri shoes are set up to be easily slipped into. You look at this, when I clip
this shoe into the pedal, it basically stays like that. I just got this huge
mitt to put my foot into. Now even when I try to wedge
open the road shoes like this, you can see that I’ve
still got a big cavity to put my foot into, but it’s
not nearly as big as that. Just look at the space over my hand there versus over my hand here. You’ve got a huge amount of space and basically margin for error to slide your foot into
when you’re coming out of transition really quickly. It’s just and in. And then in addition
to that, bam, install. Your foot is in and you’re rolling. Here you’ve got to tuck
that tongue back in. Here there literally is no tongue. You then got to do one
strap and you’ve got to do a second strap, which, isn’t nearly as easy to do as this. That’s not to say that this is
the design of every road shoe and this is the design of every tri shoe, but the premise is basically the same, that road shoes are designed
to keep your feet locked in place without having a lot of movement because ideally when
you’re in a road race, once you get on the bike,
you stay on the bike. In a tri, you get on the
bike and you’re moving around and you’ve got to get in and
out of the shoes very quickly because that’s part of the race, so it’s designed to get into and out of as quickly as possible. It’s also designed to be
worn barefoot on the inside. So you see this inside, it’s
just very nice and supple. Oh yes, so supple. Look at that. Whereas the inside of the road shoe, same sort of thing, but the tongue can be a little big rougher,
that’s not very smooth, and you’ve got some hard edges that tend to be more prominent in road shoes. So then coming back home into T2, when you want to get out of the shoe, this is also very difficult to get out because you’ve got to press on that and you’ve got to just get that out and then maybe you’ve got enough room to get your foot slipped out or you’ve got to open up the second little layer here, whereas there, boom,
you’re done, you’re out. Now as far as structure goes, triathlon shoe tends to
be, in my experience, a fair bit more flexible. There’s a lot of give in it because there’s not
nearly as much structure. You want your foot less
sweaty so that it’s drier and more airy coming into transitions so you don’t have a wet soggy foot and develop blisters on the run, whereas here, sure it’s comfortable, this has been well worn in, but you’ve got a lot of structure here
in the arch support and they’re basically
the same in the sole. They’re both going to be ideally plastic or carbon soles so that they’re
really built up and stiff, and then you’ll have tabs at the back so that you’re level with the ground on your clips there and there. So yeah, question of do you go
with road shoes or tri shoes? It’s clearly tri shoes. Now somebody had a decent point on YouTube when they said to me that I
think YouTuber Darien Rider who is a cycling YouTuber,
he said that it’s ridiculous that tri shoes exist, that
people should just be using mountain bike shoes. – Why don’t people use
mountain bike shoes? – So that they’ve got the
traction and the footing to run through transitions. – Use mountain bike shoes and pedals. Run through transition. Hop on that bike, clip in instantly. – Now here’s my qualm with that. Number one, you’re going
to have even more stuff to get through than this
to get your foot into it. You’re going to have more latches because your foot is going
to need to be more secured, you’re going to have a
foot that is basically completely covered from the wind. It could get sweaty. It’s not going to be nearly as
smooth on the inside as this. You’re also going to
have a very heavy shoe and not a very aerodynamic shoe. You see a mountain bike shoe,
they’re not very smooth. They’re very chunky. They’re going to grab a lot of air. In addition to that, if Darien
Rider actually did say this, I don’t get what the hell
the logic is behind that because think about it. You’ve got pros, people whose livelihoods depends on being as fast in transition as they can possibly be, and
all that you’re saying it takes to be faster is switching from a tri shoe to a mountain bike shoe. I think they’re going to do that. Yeah, but they’re not doing it. They’re using triathlon shoes. That’s why triathlon shoes exist. It’s not a gimmick. If you want to be as fast as you can in transition one and transition two, oh and little tip, don’t be like me and look at the back of your
shoe and go oh hey, look, there’s an extra loop. That loop doesn’t look very cool. You need that loop. Don’t cut it off like I did. Learn from my mistakes, trainiacs, learn from my mistakes. Get yourself some tri shoes. Day four, our world is coming to an end. Triathlon Taren has the man flu, just about on the ascend of recovery. I’m not doing anything
today, but maybe tomorrow. Just a headache today. I’ll catch up to you with you
a full vlog with a workout. Make up something to
sound really intelligent, but I think I know about tomorrow. Alright.


  • I woke up and was like "what?? No vlog??" Then it came up. Phew the day can now go on. Props from Australia!! Hope the flu is gone soon for ya.

  • Are you using the Trivent SC? If yes, is it slightly wider in the toe box? I am currently looking for a shoe to replace the Pearl Izumi that I have due to that it flexes way too much when I pedal.

  • If you only have one shoe for training and racing, tri shoe or road shoe?

  • Shots fired durian, shots fired. Put some vegemite on it.

  • no shame, son.

  • Also tri shoes open to the outside so the strap won't get caught on your chain, thing that may happen with road or mt bike shoes if u open them while on the bike

  • durian rider is a pedophile. look up videos The truth about durian rider. he likes to sexually assault very young girls and manipulates them with his love of veganism. wouldn't trust anything this scum has to say, he isn't even a legit triathlete. he's nothing but garbage

  • I've recently done my first sprint, and I was using my old mtb shoes (on road bike). I want to buy some tri shoes for next season, but I was wondering about using tri shoes for training (turbo trainer and road rides). Any disadvantages of using them on "daily" basis? Like lower durability, blisters, etc compared to road shoes? Cheers

  • I started following Durianrider on youtube. I still went with road shoes thankfully for my 1st and 2nd shoes. I'm saving my pennies for now for other things instead of tri shoes, but have tri shoes on my wish list.

  • Simply put, you gotta get in your bike shoes. It costs more time to put them on while stationary in transition, no matter what shoe it is and how well you can run with it. Tri shoes are designed to be put easily while on the bike, while you are moving and covering ground. Thats why they are the fastet option, thats why the pros are using them.

  • The point durian was making was in particular with age groupers who don't name flying mounts. Pros do this but moist amateurs don't. Some races don't even allow non elite races to start with shoes clipped in and held with elastics.

    Also in longer distances, many age groupers take their time in transition putting on socks and full road shoes. His point is also why do they invest in things like aero helmets to shave a few second when they can save those seconds with MTB shoes.

  • Taren, good luck with the 'world is coming to and end' man flu recovery…

  • OMG.. manflu releases the inner b1tch 🙂   (poor durianrider).    Anywhooo…  I agree Tri shoes all the way, but with one caveat.   You need to be doing a flying mount and dismount.  If you are popping your shoes on in T1 and hobbling to the mount line then you are not going to get any real gains.   I did my first triathlon with tri shoes and a flying mount a few weeks ago and knocked a total of 3 minutes of my transition times from the same race last year.  Not sure I would have go that benefit with out learning to mount and dismount.       The other difference worth pointing out on the shoes is the direction the straps open.   road shoes open inward and a lot of brands are not only difficult to do a flying mount in they are downright dangerous because the open strap can get caught in the chain.  tri shoes don't have this issue because they open outward.Get well soon buddy

  • :O :O :O :O!! Did you really cut the loop?? :O :O

  • Jez Taren, dont give that Durian Rider any oxigen, he is nasty nasty piece of work

  • Good points for experienced triathletes but newer ones may be well served by mountain bike shoes with a recessed cleat. A well executed flying mount is fastest but a poorly executed one is slow, risky and possibly dangerous. Just spectate at the mount line and watch the midfield to see what I mean. Learning to pur the MTB shoes on fast in transition and then running to the mount line is a safe and efficient way to get started. Ratchet straps dhould be avoided if possible but that's harder to do these days. Flying dismounts are probably easier to learn, less risky and less dependent on the type of shoe.. i believe they are also an even better opportunity to save time

  • If you are a real triathlete and want to be very fast you need to leave the shoes on the bike for the start and for the finish

  • I didnt know Adam savage lost a bunch of hair and did triathlon. 😉

  • I've been using "mountain bike shoes" (more technically commuter shoes, Shimano CT41) for 2 years. But here is my rationale.
    1) I already had them
    2) For a pro, their transitions are generally at locations that are prepared for a triathlon. For my triathlons I'm usually in a parking lot at a park/school/public location. In short, I am assuming the pro's don't have nearly as many rocks/pebbles/sticks to deal with that I do.

    Sometimes I throw socks on (that have been soaked in baby powder!) sometimes I don't. My transitions tend to be in the top 5 fastest for the event (even though I don't finish anywhere near top 5 in the event).

    I'm likely giving up a little bit on the bike, but I am much more confident/comfortable running through transition itself. Now if someone wanted to buy me new shoes, I'd be all for trying Tri-shoes!

  • I just signed up for a 70.3 in TX next year. Can I get some pointers?

  • If you are going longer (1/2 or full) would the choice be different to sprint or super sprint?

  • Hi Taren, first of all, thanks for introducing me to Zen The Art of Triathlon. Listening to one of Bret's podcasts, he was talking about his experience with flat pedals, and how it did not affect his cycling performance. He also quoted a GCN video with the same result. What's your thoughts about it? It has the greatest potential to speed up T2.

  • I'm a complete noob-only one Tri under my belt but hoping to do more. Not clipless yet-based on this video, sounds like just for ease of use, the tri shoe is the way to go (once I build up the nerve and income).  Thoughts anyone?

  • Can I wear a tri shoe to do road riding?

  • What Adidas Tri shoes are those?

  • PRO's usually use road shoes. You are wrong.


  • lol first time here, but man at least clean the shoes before recording to the world? Cringey, I have road bike shoes that I've been using for around 3 years that doesn't look nearly as bad as yours. Clean them every 3 to 6 weeks they look good and last longer. But anyways thanks for uploading this video.

  • Bit late with this but didn’t I think the Oz team start using bike run shoes in the olympics. Not heard much about them since.

  • Durian rider is right on some stuff but dead wrong on this.
    As we all know in a triathlon before the bike leg is the swim…. is he suggesting triathletes wear mountain bikes shoes for the swim? To then get out and run to the bike and clip in? Or get out of the water and put on shoes at the bike then run to the transition cut off line? Most pros run barefoot which is fast with their tri shoes clipped in and open.
    How much time is he thinking of saving by having shoes on already? I can only see this possibly working in a super sprint distance where aero dynamics is less of a factor over a shorter race. Even then it's negligible. He's misinformed. Stick to pure cycling Durian you're good at it!

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