The Case for Platform Shoes in Mountain Biking


People are often bullied by their riding buddies who tell them that clipless pedals (the ones that you clip into) are better than platform pedals (flats). Do not get peer pressured into making this switch unless you’re comfortable with it. This is because platform pedals are a fantastic way to get better at riding. In fact, even if you favor clipless pedals, you should learn to ride with flat pedals. Follow along as we discuss the advantages of riding with platform pedals.


Platform pedals are great for building confidence & foundational skills. They teach riders to properly weight & unweight their bike. They allow riders to readjust the location of their foot on their pedals. As such, they aren’t just for beginners. In fact, many expert riders run flat pedals because they can move around a bit on the pedals as they ride.


Clipless pedals can lead cyclists to learn bad riding habits. These riders count on just pulling up with their feet to move their bike, rather than “preloading” & “releasing” the additional energy stored in their moving bike. By contrast, platform pedals are great for identifying areas where you’re “hiding problems” or using improper techniques. Habits that you can fall into while using clipless pedals… For example, some people who ride clipped-in learn to maneuver their bike by pulling it with their clipped-in feet. With clipless pedals it’s too easy to fall into the habit of failing to dynamically weight & unweight the bike with their body.


Flat pedals--by contrast--keep you from cheating. They teach you to move your body & your bike efficiently “as one” over any type of terrain. Many riders call this rider/bike dynamic “flow.” Dialing-in these foundational skills can mean the difference between hopping over a massive log or crashing headlong into it: you can “fake it” by pulling with clipless pedals over medium sized sticks & rocks, but a big log is going to pose a much bigger problem if your body position isn’t correct!


For the beginner mountain bikers out there, running flats gives you an easier bail-out. If you are going down, it's much easier to get off your bike when you aren't attached to it. Not only that, but as the beginner rider gains confidence, you don't want to decide to skip a feature simply because you are clipped in and don't want to risk falling without being able to unclip.


Now, this is not to say there isn't a strong case for riding clipless versus flats, especially when you go beyond mountain biking. That, however, is a discussion for another blog.


PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT:

RIDE CONCEPTS


Based in the mountains of Lake Tahoe, Ride Concepts established themselves in 2018 as the first mountain bike specific footwear company to offer a complete range of product for men, women, and youth. Rider designed and rider owned, their mission is "to build the most comfortable, durable and reliable mountain bike footwear." Each shoes is designed with their innovative approach featuring:

  • Gender-specific fit & flex

  • Proprietary outsoles & rubber compounds

  • Hexagon pattern outsole design

  • Dynamic Surface Technology (DST) in collaboration with Rubber Kinetics

  • Impact protection with D3O Zone Technology

  • Molded toe & heel protection

  • Fast drying materials

  • EVA foam

Most of us in the shop have starting wearing Ride Concepts on our rides and have been impressed with their performance, comfort, and durability. We have a wide selection of sizes (men, women, & youth) and designs at the shop. Mention this blog from March 26-April 1 and receive 10% off your purchase of Ride Concepts shoes.


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