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Can You Ride Clipless Pedals Without Cleats?

On numerous cycling forums, beginners who use clipless pedals can be seen inquiring whether they can use clipless pedals while wearing regular shoes. You must keep reading if you are like those beginners because this article will address your question. So, can regular shoes be used with clipless pedals?

While it is feasible to use clipless pedals with regular shoes, the pedal will dig into your foot and make pedaling uncomfortable. Additionally, there’s a higher possibility that your foot will slide, particularly when riding in damp conditions.

Before diving deeper into this, let’s understand what clipless pedals are.

What Are Clipless Pedals?

Pricks attached to the soles of clipless cycling shoes are called “clipless pedals.” You must purchase specialized shoes in addition to clipless pedals to upgrade your pedals. These clipless shoes include cleats, a unique feature that is affixed to the soles. 

While riding the bicycle, these cleats are meant to be clipped into the clipless pedals. By preventing slippage, this mechanical device improves the performance of the bicycle. 

clipless pedals

Do You Need Special Shoes For Clipless Pedals?

Yes! To get the most out of your clipless pedal experience, you have to purchase your shoes and clipless pedals together. The market is flooded with specialty footwear. You must pick a reputable and well-known company that provides special shoes for clipless pedals.

Can You Wear Regular Shoes To Ride Clipless Pedals?

Yes, you can use regular shoes with clipless pedals, although doing so may cause some discomfort when riding and increase your risk of falling off your feet. Because of the narrow profile of the pedals, you develop painful patches in your feet as a result of the constant tension at a specific place, which can result in foot pain.

If you wear common shoes, remember that clipless pedals have low traction, which might cause you to slip off your feet. Because of their tiny size, these pedals have a narrow area of contact with the foot. In rainy weather, there is a higher likelihood of slipping while wearing shoes with slick soles.

If there is just one clip on the pedals, turn it downward in order to stop your shoe from slipping and ripping. Unexpected injuries can be brought on when your pedals’ sharp clips protrude.

Reasons Not To Use Clipless Pedals Without Cleats

Clipless pedals pose the following problems when worn with everyday footwear:


Clipless pedals are intended for use with certain bicycle shoes. Most bicycle shoe designs are quite thin, with an attaching mechanism protruding. Due to the narrow profile of the pedal continually straining the same location, you are likely to develop sore patches on your foot while wearing such pedals with normal shoes. 

The ball of your foot might not initially hurt, but it could become excruciatingly painful the next day. Cycling shoes have a highly firm sole and connect to the pedal with tiny cleats attached to the bottom, reducing this impact.

Poor Grip

Cycling shoes and clipless pedals are used together to provide an extremely secure fit, making it very difficult for your foot to slide accidentally.

However, if you wear regular shoes, the story changes for the following reasons:

  • Clipless pedals don’t have pins to improve traction, unlike platform pedals, which work with regular shoes.
  • Pedals with clips are thin. The outcome is a very narrow contact patch between the foot and the pedal.
  • Your foot may slide if you’re using clipless pedals with footwear that has a slick sole and no thread. In damp conditions, this likelihood dramatically increases. The pedal might slash your flesh if your foot slides, hitting you in the shins (undoubtedly a horrifying experience). Moreover, you could stumble and fall.

Common Solutions

cyclist on clipless pedals

If you’ve no choice but to use regular shoes with your clipless pedals, then you can use the following solutions to minimize the impact:

Flip The Pedals

It’s best to avoid wearing regular shoes with clipless pedals. However, there are techniques to lessen the discomfort if you have found yourself with no other choice (for example, if someone took your bicycle shoes and you need to find a way home). 

To cycle with the attachment mechanism pointed down would be the simplest solution. This method won’t work if your pedals have attachments on both sides. Note that this is only a last resort and won’t make your foot less likely to slide.

Use Hybrid Pedals

Another choice is to get hybrid pedals, which feature a platform on one side and a clipless system like SPD on the other. Both needs will be fulfilled by those models of pedals. 

One significant drawback of hybrid models is that you might need to turn them around a few times before finding the side you want to use.

Use Flat Pedals

You could think about permanently upgrading to flat or platform pedals if riding in regular shoes is a priority. Ultimately, the advantage of using clipless pedals for recreational bikers isn’t that significant. Only athletes who are in competition value the additional gains. 

With or without clipless pedals, ordinary riders will be equally sluggish or quick (depending on how you look at it).

Use Toe Clips 

Toe clips are an ancient foot retention mechanism dating to the dawn of road riding. Toe clips, instead of clipless pedals, let you ride while wearing a wider selection of footwear. Having stated that, some individuals believe that this approach is outdated and inferior to clipless pedals. 

The truth is that switching to toe clips won’t cause regular riders to experience any discernible power loss.

Check out this video below to learn how to install toe clips on a pedal:

Clipless-to-Flat Pedal Adapters

Carrying clipless-to-platform pedal adapters, which attach to the pedal’s clipless system and create a platform of their own, is another option. You may put the lightweight adapters in your backpack or sling. 

Make sure the ones you purchase suit the pedal mounting system on your bike. This method has the drawback of making your pedals slightly heavier. Some users also complain that the adapters don’t grip as well as “real” platform pedals.


A biker can use regular shoes and clipless pedals to ride their bicycle. However, there is a good chance that this won’t be pleasant and that the cyclist’s foot will slide off the clipless pedals; never purchase clipless pedals if you do not have the funds to buy the shoes that come with them.