Understanding The Differences In Cycling Shoes - There are many types of cycling shoes, and for good reason. Each type of cycling can benefit from a shoe specifically designed for it. Mountain biking shoes have tread patterns on the bottom more akin to hiking shoes. These shoes help you negotiate steeper sections where you might not have enough traction (or leg strength) to pedal. Shoes for road cycling, especially for longer rides or races, typically have smooth bottoms to reduce weight, improve aerodynamics, and provide an ideal mounting surface for the different cleat systems available. In between are shoes designed to accommodate some walking or hiking while still functioning well on the bike. These shoes typically have a flex point in the sole to make walking easier, and offer recessed cleats that don't contact the walking surface.