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The Week I Became a Spin Shoe Convert

I’m an under buyer. Instead of buying new stuff, I tend to make do with what I have because I don’t think I really need something new. For example, I’ve been riding the same clunker Schwinn for almost 10 years. A shiny new bike would be nice, especially because I bike to work every day. But my bike gets me where I need to go just fine, even if it makes weird noises sometimes.

For the past several months, I’ve been thinking about one new purchase. Nothing can burn you out more than training for and running a marathon, and since October I’ve been logging fewer miles on the treadmill. To replace that cardio, I’ve been attending more spin classes. Spin shoes have been on my want list for months. However, I’ve talked myself out of buying them too many times to count. My underbuying habits alway overrule my desire for something new. I tell myself that my running shoes get the job done. I still get a good workout in spin class without biking shoes. Plus, is it really worth buying new shoes that I will only use a maximum of a few hours a week?

After much internal debate, I decided to pull the spin shoe trigger. But only because I made a deal with myself. If I bought spin shoes, then I would aim to attend 2-3 spin classes a week instead of my usual one. I would branch out and try new teachers. I would put these bad boys to good use so buying them was really worth it.

Less than a week later, I’ve already been to three spin classes and love my fancy new shoes. Remember that Sunday when Chicago was covered in sheets of icy rain? I even braved the weather that day to hit up a spin class. The excitement about their newness will fade quickly, I’m sure. I don’t think I’ll regret this purchase though. I wish I would have bought them sooner.

If you ask any spin instructor “is it really worth it?” in regards to spinning clipped in versus relying on the cages that go around your gym shoes, be prepared for a 5-minute enthusiastic lecture about an improved efficiency that will totally change your ride. You waste tons of energy through the sole of your shoe and when you pull up on the cages. Being connected to your bike makes for a much more efficient push and pull. It’s simple physics.

I quickly get lost when anyone starts talking about anything science-related, so I kinda glaze over when anyone starts talking about physics of spinning. I believe it’s a real thing. I definitely feel leg muscles that I never felt before, probably as a result of all that efficiency stuff. I do feel more connected to the spin bike, and that’s all very well and good.

If anyone asks me about my opinion, however, I’d recommend spin shoes for another reason. I think my love of these shoes goes back to the old placebo effect (also something science-y, so I might be getting this all wrong). When I head into the spin studio, snap up my shoes, and clip into the bike, I feel like a real pro who’s not to be messed with. And since I feel more confident on the bike, I’m able to challenge myself more. I’ll crank the resistance up an extra millimeter on a hill. I’ll pick up my pace a tad more during a sprint. I feel more focused and thus am less likely to space out and start thinking about what’s for lunch. I don’t know if I am burning any more calories, sweating more, or really having a better ride than before. But I feel like I am, and that’s what matters, right? I leave class patting myself on the back about a job well done.

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Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com

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