What’s the best way to get into your bike shoes after the swim?

In a triathlon you’ve got two choices for getting into your biking shoes after you finish your swim; 1) put them on in the transition area, or 2) already have them clipped onto your pedals, and when you jump on your bike and start pedaling then you can work your feet into them and make sure they’re secure. There are pros and cons to each method, and I don’t know which is best so I’m looking for input.

The pros of putting them on in the transition area is that once you get on your bike you’re ready to go. There’s no fiddling with your shoes, trying to get your feet in and then reaching down to get the straps right–you can stand up and get moving fast.

On the other hand, if it’s a long distance from your spot to the area where you can mount your bike you might get there faster if you’re running in bare feet vs. bike shoes.

But then again, if you’re running in your bare feet you risk stubbing a toe, stepping on something you don’t want to, etc.

My preference is to put my shoes on at my spot and run out of the transition area with them on. I think I can run just as fast with the shoes on as in bare feet, and it reduces the risk of any transition-area foot or toe injury that might be a liability on the bike or run. And then of course I can get off to a fast start once I mount my bike. But I’m not entirely convinced that’s the best way, because I’m a newcomer to the sport and all sorts of experienced people seem to be doing things differently. So what’s your take on it?

  • Darrell Burns

    I would put my shoes on then run to the bike…I have a hard time believing you can run faster in your bare feet.

  • http://www.triathletesedge.com bob

    depending on the distance. transistion areas are usually kept clean of debris (with the exception of Echo which is done on dirt and rocks), and you usually don’t need to worry about cutting your feet up. by running with your shoes on pavement you risk slipping in your shoes. a sprint or olympic when time is of the essence i keep my choes clipped on my bike. for a 1/2 or full i am all about taking the extra 15-20 seconds to run with my shoes.

  • Terry

    I have actually learned to get out of my wetsuit, sit down and put my shoes on before running tot he bike start with them on. This way, I can be certain they’re on comfortably and I won;t have to fight or fiddle with them later on the ride, nor do I have to mind not weeble-wobble my bike into someone else trying to get my feet in. This may sound like it takes a bit of extra effort (and therefore time) but it has actually helped improve my T1 transition time and allows me to get into my race pace quikcer on the course. It may not look as smooth and slick as the others with their shoes already clipped in, but I compete to complete not shave 30 nanoseconds of my PB.

  • Joshua

    I just did the Boise half a few weeks ago, and they did not allow anyone but pros to have their shoes clipped onto their bikes. Everybody else had to get in their bike shoes and run with their bike to the “get-on” area. In a way I kind of like that rule, since it removes this decision entirely and puts everyone on an equal playing field. Not to mention that you don’t have to deal with trying to get around someone who fell over trying to get in their shoes after they’re already on their bike.