Pearl Izumi's X-Alp Flow cycle shoe

Many cyclists' choice of footwear involves finding shoes designed to clip into the pedals.

But what about those who ride with traditional flat pedals? Perhaps you're a mountain biker who isn't quite comfortable being so attached to your bike through rough terrain? 

A cushy midsole made for running isn't optimal for turning pedals. You want a shoe that transfers almost all of your energy to the bike — a shoe like Pearl Izumi's X-Alp Flow. They feature a sticky rubber grip on the ball of the foot to keep your foot from slipping on the pedal, and durable rubber lugs at the toe and heel give you traction. The firm midsole transfers energy effectively, yet you don't feel like you're walking in ski boots when you're out of the saddle.

You probably don't want to walk around all day in these, but they're comfortable enough to grab a bite to eat after a ride. So ditch the running shoes and wear the right shoes for the job, especially if you're taking that mountain bike off-road.

Price: $100, pearlizumi.com

— Jeff Banowetz, Tribune News Service