pedals SPD vs LOOK road style pedal

Firstly, as you’ve guessed I have no idea what the technical name for the style of pedal im taking about but Im hoping “LOOK” is all thats needed to know what i mean?

Ive come from an off road background, always run your typical shimano SPD pedal and shoe.

Over the last 6 months ive turned to single speeds (not fixed yet) for my commuter and Im after some opinions on the benefits of the road style type pedal and shoe combo.

Ive tried rolling toe clips but my brain doesnt work well with them.

Can you roll these road pedals with a shoe you can walk in or are the cleats all protruding and solid soles making walking in them uncomfortable?


LOOK pedals:
The cleats (both the older Deltas and the new Keo kind) are a PITA to walk on (because they’re not designed or made for walking on) unless you use Kool Kovers or something similar, which you then have to carry around with you.

Shimano SPD-SLs:
Cleats are a lot more walkable than LOOK, but they’re not designed or made to put up with much more walking than bike-cafe-bike.

If you want a clipless shoe/pedal system for commuting & JRA etc where you expect to be getting off the bike and walking a bit, get some MTB style SPD pedals and some walk-friendly shoes (there are plenty of 'em out there). Or if you don’t like SPDs you could try another 2-bolt cleat system like Crank Bros egg beaters or candys instead.

SPD-SLs are easier to walk in. Never tried LOOKs but those I’ve spoken to about them reckon they can be slippery as shit on tiles or in the wet, for example. the upside of LOOKs is that you can buy 3rd party cleats for like 2 euro a pair as opposed to a minimum of $25 for SPD-SL cleats (or $40 in aussie shops).

I did a 30km commute (return) for a while in them. Worked pretty well. For that sort of distance though, regular SPDs would be fine. They’re certainly a lot easier to walk about in.
I also trashed a pair of cleats in three weeks of riding in France. My most recent set has lasted me a lot longer. With a bit of care, the cleats could potentially last as long as the pedals (you get a set of cleats with the pedals in case you didn’t know already).

One thing to consider is that SPD-SLs actually provide a reasonable platform for when you’re riding in street shoes whereas SPDs don’t. I had SPD-SLs on my road bike and fixie for a while when I’d commute on both. It was easy enough to ride around in sneakers as well which was handy.

+1, especially the newer, wider ones (with the stainless contact plate).

Look/SPD-SLs: You can walk in them, like you can walk in ski boots… but you wouldn’t want to walk anywhere in them. As you pointed out the cleat protrudes significantly and they are downright dangerous on a remotely slippery surface.

If you want to walk further than down the hall way, I’d be leaning towards SPDs, Time attacks, egg beaters: systems which have the cleat recessed in the sole.

I was under the impression that the advantage of the look/SPD-SL type system, was to create better contact, to get better power transfer through to the pedals; and due to the improvements in sole stiffness, this is not much of a concern anymore. (If there are any other differences, please fill me in).

I’ve never had a problem walking in stiff soled shoes, but there are plenty of clipless compatible - casual looking shoes with softer soles.

Thanks for the replys.

You all confirmed my suspicions. I think ill stick to SPDs.

Pretty keen to try eggbeaters. I diggn the slim where the hell is your pedals look