There are three points where a cyclist comes into direct contact with his bike: butt, hands, and feet. Saddles and handlebars are easy to test and swap, but feet pose a problem. "The foot is made for walking and running, not pedaling," says Dr. Andrew Pruitt, director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. "In walking, the foot is flexible, while in cycling we are asking the foot to be fairly rigid."
When searching for the perfect pair, Pruitt suggests looking beyond the brand and color of the shoe. Instead, focus on comfort and purpose. Consider your type of riding, how much walking you might be doing, and whether or not the shoe can be adjusted or customized to maximize comfort and performance. And of course, when you find a pair you like, ask your shop to let you take a quick test ride. Walking across the floor won't give you a proper feel for a shoe.