Do You Know These Four (4) Advantages Of Metal Toe Clip Pedals?


Metal toe clip pedals (toe strap pedals) were the original attempt by the ‘cyclists of olde’ to ‘marry’ the rider to the bike. The word on the street is that this all began in the 1860’s. I don’t know about you, but when I think of the 1860’s I think of those funky Velocipedes.

Any contraption that would keep the rider from performing a hasty bail-off seems ill-advised.

Now let me get personal with you…Are you really looking for toe strap pedals or were you meaning the far more popular ‘clipless pedals’?

If there’s some confusion in your mind, you’re not alone. Your feet don’t ‘clip’ into anything when you’re using toe clip pedals, while there’s usually a distinct ‘clipping’ sound when you’re using clipless pedals. If you’re looking for clipless pedals, I’ve written a review on them here.

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On With The Metal Toe Clip Show…

But if you’re still reading this review, I’ll assume you’re looking into the old toe clip pedals. There are some interesting products (well, not too many actually), but first four (4) advantages to toe strap pedals…

~1~You can achieve stability on the pedal without special cycling shoes. You’re less likely to slip off your pedals than you are with simple platform pedals. Never forget, pedal slippage may result in a forceful introduction of your chamois (and all of its contents) to your unforgiving top bar.

~2~They’re cheaper than clipless pedals (did you know that you can spend up to $625 on a pair of Speedplay Nanogram pedals?). I just saw a source for four different pairs of toe clip pedals, all under $10. More on that later…

~3~You can pedal the complete pedal stroke with toe clips reasonably well by being able to apply force ‘through the bottom’ and ‘over the top’.

~4~Some would argue that toe clip pedals are easier to get out of. Some would argue that they’re harder to get out of. Being a naturally argumentative kind of guy, I’ll argue just for the sake of arguing.


Metal Toe Clip Pedals For The Traditionalists

Here’s a pretty nice set of pedals for the cyclist who fancies ‘all things Dandy’. They match a leather Brooks saddle to a tea. But the leather straps are unsurpassed in their ability to get worn and brittle if exposed to rain, sleet, or snow, so a leather treatment would be appropriate.

But I like the leather on the cage part the best.

It could be argued (arguing again?) that the leather leather on the cage protects the rider’s oxford shoes from ‘toe clip scuff’. Scuff or not, this is a touch that is sure to set your fender-clad bicycle apart from the pack of other bikes ridden by tweed attired snobs riders.

They’re called the Eleven81 Leather Toe Clips.

Toe Clip Pedals For The Cheapskates

If you’re looking for a utilitarian set of toe clips, Bike Nashbar has a few options. Last time I looked, they were all for less than $10.

One pair that I rode with didn’t have a strap around the ball of my foot. Its main function was to keep my foot from sliding off the front of the pedal.

Here’s something to keep in mind- if the end of the toe clip isn’t ‘squared off’ enough (it comes down into a ‘point’ when viewed from the side), your toe will be squished too much and you’ll be singing the squished toe blues. This is what launched Louis Armstrong’s (Lance’s great uncle) career into sorrowful ballads.

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2 Responses to Do You Know These Four (4) Advantages Of Metal Toe Clip Pedals?

  1. Ron Thomson says:

    Back in the good old days “we” used toe clips with a cleat on the sole of the shoe that allowed the pedal frame to slot into the cleat and when the strap was tight there was no way you could get your foot free unless you reached down and flicked the strap loose with your thumb.
    Clipless is a lot nicer.

    • admin says:

      Ron, Thanks for the insight. I agree that clipless is the way to go, but I had to acknowledge that there are a couple of advantages with clipless. I really got a kick out of the Cinelli ‘death cleat’. You can read a couple of paragraphs about them here.
      Thanks for reading,
      Ron