Laces are more aero?

I came out as SPD-everywhere a long time ago, so my choice around this topic shouldn’t come as a surprise. What does surprise me is how many people aren’t able, or willing, to follow the data. There’s nothing measurable in it. Ride what you want to ride, for whatever reasons, there’s not one right answer. Well, unless you might need to walk, at any point. Then there’s a clear winner :D.

The conversations in this video was nice to see, but there were a couple claims that I would like to see data around. The first is that road shoes/pedals are more aerodynamic. I briefly shared my thoughts on this point in the post linked above, so not going to repeat it. The second is that laces (on any shoe) are more aerodynamic than BOA. It’s quite possible that there’s something in that, it makes sense in an instinctual way, but aerodynamics isn’t about instincts. It’s usually complicated, and often counter-intuitive to those untrained in the field (guilty). So I would like to see the data on both points actually. As far as I know, there isn’t any public, verified numbers around either.

The stuff that I have found on both isn’t scientifically sound, and is always within the margin of error for the tools used in the test. And that might be why we don’t have data around these topics. The numbers are probably so small that they can’t be measured in a cost effective way. Which given my preferences, makes me question if there’s real value in the debate. If we’re talking about Watts in sub-whole number values, does it matter?

As a practical example of this, let’s stipulate that laces are faster, and assign a generous 1W of difference. Would I ride laced shoes? Uh, no. BOA is a better retention system. I can adjust them while I’m riding. I only buy shoes with two, so I get more control over tension. I have broken feet, that’s important. It’s light-years better than shoe laces. Losing that Watt is a trade-off I’m happy to make.

That said, if you like laces. Cool. Ride whatever is most comfortable, that’s what I do.

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