Well, thanks to all who have given info on the bike shoe/pedal/strap front. A quick reply to some of the more interesting points...
I never said people who wear cycling shoes are baboons, just that we all suffer from an emulation syndrome and and "accepted truth" affliction which makes us do as others without questioning. Like when people were told the earth was flat they never cycled far because they KNEW they'd cycle over the edge.
Specifics: the best shoe I can think of if you need walkability with a stiff sole for cycling must be a cowboy boot, but we don't wear those over here in France. The soundest advice is good pedals, berthets why not although I favor Lyotard flat platform street alloy. These give you plenty surface to place you foot against and push. You get cramp through only a few points of your sole resting on the pedal, as in eggbeaters with wide shoes. The little turned up piece of cage at the spindle cap end of the pedal is you main pressure point.
As to pulling up, I don't believe it. Or rather I'd like to see some test data on how much pull is exerted by people who believe they are both pushing down on the downstroke, and actually putting in extra wattage by lifting on the upstroke.
Safety: I've, as a kid, ridden I don't know how many thousands or tens of thousands of miles on strapless and never once nutted myself on the crossbar through foot slipping on a pedal. I have however saved myself in a number of rather extreme situations by being able to stick a foot on the groung immediatedly, no time lapse to release from pedal entrapment. This is country riding. In town and I've done a fair amount of town riding, I think it is masochism, deathwish or ignorance to have anything holding your foot to the pedal.
Loose straps: clips with loose straps present the best compromise: as was pointed out, you get foot length placement, plus there is a "retention" factor in the metal clips and loose straps (loose, not undone) whilst still enabling really fast foot removal.
Anway, everyone to his own, I'll continue to be the clip and rather loose strap baboon wearing ordinary, non-specific shoewear, except if I take up racing or something unlikely. Evolution, survival of the fittest will settle the argument. Eventually. But in the meantime don't loose sight of the fact that if you are about to cycle over the edge, you may want to get your feet on the ground mighty fast.
Nick March, Agen, 47000 Lot et Garonne
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