Pedal dilemma for the commute?
2) Mountain bike pedals mountain / touring shoes
3) Flat pedals with street shoes
If your commute is short enough, you don't have the need for speed, and you aren't dying to be connected to your bike then go with flat pedals. Easy choice.
If you have to walk more than a couple steps in your shoes, then go with the mountain bike option. Don't get me wrong, I love my road shoes and pedals. They feel rock solid, allow for maximum power transfer, are comfortable, and look slick. But they aren't made for walking. For my current commute I spent a few months on road pedals. I made it work, but it didn't take long to wear down the cleats and realize that I was constantly just one misstep away from taking a spill.
What about clip-and-strap solutions that you still might occasionally see? Avoid them. There's a reason these have gone the way of the dodo bird among road cyclists. They are dangerous (you don't necessarily disconnect in the event of a crash) and modern clipless pedal systems (road or mountain bike) do a better job on all dimensions.
So what do I use?
- Pedals: Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3 (Retail: $85, good price: $70). Super simple. Affordable. Smooth unclip. Can clip in from pretty much any orientation. Downside: basically un-useable with street shoes. There are some adapters that can address this downside (like this), but I haven't used any of them so can't vouch for their quality or usefulness.
- Shoes: Sidi Dominator ... or maybe Eagle, I don't know the difference (Retail: $250, really good price for older models on clearance: $90). These are actually my nice mountain bike shoes that I got on a decent sale. They are a little too flashy for daily commuting but they certainly do the trick.
When I am doing "the long ride" options for my commute I usually switch to my road pedals and shoes, but that's not really a normal commute so I'll save those musing for another day.