If you like clips, ride clips, if you like flats, ride flats, difficult aye
I ride flats because -
.I've done so on my BMX for 13 years before taking up mtb.
.I am quite dynamic on my bike, manipulate it with shifting body rather than pushing with the limbs, my feet end up in some interesting positions on the pedals.
.I use thin floppy shoes to feel where i am on the pedals to aid in shift in body weight, i also feel the front end breaking loose in my feet before my hands
.I like the casualness of bikes, the less kit i have that feels different to casual clothes, the more relaxed i feel on a bike, the more i enjoy it.
I don't ride SPDs because -
.They scare me
.Lack of feedback
.I dont worry about 1000ths of a second, there are other areas I (im sure other too) could make up significantly more time.
SPDs are good because-
.They pedal well
.Keep your feet positioned well in the rough
.Available in weatherproof formats
I am also one of these that believes you should spend significant time on a shonky 100mm hardtail with flats, get skills dialled, before moving on to skill compensators, surviving and developing bad habit.