I know nothing about SPD pedals. I only ride on flats. Currently experimenting with toe-clips to prevent slips in the wet. As for the commute, well, now you have the chance to try out lots of different things such as GPS apps on your phone, a little creative route planning with different resources, maybe trying out different surfaces if that's an option. A 7 mile trip to work can easily become a 25 mile trip on the way home with lots of time to test different scenarios and bike handling. I've found the positioning of the saddle can be as important as the saddle itself. And that can take a lot of tiny adjustments to get just right.