to top 10 table

10 Best Cycling Shoes Reviewed and Compared

last updated Nov 05, 2019
Moving up from amateur to cyclist will come with some upgrades. Finding the best cycling shoe is going to help you go longer and pedal more comfortable. They are designed to work with the pedal, adding inertia and fighting fatigue.

When using the best cycling shoes you become one with the bike. Most clip-in and secure your feet so you don’t have any slippage and can concentrate more on your body than the bicycle, using more of your power transfer to push you through your pedaling.

We designed out 10 Best Cycling Shoes guide with the most current and effective options. We also put in our Search Criteria so you can be more informed on what makes a cycling shoe the best. If you have any questions, you’ll find answers there and in our FAQs. It’s all their to get you what you need faster.

This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:

icon
Five Ten Freerider Pro
89/100 our score
Compatibility
90
Fit
90
Comfort
89
Weight
88
Responsiveness
88
Five Ten Freerider Pro
Why is it better?
  • Grip the pedal
  • extremely well
  • No slipping
  • Fit well
  • Comfortable
  • Good toe box protection
  • Stiff sole
  • Weather resistant upper
  • Comes with sock liner
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Five Ten Freerider Pro
Test Winner: Five Ten Freerider Pro
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
7
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1100
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
16
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Gabby Gabbard:

We did our research to make sure we are still offering you the most current and most valued 10 Best Cycling Shoes available. We added some FAQs and some Criteria updates as well to make sure you are getting the best info for your search. Having the best cycling shoes will take your cycling to the next level. Therefore, if you are serious about your biking, we suggest getting fit and getting informed on what you need and what works best for you.

Sorting Options
Compatibility Fit Comfort Weight Responsiveness By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Compatibility
97 %
Fit
98 %
Comfort
98 %
Weight
95 %
Responsiveness
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
Backcountry Link
$89.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.2
Compatibility
97 %
Fit
97 %
Comfort
96 %
Weight
96 %
Responsiveness
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
Amazon Link
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Compatibility
96 %
Fit
96 %
Comfort
97 %
Weight
95 %
Responsiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
Amazon Link
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Compatibility
93 %
Fit
93 %
Comfort
95 %
Weight
95 %
Responsiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Compatibility
90 %
Fit
90 %
Comfort
89 %
Weight
88 %
Responsiveness
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
Backcountry Link
$109.98
See Deal
Amazon Link
$163.75
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Compatibility
88 %
Fit
88 %
Comfort
87 %
Weight
87 %
Responsiveness
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Compatibility
87 %
Fit
86 %
Comfort
86 %
Weight
85 %
Responsiveness
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
Backcountry Link
$109.99
See Deal
Amazon Link
$199.95
Gear Coop
$199.95
See Deal
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
Compatibility
85 %
Fit
83 %
Comfort
83 %
Weight
82 %
Responsiveness
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
Amazon Link
$262.50
Backcountry Link
$400.00
See Deal
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Compatibility
83 %
Fit
83 %
Comfort
82 %
Weight
80 %
Responsiveness
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
Backcountry Link
$67.46
See Deal
Amazon Link
$69.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.4
Compatibility
78 %
Fit
77 %
Comfort
77 %
Weight
75 %
Responsiveness
75 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (08.12.19)
Backcountry Link
$89.99
See Deal
Amazon Link
$99.90

Best Cycling Shoes

1. Fizik R5B Uomo Boa

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Fizik R5B Uomo Boa
Amazon Link
Compatibility
97
Fit
98
Comfort
98
Weight
95
Responsiveness
96
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
Backcountry Link
$89.95
See Deal
Pros:
  • Great performance with features packed together for an affordable price
  • Comfortable, with a snug and adjustable fit
  • Easy to adjust
  • Lots of support, especially at the heel
Cons:
  • Not as lightweight as other options
  • Micro adjustments slightly lacking

Fizik R5B Uomo Boa cycling shoes are affordable, high-quality road footwear. Easily adjustable and highly supportive, they give the right combination of power transfer and comfort. These are a great option for beginners and enthusiast and are easy to adjust, supportive in the heel, and are super durable. R5B Uomo has all the important features cyclists need, overall, it’s a great option for anyone looking to upgrade.

Read more

Design

R5B has a Microfiber upper that is sleek and durable, meeting the demands of racing while still being flexible and lightweight. This microfiber material has tiny, diamond-shaped perforations, providing effortless ventilation for a more dry ride.

Micro straps at the bottom make for a more snug fit to the pedal, assisting the Boa pedal controls. They also added reflectors to the heel for low visibility cycling or weather changes.

Comfort

These offer ample padding and a soft smooth liner that hugs the foot. Moreover, it is aerodynamical with the Boa dial on the side to eliminate pressure points. The insole has a sculpted footbed and supportive heel.

Due to the sole not being fully carbon, it is slightly heavier than other options. However, it isn’t heavy and the weight is a fair trade for its amount of cushioning and flexibility that puts comfort in the forefront.

Adjustability

Designed with a 4-anchor dual Boa Dial, along with a velcro toe strap, the Boa iP1A closure works for quick adjustment, making the foot feel more secure. Turning the dial adjusts the shape volume-wise, calling for a more custom fit.

Power Transfer

With its carbon-reinforced nylon outer sole, you get the maximum amount of power transfer. It is stable and stiff but flexes appropriately, which makes it great for sprinting it out on the bike.

Along with its rigidness, it provides great support, keeping the heel securely in place to reduce lifting and shifting. This means more power and energy directed to the pedals for a more efficient. It also has a low stack height, putting your foot closer tot he pedals.

2. Shimano SHR065 Road

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.2
Shimano SHR065 Road
Amazon Link
Compatibility
97
Fit
97
Comfort
96
Weight
96
Responsiveness
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:
  • Affordable without sacrificing performance
  • Good power transfer
  • Compatible with indoor and outdoor bikes
  • Super comfortable
  • Great for triathlons
Cons:
  • Velcro straps not as adjustable as dials

Shamino SHR065 footwear performs well and is great for both road and city commuting. Offering high comfort, durability and a solid fit, it has a lightweight fiberglass-reinforced polyamide sole. It fits wells with various pedals and has a 2- and 3-hole cleat design. Best of all is this footwear is very affordable.

Read more

Design

SHR065 Road is sleek, stylish, and features a dual hook-and-loop strap closure. It has synthetic leather uppers with mesh layers. It also offers an integrated air-intake and exhaust design for moisture control and breathability.

This is a good option for any foot due to its flexible sole. Furthermore, It is compatible with 2- and 3-bolt cleats. With this wider cleat range, it fits nicely with a range of pedals

Comfort

The Shimano SHR065 is loaded with cushioning and offers a flat insole with a pillowy feel. This is one cycling shoe that ranks high in comfort when compared to others. This is also ideal for beginners.

Loop straps also secure the shoe, which is usually more comfortable than the dials. Furthermore, with the ventilation system this cycling shoe offers, you get a cool, arid ride with little sweat build up.

Adjustability

Because of its dual hook-and-loop straps, you can easily make adjustments. This system does keep the foot thoroughly secure, although precise micro-adjustment dials usually are the pros-choice, these are working well for consumers.

Power Transfer

These perform surprisingly well for what they cost. They have fiberglass reinforcement in the soles and are nice and stiff while still offering flexibility.

The exhaust system ensures a more energy-efficient stroke as well. This makes for a smooth transition and ride. For its affordable price, cyclists are shocked by how well these perform when it comes to pedaling efficiency.

3. Venzo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Venzo
Amazon Link
Compatibility
96
Fit
96
Comfort
97
Weight
95
Responsiveness
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Great set for beginners

Good value

Well-made for how affordable they are

Comfortable

Breathable

Cons:

Some users had durability issues

Venzo's are a great pair of cycling shoes for beginners as they are a great value that's a lot less expensive than other options but are still fully featured and comfortable. Those best cycling shoes are breathable and quick-drying and compatible with just about every type of pedal system on the market. Most reviewers liked them and found them to be well made but a few users had durability issues.

Read more

Compatibility

These best cycling shoes can be used with road or mountain bikes, it just depends on what pedal system you have. They are compatible with SPD, SPD SL, and the LOOK KEO systems.

Fit

Users liked how these best cycling shoes conformed to their feet and found them to run true to size.

Comfort

These are well-designed and wearable on long rides. The removable sock-liner is a nice touch that enhances this factor.

Weight

These are about mid-range for this list in this factor, coming in at 21 oz.

Responsiveness

Like most clip-in shoes these best cycling shoes will enhance your pedaling power and performance, and also allow you to develop a better cadence and rhythm. A couple of users noted that before using them you should be sure to adjust the release tension which comes from the factory set to the lowest setting.

4. Mavic Cosmic Ultimate II

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Mavic Cosmic Ultimate II
Amazon Link
Compatibility
93
Fit
93
Comfort
95
Weight
95
Responsiveness
93
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • Carbon fiber soles are super stiff with great perform transfer
  • Very comfortable, and ultra-lightweight
  • Easy to adjust
Cons:
  • Normally made for wider fit, but slightly narrow fit

This is a supportive shoe that won’t slip once on when taking that spin class. It fits well while keeping the heel in place thanks to its plastic reinforcement. The Cosmic Ultimate II has an Ergo Dial fastener that makes it easy to adjust without fussing with laces. It has plenty of ventilation in the mid-section and has an Energy Full Carbon SLR sole, which scores a 100/100 on Mavic's energy transfer index.

Read more

Design

Lightweight, thin and a favorite among many professional riders, the Cosmic Ultimate II has an upper section that swaps stitches for bonding to provide for ventilation. It has a supportive instep, with dials on the side to avoid hot spots. It is equipped with a full carbon sole that is super stiff and has a 3-hole design.

Comfort

Comfort is at the forefront with this option because of its high-quality Ortholite insole that provides ample cushioning. It has Ergo Fit 3D + with padding on the tongue. Overall, there is ample breathability throughout the shoe.

Adjustability

This model has two Mavic Ergo Dials that fall off to the sides (with the top one connecting to the padded tongue) that allows for two-way micro adjustment with precise retention. It also has a Smart Release function that makes the dials easy to release. This all adds to a tight fit that is firm and secure.

Power Transfer

The Mavic Cosmic Ultimate II has an Energy Full Carbon SLP outsole that is ultra-stiff, performing the best on the Index Energy Transfer scale for optimal power transfer. This is thanks to the think sole that keeps the feet has close to the pedal as possible, while the frame keeps that foot in place, with ample support to lock down the heel.

5. Five Ten Freerider Pro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Five Ten Freerider Pro
Amazon Link
Compatibility
90
Fit
90
Comfort
89
Weight
88
Responsiveness
88
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$163.75
Backcountry Link
$109.98
See Deal
Pros:
  • Grip the pedal
  • extremely well
  • No slipping
  • Fit well
  • Comfortable
  • Good toe box protection
  • Stiff sole
  • Weather resistant upper
  • Comes with sock liner
Cons:
  • May have ventilation issues

The Five Ten Pro is a great option for riders looking for the certainty in your grip. Those best cycling shoes are designed to make sure your feet do not slip from the pedals no matter how hard you are pushing yourself and your bicycle. The Five Ten is a comfortable and tough choice that you can rely on.

Read more

Design

The design of the Five Ten is really where it shines. Not only does it have some of the best grips out there, but it supplements itself with some really important attributes. The whole upper of the Five Ten is weather-resistant, so moisture is less of an issue. The Five Ten also has a reinforced toe box so you can avoid injuries or stray rocks while on the go.

Comfort

The Five Ten is not only reported as having an extremely snug and comfortable fit, but it also has a sock liner. Including a sock liner in their design means they are a great transition option for a triathlon and you can avoid the discomfort of slipping or ill-fitting socks.

Adjustability

Other than its lightweight design contribution the Five Ten being a maneuverable shoe, the Five Ten doesn’t have much working towards to its overall adjustability.

Power Transfer

The Five Ten’s are especially sticky and snug which is great if you are looking for serious power transfer. If your feet are flush to the pedals and aren’t slipping then each push and pump is conveyed entirely to moving the bicycle.

6. Giro Empire SLX

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Giro Empire SLX
Amazon Link
Compatibility
88
Fit
88
Comfort
87
Weight
87
Responsiveness
85
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:
  • Great power trader because of its 6.5mm stack height
  • Great fit with a sleek look
  • Contains antimicrobial fibers to keep bacteria and smells away
Cons:
  • Narrow fit
  • Heel tends to slightly slip
  • Laces mean adjustability is limited

Two words best describe this pair: stiff and lightweight. The Empire ACC’s are actually pleasantly stiff when it comes to how light they are at just 18.8 oz. With a low-profile a with a carbon sole, they are durable best cycling shoes with great power transfer. They also fit great, nice and tightly, for those who don’t mind not loosening the laces during a ride.

Read more

Design

This pair of the best cycling shoes has a lace-up design that was originally made for Taylor Phinney for the 2012 London Games. It has an overall sleek appearance that just looks like it performs well, and this is so true. The Empire ACC is a lightweight option at about 18.8 oz. It features an Evofiber upper that is light as a feather and breathable, as well as a low-profile outsole.

Comfort

Lightweight and ideal for road racing, this pair is flexible because of its microfiber upper, and as a more evenly tight fit because of its lace system. The collar is padded for added comfort. These aren’t the best when it comes to its level of comfort but doesn’t cause discomfort in any way.

Adjustability

Because of its laces, adjustments can’t be made during a race or right before a starting to climb. However, it does feature a SuperNatural Fit Kit in the insoles that allow the athlete to customize support.

Power Transfer

The Empire ACC are very stiff thanks to its Easton EC90 ACC Carbon Sole. It has 6.5 mm stack height that makes it one of the press for power transfer since the feet as so close to the pedals. And while its power transfer is impressive, it does lack behind the Fi'zi:k R5B Uomo Boa in this category mainly because the heel can slip a bit.

7. Giro Empire E70 Knit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Giro Empire E70 Knit
Amazon Link
Compatibility
87
Fit
86
Comfort
86
Weight
85
Responsiveness
85
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$199.95
Backcountry Link
$109.99
See Deal
Gear Coop
$199.95
See Deal
Pros:
  • Xnetic Knit makes it comfortable and breathable
  • Water-resistant finish
  • TPU-reinforced toe and heel
Cons:
  • Not has lightweight as other options
  • Empire laces means limited adjustments

This pair stands out against others because it is has knit upper. Its Xnetic Knit technology was designed specifically for performance, enhancing comfort to make it feel more like a sock and breathability. There is still ample support with its bonded TPU skeletal structure, with medium arch support. It has empire laces, with a DWR-finish that makes it water-resistant when road biking in the rain.

Read more

Design

This footwear is in a league of its own design-wise because of the use of its unique Xnetic Knit upper, which consists of a TPU skeletal system that is bonded to a knit material that process support, comfort, and breathability. It also has other fun features like water repellent DWR-finish and heel guards for added durability. It has a molded EVA footbed, replaceable heel pads, and an overall great “sock-like” look.

Comfort

They have a stiff sole that isn’t overly rigid, making walking in them comfortably possible. The amount of ventilation here is a major selling point. They have comfortable, resembling more of a sock and feels great on.

Adjustability

This option has empire lace. This means the ability to customize the fit doesn't have much as other options. It also means that adjusting on the fly isn’t possible. However, it does have a secure fit so this might be a major concern.

Power Transfer

The Giro Empire E70 Knit has an Easton EC70 carbon composite outsole, and a TPU-reinforced toe and heel that provides the support needed when in motion on the pedals.

8. Pearl Izumi Pro Leader v4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
Pearl Izumi Pro Leader v4
Amazon Link
Compatibility
85
Fit
83
Comfort
83
Weight
82
Responsiveness
85
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$262.50
Backcountry Link
$400.00
See Deal
Pros:
  • Very stiff
  • Unique unibody design provides comfort and improves pedaling efficiency.
  • Comfortable, especially on the top of the foot
  • Great option for road biking
Cons:
  • Pricey
  • Uses a 3-hole lock system, no 2-hole option so it’s less versatile

This pair is designed from top to bottom to include to best fit and feature for cyclists. This includes a seamless upper that reduces hot spots and its asymmetric dual Boa Dias so the sometimes sensitive top of the foot is not irritated. It has a carbon plate that is stiff, yet light for great power transfer.

Read more

Design

This option has a sleek appearance that just looks like it performs well. And that it does. It has a seamless upper for comfort, is lightweight, breathable and a secure fit. It has an asymmetric closure with an off-center Boa closure system, as well as a unibody construction.

Comfort

This is a comfortable pair thanks to small features that go a long way. First is it is seamless upper that eliminates all stitching. This means it is smooth on the feet. The dials are off center so they don’t rest on the top of the foot that can be sensitive. There is also a replaceable heel bumper.

Adjustability

The Pearl Izumi Pro Leader v4 has a zonal Bi-direction closure that has a great git that is secure and keeps that foot in place. While this is important for power transfer efficiency, it also allows for a semi-custom fit. More importantly, is its dual Boa IP1 dials that allow for 1 mm micro-adjustability.

Power Transfer

This option has a 1:1 insole system that allows for the independent arch and forefoot varus canting adjustment. It has an integrated carbon power plate that is stiff, while still being lightweight. With a stiffness rating of an impressive 13 for the soles, the overall unibody construction proves super low stack height which enhances pedaling efficiency. It also has a 3-hole design.

9. Shimano SH-RP2 Touring

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Shimano SH-RP2 Touring
Amazon Link
Compatibility
83
Fit
83
Comfort
82
Weight
80
Responsiveness
80
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$69.00
Backcountry Link
$67.46
See Deal
Pros:
  • Great power transfer
  • Snug fit, yet breathable
  • Great control and stiffness
  • Affordable for spin class addicts who don’t want to keep borrowing footwear
Cons:
  • Specifically made for women
  • Too narrow for those with wide feet

This is a versatile option since it can be used for both road and indoor spin bikes. It is compatible with two- and three-bolt cleats, with fiberglass specifically sole. It has a hook-and-loop strap closure with a D-ring that gives it a great fit specifically for women while minimizing pressure points and increases stability. It is a comfortable choice that is available for an affordable price.

Read more

Design

It is great for road biking, indoor and mountain biking. The cleat has a 2 and 3-hole design, and buckle closure. The upper is made of synthetic leather with a nylon mesh that makes it durable, strong, stable and breathable. It is lightweight and has an EVA footbed.

Comfort

It has a padded tongue to add to its level of comfort. There is added support at the instep, and it features a smaller toe box made with women’s feet in find. Plus there is enough air circulation that helps to keep feet dry and comfortable.

Adjustability

Along with buckle closure, the Shimano SH-RP2 has three asymmetrical straps to reduce pressure and hot sports. As it is specifically designed for women, it has a more secure and narrow fit that feels nice and snug.

Power Transfer

It has a fiberglass reinforced nylon sole with a direct connection to the pedal that enhances power transfer to the pedals—with a more efficient upstroke. It is stiff with a low profile, and has SPD and SPD-L compatibility to wear to spin class or when road riding.

10. Louis Garneau Multi Air Flex

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.4
Louis Garneau Multi Air Flex
Amazon Link
Compatibility
78
Fit
77
Comfort
77
Weight
75
Responsiveness
75
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$99.90
Backcountry Link
$89.99
See Deal
Pros:
  • Compatible with most MTB pedals, so a great choice for mountain bikers
  • Roomy fit
  • Easy velcro closure
  • Lots of breathability
Cons:
  • Fixing can be an issue so try on first

A great option for those commuting to work, or for casual bike riding. It has a more roomy fit, with reinforcement on the heel to keep it down. It has a hook-and-loop system that allows the athlete to adjust while riding. It is lightweight, breathable and affordable.

Read more

Design

This pair is designed to be worn when riding, commuting or getting around on the bike. It's upper includes synthetic leather and mesh that aids in breathability. The EVA insole also offers ventilation, so expect the feet to stay nice and dry without sweat or causing overheating. The bottom is SPD cleats that fit all major MTB pedals. It also has a reflective heel for visibility in low light situations and when night riding.

Comfort

The outsole of this shoe provides some flexibility, making it not too stiff to be able to walk. This flexibility is a great feature for those who do triathlons or who want or need to walk around comfortably off their mountain bike. And its nylon fiberglass outsole also prevents heel pressure. This all calls for one comfortable footwear.

Adjustability

The Multi Air Flex’s closure system consists of three velcro hook and loop fasteners straps that not only provide enough support, but it also allows for a more adjustable fit.

Power Transfer

They have stabilized heel that keeps it down and in place. This means less lifting to not reduce power transfer. The stiffness isn’t as important here since it is a shoe for mountain biking and the consumer needs to be able to walk. That’s where its nylon. fiberglass sole domes in. It is stiff enough for bike riding and without hindering walking.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Compatibility

Here we looked at what pedal systems the shoes are compatible with.

If you haven't used the best cycling shoes before you might be under the impression that some are just for road cycling and some are for mountain biking. While each pair of the best cycling shoes is certainly designed for one or the other it's not something you have to strictly stick to. The main thing to consider is the pedal system that you have and whether or not the shoes you're looking at will work with them or not.

Certain shoes are designed to clip into certain pedal systems, which are actually fairly common customization that people will make to their bikes. Beyond that, there are some differences between cycling shoes for mountain biking and those for the road.

The best cycling shoes made for mountain biking have smaller cleats on the bottom which make them easier to walk in when you have to dismount to get around obstacles that present themselves while mountain biking. Road bike shoes have larger cleats because this gives the largest amount of power transfer possible and stopping and dismounting is less common so large cleats don't interfere with walking as much. Having said that, some people will use MTB shoes for road biking and vice versa and in the end, the preference is up to you.

Fit

In order to do their job and transfer power from your legs to the bike, the shoes need to conform well to your feet.

The main thing to consider when it comes to this factor is the fastening system. Some shoes use velcro closures, some buckles, and some dial systems. Like anything else each one has their pros and their cons.

Velcro

This type of closure system is usually the easiest one to use and the quickest to put on and take off. Shoes with this type of system are also usually on the less expensive end of the price spectrum.

That doesn't mean they aren't good or effective, just that velcro is less expensive to make and install on a pair of cycling shoes than the other types of fasteners and manufacturers like to offer their customers options at several different price points. The downside is that some people have difficulty getting and maintaining as tight of a fit with velcro straps as they do with other options but others find that they work just fine.

Buckles

Shoes with this type of closure system do a great job of holding your feet really securely and they minimize how much your feet move around so you maintain optimal power. The downside is that they take longer to put on and take off and are pretty much impossible to adjust while you're riding. In fact, trying to adjust them while riding is super dangerous and should be avoided.

Dial Systems

These systems are great because they are easy to use, fast to adjust, and can even be adjusted safely while on your bike. The downside is that they're more expensive than other options and can be less durable as well.

Comfort

If it doesn't feel good when you're wearing it nothing else matters.

For just about any piece of athletic apparel or gear, this is a super important factor to consider. Who cares how breathable, durable, high-performing or affordable something is if it doesn't feel good while you're wearing it?

To determine how each of the product on our list performed in this all-important criterium we looked at its design, materials, and construction using our knowledge of sporting gear. Then we also considered over 1100 reviews from real-world users and found out what they had to say.

This is important because we're just a few people so we might try a product and find that it works great for us, but the majority of users don't like it for one reason for another. By considering reviews we're able to get a complete picture of how the product performs for a wide variety of users from all walks of life.

Weight

Especially for road cyclists, every ounce counts.

If you buy a pair of cycling shoes, you're probably taking it pretty seriously and riding a lot and at a fairly high level. When you get to that level even just a little bit of extra weight can decrease your effectiveness and increase your times. Because of this, we recognize that even a little bit of extra weight can make a big difference in the long run so while we chose a variety of different shoes for this list, with different uses and price points, we did our best to include ones that were at least fairly lightweight.

Especially with the more expensive options, you'll notice features like carbon fiber soles and ultralight dial systems. All of these things are designed to keep the weight of a shoe to a minimum so that you can bike longer, faster, and more effectively.

Responsiveness

Having maximum power transfer and good responsiveness from your shoe makes it easier to pedal and get power to the wheels.

Power transfer is a term used a lot when it comes to finding the best cycling shoe models. The idea behind this is that the shoe should be designed to be as close to the cleat or pedal as possible to reduce the amount of power lost when in rotation. The lower the stack height, the closer the foot is to the pedal for optimal power transfer.

The best cycling shoes that are designed specifically for road biking typically have the highest amount of power transfer but this doesn't mean that you can't use a pair of MTB shoes on road bikes and vice versa. Having maximum power transfer makes it easier to pedal because the power created by the legs goes directly to the pedals and not elsewhere in the foot.

This allows the athlete to then turn up the resistance, and sprint it out efficiently. When people first try out a pair of clip-in cycling shoes they're often surprised by how much of a difference it makes in their performance. They really are one of those things that are easy not to think about or dismiss as unimportant but that really can make a huge difference.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Responsiveness
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#2
Fit
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#3
Comfort
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#4
Weight
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#5
Compatibility
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
Triathlon vs Road

Remember to consider where you will be cycling. Different cycling shoes offer different features that will give you the competitive edge you need for the terrain and races you use to partake in.

Fit is everything

Like all shoes, the fit is everything in a cycling shoe. If you are ordering online make sure size accordingly and look at actual user reviews to gauge how the shoe will probably fit you. If you are able to go to the store and try them on before buying them, we recommend you do that instead--especially if you are purchasing your first pair of cycling shoes.

Other Factors to Consider

Advanced Features

Clipping In vs. Cleats

Being able to clip into the bike is distinctive to cycling trainers. Some cycling models provide this feature, while others are also or solely designed to work with clipless pedals.

Instead, this option features small holes on the soles that are meant to attach cleats. The cleats then snap into the pedals. Push down on the balls of the feet, and the shoe then clips into the cleat. This allows the athlete to be secured on the pedal.

This is also true for spin classes. Studio spin bikes commonly feature a cage design on one side of the pedal that allows the athlete to wear any sneaker. The other side has the clip that then attaches to the athlete’s cleat.

Cleats are commonly sold separately.

These clipless cycling trainers either have a 2- or 3-hole system. The 2-hole system (SPD or Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) is meant to be used for road cycling, casual riding, mountain biking, indoor cycling, and spin classes and commuting. The 3-hole system (lock-style system) is used specifically for road cycling.

Materials

Closure Style

Just like there are different styles of the best cycling shoes model that include road and mountain bike options, there are different closure systems as well. What determines which is the best system varies among consumers and their own preferences and needs.

Boa System

This system allows the athlete to really make micro-adjustments. It consists of a dial (typically two) on one side with thin wires that keep the foot in place and fit snugly. It helps to maintain circulation and distributes pressure evenly. The IP1 Boa dial is extremely easy to use mid-ride by turning right to make righter, left to loosen and pull up for a quick release.

Hook-and-Loop

This system typically features velcro closures. The strap hooks and loops around, allowing the athlete to pull are tight or loosen to find their right fit. Cycling trainers generally have two or three of these straps for a more adjustable fit.

Laces

Laces are great for getting an even amount of tightness across the entire shoe. However, they don’t allow for more customized fits or size adjustments. Laces get dirty and come undone.

Bottom Line

You may be deterred from owning your own pair of cycling trainers by price alone. Truthfully, they are often not cheap. This is doubly the case if you belong to a gym that offers cycling shoe rentals. It may be more cost-effective in the short run, but there are a lot of benefits to investing in your own cycling shoe.

Aside from the hygienic reasons for avoiding rental options, you will undoubtedly see a large difference in your performance if you decide to invest in a pair perfectly suited to your needs rather than just renting the ones they conveniently have on hand. You will really be doing yourself a favor in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How should cycling shoes fit?

a:

The best cycling shoes will differ from your standard shoe in fit in only that the snugness is a much more important factor. A cycling shoe should be especially snug to make sure there isn’t an issue with slippage during cycling. That being said, regardless of the fact that the shoe needs to be snug, it should never be uncomfortable.

q: What shoes are best for a triathlon?

a:

Many of the best cycling shoes are designed to have the versatility and thus work well as triathlon shoes, including features like quick-drying design and having specialized sock liners. The one thing that you should really pay attention to is how the bottom of the cycling shoe is designed. For a triathlon, you’ll want to avoid things like sticky bottom shoes and cleats.

q: How do I clean my cycling shoes?

a:

Most cycling shoes can be sufficiently cleaned with a wipe down from a damp towel or cloth. Beyond that, we at RunnerClick always recommend that you consult the care instructions provided with the shoes for the best way to clean them without accidentally causing damage or unnecessary wear.

q: How often should I buy new cycling shoes?

a:

This is pretty subjective. The easiest way to gauge is to assess how often you wear your shoes. If you are more relaxed about your riding schedule you could probably go up to 5 years without replacing your shoes. Someone who rides often and usually competitively should look to replace their shoes every year or so.

q: Should I buy cycling shoes for spin class?

a:

If you attend regular spin classes then purchasing your own shoes is recommended. Like with anything, having your own personal option will suit your needs better as well as be more hygienic. Cycling shoes will also allow you to perform better than using the cage available at the class.

q: Should I be fitted for cycling shoes?

a:

If you have the option to be fitted for the shoes before purchasing them, this is always recommended. The fit of the best cycling shoes can have a serious influence on their performance so knowing your correct fit beforehand will ensure your shoe is doing everything it can to assist you.

Sources

  1. Ashley Oerman , Are Cycling Shoes Really Worth the Investment?, Informational Health Website
  2. Rei , How to Choose Bike Shoes, Company website
  3. TAMMIE PAINTER , How to Fit Cycling Shoes Properly, Informational Health Website
  4. Spinning, The Spinning®Guide to Cycling Shoes and Cleats, Spin Website
  5. Boa, BOA IN CYCLING, Company website