13 Best Cycling Shoes Reviewed and Compared
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 products 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.
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 time. 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.
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.
13 Top Cycling Shoes
1. Shimano SHR065 Road
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
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
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.
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.
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.
2. Fizik R5B Uomo Boa
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. They 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
This option 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.
Users liked how these best cycling shoes conformed to their feet and found them to run true to size. These are well-designed and wearable on long rides. The removable sock-liner is a nice touch that enhances this factor.
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.
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.
4. BONT Riot Road+ BOA
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this design from BONT. It has a slim frame that contours to the shape of your foot over time to feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all.Read more
It is composed of quality materials that hold up quite well over the years, and it has a few key features to help you perform at your very best. Plus, it comes in at a more approachable price point.
The feature that everyone loves the most about this design is that it has a heat-molded interior that contours to the shape of your foot. Place it in the oven at 70C or 160F for 20 minutes (we know, it sounds strange), and then place your feet inside once they cool a bit. The material on the inside contours to the shape of your foot to ensure that it fits like a glove right out of the box!
If you are on the market for something that is composed of quality materials that hold up well over time, this is a great choice. Users love that heat-activated materials ensure that there are no annoying rubbing points and that it also comes in at a price point that is slightly more affordable than some of the more expensive options out there on the market.
Our favorite feature of the Riot Road+ BOA is that it has a carbon composite sole. This means that the sole is incredibly stiff for a seamless power transfer as your pedal, but it is made of a carbon composite material that is incredibly lightweight so it won’t weigh you down.
5. Mavic Cosmic Ultimate II
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
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 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.
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.
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.
6. Five Ten Freerider Pro
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
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.
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.
Other than its lightweight design contribution the Five Ten being a maneuverable shoe, the Five Ten doesn’t have much working towards its overall adjustability.
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.
7. Sidi Dominator 7 SR
Sidi is a specialty shoe company that was found in the early 1960s, and they know a thing or two about shoes for very specific tasks. What we liked most about the Dominator 7 is that it brings some few features to the take that you won’t find in other options out there on the market. It may come in at a pretty steep price point, but we feel that the cost is well worth it if you are serious about training and competing.Read more
What makes this style stand out from the rest is that the construction and materials used for the sole are much lighter than other options out there. The treads on the soles host an aggressive pattern which ensures that your feet stay locked in place as you start to really pick up speed.
The upper is also packed with features to keep your feet comfortable and tightly in place. The upper is composed of Technomicro microfiber that allows your foot to really breathe and keeps the air circulating.
If you are in the market for something that comes from a trusted brand with years of experience under their belt, the Dominator 7 SR from Sidi is a great choice. It is composed of lightweight and breathable materials that won’t weigh your down and will keep your feet nice and comfortable.
The inclusion of velcro straps along the top of the foot improves lockdown to prevent your foot from slipping around inside.
8. Giro Empire SLX
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
This pair of the best cycling shoes have 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.
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.
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.
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.
9. Giro Empire E70 Knit
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
10. Pearl Izumi Pro Leader v4
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
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.
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.
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.
Read also about pearl izumi running.
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.
11. Shimano SH-RP2 Touring
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
12. TIEM Slipstream
Need something for your next intense spin class? The Slipstream from TIEM was specifically designed to provide you comfort and support while struggling through your brutal spin class. Plus, this has a few key features that make it stand out from the pack.Read more
There is no need for the awkward duck walk after jumping off of your ride at the end of class. The cleats on this design are recessed into the shoe, which means that you can walk like a normal human after dismounting. It is important to note, however, that the cleats are not included with purchase.
Another thing that uses love about this design is that it is incredibly lightweight and keeps your feet cool. The upper is composed of a mesh textile that promotes the circulation of air.
If you are in the market for something that hosts smart features to keep your feet comfortable on and off of the bike, this is a great choice. Plus, it comes in at a price point that costs about the same amount as a good pair of running trainers.
The velcros straps across the top of the foot make taking them on and off quick and easy and boost lockdown.
13. Louis Garneau Multi Air Flex
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
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.
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.
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.
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.