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Best Cycling Shoes

Jeff Balton

Best Cycling Shoes

With the best cycling shoes on your feet, you’ll achieve better power transfer, smaller chance of injury, and more efficient pedaling. Let’s find out what the best ones are then!

Clipless cycling shoes provide one of the highest performance boosts of all upgrades you can make to your bike, gear, and equipment.

Your feet are one of the most important contact points between you and your bike and the cycling shoes is what connects these two pieces of the puzzle.

There’s plenty of choices though, so it can be hard determining what’s best. That’s why we’re introducing the best cycling shoes in 2020, in our opinion!

If you don’t know how to choose and what to look out for, read this one first: Cycling Advice: Cycling Shoes 101

 

DZR JetLag Nero

Best Cycling Shoes for Casual Rides

DZR JetLag Nero shoes

Use: Multi-purpose
Type: SPD
Colors: Black
MSRP $99

DZR JetLag Nero is a good-looking casual cycling shoe suitable for SPD pedals. If you do a long commute to go to work, neither regular shoes nor cycling-specific shoes will be a very good choice.

Related: Best Bike Pedals

That’s where these multi-purpose cycling/casual shoes come into play. At first glance, you’d never say they can attach to clipless pedals. Until you look at the soles.

They blend nicely with your business or casual clothes and make your cycling more efficient.

DZR JetLag Nero shoes are made from breathable synthetic materials and have a durable natural rubber outsole that gives you plenty of grip when walking.

The one-strap design with velcro closures is easy to use and you can even re-adjust it mid-ride!

If you need a good and affordable casual cycling shoe, DZR JetLag Nego is a great choice.

 

Shimano RC1

Best Entry-Level Road Bike Shoes

Shimano RC1

Use: Road
Type: 3-hole
Colors: Black
MSRP $100

Shimano RC1 is an excellent entry-level cycling shoe. These are some of the best road bike shoes, compatible with 3-hole cleats.

Its lightweight nylon soles are reinforced with glass fiber which makes them super-stiff and improves power transfer a great deal.

The upper on these Shimano cycling shoes is made from synthetic leather and features 3 hook-and-loop straps that allow you to tighten the shoes with precision and eliminate uncomfortable pressure points.

Shimano RC1 also features durable, wide heel pads that provide walking stability when you’re off the bike.

Excellent road cycling shoes for beginners and those on a tight budget!

 

Giro Privateer

Best Cycling Shoes with Laces

Giro - Privateer Lace cycling Shoes

Use: Mountain
Type: SPD
Colors: Black / Olive
MSRP $140

Giro Privateer are straightforward and no-fuss mountain bike shoes. They feature old-fashioned, tried and true laces and a 2-hole design for SPD cleats.

The upper consists of breathable microfiber, ideal for warm weather. It is both welded and stitched, so you can expect it to last for a long time.

The soles are made from Co-Molded Nylon with rubber outsoles for plenty of traction. There’s also a mid-foot scuff guard and a molded EVA footbed for unprecedented comfort.

So if you want a simple MTB design that’s comfortable and performs well, Giro Privateer will meet your demands.

 

Shimano XC1

Best Cycling Shoes for All-Mountain and Enduro

Shimano XC1

Use: Mountain
Type: SPD
Colors: Black
MSRP $100

Shimano XC1 are one of the best mid-range all-mountain and enduro clipless shoes you can get. They’re stiff in all the right places and soft in all other areas.

The XC1 is made from lightweight glass fiber–reinforced nylon soles that ensure excellent power transfer. The outsole is made from sticky rubber so you’ll have a fantastic grip in all conditions.

The upper on these Shimano shoes is made from synthetic leather that’s durable and pretty cozy. The fastening is done with 3 durable hook-and-loop straps that you can adjust on the go if need be.

If you want to feel comfortable, safe, and efficient on All-MTB and enduro rides, Shimano XC1 is a foolproof choice.

 

Sidi Dominator

Best Cycling Shoes for Wide Feet

Sidi Dominator Cycling shoes

Use: Mountain
Type: SPD
Colors: Black / Gray
MSRP $260

If you want to get the most stiffness and the best support, then look for the best carbon cycling shoes such as the Sidi Dominator SR7 Shadow Mega.

These are best mountain bike shoes compatible with SPD cleats, perfect for men with slightly wider feet than average.

These Sidi cycling shoes consist of carbon composite soles that provide stiffness and durability and Microtech microfiber upper that is quite comfortable and water-repellent.

The strapping system consists of two hook-and-loop Velcro straps and one Caliper Buckle 2-way ratchet strap that allows for on-bike tension adjustments.

Get these Sidi bike shoes if you want a tried and true brand loved by professionals and casual cyclists alike. Also, get them if you’re looking for the best cycling shoes for wide feet.

 

Shimano SH-ME501

Best Cycling Shoes for Downhills

Shimano mountain cycling shoes

Use: Mountain
Type: SPD
Colors: Blue / Black
MSRP $170

Shimano SH-ME501 clipless shoes do not have the catchiest of names out there. However, they’re an excellent trail-specific choice that attracts buyers both with its low price and useful features.

Reinforced armor provides fantastic protection, durability, and stiffness when you’re on the bike. When you get off and have to push or carry your bike, Michelin’s high-performance, dual-density rubber outsole will give you all the grip and traction you need.

The strapping is done with a Boa L6 dial which allows for micro-adjustments and the Torsion midsole (TORBAL) provides natural flow when you’re descending.

It’s obvious that Shimano SH-ME501 is a serious trail shoe with a lot to offer at a low price.

 

Tommaso Pista

Best Value Women’s MTB ShoesTommaso Pista women cycling shoes

Use: MTB (Women’s)
Type: SPD / SPD-SL / Look
Colors: Black/Pink, Black/Blue, White/Silver
MSRP $99.95

Tommaso Pista is a mountain biking cycling shoe characterized by excellent ventilation, stiffness, comfort, and all-around compatibility.

These are women’s MTB shoes with both 2 and 3-hole cleat bolt patterns, which means that they are compatible with all types of cleats.

They feature a stiff reinforced nylon sole that provides excellent power transfer through the pedals and a breathable upper with three Velcro straps.

Tommaso Pista also features an air-port up-front for better air-flow, as well as mesh inserts for ventilation.

By far one of the best choices when it comes to versatile women’s entry-level shoes, ideal for different uses.

 


ROAD BIKE CYCLING SHOES


Shimano SH-RC500

Best Entry-Level Women’s Road Bike Shoes

 

Shimano SH-RC500

Use: Road (Women’s)
Type: 3-hole
Colors: Navy / White
MSRP $160

Shimano SH-RC500 is an affordable women’s road cycling shoe that offers everything you need to feel comfortable on long rides and pedal efficiently.

SH-RC500 features light carbon fiber reinforced nylon soles designed to significantly improve stiffness without adding unnecessary weight. Strapping is done with a BOA system and a lower velcro strap that disperses pressure on your foot evenly.

These Shimano road shoes are compatible with 3-bolt cleats, so you can attach SPD SL cleats. They’re light and breathable, which you will appreciate if you love climbing.

All in all, Shimano SH-RC500 is an excellent women’s road shoe ideal both for rookies and seasoned veterans.

 

Specialized S-Works 7

Lightest for Road Racing

Specialized S-Works 7,

Use: Road
Type: SPD-SL / Look
Colors: White, Blue, Black
MSRP $400

If you realize the importance of clipless shoes on your riding performance and you want only the best of the best for your feet, then your search ends with the Specialized S-Works 7 road bike shoes.

The Specialized S-Works 7 Road Bike Shoes feature a brand-new Powerline carbon sole — the lightest and stiffest carbon sole to ever come out of the factory. It minimizes power loss and directs all of it through the pedals.

Two independent alloy Boa S3-Snap dials will allow you to find the perfect fit and adjust it mid-ride with ease. The heels feature Specialized’s Padlock construction which improves comfort and provides better acceleration.

In short, Specialized S-Works 7 are one of the best cycling shoes that ensure stiffness, durability, and performance.

 

Bontrager Circuit

Best Color Selection

Bontrager Circuit

Use: Road
Type: 3-hole
Colors: Black / Navy / Yellow
MSRP $140

Bontrager Circuit are road clipless shoes with a 3-hole design that’s compatible with all road cleats and corresponding pedals.

These shoes combine a sturdy, stiff, and light Nylon-composite Bronze Series soles that will increase your wattage. They’re rated 7 out of 14 on Bontrager’s stiffness index, so they offer a good compromise between stiffness and comfort.

The synthetic mesh and TPU uppers are perforated for breathable, so they provide excellent air flow and comfort. Perfect for summer rides.

Moreover, the combination of BOA and a lower velcro strap will envelop your entire foot, containing it comfortably and securely.

Finally, Bontrager Circuit shoes are available in three colors, so it’s easy to match them to your bike and outfit.

 

Pearl Izumi Sugar

Best Women’s with Laces

Pearl Izumi SugarUse: Road (Women’s)
Type: SPD / SPD-SL / Look
Colors: Black-Pink
MSRP $130

The Pearl Izumi Sugar clipless shoes are the perfect combination of the modern and classic cycling world. They feature a lace-up system and a stiff, high-tech sole.

If you’re old-school and you prefer lacing up your shoes, Pearl Izumi Sugar is a great choice for women.

Another reason why these are excellent road bike shoes is that they have a stiff carbon fiber plate under the ball of your foot that ensures the best power transfer you can get. Moreover, the upper is ventilated and breathes well.

These Pearl Izumi shoes are compatible with both 2-bolt and 3-bolt cleats, which gives them plenty of versatility.

 

Giro Rumble VR

Best Cycling Shoes for Commuters

Giro - Rumble VR Bike Shoes

Use: Casual
Type: SPD
Colors: Black / Blue
MSRP $100

Are you interested in reaping the benefits of clipless shoes but you think most of them look kind of dorky? Then Giro Rumble VR is the right choice for you.

These are SPD cycling shoes that double as everyday casual shoes you can wear to work, school, or to the store.

They have a soft rubber sole with a deep recess reserved for cleats. This means that they won’t scratch and click on hard surfaces as you walk down the pavement.

The upper is made from synthetic leather and ties with simple laces.

Giro Rumble VR shoes are pretty stylish as well and go perfectly with any casual clothing combination.

 

FAQ

Frequently asked questionsDo cycling shoes make a difference?

Cycling shoes make a huge difference in comfort, pedaling efficiency, and power transfer. If you ride longer than a few miles at a time, you should definitely consider getting them. Cycling shoes keep your feet attached to the pedals which also helps you engage more muscles while pedaling.

Are Shimano shoes good?

Shimano makes some of the best cycling shoes in the world. Its shoes are known to be durable, comfortable, and made with high-quality materials that are suitable for all types of cyclists. Shimano makes different types of cycling shoes, including road, MTB, touring, and casual models.

Are high-end cycling shoes worth it?

High-end cycling shoes are worth the money if you’re an avid cyclist or a bike racer. Expensive shoes will provide you with marginal gains that could make a big difference in the long run. However, if you’re a recreational cyclist, a pair of mid-range shoes will suffice.

How do I make my cycling shoes more comfortable?

First, make sure that you purchased the right size and the right type that fits the shape of your feet. If your shoes still feel uncomfortable, you can try using a supportive insole, experiment with different types of socks, check the cleat position, and loosen the buckles a bit.

Are cycling shoes really necessary?

Cycling shoes are not necessary, but they make a huge difference for cyclists who ride regularly and cover longer distances. Being clipped in helps you pedal more efficiently, preserve energy, feel more comfortable, and achieve better power transfer. They are one of the best investments you can make.

Does cycling shoe weight matter?

The weight of your cycling shoes matters because the heavier the shoes, the more power you need to turn the pedals. However, this added weight only makes a small difference that you don’t need to be concerned about unless you’re a cat 1 or a cat 2 racer.

 

Final Thoughts

Best Cycling ShoesMaking a switch from platform pedals and casual shoes to clipless pedals and cycling shoes is one of the most significant changes you can make when it comes to improving your cycling performance.

That’s why we spent the extra time to create a versatile selection and help as many confused riders as possible.

This list includes a variety of cycling shoes suitable for beginners, professional riders, commuters, and casual riders. There are models for narrow and wide feet as well.

If you have experience with any of these shoes or you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments below!

2 Comments

  • Matt Walsh says:

    Great review except there’s always a wide width option but never a narrow. So many manufacturers and models but nothing for people with borrow feet. Seems odd…

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Italian companies are known to make slightly narrower shoes than American companies. You can consider Giro or Sidi and see if you have any luck.

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