The best cycling shoes help to reduce pain and fatigue in your legs. They also improve the grip your feet have on the pedals, which can improve your speed and flow while cycling.
If you love cycling, you need to consider a great pair of cycling shoes, for so many reasons. They help you to enjoy your time more, by making the ride more comfortable.
Top 6 Best Cycling Shoes
When cycling, you constantly transfer energy through your legs and shoes to keep your bike moving. The best cycling shoes don’t hinder this flow of movement, and may even improve the grip your feet have on the pedals. Cycling can be tiring, but comfortable cycling shoes can reduce the stress placed on your legs so you can comfortably ride for long periods. There have also been studies on how optimal cycling positions are affected by cycling shoes.
Recommended Read: Best Mountain Bike Shoes – Getting The Most For Your Money
How We Reviewed
We searched the internet for the cycling shoes other cyclists called the best, then checked with consumer groups, looked through the manufacturers’ warranties. Our review concentrates on which cycling footwear really delivered so that you can be confident in your choice.
Where possible, only one cycling shoe from each brand will be taken into consideration. If two cycling shoes from the same brand are deemed unique enough to both make this list, an exception may be made. All efforts are taken to highlight the best cycling shoes from a variety of brands and producers, however.
Recommended Read: Best Road Bike Shoes – Where Power And Price Meet
Top 6 Best Cycling Shoes List
From here on, you will find a list of the best cycling shoes. There will be variations between each cycling shoe which may make one more preferable to you than the others, but each is above average in some regard. There should be sufficient variation between each of the cycling shoes listed here for them to appeal to a wide variety of cycling shoe needs.
Recommended Read: 10 Bicycle Accessories That Every Cyclist Should Have
Giro Treble 2
The Giro Treble 2 is an update on older Giro cycling shoe models. It is crafted from synthetic fibers and nylon, but the design has many pores to allow the shoe to breathe as you ride.
The most unique trait the Giro Treble 2 offers is an interchangeable cleat system. You can screw in two cleats or a three cleat system, to get the grip that you prefer with this shoe. The cleats can be unscrewed and removed as needed, so this cycling shoe offers more versatility than many of its competitors.
The Treble 2 also boasts three velcro straps that extend over the top of the shoe. This makes it easy to put on or take off while remaining one of the tightest-fitting cycling shoes. The Giro Treble 2 is not a high top shoe and cuts down on weight in several ways to make sure it is a very light cycling shoe.
It is a very sturdy shoe, and its customizable cleats give it an advantage that similar cycling shoes lack. The velcro straps are placed slightly further apart, so this shoe isn’t so narrow that it drives away some potential buyers. The straps can still tighten well though, ensuring a comfortable fit when you need it.
Fizik R5 Road Cycling Shoe
Fizik’s R5 is one of the high-performance shoes in the Italian manufacturer’s lineup. Made of Microtex, these shoes have three choices of closures and are compatible with three-bolt road cleats.
You can choose between a Boa closure, a Tempo Powerstrap or Overcurve closures keeping the shoe tight to your foot.
The shoe is well ventilated throughout, with a carbon-nylon reinforced sole. They may not be the most comfortable shoes on our list, but they are sturdy and well-built for riding.
Mavic Crossmax Elite
The Mavic Crossmax Elite is a mountain cycling shoe. It sets itself apart from other cycling shoes by using a Boa-style wire adjustor near the heel to make the shoe fit more snugly, as well as velcro above the toe area to increase the fit in the forefoot.
The sole of the Mavic Crossmax Elite is made of carbon. The tread underneath the shoe meanwhile is made from rubber and is designed to give more traction on bike pedals than other cycling shoes.
The back of the shoe near the heel is especially wide, which is good for those with large feet or wide heels. The extra size means this shoe will fit more cyclists, but it almost guarantees you’ll need to tighten the shoe using the Boa-style adjustor to some degree.
It is a good mountain-style cycling shoe. While many cycling shoes are too thin for some riders, this shoe is the rare exception, and may instead be too wide. The velcro over the toes also adds weight and doesn’t seem as necessary to the shoe’s design as the brand claims it should be.
SIDI Genius 7 Air Shadow
SIDI is known for its killer fit and comfort, and the Genius 7 Air Shadow is no exception to that rule. The shoes feature a ratchet closure for confident tightening. They are super comfortable and may become your favorite cycling shoe.
The Caliper Buckle with a two-way ratchet closure and no-slip high-security hook and loop closure straps are reliable, sturdy, and do their job well. Riders love the comfort and fit of these shoes.
If you are struggling with “hot spots” in your shoes, these are known to resolve that issue for many riders. They come with Millenium 5, carbon-reinforced nylon soles and are compatible with the standard three-bolt cleat.
These road cycling shoes may be the most comfortable on our list.
Cycling shoes are largely divided into two categories; mountain cycling shoes, and road cycling shoes. Shimano is known for making reliable road cycling shoes and listening to other reviewers; it seems they agree the RP-9 continues that tradition.
The RP-9 only has one Boa-style wrap, which is unusual for Shimano cycling shoes. The RP-9 adds a single velcro strap as well, which wraps around the forefoot and overtop the toes.
Like most road cycling shoes the Shimano RP-9 is flatter than mountain cycling shoes. If you want a cycling shoe with additional cleats, or extra curvature to help your foot grip the pedal more tightly, you might want to look elsewhere.
There are perforations along the side and top of the shoe, but these don’t extend to the toe where extra ventilation is most needed. The RP-9 has a glossy finish on the surface, whereas most shoes have either a matte or faux-leather finish. This extra shine means dirt will be more noticeable, and the shoe may get uglier a bit faster than you like.
The Shimano RP-9 is a middle contender on our list. Road cycling shoes are a bit more specialized than mountain cycling shoes, which can be worn like ordinary sneakers. This shoe exhibits everything a road cycling shoe should; it’s light, tight-fitting, and looks good right out of the box. Some extra ventilation and better cleat design would improve its design, however.
Pearl Izumi Elite Road V5
Pearl Izumi’s Elite Road V5 is an updated version of their previous V4 model. It has many features taken from their priciest shoe models, the P.R.O. Series. The carbon sole and the BOA dials are both features taken from their P.R.O. Line, and incorporated into the Elite Road V5.
Unlike most road cycling shoes, the heel of the Elite Road V5 curves upward to provide support to the arch of the foot. The V5 is a low-riding shoe, designed to cut down on weight and pressure against your ankle.
The Elite Road V5 is a very stiff shoe. It has a single velcro strap over the middle area of the foot, which helps to tighten the fit. There are ventilation holes across the shoe, but they aren’t quite as numerous as the perforations on other cycling shoes. Your foot may become a bit hot while using the Pearl Izumi Elite Road V5.
The Pearl Izumi Elite Road V5 receives a three-star rating. Several of its design choices make up for flaws usually found in road cycling shoes. The curvature of the shoe can help reduce foot pain, and the BOA dials tighten nicely. The shoe could be better ventilated though, and the stiffness won’t appeal to all cyclists.
No single cycling shoe design will appeal to every cycling enthusiast. With some factors, such as the stiffness of the shoe, some people will require additional stiffness while others may be hurt by a shoe that’s too hard. For this reason, you should consider your preferences when deciding what cycling shoe interests you.
As mentioned, stiffness is the first issue. A stiff shoe is often more lightweight, and more energy is transferred from your foot to a pedal when pushing down. This is excellent for cyclists who want to be competitive, or who enjoyed going as quickly as possible.
If you suffer from consistent knee or ankle pains, however, you may want a padded shoe. These cycling shoes are also often the best choice for those who commute by bike, who are just starting a workout routine utilizing cycling, or who want to enjoy leisurely bike rides.
Flat shoes are also more beneficial for competitive cycling. If more of the sole touches the pedal, more energy will be efficiently transferred as you pedal. That’s why road cycling shoes are often the choice shoes of competitive cyclists.
Curved shoes are often more comfortable, and provide more protection to the arch and soles of your feet. Mountain cycling shoes are often designed this way, and it is part of why they work better as everyday shoes. They also often have tread, which helps in rough terrain. Flat shoes do not, as tread would reduce the amount of shoe touching a pedal.
Cycling shoes often have either a two-cleat or three-cleat system on the bottom. Three cleats are often considered better for competitive cycling. They decrease the chance your foot will slip from a pedal, but you must also take a moment before stopping your bike to make sure you’ve pulled your foot free.
Most forms of cycling shoe tops are easy to tighten and loosen. The largest reason to choose velcro, BOA-style wraps, or other fasteners is a personal preference.
High top shoes and low top shoes can both have positive or negative effects on your foot and leg health. Many users with ankle issues find high top shoes better due to the additional ankle support. Low top cycling shoes may relieve some of the pressure on your arch if the arch of your foot causes you pain.
There are exceptions to both of these rules. If you are unsure whether a high or low top cycling shoe would be better for you, we recommend visiting a podiatrist or your family doctor.
The Bottom Line on Cycling Shoes
As a final note, shoes with good ventilation will help you to prevent Athlete’s Foot or other conditions caused due to heat and friction inside your shoe. Heat most often builds up near your toes, or along the sides of your feet where they touch the shoe.
If you often ride your bike in rainy weather or poor conditions, however, you may prefer a shoe with fewer ventilation holes. Rain can enter the holes, which may cause the sole of your shoe to become wet, and damage your foot or cause medical conditions. The cold and moisture leaking in may also damage the shoe itself, eventually destroying it completely.