Cycling shoes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are designed for long rides, others for speed. This guide is designed to help you purchase the right cycling shoe for your biking needs. It will discuss the different types of cycling shoes, their features, and how to select the right pair. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, this guide will help you find the perfect cycling shoe!
How To Choose Cycling Shoes?
There are many different types of cycling shoes on the market and knowing which type is best for you will depend on your cycling needs. The main difference between each shoe is whether they have clips/cleats and whether they are road or mountain biking specific.
-Road cycling shoes feature a stiff sole with either two or three small holes in the bottom (commonly referred to as “two bolt” or “three bolt” respectively). This stiffness comes from having a carbon fiber insert, which provides rigidity throughout the footbed. The stiffness allows power to be transferred to the pedals more efficiently resulting in improved performance. If you plan to spend most of your time riding a road bike, a pair of road cycling shoes is best.
-Mountain biking shoes have a flat, wide sole so as to provide the maximum amount of stability and foot contact with the pedal. These soles also have a sticky rubber compound for better traction when walking or hiking. If you spend most of your time mountain biking, this is the type of shoe for you.
-Time Trial/Triathalon shoes are designed specifically for aerodynamics. They feature a smooth sole to reduce wind resistance and a single strap that fits across the top of your arch to keep your foot from moving around on the pedal. These shoes also have two holes in the bottom just like road cycling shoes but they always come with clips/cleats already attached. If you plan to take part in a time trial event, these shoes will suit your needs.
-Cyclocross shoes are best described as a combination of road and mountain biking cycling shoes. They have clips/cleats of road cycling shoes and flat soles like mountain biking shoes. The footbed is also designed to be stiffer than a standard pair of running shoes but less stiff than a road cycling shoe so it can stand up to repeated wear and tear while providing power transfer similar to that of a road shoe when riding pavement or hard-packed trails. Cyclocross racing is growing rapidly in popularity and cyclocross-specific cycling shoes will give you an advantage!
Look at the bottom of the shoe to determine if it has clips/cleats attached. If you are buying a cycling shoe with clips/cleats already attached then you must buy new pedals that fit those specific threads or you can have your current pedals drilled to fit your new shoes.
–Laces vs zippers:
Cycling shoes come in both laced and zippered models. Laced models provide a closer fit and will mold to the shape of your foot after being worn for a while. Zippered models provide easy on/off access but they are not as breathable or comfortable when walking long distances.
Cycling shoes should fit snug, especially when clipped into the pedals so take note of the sizing guide provided by each manufacturer. Some companies give specific measurements in cm’s while others have a US size chart. If you fall between two sizes we recommend going with the smaller one since it will be more snug and provide maximum power transfer. If purchasing online always be sure to read reviews from other customers before making a purchase!
If you plan to ride a road bike for of your training then cycling shoes are the best choice. If you plan to race mountain bikes, time trial, or take part in a cycling triathlon then cycling shoes with clips/cleats are essential.
If you plan to ride your bike indoors or on rollers then any type of shoe will work just fine! Just be sure that they have plenty of grip on the bottom to prevent slippage. If you plan to take part in a time trial event or a triathlon then a pair of cycling shoes with clips/cleats should be your first choice.