The 10 Best Cycling Shoes of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Testers loved Shimano’s IC501 Indoor Cycling Shoe for its lightweight design

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10-best-cycling-shoes-of-2022-tested-tout

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Cyclists know that the right pair of indoor cycling shoes can go a long way in making your ride more comfortable and improving your performance. The best cycling shoes are compatible with your pedals, comfortable to spin in, and fastened with reliable closures to make sure they stay on—whether you’re cycling in the studio or at home.

Reviewed & Approved

Our testers loved Shimano’s IC501 Indoor Cycling Shoe for its comfortable fit, lightweight breathability, and great overall value. We also recommend Tommaso’s Pista All Purpose Ready to Ride Indoor Cycling Shoes for a more budget-friendly option.

Shoes that are specifically designed to help you pedal faster, stronger, and more efficiently can help you achieve your fitness goals. To take full advantage of these benefits, you need to find a pair of cycling shoes that will suit your preferred style of riding. “It is better to use a dedicated cycling shoe so that you can better connect with the bike, whether indoors or outdoors. The foot connection to the cage, or clip, is very important to how you will ride,” says Denise Chakoian, PT, owner and founder of CORE Cycle.Fitness.Lagree. 

When shopping for cycling shoes, check that they’re compatible with the bike you have or plan to ride. Commonly, cycling shoes have either two- or three-bolt cleat systems, so be sure to check your bike for which system fits. It’s also important to consider the fit and weight of the shoe. You want something that’s snug and secure, lightweight and breathable, and protective against blisters. 

Our expert testers assessed 22 pairs of cycling shoes and rated each pair based on fit, comfort, blister protection, performance, and value. These 10 pairs are the best of the best.

Best Overall

Shimano IC501 Women’s Indoor Cycling Shoe

5
shimano-ic501-womens-indoor-cycling-shoe

Competitive Cyclist

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
Pros
  • Snug and secure fit

  • Lightweight

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Limited compatibility

Shimano’s IC501 Indoor Cycling Shoes earned a perfect score in all key categories, making them an obvious choice for our best overall pick. Where this pair really shines is in fit and breathability. True-to-size, the shoes are snug without constricting our tester’s feet, and they didn’t cause any discomfort, rubbing, or unwelcomed blisters.

Our tester also highlighted comfort, noting that the lightweight shoe didn’t distract from her spinning sessions. The mesh upper offered added ventilation to prevent overheating. The secure boa closure also kept our tester locked in and focused throughout her workouts. You have to self-install the two-bolt SPD cleats, but it’s an easy and intuitive process, our tester said.

These cycling shoes also have a convenient heel tab for easy on-and-off, and a full-length rubber outsole that offers traction to help you walk confidently off the bike. While the pair is expensive, we always recommend investing in high-quality fitness equipment like Shimano’s IC501 Indoor Cycling Shoes.

Price at time of publication: $135

Weight: Not listed | Sizes: Women’s EURO 38 to 41 | Materials: Mesh upper, rubber sole | Closure: Boa | Compatible with: Shimano Pedaling Dynamics | Best for: Indoor cycling

What Our Testers Say

“These cycling shoes are extremely lightweight—it almost feels like you are not even wearing shoes. The ventilation was pretty amazing as well. Sometimes, my feet get overheated and I did not experience that at all with these shoes.”—Danielle Ransom, Verywell Fit product tester

Best Budget

Tommaso Pista Indoor Cycling Shoe Bundle

4.8
tommaso-pista-all-purpose-ready-to-ride-indoor-cycling-shoes

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Blister Protection
    5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Value
    5/5
Pros
  •  Closure is easy to adjust

  • Look Delta cleats are pre-installed

  • Compatible with most bikes

Cons
  • May need to be broken in

If you want to save money without risking quality, we recommend Tommaso’s Pista Cycling Shoes. Our tester has small and narrow feet, but the shoe fit perfectly, while still providing breathable comfort—earning a perfect 5 out of 5 score in fit.

Incredibly lightweight yet supportive, these shoes kept our tester sturdy during high-intensity spin classes. But you do have to break the shoes in, as they feel stiff for the first few rides, our tester said. Despite the initial stiffness, our tester didn’t notice any rubbing or blisters.

We love that Tommaso’s Pista Cycling Shoes are great for beginners and seasoned spinners alike. They’re compatible with popular indoor bikes, like the Peloton and SoulCycle At-Home Bike, but are durable enough for road biking, too.

Price at time of publication: $73

Weight: 1.8 pounds | Sizes: Women’s US 6 to 11 | Materials: Mesh upper, fiberglass sole | Closure: Velcro straps | Compatible with: SPD, Shimano Pedaling Dynamics–Super Light, Look Delta | Best for: Indoor cycling, road biking

What Our Testers Say

“These cycling shoes are well worth their cost. I take spin classes nearly every day, so having a pair of sturdy, lightweight, and abrasion-free cycling shoes are actually priceless to me. I think consumers would be happy paying even more.” —Anna Popp, Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Beginners

Venzo Women's Cycling Shoes

5
venzo-womens-cycling-shoes

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4.9/5
  • Blister Protection
    5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Budget-friendly

  • Compatible with most bikes

Cons
  • Cleats aren’t pre-installed

For beginner cyclists, a good pair of shoes should offer high-quality performance at a low stakes price—Venzo’s Women’s Cycling Shoes deliver that and more. Our tester loved the pair for its lightweight and breathable design, and compatibility with most pedal systems (including Peloton and SoulCycle).

The shoes earned a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for fit, blister protection, performance, and value. They run on the firmer side, offering added structure and support for new riders. But our tester also said that the shoe is comfortable and doesn’t provoke blisters—features that are nice to have in any type of footwear.

The cleats aren’t already attached to the shoe, and our tester said the installation process was somewhat difficult. But this was a small inconvenience because, after attaching them, our tester never had to tighten or adjust the cleats again.

Price at time of publication: $80

Weight: 0.12 pounds | Sizes: Women’s US 5.5 to 11 | Materials: Synthetic upper, textile sole | Closure: Velcro straps | Compatible with: SPD, SPD–SL, Look Delta | Best for: Indoor cycling, road biking

What Our Testers Say

“It's an affordable shoe, but it doesn't feel as though any corners were cut during the design or manufacturing process. They feel high quality and I like that they're so lightweight—both for cycling and gym bag weight purposes!” —Kaitlin Clark, Verywell Fit product tester 

Best Investment

Soulcycle x Pearl Izumi Legend 2.0 Cycling Shoes

4.8
soulcycle-x-pearl-izumi-legend-20-cycling-shoes

SoulCycle

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Easy-to-adjust closure

  • Snug and secure fit

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Cleats aren’t pre-installed

If you’re a SoulCycle fan, you’ll love the Legend 2.0 Cycling Shoes: They’re adorned with the brand’s iconic name, logo, and sunshine-yellow details. But even if you’re not a SoulCyclist, you can still invest in these top-knotch shoes, as they’re compatible with all Look cleats.

Our tester said the shoe provided a comfortable fit—snug, but not too tight. The boa closure is easy to adjust mid-ride, which is ideal for safe and distraction-free cycling. Our tester appreciated that the shoes are lightweight and breathable, preventing overheating, uncomfortable rubbing, and painful blisters.

Our tester gave the shoes a perfect score in almost every key category, but only a 4 out of 5 in value because of their high price tag. But investing in a top-quality pair of cycling shoes is well worth it (especially if you’re a frequent rider), our tester added.

Price at time of publication: $215

Weight: Not listed | Sizes: Women’s EURO 36 to 50 | Materials: Not listed | Closure: Boa | Compatible with: Look Delta | Best for: Indoor cycling

What Our Testers Say

“These shoes are expensive, but I believe they are so worth it—comfortable, snug, adjustable, and easy to clip into the bike. And when you think of it in terms of price-per-wear, they are even more worth it!” Michelle Parente, commerce writer and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Lightweight

Specialized Torch 1.0 Cycling Shoes

4.8
specialized-torch-10-cycling-shoes

Backcountry

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Value
    3.8/5
Pros
  • Comes in a variety of colors

  • Closure is easy to adjust

  • Offers great control

Cons
  • Cleats are not included

Providing a perfect fit, Specialized’s Torch 1.0 Cycling Shoes remained snug and secure while our tester pedaled for miles. And an easy-to-use boa closure allowed for seamless adjustability. But our tester was most impressed with the lightweight feel of the shoe, noting optimal comfort and control.

While cycling every night for several weeks, our tester’s feet never blistered or felt uncomfortable—earning the shoe a perfect 5 out of 5 score in fit, comfort, blister protection, and performance. The shoe also provided great support, our tester said. The brand specializes in bike gear, so you can trust that the quality of the Torch 1.0 shoe is top-notch.

It’s worth noting that the shoes don't come with a set of compatible cleats, our tester said. It was difficult to determine which type to purchase, as it’s not clear on the company’s website. This can be frustrating for beginners, but after purchasing a pair of SPD-SL cleats, our tester enjoyed spinning in these lightweight cycling shoes.

Price at time of publication: $120

Weight: 0.64 pounds | Sizes: Women’s EURO 36 to 49 | Materials: Synthetic upper, plastic sole | Closure: Boa | Compatible with: SPD-SL | Best for: Indoor cycling, road biking

What Our Testers Say

“The shoes are very lightweight and very comfortable. I don't feel constricted during rides, and like how I can control how snug it fits around my foot.” —Jessica Mahgerefteh, Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Peloton

Pearl Izumi Quest Studio Cycling Shoe

4.7
pearl-izumi-quest-studio-cycling-shoe

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4.8/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    4.8/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  •  Compatible with most bikes

  • Comfortable for long wear

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Cleats are not included

Compatible with two-bolt SPD, three-bolt SPD-SL, and Look Delta cleat systems, Pearl iZumi’s Quest Studio Cycling Shoes are suitable for most riders, including Peloton pros. Our tester felt equally comfortable and stable while cycling through slow seated rides and intense standing sessions.

The Izumi Quest shoes are lightweight, but a stiff sole provides much-appreciated support, our tester said. We also love that the velcro straps offer seamless adjustability and easy on-and-off wear—a great feature for both indoor and outdoor cyclists. Another benefit for both types of riders is the shoes' durable construction that will withstand dry indoor heat and abrasive outdoor conditions.

The shoes are also comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time, earning a perfect score of 5 out of 5 in comfort. “I felt like I was wearing sneakers and would go out for a jog if it weren’t for the cleats,” our tester said.

Price at time of publication: $110

Weight: Not listed | Sizes: Women’s EURO 36 to 43, men’s 41 to 47 | Materials: Mesh upper, rubber sole | Closure: Velcro straps | Compatible with: SPD, SPD–SL, Look Delta | Best for: Indoor cycling

What Our Testers Say

“I truly did think these shoes were spectacular when it came to comfort and how easy they were to put on and take off.” —Sophia Heald, Verywell Fit product tester

Most Versatile

TIEM Slipstream Women's Indoor Cycling Shoe

4.7
tiem-slipstream-indoor-cycling-shoe

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4.9/5
  • Blister Protection
    4.9/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Can be worn off the bike

  • Breathable

  • Snug and secure fit

Cons
  • Limited compatibility

  • Expensive

A cycling shoe that’s comfortable enough to wear on and off the bike is ideal for studio spinners and on-the-go cyclists. TIEM’s Slipstream Indoor Cycling Shoes feel just as comfortable as sneakers do, our tester said. The difference is they’re narrower than most sneakers, and they have a stiffer sole to provide proper support for miles of spinning.

The shoes earned a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for fit, after our tester felt comfortable wearing the shoes while walking, driving, and spinning. A breathable mesh upper helps keep things cool and prevent blisters (even in an infrared-heated room).

Our tester said that these were the most comfortable cycling shoes she’s ever worn, but with one caveat. Because they’re designed for more versatile wear, the shoes are stiffer than regular sneakers, but not as stiff as a typical molded cycling shoe, she said. Also, it’s worth noting that these shoes are only compatible with SPD systems—and they’re also one of the more expensive pairs on our list.

Price at time of publication: $135-$175

Weight: 1.8 pounds | Sizes: Women’s US 5 to 11 | Materials: Mesh upper, rubber sole | Closure: Velcro strap | Compatible with: SPD | Best for: Indoor cycling

What Our Testers Say

“The most comfortable shoes I have ever worn on the bike. I would (and have) wear them to brunch after class and, because they are so easy to slip on, have even used them to walk the dogs and run errands.” —Bronwyn Barnes, Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Indoor Cycling

Adidas The Indoor Cycling Shoe

4.7
adidas-the-indoor-cycling-shoe

Adidas

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4.8/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Stylish design

  • Snug and secure fit

  • Heel tab for easy wear

Cons
  • May run small

Adidas’ Indoor Cycling shoes offer a snug fit, comfortable support, lightweight breathability, and easy on and off wear, our tester said. And who says indoor cycling shoes can’t be stylish? Whether you’re pedaling in a studio or on your own bike, show up as your best from head-to-toe in these spinning shoes.

Our tester appreciated the secure fit: comfortable, with an easy to adjust velcro strap and convenient heel tab. But some wearers say the shoe runs small, so we recommend sizing up if you have wider feet.

Earning a perfect score of 5 out of 5 in comfort, Adidas’ cycling shoes are lightweight,  breathable, and offer reliable blister protection, our tester said. The pair is also well-made and durable—your go-to indoor cycling shoe for years to come.

Price at time of publication: $130

Weight: Not listed | Sizes: Women’s US 4 to 15 | Materials:  Textile upper, Nylon sole | Closure: Velcro strap | Compatible with: SPD–SL, Look Delta | Best for: Indoor cycling

What Our Testers Say

“These shoes fit perfectly! They’re beyond comfortable, and I love the velcro strap. They are snug, and perfect for my foot.” —Brian Sanford, Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Cold Weather

Giro Stylus Mens Road Cycling Shoes

4.6
giro-stylus-mens-road-cycling-shoes

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    4/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Compatible with most bikes

  • Snug and secure fit

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Not suitable warm weather rides

Giro’s Stylus Cycling Shoes lack ventilation in the upper and sole, so they’re not ideal for warm weather rides. But if you’re a frequent cool- or cold-weather cyclist (or you opt for indoor workouts), these are a great option. Earning a 5 out of 5 in fit, comfort, performance, and value, the shoes were another clear top pick.

They offer a glove-like fit, locked-in security, and comfortable padding in the upper and around the ankle, our tester said. And the stiff, fiberglass-reinforced sole provides excellent transfer of power, our tester added.

We like that the shoe is budget-friendly and versatile, as it’s compatible with most two- and three-bolt cleat systems. Whether you’re road biking in the cool mountains or clipping into your at-home bike, we recommend Giro’s Stylus Cycling Shoes.

Price at time of publication: $78

Weight: 0.60 pounds | Sizes: Men’s EURO 40 to 50 | Materials: Nylon and fiberglass upper, Nylon and fiberglass sole | Closure: Velcro straps | Compatible with: SPD, SPD–SL, Look Delta | Best for: Indoor cycling, road biking

What Our Testers Say

“My foot feels completely snug and locked in, exactly what you want in a road shoe. I'm finding them to be excellent cold-weather cycling shoes—they would also be great indoors.”—Ken Wilson, Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Road Biking

Giro Cadet Road Cycling Shoe

4.5
giro-cadet-road-cycling-shoe

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    5/5
  • Performance
    4.4/5
  • Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Easy-to-adjust closure

  • Compatible with most bikes

Cons
  • May run small

Along with a reliable helmet and a pair of quality bike shorts, a durable cycling shoe is essential for outdoor cycling. Giro’s Cadet Road Cycling Shoes are lightweight, breathable, and easily adjustable, our tester said. We also appreciate that they’re compatible with most two- and three-bolt cleat systems.

Our tester highlighted comfort, giving the shoe a perfect score of 5 out of 5 in this key category. A carbon reinforced sole provided stiff support, while the breathable upper worked to prevent blisters, our tester said. And without cleats, the shoes were comfortable enough to walk around in—which isn’t the case for many cycling shoes, he added. 

Upon initial wear, our tester had wished that he’d gone up a size for some added room in the toe area. So while snug, the shoe was still comfortable without any unwelcome rubbing, blisters, or irritation.

Price at time of publication: $124

Weight: 0.58 pounds | Sizes: Men’s US 6.5 to 15 | Materials: Mesh upper, Carbon fiber sole | Closure: Boa | Compatible with: SPD, SPD–SL, Look Delta | Best for: Road biking

What Our Testers Say

“The shoes themselves are comfortable, breathable, and are easily adjustable to size with a simple tightening mechanism. I also feel the sole of the shoe is sturdy enough to last for a long time.” —Connor McDaniel, Verywell Fit product tester

How We Rated the Best Cycling Shoes

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best cycling shoes we tested. We recommend them without reservation.
4.5 to 4.7 stars: These cycling shoes are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.
4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great cycling shoes, but others are better.
3.5 to 3.9 stars: These cycling shoes are just average.
3.4 and below: We don't recommend cycling shoes with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

We Also Tested

We tested and evaluated 22 pairs of cycling shoes, but ultimately included 10 in our final list. While most shoes fell short in one or more categories, our testers did highlight valuable features in some.

Our tester appreciated that Shimano’s IC100 Cycling Shoes were easy to clip-in and had a seamless, secure velcro closure—features that might be helpful to beginners. But her left foot slid around while cycling, a fault that lost the shoe significant points in its overall rating.

PEARL IZUMI’s Women's Vesta Studio Cycling/Spinning Shoe is comfortable enough to be worn both on and off the bike. But while our tester liked the shoe’s versatility, she struggled to find the perfect snug and secure fit.

How We Tested Cycling Shoes

We test many products in The Verywell Testing Lab, but some require long-term, consistent use so that we can make reliable recommendations. A team of 18 expert testers helped us thoroughly test and evaluate 22 cycling shoes by spinning on their own bikes at home over several weeks.

Our experts followed guidance from Karen Maxwell, ACE, CPT, and senior master instructor for CycleBar cycling studios, to test their shoes. Before their first ride, testers were instructed to examine the shoes, observing cleat compatibility, weight, stiffness, and closure type. They put on the shoes, paying special attention to fit and feel, and clipped in to record any difficulties with mounting or security of the shoe within the bike.

When it was time to ride, our testers were instructed to complete at least three 20-minute cycling sessions, noting the comfort level of the shoes throughout. Our testers rated their shoes on a scale of 1 (would not recommend) to 5 (highly recommend) for fit, comfort, blister protection, performance, and overall value. We used their insights to choose the best cycling shoes on the market today.

What to Look for in Cycling Shoes

Type 

There are two types of cycling shoes: clipless (which, confusingly enough, are shoes that clip into your bike’s pedals) or flat pedals (which are pedals you don’t clip into). “Clipping in allows for efficient movement, since the body and the bike move as a single unit,” Neyla Lobkova, DPM, a podiatrist, says.

Weight 

Depending on activity, a solid cycling shoe will weigh under 1.7 pounds, Lobkova says. Indoor shoes tend to be more lightweight, while road biking shoes often run a bit heavier. If you’re looking to ramp up your speed in a lightweight cycling shoe, we recommend Specialized’s Torch 1.0 Cycling Shoes.

Size 

For optimal performance, you’ll want a cycling shoe to fit snug, but not too tight (especially around the ball of the foot), Lobkova explains. “A shoe that is too narrow may contribute to developing numbness in the toes while you ride,” she adds. “And if the regular width feels tight, look for a shoe that comes in a wide width.”

It’s also important that your longest toe does not touch the end of the shoe—there should be roughly a 0.5-inch gap, says Lobkova. You should also ensure that your heel doesn’t move up and down in the shoe, she adds.

Materials 

There are two important components of a cycling shoe: the upper and the sole, Lobkova says. Uppers are usually made of synthetic materials for better breathability and water resistance, while soles are ideally made of stiff and lightweight carbon fiber, she adds. Materials will vary depending on the type of shoe you’re looking for, but it's always important to opt for something that’s lightweight and breathable, with enough stiffness and support.

Compatibility


The first step in cycling shoe shopping is simple: Find shoes that are compatible with your pedals, whether they’re clipless or flat. Cycling shoes can come with two-bolt, three-bolt, or universal cleat mounts. Your next step should be to make sure the shoe’s cleat mount suits your cleats. If you want more versatility, you can opt for a universal cleat mount, which works with both two- and three-bolt cleats. And if you plan to do any cycling with flat pedals, you should look for shoes that promise flat pedal compatibility as well. 

Walkability

If you plan to walk anywhere before or after your bike rides, you’ll want a pair of shoes that are comfortable enough to walk around in—like TIEM’s Slipstream Indoor Cycling Shoes.

Look for soles that are thick and cushioned and cleat mounts that are slightly indented. These details will keep your cleat mount from being the first thing that touches the ground—which can be uncomfortable, as you’ll be walking mostly on your heels.

Reliability

Once you’ve gotten your shoes to fit just right, you want that fit to stay in place as you ride. So look for shoes that boast a few different closures. Velcro straps can keep your laces in place while you’re on your bike, meaning you won’t have to stop mid-trail just to retie your shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How should cycling shoes fit?

    Cycling shoes should be snug, but they should not pinch your foot—when you walk, you shouldn't have any wiggle room. If you like to walk around before or after your rides, make sure your shoes are comfortable enough off the bike as well.

  • How do cycling shoes work?

    Stiff cycling shoes fasten you into the pedal and keep you clipped in until you clip out. This creates stability on the ride, allows for better pedal efficiency (as you can transfer energy throughout the stroke and not only on the downstroke), and creates greater comfort on the ride.

  • How do you attach cleats to cycling shoes?

    If you're a beginner, visit a professional cycling shop to have your cleats attached. This insures you're positioned properly and also helps you avoid injury.

    If you do plan to attach the cleats to shoes yourself, follow these steps:

    • Put on the cycling shoes and locate where the balls of your feet are. Mark this on the outside of the shoe. This is where you will attach the cleats.
    • Find the appropriate toe-in or toe-out point to allow for a natural toe-in or toe-out mount. (This is how your feet are pointed when you attach your shoes to the pedals.)
    • Screw the cleats in as tight as possible with a screwdriver. The cleats should not move. If they do, you risk severe injury.
    • Clip in and start pedaling. Try clipping in and clipping out while going slow and ensure this feels natural. If it doesn't, you need to better reposition the cleats over the balls of your feet.
  • Do you need cycling shoes for spinning or Peloton?

    You don't need cycling shoes to participate in spinning or Peloton classes. You can still get a good workout without investing in these special shoes. However, cycling shoes do make you more efficient on the stroke, allowing you to burn more calories and build strength in your muscles for future cycling sessions.

  • What are the benefits of cycling shoes?

    Cycling shoes offer several advantages for avid cyclists.

    • Safety: Cycling shoes keep you clipped in so your feet don't slide off your pedals as you ride. This is especially helpful when riding at a high cadence. Even at a low cadence, shoes can keep you safe at a low torque.
    • Efficiency: When you upstroke, a cycling shoe can maximize your position by transferring energy during the hardest part of the stroke.
    • Speed: With cycling shoes, energy transfer throughout your stroke remains high. In a regular running shoe, you'll lose power when compared to clip-ins.
  • Are running shoes OK for cycling?

    Experts don’t recommend cycling in your running shoes. “Regular sneakers or running shoes have a sole that is too flexible, and therefore the energy used to push down and pull up on the pedals is lost on the flexion in the shoes,” Lobkova says. “It is easier to push down or pull up on a stiff surface [the sole of a cycling shoe], and it takes more effort to cover the same distance in regular sneakers.” 

    Cycling shoes also have a snugger, narrower fit for optimal speed, as well as a sleek upper for wind resistance, Lobkova says. And running shoes feature long laces, whereas cycling shoes have special closure systems to avoid tripping and tangling in the bike.

  • How much should quality cycling shoes cost?

    You can expect to pay between $70 and $200 for quality cycling shoes. Cheaper options may lack comfort, durability, and performance—all of which are essential when choosing a pair of shoes for spinning. Higher-priced items may offer added breathability or a lighter design that’s optimized for speed. The most budget-friendly option on our list is often available for $73, while our top pick, Shimano’s IC501 Women’s Indoor Cycling Shoe, was $135 when we published this list.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

Additional reporting by Michelle Parente

Michelle Parente is an experienced fitness writer who is passionate about making great product recommendations. She participated in our real-world cycling shoes test and evaluated Soul Cycle x PEARL IZUMI’s  Legend 2.0 Cycling Shoes. Michelle has tackled dozens of rides on her SoulCycle At-Home Bike  wearing these comfortable, lightweight, and supportive shoes.