Best Indoor Cycling Shoes
Is it really necessary to own a special pair of footwear for indoor cycling when you could just wear your regular running or walking shoes? This is a question that a lot of you have probably asked yourself before if you enjoy biking indoors. Well, it just so happens that owning a special pair of indoor cycling shoes can make all the difference in the world. Not only will they enhance your control but they will also deliver a more powerful and efficient workout. But, as with any other type of shoe, there are certain areas that you need to fixate on before you buy a pair. That is exactly why you have stumbled across this guide today.
- Fizik R5B
- Precise Boa system
- Comfortable and ventilated
- Pearl Izumi
- Great support and comfort
- X-Project 2.0
- Co-molded rubber tips
- Superb power transfer
10 Best Indoor Cycling Shoes
To guarantee comfort even after long sessions, the R5B is engineered in a manner to allow proper movement when delivering power.
Size and Fitting
Fizik should be applauded for their closure system as it integrates a hook-and-loop strap system for width control. But, some users have alluded to the fact that the toe box could be wider.
Underneath the foot, this integrates a carbon-reinforced nylon outsole. What this does is keep the cost down while also not inhibiting the power transfer.
Let’s just say that Fizik wanted to ensure their R5B would be breathable. With the uppers being Fizik’s Microtex system and also nylon mesh integrated for the ventilation windows, it is safe to say their mission was accomplished.
The dark gray and purple design is one you are either going to love or loathe. There really is not much in-between here, to be honest.
In a world filled with several amazing indoor cycling shoes, it says a lot that the R5B is on top of them all. Given the design and features, though, it is well worth the praise it receives.
The heel cup is positioned to control slippage
Uses the efficient and precise Boa system
Will keep you comfortable and ventilated for hours
Can be a little tight in the toe box
Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V
Most buyers enjoyed the comfort that was delivered from these shoes. However, do note that others also claimed the large Velcro strap can be stiff at first.
Size and Fitting
To no one’s surprise, the general consensus here is that these run small. But, the shoe width is normal and the included strap does add a bit of adjustability.
Overall, the support provided here is optimal. This is thanks to the built-in longitudinal arch support and the dual-density ethylene vinyl acetate insole.
Both the direct venting technology and fully lined mesh upper make this shoe very breathable. What also helps is the tri closure system eliminates hot spots.
While the green flash design is certainly not going to be for everyone, the more casual white and black design is not too shabby at all.
How do you really sum up this model? If you are looking for optimal breathability, superior performance, and amazing comfort, with possibly a hint of flash, this model is it.
Great combination of lightweight and stiff
They provide great support and comfort
Breathability is certainly not an issue
They do tend to run small and tight
Pearl iZUMi X-Project 2.0
To eliminate hot spots and uncomfortable seams, this has been designed with a fully bonded upper. Adding on to this is the EVA foam heel as this adequately absorbs impact when you wear these outside of training.
Size and Fitting
Although some buyers claim these can be slightly narrow in the toe box, the bi-directional closure system is brilliant. It delivers a semi-custom fit and an even foot retention.
Thanks to the patent-pending design of the full-length tapered carbon fiber plate, you are provided with an optimal amount of power transfer when you are cycling.
The same fully bonded upper that helps with comfort also comes into play in regard to breathability. Remember, this is because it eliminates hot spots.
If you prefer designs that are not outlandish, then you are in luck here. There are only two colors available but both, either black and white or just black, are appealing.
Once again, if you adapt to the fact that these run small and order a size that fits, you can vastly improve your indoor cycling experience. It is safe to say that Pearl iZumi knows what they are doing.
The co-molded rubber tips provide traction
Hotspots and uncomfortable seams are eliminated
Patent-pending design offers superb power transfer
Seems to run small and a bit narrow
Overall, users have lauded the comfort of these shoes. What helps is the padded collar, among other features, of course.
Size and Fitting
For whatever reason, the Velcro straps are engineered in the opposite manner of what users will typically be accustomed to. The issue is the straps can end up hitting the pedals.
As Shimano indicates, this is a performance-driven design. One of the standout features is the fiberglass-reinforced nylon sole as this will efficiently transfer power.
In addition to the breathable mesh lining and the footbed, the uppers are also made with mesh for breathability. Let’s just say that your feet are going to be allowed to breathe.
The full white appeal of this model is quite classy. It is also not overbearing which for some users, can be a very important factor.
About 99 percent of this design is flawless. However, that one percent can cause annoyances as the Velcro straps can become a nuisance when pedaling. But, 99 percent is 99 percent.
The nylon sole transfers power efficiently
Provides top-end quality at a reasonable price
Buyers have lauded the comfort
The design of the Velcro straps is the opposite of what it should be
Sidi Dominator 7
In addition to the aforementioned instep closure system, the Velcro straps are positioned over the upper foot area and do not create pressure points. Also, the soft EVA pad distributes pressure evenly.
Size and Fitting
This fitting system is quite ingenious, let’s just say that. Not only is it adjustable from both sides but the high-security Velcro can also easily be adjusted during races. But, do note, these seem to run small.
As was mentioned, this is quite a stiff shoe. But, even though the heel cup and soles are indeed stiff, they also offer adequate support which is what you are seeking.
Not too many complaints have been in the direction of the breathability. In this case, this is actually a good thing not to be mentioned.
The appeal of this shoe is quite amazing and a little hard to describe. But, do know that there are a few additional color options to select from.
It is easy to consider this an advanced design and that is a little indicative of the steeper price. If you possess the funds, it can be really tempting to invest in this high-quality entry.
Designed with a reinforced heel to keep your foot in place
The Velcro and buckle system have been improved
The soft instep closure system ensures comfortability
It seems that they do run small
Louis Garneau Air Flex
Even if you decide to walk in the Air Flex Shoes, they will offer supreme comfort. This is because they prevent heel pressure with good toe flexion.
Size and Fitting
The good news is Louis Garneau engineered their design with a roomier fit and HRS-80 retention to hold the heel in place. Yet, most consumers agree that the fit is extremely tight.
Due to the fact that this is stiff enough from the heel to the ball of the foot yet flexible enough in the toe box, it is a highly versatile design. As such, the Air Flex can be used for cycling and regular walking.
Do not concern yourself with breathability as the Air Flex outsole is ventilated. The result is less overheating as air is allowed to flow inside.
While all the options are mostly comprised of black, there are different options with different colored linings. For most, the style will be adequate, if nothing else.
Despite the small fit, which means you merely need to order a size or two up, consumers will greatly appreciate the Air Flex for its versatility and superb performance.
Adjustments are made easy
Can be used for commuting as well as weekend rides
Achieves a great combination of stiffness and flex
Most buyers note that these will run extremely small and tight
One of the premier features of this design is the inner sole with hole perspiration. On top of other benefits, this also optimizes the comfort to ensure satisfaction for longer sessions.
Size and Fitting
Here is the deal; the fit can be narrow according to the general mass. Yet, the dual Velcro straps and plastic buckle ensure you can create a custom and tailored fit.
Now, it is time to commend the fiberglass sole. With this integrated, you are provided with extra power and an efficient transfer of power from your legs to your feet.
In addition to the fact that artificial leather has been integrated into these shoes, there is also a mesh structure. This is an ideal combination for optimal breathability.
Visual design is always going to be subjective but most consumers will most likely find this black and white aesthetic to be appealing.
As you can see, as a whole, this is a tremendous design. What is even better is the price is not as steep as other models. Of course, the clips are not included so be wary of that.
Designed with an efficient power transfer
The inner sole promotes breathability
Equipped with two straps and a buckle
No clips are included
Some buyers have claimed the fit can be narrow
Two key design features ensure the comfort here is supreme. Firstly, the triple asymmetric straps are spread evenly to relieve pressure points. Secondly, the tongue is padded.
Size and Fitting
What a shock, several consumers claim the fit is too narrow and small. Yet, it is ergonomically designed to contour specifically to a woman’s foot.
While the synthetic leather upper happens to enhance the overall stability of this shoe, the fiberglass-reinforced sole provides you the power that you will crave while cycling.
Shimano equipped their SH-RP2W model with an air intake/exhaust system. With this integrated, you will have the convenience of continuous ventilation.
For women, you have two color options to select from. You are either going to get an all-white design or an all-black design.
It is not hard to see why this is one of the more popular brands out there. Even though it only landed eight on this list, that is more indicative of the stiff competition.
Can be used for indoor training or outdoor rides
The upper is stretch-resistant and lightweight
Equipped with an exhaust system for continuous ventilation
They do not come with cleats
Several consumers report they run small and narrow
In spite of the fact that the overall comfort here is optimal, a few consumers have made note of the tongue. The issue is its length as it can end up rubbing against the front of your ankle.
Size and Fitting
A classic three-strap retention system is implemented here and it makes adjusting very easy and reliable. But, once again, do note that these shoes do tend to run small.
It is worth noting that the Techne is considered an entry-level design. Part of the reason why is the sole is only moderately stiff and under load, there may be a bit of flex.
To deliver an adequate amount of ventilation, the synthetic leather upper includes fabric ventilation panels and there are also small perforations in the leather.
Each of the available color options is appealing in their own way. To be honest, choosing your favorite out of them could actually prove a difficult task.
For an entry-level option, the Techne is quite impressive. Do note, though, that you may have to take some extra precautions to ensure that the tongue does not cause discomfort.
Both mountain bike and road cleats can be mounted
Adequate ventilation is provided
There are a few color options available
The tongue is rather long and can run the front of your ankle
Again, they do tend to run small
Pearl Izumi All-Road v4
Okay, so the bonded seamless upper does go a long way in enhancing the comfort. But, the top strap remains slightly uncomfortable due to the thinness of the tongue.
Size and Fitting
Several consumers have actually had an issue with the Velcro straps not reaching the top of their feet. In conjunction with the small size, do not be afraid to order larger.
This is where the All-Road v4 truly shines. In addition to the insole that provides arch support, the power plate offers additional stiffness and durability.
The main integration that was made to enhance the breathability of this shoe was actually the strap closure system as it prevents hot spots from forming.
Not too many buyers will take issue with the black and shadow gray color combination that is used here.
The performance provided from the All-Road v4 ultimately catapulted it on this list. But, due to the slight comfort issues, it is not a flawless design.
Provides great arch support
Hot spots are not going to be an issue
Can be used for off-the-bike adventures
The Velcro straps are not the best
The tongue is a bit thin which can lead to discomfort
Criteria Used For Evaluation
How Comfortable They Are
It literally does not matter what type of footwear you ever invest in, if they are not comfortable to wear, you are not going to want to don them. It really is as simple as that and as such, this means that you need to assess the overall comfortability of the indoor cycling shoe that you will potentially buy. Now, with other types of shoes, such as those that are designed for running, you need to look out for shock absorption. However, this is not really going to be an issue with cycling as your feet will not physically be striking the ground.
So, what do you need to look for? Well, do note that these shoes will be noticeably stiffer than other types of shoes (which will be addressed later). Yet, most will still be comfortable and you can look for simple features such as a padded tongue. As most indoor cycling shoes are designed with straps, having a padded tongue is key to prevent the Velcro from digging into the top of your feet. Also, look for the pressure to be distributed evenly to prevent any discomfort.
Their Overall Fitting and Size
If you have any experience buying any type of shoes, you know that the fit is literally everything. But, it gets a little tricky with these types because as you have noticed in this guide, they tend to run small. Though you should always simply assess user feedback to see what other consumers have claimed about how the shoe fits, get ready to order a size larger than you typically do. But, do remember that you do want them to fit snugly. So, be careful either way. Okay, so you know it is supposed to fit snug but how snug?
Well, understand that because these are not as flexible as regular shoes, they are not going to stretch to accommodate your foot once they begin to break in. In regard to the toe box, you will not need as much room as you would with a normal pair of sneakers. How about the heel, though? Most of the time, you do not want your heel to slip and while you still do not want that to be the case here, it is not as big of a deal. The reason is that you do not generate as much heel force when you are pedaling as opposed to walking or running.
Stiffness, Flex and Overall Performance
Alright, so now it is time to talk about performance. This is another area that is going to need to be assessed a literally differently than you may be used to. As was mentioned a few times already, cycling shoes will generally be stiffer than other types. They are not made to be lightweight and flexible as they need to hold to the pedal. So, you will see them with a more noticeable amount of stiffness. This is essential and is what makes them so important for cyclists around the world.
But, there are also different types of sole materials available and each performs a little differently. For example, you have fiberglass soles which find a happy medium between stiffness and affordability. As for plastic, this can be prone to flexing which is not what you want. However, you also have carbon soles and these are generally the stiffest of the bunch.
How Well They Breathe
On a hot and clammy day, is there anything worse than wearing apparel that does not breathe well? These types of garments will stick to your skin and generally be unpleasant. Given the fact that your feet have more sweat glands than any other body part, this is something you need to keep in mind for this product, as well. You see, with shoes that are designed to be outdoors, it is a little easier to receive proper airflow. Yet, when cooped up indoors, this can be a little more challenging. So, designers will typically combat this by engineering their shoe with extra ventilation and breathability.
Some key attributes to look for would be the following. Firstly, ensure that the material can wick moisture. Or, at the very least, ensure that it does not absorb all the sweat pouring off your body. Secondly, assess the design of the uppers. They will commonly be synthetic to enhance the breathability but you can also look for an integrated mesh. Lastly, look for any ventilation panels that happen to be implemented.
Color Options and Appeal
For all intents and purposes, all the important information has been covered (not including the frequently asked questions that will be preceding this). So, why is this last section being included? Well, simply put, you know as much as everyone else that style in the modern world matters. Even if you could care less how you look, someone else probably does.
Also, given that most of you will probably be going out in public with your new pair of cycling shoes it seems appropriate to talk about the visual appeal. Now, no one can tell you what you find appealing except for yourself. And, while it should never be a top priority, it can be an excellent way to decide upon two models that are of equal brilliance.
Q: What is the Deal with the Clips?
Alright, so there is something extremely important that we have actually not dived into yet. One of the other differences with this type of footwear is they are designed to be used with clips. These clips will attach to the bottom of the shoe and then will attach to the pedals on your cycling bike. But, the reason it is important is these clips come in differing styles. Specifically, either SPD or Delta. This becomes important if you plan to go to a gym to cycle. If the gym only accepts Delta clips but you have SPD, you are screwed.
So, what you need to do is conduct some research beforehand to see what your gym accepts. If anything, give them a call or go for a visit to find out this information. Then, you can shop accordingly.
Q: How Often do they Need to be Replaced?
Every single consumer walking this planet understands that nothing lasts forever and this is clearly obvious for this technology. However, this is one of the best aspects of indoor cycling shoes as they are going to last longer than shoes that are designed to be outside. It really is as simple as that and if you are wondering why it is due to the abuse that outdoor shoes endure. To be more specific, the abuse that the outsoles (or soles) go through.
With these types, every time you fore strike, the outsoles take abuse. So, imagine a two-mile run and how many fore strikes that is. Yeah, that is a lot of abuse. But, with cycling shoes, the worst that is going to happen is the cleats may need to be replaced.
Q: How do You Wash Them?
Have you ever been witnessed to someone at a gym that really needed to wash their footwear? Yeah, do everyone a favor, and do not be that person. You know when your shoes need to be washed and just as with any other type, it is probably ideal to avoid machine washing. To clean a cycling shoe, it is probably best to go back to the basics.
Grab a spare bucket from around your home and mix a solution of cool water and dish soap (not needing to use that much dish soap). With a brush, non-abrasive of course, begin to clean off the dirty areas of the shoe. Oh, and do not forget, when you do this take out the insoles first.
Q: Why Not Just Rent a Pair?
Let’s say that you do not possess the funds to buy a new pair of these types of footwear. If this is the case, can you simply opt to rent a pair? Well, here is the deal; yes, you can simply opt to do this. However, there are some risks you take in regard to performance. The reality is shoes will conform to the foot that is inside of them. With a pair of rental shoes, they are not going to fit as well as a pair of your own would fit as every person’s feet are different.
In addition to this, you really do not know what a pair of rentals has been through. Though the investment may be steep at first, it is more than worth it. Never, ever forget that.
Q: Can’t You Simply Use Normal Gym Shoes?
This next question plays off the last one in a lot of ways. Because of this, you probably already know the answer to this question. After all, what would be the point of you being here today if you could just use any old pair of gym shoes for indoor cycling? But, you can actually do this. However, without specialty footwear, you will not be able to lock into the pedal. As such, you miss out on all the benefits that have been described in this guide.
If you are serious about this type of activity, then you need to accept that it is necessary to spend the money on specialty footwear.
Q: How do You Dry Them?
Now, this is actually a follow-up question to one of the previous that documented how you wash this type of footwear. However, what are you supposed to do to dry them? Well, for starters, avoid using any primary heat source such as a dryer or sunlight window. What you really want to do is either used newspaper or some sort of silica gel.
For the former, it may be a little outdated and some may want to avoid it due to colorization issues, but it is tried-and-true. All you need to do here is stuff newspaper inside as this will help absorb the water. As for the silica gel (or rice), all you need to do is bury your shoes in a bucket filled with it. Either way, you go, they will end up dry.
For those of you who thought this would be just like buying a pair of running shoes, raise your hand? Okay, so even if you knew what to expect, it can be a bit overwhelming to buy a new pair of indoor cycling shoes as they are a lot different than others you have purchased. Just remember, you can always reference this guide if you need to. Good luck everyone.