The 11 Best Cycling Shoes in 2023

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Cycling can be a great way to get up and get moving or even traverse from Point A to Point B. Naturally, serious cyclists will want to invest in some high-quality gear to enhance their performance and ensure their comfort, as well as their safety - don't forget a helmet or bike lights!

But with so many cycling shoes on the market today, varying widely in their price point and their comfort level, how can you find the best cycling shoes to suit your needs? Luckily, the Active Reviews Team has done the hard work for you by rounding up some of the best cycling shoes available and condensing them into a list of 11. Whether you're competing in a triathlon or using an indoor cycling app at home, below are cycling shoes to fit every need, from beginning cyclists through more experienced trainers.

Why Trust Us?

The ACTIVE Reviews Team is made up of fitness experts that include athletes, coaches, and certified trainers who bring years of knowledge and experience to each review. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.

By clicking on the product links in this article, we may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Sponsorships and affiliate commissions help support our research so we can help you find the best products. Read full affiliate disclosure here.

Best Cycling Shoes - Our Top Picks

Best Overall Cycling Shoes - Shimano RC5 Cycling Shoe

ShimanoRC5 Cycling Shoe

Specs

  • Cleat: 3-bolt
  • Closure: BOA dial and hook-and-loop straps
  • Sole: Carbon-reinforced composite
  • Sizes: 36 to 43
  • Colors: Black, Turquoise

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The Shimano RC5 Cycling Shoe is the perfect balance between performance and price. These shoes feature perforations throughout the upper for breathability and comfort on long rides. Synthetic leather not only helps the shoe maintain its shape, but also adds comfort. These shoes also have adequate stiffness, with secure BOA dials and hook-and-loop straps to keep them snug throughout your entire workout.

Other features that we love include breathable mesh ventilation, and a carbon-reinforced sole that offers strength and support as you pedal.

What We Like

  • Sleek, stylish design
  • Stiff sole offers maximum power
  • Mesh and perforations increase breathability
  • Strap closure system keeps your foot secure

What We Don't Like

  • Only comes in two color options
  • Fairly limited size range

BUY: Shimano RC5 Cycling Shoe

Best Indoor Cycling Shoes - Specialized Torch 1.0 Cycling Shoe

Specialized Torch 1.0 Cycling Shoe

Specs

  • Cleat: 3-bolt cleat compatibility
  • Closure: BOA closure
  • Sole: Composite
  • Sizes: 38 to 48
  • Colors: Black, White, Slate/Cool Gray, Oasis, Maroon/Black, Dove Grey/Vivid Coral

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Not everyone does their cycling outside. If you’re more of a spin studio type of person, you'll need a cycling shoe that accommodates. The Specialized Torch 1.0 Cycling Shoe is a real contender in this category, though it also makes for a great road cycling shoe.

Made with a Body Geometry design for proper heel-to-toe alignment, these shoes support your feet during even the most intense of cycling sessions. This construction also helps to prevent injury, which is helpful for longer workouts when your feet are more worn down.

Beginners will enjoy the moderately stiff sole that adds comfort, while experienced cyclists will appreciate the power it provides. And, there is three-bolt cleat compatibility for added convenience. Plus, the Torch Cycling Shoes utilize an L6 Boa Fit System, which makes it easy to make minor adjustments while on the go.

What We Like

  • Sole offers ideal stiffness level for beginners
  • Multiple color and style options
  • Promotes hip, knee, and foot alignment
  • Perforated for ventilation

What We Don't Like

  • Some seasoned cyclists will want a slightly stiffer sole
  • May not be ideal as a racing shoe

BUY: Specialized Torch 1.0 Cycling Shoe

Best Cycling Shoes for Peloton - Pearl iZumi Quest Studio

Pearl iZumi Quest Studio

Specs

  • Cleat: Compatible with 3-bolt SPD-SL, Delta, and 2-bolt SPD cleats
  • Closure: 3 straps
  • Sole: Rubber, nylon, and plastic
  • Sizes: 39 to 52
  • Colors: Black

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Peloton workouts have taken the fitness world by storm. In addition to investing in a Peloton bike, you’ll also want to make sure you have the right shoes to optimize each workout. The Pearl iZumi Quest Studio has the right combination of features to make your next Peloton cycling session that much better.

This is a very similar shoe to the brand's road cycling shoe (see our pick for Best Overall), but with a few modifications to make it studio friendly. The materials and the design have been modified to ensure the shoe can hold up in hot, humid indoor environments. Its sole is also compatible with pretty much any cleat style, making it easy to use this shoe with virtually any indoor or outdoor bike.

What We Like

  • Antimicrobial mesh prevents the buildup of bacteria and fungi
  • Materials are designed to resist water and sweat
  • Sockliner material resists water and bacteria
  • Added ventilation holes

What We Don't Like

  • Only comes in one color (black)
  • Experienced road cyclists may want a slightly stiffer sole

BUY: Pearl iZumi Quest Studio

Best Road Cycling Shoes - Mavic Cosmic Ultimate III Road Shoes

Mavic Cosmic Ultimate III Road Shoes

Specs

  • Cleat: N/A
  • Closure: N/A
  • Sole: Carbon
  • Sizes: 6 to 13.5
  • Colors: Black

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Looking for a shoe that's specifically designed to withstand the rigors of road cycling? Just take a look at the Mavic Cosmic Ultimate III Road Shoes. This pro-level footwear offers the aerodynamics you need for a competitive race, plus the rugged design required for plenty of outdoor adventures.

The shoe was designed to optimize three important performance categories: Foot power transfer, foot support, and adjustability. In pursuit of this, the shoe offers a lightweight foot-mapping material for stability. A stiff, full-carbon sole facilitates maximum pedal power. And, a low-profile collar around the ankle supports a full range of motion.

What We Like

  • Dials make it easy to adjust on the fly
  • Ankle collar promotes full range of motion
  • Heel cup keeps the heel firmly in place
  • Mesh, breathable material

What We Don't Like

  • Comes in just one colorway option (black/blue)
  • May not work well for beginners
  • More expensive

BUY: Mavic Cosmic Ultimate III Road Shoes

Best Cycling Shoes for Women - PEARL iZumi Women's PRO Road

PEARL iZumi Women's PRO Road

Specs

  • Cleat: 3-bolt road cleat
  • Closure: BOA® Fit System with dual L6C dials for zonal adjustment
  • Sole: 98% carbon fiber, 2% steel
  • Sizes: 36 to 43
  • Colors: Nightshade

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Simply put, the PEARL iZumi Women's PRO Road provides everything you need for a great cycling experience. The latest model of the popular PRO shoe series, the Women’s PRO Road is the total package.

These shoes offer a slipper-like fit and high level of stiffness that holds up during long rides. Plus, BOA dials allow for micro-adjustments at any time for a perfect fit. Soft TX laces replace traditional BOA cables to reduce pressure points and increase comfort as well.

Plus, with ventilation zones and an ergonomic design, these shoes are super comfortable, no matter how far you ride.

What We Like

  • Secure BOA closures
  • Perforated synthetic leather for breathability
  • Soft TX lace guides
  • 1:1 PRO Carbon Power Plate
  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like

  • Only one color option

BUY: PEARL iZumi Women's PRO Road

Best Cycling Shoes for Wide Feet - Lake CX302 Wide Cycling Shoe

LakeCX302 Wide Cycling Shoe

Specs

  • Cleat: N/A
  • Closure: Dual side-mounted Li2 BOA fit system
  • Sole: Carbon fiber
  • Sizes: 41 to 50
  • Colors: Yellow/Black, Metal/Black, White

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When choosing cycling shoes, finding the right fit is essential. Ideally, you'll find a shoe that supports your foot and doesn’t allow for any unnecessary movement, but also doesn't cause any pinching or pain. Finding the right fit can be tough for anyone, but it’s especially hard for cyclists who have wider feet.

Enter the Lake CX302 Wide Cycling Shoe, specifically designed to fit wider feet. The carbon fiber sole promotes powerful pedaling, while a microfiber upper conforms to the foot for a glove-like fit. The toe box is a more narrow fit for wider feet and the heel offers a snug fit, ensuring steadiness and stability.

What We Like

  • Stiff carbon fiber sole
  • Tighter heel for stability
  • Snug closure system allows for easy adjustment

What We Like

  • Not recommended if you don’t have a wide foot
  • Expensive

BUY: Lake CX302 Wide Cycling Shoe

Best SPD Cycling Shoes - Mavic Allroad Pro Road/Gravel Bike Shoes

Mavic Allroad Pro Road/Gravel Bike Shoes

Specs

  • Cleat: N/A
  • Closure: Laces
  • Sole: N/A
  • Sizes: 6.5 to 13.5
  • Colors: Black

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Shimano Pedaling Dynamics, also called SPD, refers to a type of clipless pedals and associated cleats. The SPD system has been pretty popular since its inception in 1990, specifically with mountain bikes and road bikes. If you're looking to try the SPD method for your next trek, we recommend the Mavic Allroad Pro Road/Gravel Bike Shoes.

Made with rugged materials, these shoes are meant to be durable over the course of many outdoor adventures. Innovative Matryx technology provides all the support and comfort you need in a lightweight package. The material wraps comfortably around the foot, creating a snug, steady, and secure fit.

What We Like

  • Durable and outdoor ready
  • Lightweight, breathable, and quick drying
  • Ortholite insole provides long-term comfort and support
  • Exterior of shoe is uniquely abrasion resistant

What We Don't Like

  • Not everyone wants to deal with laces as they cycle
  • Not recommended if you don’t like the SPD approach

BUY: Mavic Allroad Pro Road/Gravel Bike Shoes

Best Triathlon Cycling Shoes - Pearl iZumi Tri Fly PRO

Pearl iZumi Tri Fly PRO

Specs

  • Cleat: Designed for 3-bolt cleat pedal systems
  • Closure: BOA® Fit System with two-way micro-adjustable Li2 dial and toe strap
  • Sole: Carbon
  • Sizes: 39 to 49
  • Colors: White

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The Pearl iZumi Tri Fly PRO was built with triathletes in mind. This shoe delivers big time in terms of speed, comfort, and efficiency. It's something you can wear all race-day long, enjoying the combination of airy mesh and synthetic leather that keeps your feet cool and dry.

From a cycling perspective, the stiff carbon sole delivers plenty of power. The BOA® Fit System allows for precise two-way micro-adjustments, even while you're riding. And, there’s a nice wide entry for easy transitions.

What We Like

  • Perforated footbed for easy drainage
  • Air Carbon Power Plate adds ventilation and drops weight, without compromising stiffness
  • Cool, breathable upper

What We Don't Like

  • Only recommended for triathletes
  • More pricey

BUY: Pearl iZumi Tri Fly PRO

Best Cycling Shoes for Beginners - Sidi Trace 2 Cycling Shoe

SidiSwift Air Carbon Cycling Shoe

Specs

  • Cleat: 2-bolt mountain cleats
  • Closure: TECNO 3 Boa system
  • Sole: MTB SR17
  • Sizes: 41-47
  • Colors: Black/Black, Black/Red, Sage

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Just getting started with cycling? The Sidi Trace 2 Cycling Shoe may be right for you. It's made with a high level of quality, stiffness, and durability, with a Soft Instep closure system that prevents numbness and pressure to the top of your foot.

Some additional features that make this a great, beginner-friendly shoe include a reinforced heel for a superior fit that doesn't budge. Compatibility with two-bolt cleats is another convenient feature for many.

What We Like

  • TECNO 3 Boa system for a flawless fit
  • Three layers of durable, comfortable upper support
  • SR17 sole is light, stiff, and supportive

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive for most beginners
  • Can be too stiff for some

BUY: Sidi Trace 2 Cycling Shoe

Best Cycling Shoes for Men - Shimano RC3 Limited Edition Cycling Shoe

Shimano RC3 Limited Edition Cycling Shoe

Specs

  • Cleat: 3-bolt cleats
  • Closure: BOA dial
  • Sole: Nylon
  • Sizes: 40 to 48
  • Colors: Red, white

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For men who love cycling, we recommend the Shimano RC3 Limited Edition Cycling Shoe. With their race-worthy construction, these shoes are designed to enhance your performance. And, with a BOA L6 dial, they're incredibly easy to adjust whenever you need to.

Additionally, these shoes have nice stiff soles that offer reliable power transfer. And a rubber racing pattern gives you extra grip, whether for clicking in or simply for walking around. Also note the low stack height, providing a low profile and an efficient platform.

What We Like

  • Stiff nylon sole offers reliable power transfer
  • Racing pattern offers great traction
  • Durable, long-lasting materials
  • Bright, vibrant design
  • Dials offer easy adjustment

What We Don't Like

  • Limited range of sizes

BUY: Shimano RC3 Limited Edition Cycling Shoes

Best Budget Cycling Shoes - Fi'zi:kTempo R5 Powerstrap Cycling Shoe

Fi'zi:kTempo R5 Powerstrap Cycling Shoe

Specs

  • Cleat: N/A
  • Closure: Hook-and-loop
  • Sole: Reinforced carbon
  • Sizes: 37 to 48
  • Colors: Gray/Black, Black, Navy/Black, White/Black

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Great cycling shoes don’t have to break the bank. For evidence, just look to the Fi'zi:kTempo R5 Powerstrap Cycling Shoe. It offers some high-end design features and durable materials, including a carbon-reinforced sole and a breathable synthetic upper, at a price point that's pretty reasonable.

Beyond the modest price, this shoe excels due to its easy hook-and-loop adjustment style. It's comfortable and versatile enough to work in any situation, though we especially recommend it for road cycling. Also, note that the double-strap design creates an easy way to adjust the midfoot or instep.

What We Like

  • Carbon-reinforced sole is stiff and strong
  • Hook-and-loop closure is easy to adjust
  • Double straps make it easy to adjust midfoot and insole
  • Great price point

What We Don't Like

  • Experienced cyclists may want something more high-end

BUY: Fi'zi:kTempo R5 Powerstrap Cycling Shoe

Are Cycling Shoes Worth It?

Are cycling shoes really worth the investment? If you cycle with any regularity, then investing in a good pair of shoes can yield some significant benefits to your performance and the comfort of your ride. A few reasons why cycling shoes may prove well worth it include:

  • Cycling shoes allow you to go faster. Cycling shoes are usually made with stiff, rigid soles, which allow you to put more power into every stroke. This in turn helps you pedal harder and go faster.
  • Cycling shoes add comfort. When your shoe is fitted properly, it prevents your heel from moving up and down. This added security can make each bike ride more comfortable. And, stiff soles prevent your feet from becoming fatigued on long rides.
  • Cycling shoes are stylish. Don't overlook the importance of aesthetics. Not only do cycling shoes allow you to choose from a number of design and color combinations, but they are also made to look sleek and aerodynamic.
  • Cycling shoes provide ventilation. Long bike rides may make you work up a sweat, and sometimes even your feet can feel toasty. Built-in ventilation helps your cycling shoes remain breathable and cool.

What to Look for When Buying Cycling Shoes?

As you seek the best cycling shoes for your needs, there are a number of performance categories to keep in mind. Some of the primary shopping considerations include the shoe's fit, the sole, and the closure system.

Fit

To begin with, cycling shoes should fit comfortably from the start. Because cycling shoes are typically made with very rigid soles, there is little chance that you can “break them in” to the point of making uncomfortable shoes into comfortable ones.

Beyond that, cycling shoes should offer enough room for you to comfortably wiggle your toes. They should allow your arches to feel snug and supported. And, your heel should not slide up and down. If it does, that’s a telltale sign that your shoe isn't properly fitted to your foot.

Sole

When comparing different cycling shoes, another factor you’ll want to consider is the sole.

Generally speaking, shoes that are intended for road biking come with stiff soles, which will provide the type of traction and support you need while you're on longer bike rides. Stiff soles won’t bend when you press down on them. This allows all of the power you generate to transfer through the sole into the pedal.

Shoes with softer soles can work very well for casual biking, including the occasional spin on an indoor bike. For more serious hobby cyclists, however, it’s typically better to opt for those stiffer soles.

Secondly, you’ll want to consider sole weight. The lighter the sole, the more expensive the shoe. Entry-level cycling shoes typically have nylon soles, while higher-end shoes are often carbon-soled. Carbon composite soles (a mix of carbon and plastic) fall somewhere in between.

Closure System

There are several cycling shoe fastening systems. Some of the most common types include:

  • Velcro. Most budget cycling shoes use Velcro straps because it’s the cheapest option. This closure system will do the trick and is light compared to other options. However, it is less durable and tougher to adjust on the move.
  • Ratchets. A step up from Velcro straps, ratchets offer a bit more precision while still keeping the shoe affordable. This system is easier to tighten while riding, but much more difficult to loosen, as it often requires two hands.
  • Laces. Most cyclists agree that laces are the most comfortable option, and they also offer the greatest level of customization for your fit. The main thing to be aware of with laces is that they need to be short, preventing them from getting caught in your spokes. Or, you need a way to carefully tuck them away.
  • Dial Closures. A more expensive option, dial closures provide the highest level of clamping and security. They are also easy to adjust and offer maximum tightening precision. There are different types of dials. BOA dials are typically the gold standard.

FAQs About Cycling Shoes

Still have some questions about shopping for new cycling shoes? Here are a few of the most common inquiries.

Do I really need cycling shoes?

While it is certainly possible to ride a bike in any shoes (or even barefoot), cycling shoes offer a number of benefits that can improve your performance and keep you more comfortable during your ride. For example, cycling shoes can help secure your feet on the pedals. A stiff, strong sole can enable stronger strokes. Finally, cycling shoes can sometimes provide a more aerodynamic position.

How much space should there be in my cycling shoes?

Getting the fit right is an important way to ensure optimal performance and comfort from your cycling shoes. On the one hand, you don’t ever want your heel to be sliding up and down. If that happens, it's a pretty good sign that your shoes are too big. On the other hand, you do want space for your toes to wiggle, though not too much space. The ideal is to have about half an inch between your big toe and the front of the shoe.

How can I tell if my cycling shoes are too narrow?

Cycling shoes should be snug at the heel while offering even pressure in the instep. You want your cycling shoe to fit well enough to prevent unnecessary foot movement, but you don’t want the shoe to be so tight that you experience any pinching or pain.

How should Peloton shoes fit?

Your Peloton shoes should fit much like any other cycling shoe, or like a running shoe. Specifically, you don’t want them to be too snug, and you don’t want them to be too loose. You want your heel to feel stable, without any undue motion up or down. You also want there to be a little room for you to wiggle your toes, but not enough room that your feet move around any more than necessary. If you feel any pinching or any pain, that’s a sign that your shoes are too tight.

About the Author

Josh Hurst

Josh is a journalist and writer whose work has appeared in magazines and local newspapers such as Christianity Today, IMAGE Journal, Relevant Magazine, FLOOD, The Nashville Scene, True Tunes, Rise Up Daily, and Looking Closer with Jeffrey Overstreet. Josh is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

See More from Josh

Josh is a journalist and writer whose work has appeared in magazines and local newspapers such as Christianity Today, IMAGE Journal, Relevant Magazine, FLOOD, The Nashville Scene, True Tunes, Rise Up Daily, and Looking Closer with Jeffrey Overstreet. Josh is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

See More from Josh

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