- Gender Size
Shoes designed for long distance rides on the bike therefore little attention went into off-bike use. These shoes usually have a smooth and rigid plastic or carbon sole, devoid of grips or lugs, while the uppers are usually vented for breathability. See road cycling shoes
These shoes have more aggressive, lugged outsoles to better aid the rider while off the bike. Tends to be crafted from tougher and water resistant materials for rough and muddy trails. This section includes Enduro cycling shoes. See mountain cycling shoes
Almost similar to road shoes but are designed to be easily removable, have soft lining for sockless comfort, and good drainage. See Triathlon cycling shoes
Also take after road shoes, but tend to be very simple in aesthetic and almost always equipped with traditional lace closures. See track cycling shoes
Often called spinning shoes and related to fitness, this type is considered to be a fusion of both road and mountain shoes, as it has more rubber than a road shoe for walking around but sleeker than a mountain bike shoe. See indoor cycling shoes
This cycling activity houses various footwear designs. When the course is wet, shoes used resemble mountain bike shoes, but if it is wet, flat pedals and sneakers are usually used. See Cyclocross cycling shoes
These shoes usually display a casually stylish design that includes footwear used for leisurely biking, commuting, and touring. It houses skate-inspired bike sneakers, BMX footwear and bike sandals suitable for the urban jungle to rocky terrains. See casual cycling shoes.
Cycling shoes with insulated and/or waterproof features and usually with over-the-ankle coverage. Engineered to protect from the cold, wind or moisture during chilly seasons. See winter cycling shoes
Cycling footwear that uses shoelaces to secure feet in place. See lace-up cycling shoes
Also called hook and loop, this closure system fastens via straps. These shoes are relatively easy to put on and off. See Velcro strap cycling shoes
This closure is a patented system that consists of three parts: micro-adjustable dial, ultra durable yet lightweight laces, and low friction lace guides. It is designed to provide optimal fit and precision. See BOA-equipped cycling shoes
Shoes with a device that secures two loose ends. It is usually made from metal or plastic.
Shoes that use a micro-adjusting plastic strap, usually located at the top of the shoe. See Ratchet cycling shoes
Shoes with this feature provide excellent grip and are essentially slip-resistant. Check Traction Tread cycling shoes
Crafted from waterproof materials, these shoes protect the wearer’s feet from getting wet and may be used in wet conditions. Check waterproof cycling shoes
These shoes' materials are able to hold off the penetration of water to some degree but not fully. See water-resistant cycling shoes
Shoes with reflective materials aim to enhance visibility in low-light areas for the wearer’s safety. Check reflective cycling shoes
Cycling shoes that allow air to permeate through the materials. These shoes usually employ perforated textiles or there are ventilation holes throughout. See breathable cycling shoes
Most often found on Road Cycling shoes' smooth outsoles. The sole guards provide traction and grip when off the bike. Replaceable ones are deemed to be more practical. See shoes with Replaceable Sole Guards
Lace closures are the original lockdown system of cycling shoes. However, cyclists fear these laces getting caught in their bikes while riding. This is where Lace Tucks come in handy. Some shoes employ different techniques such as sleeves, pockets, and garter loops to keep laces safe and tucked away. See cycling shoes with Lace Tucks
- Cleat design
The most common type of cleat system as it could be used for all types of cycling. Get shoes with a 2-bolt cleat system
Most commonly used for road cycling because it provides a stable platform for energy transfer and more secure connection to the bike while cycling. Get shoes with a 3-bolt cleat system
These shoes are almost exclusively made for riding. It provides more adjustability options in the shoe-pedal connection. Get shoes with a 4-bolt cleat system
Cycling shoes with normal rubber sole designs. Do not feature any bolt system and are often used for casual cycling. Get Flat cycling shoes
This material is commonly used in leisure-based cycling shoes. Due to its durable and flexible nature, leather works excellently for commuting or hike-a-biking. See leather cycling shoes
So you're either thinking of signing up for indoor cycling classes, have taken a few sessions or maybe you're a seasoned indoor cyclist but still stand clueless about the footgear you use for this endeavor. No matter your situation, this article will thoroughly discuss all things indoor cycling shoes, which may help you in one way or another.
If this sounds right up your alley, continue reading.
What are indoor cycling shoes?
Best indoor cycling shoes - May 2020
Indoor bike shoes can be thought-through to be a mix of both road and mountain bike shoes. Spin shoes have more rubber lugs on the sole than their road counterparts to properly walk around the studio, while also constructed to be sleeker than mountain cycling shoes.
They borrowed these features from the bike shoes mentioned above to make up a unique build designed specifically for cycling for indoor fitness. They can also be used outdoors but will feel heftier than road cycling shoes.
Indoor cycling shoes are also commonly referred to as spin shoes or indoor spin shoes. They obtained this nickname due to possibly two reasons:
- Through a company called Spin, which popularized the indoor cycling fitness trend.
- Or through the main pedaling motion being done while cycling, which spins around in circles.
How do they work?
Indoor bike shoes work like any other clipless cycling shoe. Their primary purpose is to keep the foot connected to the pedals to promote dynamic and more efficient pedaling.
These indoor cycling shoes clip into the indoor bike's pedals and allow the wearer to push and pull the pedal without slipping.
The clip-in mechanism promotes the use of most leg muscles via the push and pull of pedals. The rubber lugs, on the other hand, help the wearer walk comfortably inside the studio.
How to choose indoor cycling shoes?
Before spending your money on a pair of indoor bike shoes, it is wise to familiarize yourself with what factors go into a good pair.
The first thing to do is to inquire with your chosen studio what type of cleat system they use. This is to ensure that you will acquire a compatible pair of shoes. The slightly more popular cleat system used in cycling studios is the two-bolt option, while others such as Flywheel use the three-bolt system.
First, let's rewind it back a bit... What are two-bolt and three-bolt, you ask? These terms refer to the holes inbuilt into your indoor bike shoes. Cleats are then installed in these holes, clipping the shoes into the pedals.
Two-hole system (or commonly called “SPD”)
The two-hole cleat system is more recognized because most gyms offer SPD clips or caged pedals. Shoes with two-bolt cleats make walking around easier as it is smaller and flatter than the three-bolt option. The only downside to this setup is that beginners might find clipping into the pedal more difficult.
Three-bolt system (or commonly called “Look Delta”)
This type of cleat design might be less popularly used in studios, but the major gyms, like Flywheel, offer this option. This one is recommended to cyclists who plan on doing road cycling as well. The three-bolt cleat design is bigger and, therefore, easier to clip into bike pedals.
Indoor bike shoes also come in the same sole materials as ordinary cycling shoes. They can be crafted from nylon, fiberglass, plastic, carbon, a mix of all these or EVA rubber.
Plastic soles are the most affordable but are also the most likely to be flexible, while carbon soles are the most expensive, yet they are considered the lightest and stiffest. Indoor bike shoes with EVA midsoles and rubber soles usually resemble running or every day sneakers.
Shoes for spinning usually employ uppers crafted from synthetic materials. Many different brands design their version of synthetic uppers, such as Sidi's Italian-made eco-friendly Microfiber Techpro material.
Moreover, Italian-made uppers are said to be the most expensive type of upper in bike shoes. Casual bike shoes and modern-inspired models also use suede and knit uppers.
There are a number of closures used in indoor cycling shoes. The most common type is Velcro straps, which are preferred for their ease of use, lightness, and budget-friendly cost. Other options include lace-up, ratchet system, BOA dials, or a combination.
How should spin shoes fit?
Indoor cycling shoes are modeled after road and mountain bike shoes. If your chosen spin shoe looks more like a road shoe, then the fit should be snug without any pressure points. If you chose an indoor bike shoe that resembles an MTB shoe, the fit is a bit more giving without compromising the supportive feel.
Since indoor cycling is considered less strenuous compared to road cycling and mountain biking, more models look like running shoes or skate shoes. These types of spin shoes fit more like the said footwear it took inspiration from.
Here are a couple of reminders to guide you in your next purchase:
- When you first try out any bike shoe, it will feel rigid because of its stiff soles.
- Check if the closures cause any pinching or pain when tightened.
- Walk and make pedal motions while sitting to check if there is any moving or slipping action happening. If there is, try the next size down.
Best women’s and men’s indoor cycling shoes
The following spin shoes have been included based on the reviews each model has garnered. Please note that every foot is unique when it comes to size, shape, and needs. Hence, take this section with a grain of salt.
Some of the most mentioned recommended women’s and men’s indoor spin shoes (each model are offered in both genders’ sizes) are:
- Pearl Izumi Select Road v5 Studio
- Tommaso Pista 100
- Giro Techne
- Fizik Tempo Powerstrap R5
Frequently asked questions
Why should I use indoor cycling shoes?
Can I wear sneakers to spin class? Are indoor cycling shoes worth it? These are some of the most asked questions by budding indoor cyclists.
Correct footgear determines the ease, consistency, and efficiency of the ride. Ask around a crowd of indoor cyclists, and they will tell you about the significant difference brought by using indoor cycling-specific shoes compared to using ordinary sneakers. Using the wrong footwear can cause short-term discomfort and long-term injuries.
Truth be told, any type of bike shoe can be used for spinning as long as it suits you excellently and clips into the pedals of your chosen cycling studio.
Why? All clipless cycling shoes are built to provide power transfer and snug fit, albeit in varying degrees, but essentially contains these integral features no matter the cycling endeavor.
Are indoor bike shoes the same as their outdoor counterparts?
Since shoes for spinning are derived from its outdoor siblings, it is only natural that they share a couple of similarities. Some features that all cycling shoes have in common are grounded in three main elements, which are:
- Power transfer (stiff soles)
- Durable uppers (snug upper design)
- Lightweight closures (Velcro straps, lace-up, BOA, ratchet buckle)
The main difference is that indoor spin shoes mostly employ the most basic features such as Velcro straps, upper with mesh inserts, and not so stiff soles. The reason behind this is that spinning shoes' primary purpose, other than for walking comfort, is simply to keep the wearer connected to the bike.
What are some of the indoor cycling models made for Peloton?
Before answering this question, let’s define what Peloton is since the term gets thrown around frequently. Peloton is basically a brand that sells their proprietary stationary bicycle design.
This bicycle can be bought for personal use at home and features a 22-inch touchscreen where the individual can watch and stream both recorded and live classes. This particular feature made the brand skyrocket to fame among indoor cycling enthusiasts.
With that out of the way, let’s get onto the main question. Generally, any type of bike shoe will work with the Peloton bike as long as it employs the three-bolt cleat system (or commonly called SPD-SL or Look Delta.) Although it is worth noting that the brand also sells proprietary Peloton cycling shoes.
Check out some of the spin shoes suitable for Peloton below:
- Sidi Trace
- Pearl Izumi Tour Road
- Tommaso Strada 100
How do I know when to replace my indoor bike shoes?
Like any other pair of cycling shoes, there will be signs when you need to retire your trusty old indoor spin shoes. Below are some of the indications you need to buy a new pair:
- Parts are starting to come off or break, such as hardware or upper materials.
- Materials start to feel inefficient, which hinders your performance or comfort. Maybe the sole feels more flexible than usual, or the upper no longer provides a snug fit.
Where can I buy indoor cycling shoes?
Every local bike store should carry at least a few models of spin shoes. So you can go and check out these brick-and-mortar stores in your free time.
Moreover, for your convenience, there are also online stores that offer indoor cycling shoes. You can check out REI, Zappos, Amazon, Wiggle, and Chain Reaction Cycles.
To save you time and energy, RunRepeat has partnered with these mentioned online stores. Aside from in-depth reviews of every shoe, we’ve also put each shoe’s pricing from different online stores side by side to give you an overview comparison of the best deals.
8 best indoor cycling shoes
- Pearl Izumi Tour Road
- Giro Techne
- Bontrager SSR
- Giro Berm
- Giro Gauge
- Pearl Izumi X-Road Fuel v5
- Pearl Izumi X-Alp Divide
- Sidi Trace