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The Best Cycling Shoes reviewed

Updated on July 31, 2013

The best cycling shoes to help you cycle further and faster

The best cycling shoes will improve your cycling, fact, so here is the best road cycling shoes currently available, all reviewed and compared. In order to get the most out of your road cycling you need the best road cycling shoes. In order to travel for miles and miles in total comfort you need cycling shoes that are stiff, cool and comfortable. If your cycling shoes are rubbing, you have blisters or your feet hurt you are not going to get the most out of your ride.

Arguably, you can wear any comfortable shoes for cycling, but comfortable shoes will not necessarily improve your riding. Cycling specific shoes have cleats which clips your feet in to the pedals and locks them in place. With your feet attached to the pedals you can pull up on the pedals as well as push down, which transfers more power through the crank, which in turn helps you go faster. So, to get the most out of your bike you need cycling specific shoes.

There are loads of different road cycling shoes on the market and the styles and prices vary greatly. With such a large choice selecting a pair of top road cycling shoes can be a challenge, however not any more. This lens is dedicated to top road cycling shoes that perform well and offer great value for money.

So, if you are in the market for some top road cycling shoes, want the most bang for your buck and want the best cycling shoes currently available please do carry on reading.

Shimano SH-R077

The Shimano SH-R077 cycling shoes are made from tough, stretch free material to ensure the cycling shoes remain nice and stiff for many months. It doesn't matter whether these shoes are subjected to heavy rainfall, intense sunshine, sub zero temperatures or any other type of weather, they will not change shape. This means the Shimano SH-R077 shoes continuously provides the support you need to get the most out of your cycling.

These Shimano cycling shoes are a nice snug fit and the three Velcro straps ensure they remain firmly attached to your feet. These shoes are tight but no so tight as to be restrictive and feel uncomfortable. They really are a comfortable pair of cycling shoes you can wear all day.

These Shimano SH-R077 shoes have a flat sole and the cleats are not recessed, which makes walking normally a bit of a challenge, and actually quite dangerous. If you need to get off your bike and push it these cycling shoes are not for you. However, if you simply go for a continuous ride without having to dismount the soles aren't going to cause you any problems at all.

The Shimano SH-R077 cycling shoes are serious road cycling shoes that not only perform very well but also look the part. These shoes aren't cheap but there are times when you have to spend a little extra to get that little bit more, and this is one of those occasions.

Pearl Izumi All Road Cycling Shoes

The Pearl iZumi men's all road cycling shoes look good, are exceptionally comfortable and very well priced. They are not as stiff as road specific cycling shoes but they are plenty stiff enough for general every day use. These shoes are tough, durable and the stitching is spot on, which means they will provides miles and miles of service.

Like all Pearl iZumi cycling clothing and accessories these shoes are small so make sure you order a size larger than you usually would to make sure they fit right. Once you get the right size the fit is very good, the Velcro straps securely fasten the shoes to your feet and the shoes are nice and snug, but not so tight they are restrictive. You can wear the Pearl iZumi all road cycling shoes all day and will remain cool and comfortable and be free from blisters.

One of the best things about the Pearl iZumi all road cycling shoes is there is a decent amount of sole and the cleats are recessed, which means you can hop off your bike and walk around normally and without the fear of slipping and sliding like you do when on flat soled road cycling shoes.

Over all the Pearl iZumi all road cycling shoes are an excellent pair of cycling shoes that are well worth looking in to if you want a pair of cycling specific shoes for everyday use.

Louis Garneau X Speed Shoes

The Louis Garneau x-speed triathlon shoe is a lightweight, tough and durable cycling shoe that is geared towards the serious road cyclists. These cycling shoes are made of tough, anti stretch material and will keep their shape regardless of what you throw at them.

Most cycling shoes will have two or three Velcro straps to keep the shoes firmly on your feet, however the Louis Garneau X-Speed shoes only have one. It may be a particularly wide strap, but it is a single strap nonetheless. Despite there only being a strap it does work very well and these shoes will remain securely on your feet once done up. The single strap is also less restrictive than multiple straps.

These Louis Garneau X-Speed shoes aren't the most comfortable cycling shoes you can buy and aren't really suited for wearing all day and since these cycling shoes have flat soles and walking in them is a bit of a challenge. Because of this these cycling shoes are perfect for shorter rides, so if you commute your best off looking at alternative cycling shoes.

If you want a stylish and cool looking pair of cycling shoes that not only perform well but also stand out from the crowd take a look at the Louis Garneau X-Speed cycling shoes. These cycling shoes aren't cheap, but they are well worth it.

Another top rated and popular brand of cycling shoes are Giro, a company known for producing top quality cycling apparel. There are many different types of cycling shoes from Giro, however one of the top selling models is the Privateer Mountain biking shoes.

Although these shoes are aimed at mountain bikers they are also very good as road cycling shoes. The Giro Privateer cycling shoes have a large sole, which means you can easily walk in them off the bike without sliding around too much. The fact that these cycling shoes are also designed for mountain bikers means they are very tough and durable and a lot harder wearing than road specific cycling shoes. The quality of the Giro Privateer cycling shoes is second to none, and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the build quality. The only downside of the Giro Privateer cycling shoes is the weight. Compared to road specific cycling shoes these are “heavy” but unless you are in to racing this should not be too much of an issue.

The Giro Privateer cycling shoes may not be to everyone’s taste but they do look really cool. If you are looking for a pair of tough and durable cycling shoes (you won’t get tougher than these), that are comfortable to wear on and off the bike, and a pair of cycling shoes you can actually walk in the Giro Privateer cycling shoes may well be the perfect cycling shoes for you.

Gavin Elite

The Gavin Elite cycling shoes are a pair of road cycling shoes aimed at cyclists on a tight budget, or those cyclists who don't to shell out a lot of money. Even though these cycling shoes are cheap they are good quality and are tough, durable and will take a lot of abuse.

The Gavin Elite cycle shoes are stiff and light weight and comfortable to wear. The colour scheme may look a little odd at first but it really isn't that bad once you get used to it so don't let the unconventional colours put you off buying the Gavin Elite cycle shoes.

The Gavin Elite Cycle shoes accepts all types of cleats, including SPD, SPD-R and SPD-SL. These shoes have flat soles and the cleats are not recessed which makes walking around in these cycling shoes a bit of a challenge.

It is hard to believe that cycling shoes made to such a high standard can be sold for such little money, but Gavin have managed it with their Elite range. If you want the most bang for your buck these road cycling shoes are the ones to go for.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Shoes

If you don't like cycling shoes that are based around the traditional style these Pearl iZumi X-Alp cycling shoes may well be up your street. These cycling shoes look and fit like a normal pair of sneakers, they even have laces as opposed to Velcro straps like other cycling shoes. The only difference between the X-Alp Seek shoes and a standard pair of sneakers is that they accept cleats, which are recessed.

Like all Pearl iZumi clothing and accessories the X-Alp Seek cycling shoes are on the small side, so make sure you buy a size larger than you usually would in order to get the best size for you.

The X-Alp shoes are ultra comfortable and you can wear them all day without getting any blisters or complaints. You can also walk around normally in these cycling shoes, which makes them perfect when you spend time both on and off your bike during your travels. These cycling shoes are a nice comfortable fit. They are not as tight as traditional cycling shoes, even when the laces are pulled as tight as they will go, but they are tight enough to remain securely on your feet although you need to know these cycle shoes are not designed for hard sprints.

If you want a pair of cycling shoes that you can wear off the bike as well as on the bike and can still walk around in, as well as looking good, the Pearl iZumi X-Alp Seek cycling shoes are something you should look at. These shoes are also competitively priced, which makes them great value for money.

Women's cycling shoes

Like myself, my wife also has a passion for cycling and she considers the best women’s cycling shoes ever to be the Pearl iZumi All-Road cycling shoe. For as long as I can remember my wife has worn this brand and model of cycling shoes and she has owned numerous pairs. I have to admit my wife is very particular with her cycling clothing so the Pearl iZumi must be an exceptionally good!

I have to admit that I have never tried women’s cycling shoes however I can only assume that if a particular company makes top quality men’s road cycling shoes then their women’s range of road cycling shoes must be equally as good. If you are looking for some women’s cycling shoes check out the road cycling shoes below, and if they are as good as the men’s versions (and I have no reasons to think they wouldn’t be) you will be guaranteed a top quality pair of women’s cycling shoes.

Some top tips to consider when looking for the best cycling shoes

  1. Make sure the cycling shoes fit. This sounds obvious but there are loads of cyclists out there wearing cycling shoes that are either too big or too small. If your cycling shoes are too small and tight they are going to be restrictive (obviously) and cut off blood flow, which will lead to numb feet. Cycling shoes that are too big are likely to move around, chaff and cause blisters. Regardless of whether your cycling shoes are too big or too small, if they don't fit right they aren't going to be comfortable.
  2. Make sure you buy cycling shoes with the right type of sole. If you plan to do some walking in your cycling shoes, i.e. when you are off the bike, make sure the cycling shoes have a treaded sole. Many brands of road cycling shoes have a dead flat sole, and these are impossible to walk in.
  3. Make sure the cycling shoes you are intending on buying are suitable for the climate. If you ride during the winter months you will need "winter" cycling shoes that let through less air than summer cycling shoes. Wearing summer cycling shoes in the winter is not a good idea and leads to numb feet that take an age to warm back up again.
  4. If you intend on wearing overshoes, for winter or wet weather riding, make sure you choose some cycling shoes that are narrow and allow for this. In the past I have purchased cycling shoes that were too wide to fit cycling shoe covers over, so don't make the same mistake.
  5. If you want to use clipless pedals make sure you buy cycling shoes that accept cleats. This may seem obvious but there are many brands of cycling shoes out there that you can't screw cleats to.

Making sure you can clip in and out quickly

All of the road shoes above need cleats, which are simply arrow shaped pieces of metal you screw in to the sole of the cycling shoes, to clip in to the pedals. When you use clip in pedals it is important the locking mechanism works freely so you can get the shoes off the pedals quickly when you need to. If your cycling shoes get stuck on your pedals you are going to fall and it is likely to hurt. At the very least it will be embarrassing.

In order to get your shoes off the pedals quickly you need to make sure your cleats are in good condition and are free from rust and dirt. If your cleats are out of shape they are also likely to get stuck. It is vital you look after your cleats and keep them clean.

Your cleats also take a bit of a battering and need to be changed on a regular basis. You should inspect your cleats frequently and when they start to lose their shape change them. Cleats are not expensive and having some which will clip in and out easily could end u saving you a lot of money in the end.

How to correctly fit cleats to the best cycling shoes

If you need some help and assistance in how to fit cleats to your cycling shoes check out the following tutorial, courtesy of Youtube.

Odor eaters economy pack

If you want to keep your cycling shoes smelling clean and fresh I strongly suggest you consider buying some odor eater insoles, such as these. There are many odor eater insoles available on the market, although these are my favourites.

These odor eaters are a "one size fits all" and are simple to use. All you need to do is measure the odor eater soles up against your cycling shoes, mark around the sole, cut out with some scissors or a sharp knife and put them in your cycling shoes. How easy is that?

There is a lot of "science" blurb on the packaging of these odor eater insoles, much of which I don't really understand. In fact, I don't really care about the science info because all I want to know is that the odor eaters I am going to use in my cycling shoes will keep my cyclie shoes in good condition and smelling nice, and I can confirm that is exactly what these odor eaters do. I find each odor eater has a life of around 12 weeks to 15 weeks in my road cycling shoes, and I do attend a lot of miles.

I have tried several different pairs of odor eaters in my cycling shoes over the years however these are definitely the best. These odor eaters not only keep nasty smells at bay but they are also comfortable. If you don't use odor eaters in your cycling shoes I highly recommend you get some of these and see what a difference they make.

How to clean and maintain your cycling shoes

If you want to keep your cycling shoes in tip top condition you need to clean and maintain them. Keeping your cycling shoes clean will not only give them a longer life but it will also stop them from stinking and also looking good, so you really do need to clean your cycling shoes on a regular basis.

So, what is the best way to keep your cycling shoes clean? Take a look at my "Do's and Don'ts" for some easy to follow tips that will help make your cycling shoes last many years.

Cleaning cycling shoes - The "Do's"

Clean with a damp (but not wet) sponge. A dirty sponge will make your cycling shoes worse, so always use a new sponge.

To keep the mould at bay always store your cycling shoes in a cool, dry and well ventilated place.

Always fill your cycling shoes with newspaper or kitchen roll to absorb and dampness. Filling your shoes will also help them maintain their shape for longer.

If your cycling shoes are not damp or wet simply give them a wipe over with a soft brush, never a hard brush, before putting them away. I recommend wiping over cycling shoes after each and every ride to keep them looking great.

Make sure your cleats are always clean. Dirty cleats can lead to problems getting out of the pedals, which is likely to be embarrassing. Regularly pick all debris out of the cleats and spray with oil (a thin chain lube is fine) to keep your cleats in top condition and stop them from rusting. If your cycling shoes have other levers regularly clean and grease these too.

Cleaning cycling shoes - The "Don'ts"

Never wash your cycling shoes in the washing machine. Washing your cycling shoes in this manner is likely to damage the washing machine and/or ruining your cycling shoes.

Always leave your cycling shoes to dry out naturally after sponging down or a wet ride. Trying to dry cycling shoes on the radiator, by the heater, or worse still in the tumble dryer is going to make the material go hard, brittle and crack.Never use strong detergents, strong washing powders or highly abrasive brushes to clean your cycling shoes.

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    • Edwardjames81 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @anonymous: I haven't had any personal experience with Sidi cycling shoes, neither has the wife, so I am in no position to give an opinion on any Sidi cycling shoes. I do own a pair of Sidi motorcycle boots and whilst these are exceptionally good I can't use my experience of these as a basis to comment on Sidi cycling shoes.

      If I ever get to try out a pair of Sidi shoes (and I think they are worth buying) I will definitely add them to my list, but until that day I am only going to include cycling shoes I have tried and tested.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hey where are SIDI. You have mentioned none form their line? Is this a joke?

    • gelbikini lm profile image

      gelbikini lm 

      5 years ago

      I need to buy a new pair of shoes, so this was a good read.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 

      5 years ago from Redcar

      A great selection - well presented.


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