Deciding on the best cycling shoes for you isn’t as easy as naming your firstborn child. It’s actually A LOT more difficult than that. There are a ton of different factors that go into producing a quality cycling shoe, and a lot you’ll have to consider when selecting a pair. If you haven’t yet, read through our guide on how to choose cycling shoes to learn what’s most important. But if you are already confident with what you need, you can continue on. In this article, we cover what our top picks are in the category of road, triathlon, and city cycling shoes. That way, there will be something here for all types of cyclists. As for all the off-road cyclists and mountain bikers, we’ll cover our top picks on these in another article. With this in mind, let’s find out what we think are the best cycling shoes.
Best Cycling Shoes (As We See It)
Best Road Cycling Shoes
With a smooth, blank outsole, road cycling shoes are built primarily for, you guessed it, the road. Road shoes should be well vented with a quick and easy closure system. Ratchets, velcro, or BOA lacing will work best, although some shoes incorporate laces for fine-tuning fit. The best type of material for the sole is probably carbon fiber, as it is very stiff and lightweight. You will also want to stick with upper materials that don’t stretch, such as synthetics, composites, and mesh.
With that being said, let’s talk about our top choices for road cycling shoes. Our first pick is the Specialized S-Works 6, which costs a pretty penny but performs superbly in all categories. Next up is the Shimano SH-R170, which is an affordable mid-range shoe that pedals efficiently and comfortably. The Specialized S-Works Sub6 is a minimized version of the S-Works 6 and uses laces instead of BOA and velcro for fastening, which has its own advantages. Lastly we have the Bont Riot Road, featuring heat moldable fit and tons of comfort and ventilation.
Best Triathlon Cycling Shoes
Next we have the best cycling shoes built specifically for triathlons, which offer faster and easier power transfer. Triathlon cycling shoes are also quick to slip in and out of, can be adjusted while riding, and are comfortable for long-distance riding, which is what triathlons usually consist of. Although very similar to road cycling shoes, these key differences are what separate them in use.
Thus, here are our top picks. First off, we have the Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V Carbon, which are highly affordable yet ticks off all the requirements you’d be looking for in a triathlon shoe. Then there are the top-tier Specialized S-Works Trivent, which are very costly but offer the quickest transitioning when working your way into T2. The Bontrager Hilo RXL follow closely behind and performs well in all categories we grade. Finally you have the Giro Mele Tri which are efficient, breathable, and don’t compromise on support or comfort.
Best City Cycling Shoes
When you’re looking to cycle around town or commute, city cycling shoes will be your best friends. Because only amateurs cycle around the city in clip ins or platform pedals. City cycling shoes will look like casual or light cycling shoes but with a clipless 2-bolt pedal system so you can pedal efficiently while also being able to walk in them comfortably.
Let’s take a look at our favorites. The most stylish would have to be the Giro Republic LX, which looks simple yet elegant with its beautiful leather that looks better as it ages. Then you have the non-leather versions which are the Giro Republic, which offer a bit more ventilation then the previously aforementioned. Then there’s the Quoc Pham Urbanite, which conveniently comes in low or mid-tops to suit your style and needs. Lastly, there are the Chrome Kursk Pro, which can blend into any city environment without compromising either on or off-bike performance.
Best Cycling Shoe Brands
|Bont (R/T)||Bontrager (R/T)||Chrome (C)||DZR (C)|
|fi’zi:k (R/T)||Five Ten (C)||Giro (R/T/C)||Lake (R/T)|
|Louis Garneau (R/T)||Mavic (R/T)||Pearl Izumi (R/T/C)||Quoc Pham (C)|
|SCOTT (R/T)||Shimano (R/T/C)||SIDI (R/T)||Specialized (R/T)|