Choosing a pair of cycling shoes isn’t such a simple task. 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 of 2017 (As We See It)

 

Road Triathlon
City

Specialized S-Works 6

Specialized S-Works 6 - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V Carbon

Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V Carbon - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Giro Republic LX

Giro Republic LX - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Shimano SH-R170

Shimano SH-R170 - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Specialized S-Works Trivent

Specialized S-Works Trivent - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Giro Republic

Giro Republic - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Specialized S-Works Sub6

Specialized S-Works Sub6 - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Bontrager Hilo RXL

Bontrager Hilo RXL - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Quoc Pham Urbanite

Quoc Pham Urbanite - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Bont Riot Road

Bont Riot Road - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Giro Mele Tri

Giro Mele Tri - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

Chrome Kursk Pro

Chrome Kursk Pro - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete AuditFull review

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.

 

Model:Pros:Cons:Review:Price:

Specialized S-Works 6


Specialized S-Works 6 - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Amazing comfort
+ Consistent fit
+ Ultra lightweight
+ BOA for easy adjustments
+ No-stretch fabric, ultra-stiff carbon sole, and secure heel fit
+ Very durable and lifetime BOA warranty
- Quite expensive; top-tier
- Break-in required
- Top BOA dial makes getting shoes on and off difficult
- Cold in winter
full-reviewcheckprices

Shimano SH-R170


Shimano SH-R170 - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Very stiff sole
+ Upper can be easily cleaned
+ Lightweight w/o decreased durability
+ Generous ventilation
+ Good heel support
+ Simple closure
- Limited colorwaysfull-reviewcheckprices

Specialized S-Works Sub6


Specialized S-Works Sub6 - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Extremely lightweight
+ Secure heel lockdown
+ Warp sleeve keeps laces in place
+ Stiff and light carbon sole
+ Low volume and aero
+ Laces for fine-tuning
+ Cheaper than S-Works 6
- Not insulated for winter
- Laces can't be adjusted while cycling
- Heel and ankle can be tight
full-reviewcheckprices

Bont Riot Road


Bont Riot Road - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Heat moldable fit
+ Very well ventilated
+ Excellent arch support
+ Simple single Velcro strap and ratchet
+ Performs like a top-end shoe for an affordable price
- Not super lightweight
- Velcro strap not the most secure
- Thin insole
- Might not be super comfortable
- Soles are not full carbon
full-reviewcheckprices

 

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.

 

Model:Pros:Cons:Review:Price:

Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V Carbon


Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V Carbon - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ No hotspots or pressure
+ Well ventilated; feet dry quickly
+ Light and stiff sole
+ Great padding/support
+ So comfy they can be used as a road shoe
+ Strap adjusts fit well
+ Great value
+ Heel loop for easy transitions
- Runs a little smallfull-reviewcheckprices

Specialized S-Works Trivent


Specialized S-Works Trivent - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Easy flying mounts
+ Superb ventilation
+ Superb power transfer
+ Very comfy sockless
+ Secure heel lockdown
- Very expensive; most won't need this shoe
- Some complain of hotspots
- Toe box can be narrow
- Limited color options
full-reviewcheckprices

Bontrager Hilo RXL


Bontrager Hilo RXL - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Easy on/off
+ Very efficient power transfer
+ Well-ventilated for heat
+ Fits a variety of feet widths
+ Very lightweight
+ Precise fit with room in the forefoot
- Not insulated for winter
- Very basic insole
full-reviewcheckprices

Giro Mele Tri


Giro Mele Tri - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Stiff sole for efficient pedaling
+ Relatively lightweight
+ Great ventilation
+ Comes w/ different insoles
+ Easy to get on and off
+ Narrow at forefoot
+ Good heel lockdown
- Nothing exceptional that stands out
- Could fit snug
- Can be uncomfortable without socks
full-reviewcheckprices

 

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.

 

Model:Pros:Cons:Review:Price:

Giro Republic LX


Giro Republic LX - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Leather version of the Republics
+ Highly durable leather and outsole
+ Comfortable for biking and walking
+ Can be used for different types of cycling
+ They look amazing
+ Tread pads are replaceable
+ Dark Shadow has better ventilation
+ Sepia Leather is waterproof
- Dark Shadow is not waterproof
- Sepia Leather not the most ventilated
- Not the best traction for wet floors
full-reviewcheckprices

Giro Republic


Giro Republic - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Comfortable on and off-bike
+ Very versatile
+ Looks simple yet classy
+ Replaceable tread pads
+ Amazing durability
+ Well ventilated most temps.
- Not waterproof
- Ventilation not suitable for both extremes
- Not the best traction on wet or glossy ground
full-reviewcheckprices

Quoc Pham Urbanite


Quoc Pham Urbanite - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Comes in lows and mids
+ Hardened midsole for efficicient pedaling
+ Very comfortable to walk and pedal in
+ Durable upper & outsole
+ Leather ages and softens well
- Cycling good but not great
- A little costly but worth it
- Not vegan
full-reviewcheckprices

Chrome Kursk Pro


Chrome Kursk Pro - Best Cycling Shoes - Athlete Audit

+ Stiff enough for efficient cycling
+ No hotspots
+ Walks in comfortably
+ Looks great casually
+ Recessed cleats make no noise
+ Durable Cordura upper and outsole
+ Won't break the bank
+ Lace storage keeps laces out of chain
- Not super lightweight
- Heel can slip out
- Not for long distance cycling
- Vent holes can let water in
- Sized larger; up to a full size larger
full-reviewcheckprices

 

Best Cycling Shoe Brands
  • R = Road
  • T = Triathlon
  • C = City / Casual

 

Bont (R/T) Bontrager (R/T) Chrome (C) DZR (C)
bont-logo bontrager-logo chrome-logo dzr-logo-2
fi’zi:k (R/T) Five Ten (C) Giro (R/T/C) Lake (R/T)
fizik-logo five-ten-logo giro-logo lake-logo
Louis Garneau (R/T) Mavic (R/T) Pearl Izumi (R/T/C) Quoc Pham (C)
louis-garneau-logo mavic-logo pearl-izumi-logo quoc-pham-logo
SCOTT (R/T) Shimano (R/T/C) SIDI (R/T) Specialized (R/T)
scott-logo shimano-logo sidi-logo specialized-logo