How To Choose Cycling Shoes

Last update: 2021-11-24

Mostly for convenience and comfort for cyclists on the track, cycling shoes are designed to be light and stiff for efficient pedaling, often equipped with mesh panels to keep them in place. allow their feet to breathe, prevent heat retention during activity, and keep them cool in the summer, and the soles are also designed to accommodate clip-free pedals.

In fact, you can ride a bike with any type of shoe, including sandals or sandals. But that is only for those who occasionally cycle around the house or large yards. But once you've entered professional cycling, preparing for the annual cycling competitions, you should invest in yourself a pair of cycling shoes because they are designed specifically for cycling. Most cycling shoes are stiffer for better performance. It also depends on the model you are going for, such as road cycling, mountain biking or commuting to work and running errands around town.

Overall, cycling shoes have a good construction to keep the foot firmly on the pedals of the bike. What's more, many shoes are designed with 2-hole or 3-hole soles for you to clip onto the pedals without clamps, allowing you to pedal more efficiently. On the other hand, thanks to bicycle shoes, everyone's training process will be stronger in the midfoot and pedals. Besides, with the design and pedals with shoe hooks as described above.

They give you control and stability on the roads. To better understand the function of cycling shoes, regular cycling shoes only apply force on the pedal on the way down when you push the pedal. If it's a cycling shoe, you're not only applying force to the pedals when pushing, but also when backing up. This gives you more balance and doesn't strain your leg muscles too much.

In general, choose the cycling shoe that corresponds to the type of bike you want to use to secure the shoes. To better analyze each shoe type and how to correctly identify each spot on a shoe, let's explain the differences between the types of bike shoes and an overview of the information.

1. Types of cycling shoes

Mountain cycling shoes

How To Choose Cycling ShoesMountain cycling shoes are known as SPD shoes, which means Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. This type of SPD shoe works by using a two-hole system to attach the sole to the pedal. Therefore, it is also considered a shoe with a flexible design and provides the driver with the ability to react faster when used. In terms of design, they are shaped like a hiking shoe but in fact can be used for both purposes.

For grippy mountain bike shoes with a non-rigid sole that is great for hiking use, made from a rubber sole that also provides more traction when walking. In addition, the cycling shoes are equipped with an inner sole for increased flexibility.

Therefore, it is important when choosing shoes that are suitable for the type of pedal you are using. On the other hand, in addition to non-clamping climbing shoes, there are also hiking boots that do not have a snug fit. And for use with straight pedals only. The bikers can choose from one of two styles such as flat or clip. Before participating such as:

  • Clipless mountain cycling shoes: use a two-pin system (like SPD, crankbrothers or Time). Unlike others cycling shoes, the soles are often recessed inside to make it easier to walk on trails or other places. Ideal for riding, long-distance running or non-tech. However, you can choose this pair to bring comfort when operating in cases.
  • Flat mountain cycling shoes: most of these pairs do not have a base and are well suited to flatter and wider pedals. With a rubber base, it will create a stronger traction for the pedal. So not clamping helps you move quickly forward. They are also great choices for casual riding, trail riding.
  • Pedal compatibility: for grips, two-hole locking systems from manufacturers such
    as SPD, crankbrothers, and other brands are used. Moreover, about the mountain climbing has some features to know more like: quality of cycling shoes based on a price, higher prices get you stiffer soles, light weight, better foot or ankle protection, extra lining water resistance and additional hook and loop straps or buckle and ratchet straps provide a strong feel for the foot. In addition, some shoes add removable toe spikes for traction in soft, loose soil.

Road cycling shoes

How To Choose Cycling ShoesRoad bike shoes are more limited in flexibility. Because they are designed for cycling only, the soles of road cycling are often very stiff and are made of plastic or carbon to give highly inflexibility to the user. Thanks to the stiffness of the shoe, they allow the rider to transmit more force. In general, the sole does not concave into the sole but protrudes outward, which also contributes to discomfort when wearing shoes on long distances.

On the contrary, they are usually much lighter in weight. The road cycling shoes, on the other hand, can use both a two-hole and a three-hole system, known as SPD-SL. The word SL is interpreted as the Italian word "Superleggera", which means "Ultra-light". Along with many special features included lightweight construction, comfortable exterior and great ventilation, so it is divided into two distinctive parts:

  • Hard soles are more suitable and facilitate the transfer of force to the pedals because they are a high-performance product.
  • Shoes that are not designed for prolonged walking often have soles that will lack traction, are not flexible quickly, notice the spikes protruding from the soles, it will create a knocking sound when walking.

Road bike shoes are not clamped by the pedals, so the pads under the shoes are firmly attached to the pedals. Clipless pedal systems create for greater performance and efficiency as you need to transmit power while pulling up and pushing down on the pedals too. It also has pedal compatibility features. Pedal compatibility:

  • 3-hole cleats: these are typically drilled into the base to accept nails and pedals from Look, Time, and Shimano (SPD-SL) manufacturers. For the three-hole groove
    system that provides stability and good energy transfer when riding the bike. In
    addition, the large cushions can spread the force applied to the pedal over a large area. This will help reduce pressure on the points and easily pedal hard to the finish line.
  • 2-hole cleats: however, there are still some shoes on the market that use 2-holes (apart from 3-hole locking systems), thanks to a combination of pedals from
    manufacturers Shimano (SPD), crankbrothers or Time.

Note that when buying shoes, consider the type of cycling you plan to participate in. For maximum efficiency and pedal power, shoes with stiff, lightweight soles are recommended. However, there are additional carbon fibers that limit weight reduction and increase sole rigidity for fast performance, but they also come at a hefty price tag.
Next case, if you spend a lot of time getting on and off your bike or just go sightseeing, a pair of double track mountain bike shoes or city bike shoes for walking.

Casual cycling shoes

How To Choose Cycling ShoesThe casual cycling shoes are acrobatic shoes and are suited for urban cycling classes, recreational outdoor and indoor cycling. It is known that they are a combination of cycling shoes and regular sports shoes. In general, basic cycling shoes will offer compatibility with gripless pedal systems, but feature a rubber outsole and concave sole for everyday walking needs.

But they are not as stiff as other cycling shoes, due to the fact that casual cycling shoes will reduce the effect on your pedaling force a bit. However, you can feel comfortable walking on and more stylish. If you don't have a lot of need for cycling, this is the shoe of choice for many light walks. Like the mountain cycling shoes, the pedal compatibility shoes typically use a two-hole or flat style without a sole. And they will become more flexible and efficient for both cycling and walking.

2. Measure the fit of cycling shoes

How To Choose Cycling Shoes

Choosing a pair of bike shoes is not as easy as other sports shoes because when you go to bicycle shops there are all kinds of shoes, all types and sizes, shapes and uses for you. choose. However, the first thing you should do is put on a pair of thin cycling socks before trying them on.

Also depending on the brand or the type of shoes not for cycling will have different sizes. Starting out with bike shoes should tend to fit, comfortable types because most of them have hard soles. And all shoes allow enough room for your toes to move, the arch should be snug and supportive and help prevent your foot from sliding up and down.

Moreover, you will not be surprised that when wearing bicycle shoes, when trying on shoes, you almost feel the heel slip when walking. Don't worry because of the stiffness of the sole, which is designed to support the foot in a more stable position while cycling. On the other hand, there are different sizes based on regions like the USA or Europe, so you can preview your foot sizes on the sizing charts before you buy.

3. Caring the cycling shoes

How To Choose Cycling Shoes

For cycling shoes to be used for a long time on the racetrack, and even later. Cleaning cycling shoes is very important because this can greatly ensure the durability of the shoes, some ways to protect the shoes are like using a towel or rag to clean when dirty.

If the stains are difficult to clean, you can use an additional brush to work on the surface of the shoe with warm water and soap. After that, make sure to dry your wet shoes completely, possibly removing the foot pads to let them dry separately.

Or apply a boot dryer as for this way warm air flows to dry the shoes in a few hours. For added convenience, excess newspaper can be used to wrap shoes and keep them overnight and remove the newspaper when you want to use the shoes because the paper has good moisture absorption. However, it depends on how wet it is to apply suitable methods.

4. Understanding how to assemble and replace accessories

How To Choose Cycling Shoes

If you choose a bike for your daily sport, the accessories that go with them are equally important, so you should also regularly check for wear and replace the spikes of the soles. The telltale signs are when you feel or notice the pads become hard to remove or start to release with intense activity.

Plus, go to the bike shop from time to time to check the accessories, especially the soles, as they connect to the pedals of the bike and thanks to the inspection process, you can go straight ahead strong forward. The second is the pad, which can be understood as the pads to fit the pedal, from which you must know what type of pedal is and choose the pad. If you are a beginner, a basic option is to wear REI soles or ask someone who specializes in them for advice.

5. Features and accessories of cycling shoes

Some features you need to know before you choose bike shoes, especially how to make shoes.

The first is that the shoelaces are fit and comfortable, easily adjustable. But they are easy to get wet and dirty under extreme conditions. When deciding on lace-up shoes, make sure the ends of the shoe are short enough or tightly tied to avoid getting caught in the leash.

Second are the hook-and-loop straps for quick closure and can withstand wet conditions. Usually the straps will stretch less and will be more likely to be held tight. In general, cycling shoes have two or three straps, the more straps can adjust the fit of the shoe.

Third, the notched cam straps with buckles is also more expensive with knurling and buckle, but this duo offers high strength and safety.

The fourth is dialing/ratcheting the cable lace shoe with the dial system being tightened to the cable. When you want to adjust, just turn a knob. In addition, the dials have a quick release system to complete the fasteners faster.

Cycling shoe covers are used in cold weather or wet areas. Besides, you can add a shoe cover to the bike shoes. Usually they will be made of rubber so it is easy to provide insulation and water resistance. The soles are designed with cutouts suitable for insoles or shoes with lugs.

Toe wraps will reduce the cold when you are active, you can choose toe covers because they are less cumbersome to cover shoes.


No matter what type of bicycle you participate in, investing in a pair of cycling shoes is an indispensable thing to pay attention to if you intend to choose this sport for the long term.

There will be three basic types of shoes and the functions that we have shared, although they will not be of much assistance, our information believes that it will provide a thin knowledge surface, help you better understand the type you choose and pursue.

In addition, gearinstant information may be quite reasonable for someone with a medical condition and choosing the right shoes for the impact of objective factors. In case you use shoes a lot at high intensity, you should also check the insoles to change regularly. Or locks if you find a problem, another suggestion when you don't have much time, bicycle repair shops will help you check it. Thanks for reading.

Jessie Swift
Jessie Swift

"I'm Jessie, being an author for gearinstant, an office job? No, with internet, I can be a digital nomad everywhere, I enjoyed cycling, running whenever I can. I'd love to share my experience from the gears, useful tips and learned for everybody who have the same passion like me."

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