How to Buy Cycling Shoes

How to Buy Cycling Shoes
Unlike shoes for a casual biker, cycling shoes are constructed for efficiency and durability. Stiff soles, minimal padding and exposed cleats are common features. You also need to consider closures, such as laces or snaps. Try on cycling shoes with a bike to determine if you can achieve a comfortable and solid pedal rotation without slipping or pinching. While cycling shoes are meant to fit snugly, too much pressure results in foot numbness and will affect your performance on the road.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Step 1
Decide if you want your cycling shoes to clip on to your pedal. New cyclists should focus on getting into shape and building endurance, and do not need cycling shoes. Seasoned cyclists clip shoes onto their pedals to give extra pull on their up strokes and down strokes.
Step 2
Determine if you need road biking shoes with exposed cleats or off-road cycling shoes with recessed cleats.
Step 3
Look at cycling shoes with a cleat that attaches to the bottom of your shoe. Try one on, and apply pressure to snap it into place on your pedal. Twist your heel out to release.
Step 4
Try on sizes that accommodate the width of your foot. Cycling shoes come in narrow, standard and wide. Men's and women's cycling shoes vary, as women's feet have higher arches and a narrower heel.
Step 5
Choose a lightweight sole made of fiberglass that promotes stability. Injection-molded plastic soles are cheaper, but also heavier and not as stiff. Shoes with ventilation will offer more comfort and keep your feet dry.
Step 6
Determine whether straps, laces or buckles are the most comfortable; you do not want them to apply excess pressure or cause numbness. Laces can easily get caught in your pedals and create a dangerous riding situation.
Step 7
Pull on a pair of cycling shoes with the heel cup tight enough to hold your heel in place as you pedal. Do not leave too much room at the end of your shoe, and allow light pressure on your instep. Cycling shoes are designed to fit snugly but comfortably.

Tips & Warnings

Do not look for padding in cycling shoes. This interferes with pedaling and is not recommended unless you are a casual biker.
Do not walk in cycling shoes to determine their comfort. Test them on a bike with full pedal rotations.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.