Guides

Top 10 Best Cycling Shoes

Top 10 Best Cycling Shoes 

A good pair of cycling shoes are essential for any cyclist. By providing support and stability when pedalling, the best cycling shoes will give you the confidence to ride further, harder, faster and in greater comfort. Cycling shoes with a stiffer sole will also aide power transfer, helping to maximise rider efficiency and speed out on the road.  

Cyclist wearing Northwave Extreme Pro cycling shoes

However, with so many brands, types, and models of cycling shoes on the market, finding the best pair for you and the riding you do most can be challenging. Thankfully, we’re here to help.

In this journal article, we’ll go through the key areas you’ll need to consider when buying your next pair of cycling shoes, and take a closer look at some of the best cycling shoes.  Before we go any further, here’s our list of the best cycling shoes – 

  1. Bont Vaypor S Cycling Shoes
  2. Lake MX218 Carbon MTB Shoes
  3. Shimano RP9 Carbon Cycling Shoes
  4. SIDI Ergo 5 Cycling Shoes
  5. Bont Riot + MTB Shoes
  6. Northwave Extreme Pro Road Shoes 
  7. DMT KR3 Carbon Road Shoes 
  8. Lake CX176 Road Shoes  
  9. Giro Prolight Techlace Road Cycling Shoes
  10. Shimano XC5 MTB Cycling Shoes 

Chris Froome Wearing SIDI cycling shoes

How To Choose The Best Cycling Shoes 

When choosing the best cycling shoes for you, the riding you’ll be doing and your budget, you’ll need to consider three main areas. Cleat compatibility, closure system, and sole material. 

Cleat Compatibility 

Broadly, cycling shoes fit into two categories – mountain bike shoes and road cycling shoes. Each has a distinct cleat design, which influences the type of pedals you can use and riding you can do.  

On one hand, mountain bike shoes (like the Lake MX218 MTB shoes seen above) have a recessed four-bolt cleat and a tread pattern on the sole. As a result, mountain bike shoes are easier to walk in, significantly more robust, and ideal if you ride on gravelly, rocky terrain, or walk around a lot.  Importantly, you can only use mountain bike pedals with mountain bike shoes.  

Road cycling shoes on the other hand (like the Lake CX218 Road shoes seen below), have a smooth sole with a larger, three-bolt cleat. Without a tread pattern, these types of cycling shoe are significantly lighter, making them better for out-and-out performance road riding. Broadly, you’ll only be able to use road pedals with road cycling shoes. 

Closure System 

All cycling shoes have at least one of four main closure systems – Velcro, ratchets, Boa dials or laces 

Velcro closure systems are typically found on the cheapest shoes, offering a secure fit but aren’t easily adjustable on the fly. Ratchets are another closure system. Generally found on mid-range shoes, ratchets provide both a secure fit and good adjustability but tend to be significantly heavier than other closure systems.  

Cyclist wearing Bont Vaypor S cycling shoes

Boa dials (like those pictured above) are often found on top of the range performance cycling shoes. Being very light and offering ease of adjustability, Boa dials are a favourite among the pro peloton. Lastly, we have laces. While laces are by far the lightest closure system and offer a very precise fit initially, they offer minimal adjustability once you’re on the bike.  

Sole Material 

Sole material is another area you ‘ll need to consider when trying to find the best cycling shoes 

Typically, the cheapest pair of cycling shoes will have a nylon sole, which provides adequate foot supportcomfort, and better power transfer than regular shoesMid-range cycling shoes will have partial carbon sole, which provides better support and power transfer for longer days in the saddle. Finally, top of the range shoes will generally have a full -carbon sole, which optimises power transfer to help you ride faster. 

While we’ve covered most areas of consideration, if you want more information on what separates the most expensive cycling shoes from the cheapest cycling shoes, check out the article below

The Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Cycling Shoes

Guides

The Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Cycling Shoes

While all cycling shoes can help to increase foot stability and power transfer compared to regular footwear, like everything in life – not all cycling shoes are made equal. In this article, we discuss some of the critical differences between cheap and expensive cycling shoes, and the impact that these differences can have on your riding.

2019-08-09 17:10:38By ProBikeKit

  1. Bont Vaypor S Road Shoes
    £226.49 Buy now with Probikekit

    Bont Vaypor S Road Shoes

    With a broad, full carbon sole, the Bont Vaypor S road shoes are an extremely stiff pair of cycling shoes by any standard. Thanks to the fully mouldable sole, they also provide an incredible fit for lasting comfort. By combining a well-ventilated synthetic upper with a roomy toe box, these cycling shoes promise to keep your feet fresh from the first pedal stroke to the last. 

    ✓   Full carbon sole

    ✓   Mouldable

    ✓   Wide fit

    ✓   Well-ventilated synthetic upper

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. Lake MX218 Carbon MTB Shoes
    £190.00 Buy now with Probikekit

    Lake MX218 Carbon MTB Shoes

    Equipped with a 100% carbon sole and real rubber tread, the Lake MX218 Carbon MTB shoes promise incredible stiffness and durability. Thanks to the perforated synthetic upper, these shoes will keep your feet cool in summer and dry in winter, making them a perfect choice for year-round riding. Again, like many shoes on this list, these cycling shoes come with a single Boa dial to ensure a proper, precise fit. 

    ✓   Full carbon sole

    ✓   Rubber tread on the sole ensures a good grip when walking

    ✓   Synthetic upper ensures protection from the elements.

    ✓   Boa dial allows adjustable, precise fit

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. Shimano RP9 Road Shoes
    £148.99 Buy now with Probikekit

    Shimano RP9 Road Shoes

    The Shimano RP9 carbon cycling shoes offer almost all the performance of top-end shoes, at a fraction of the cost. While the full carbon sole offers incredible support, they also help to dampen road buzz and improve comfort on rough surfaces. With a Boa dial closure system, they’re very adjustable, and thanks to the heavy ventilation throughout, they’ll keep your feet cool and comfortable even during the height of summer.  

    ✓   Full carbon sole offers great support and power transfer

    ✓   Boa dial closure system

    ✓   Heavily ventilated throughout for cool, comfortable fit

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. SIDI Ergo 5 Road Shoes
    £260.00 Buy now with Probikekit

    SIDI Ergo 5 Road Shoes

    Boasting many of the same features found on Sidi’s top of the range shoes, the SIDI Ergo 5 cycling shoes offer incredible value for money. Thanks to the Italian handstitched construction, these shoes are exceptionally durable, promising incredible reliability season after season. Additionally, with a slightly wider full carbon sole and two Boa-like dials, these shoes offer best-in-class fit, comfort and power transfer. 

    ✓    Durable, handstitched upper

    ✓    A wider carbon sole offers good stability and power transfer

    ✓    Boa-like dials allow you to dial your fit to perfection

    Buy now with free delivery
  5. Bont Riot+ MTB Shoes
    £118.99 Buy now with Probikekit

    Bont Riot+ MTB Shoes

    At this reasonably modest price, you get one heck of a bang for your buck. With a fully mouldable carbon sole, these shoes provide both incredible stiffness and a near-enough custom fit (which is unheard of in this price category). Thanks to the real-rubber tread on the bottom of the sole, they’re easy to walk inoffer good grip on uneven surfaces, and are incredibly robustThey also come in a road-specific model too.  

    ✓    Incredible value for money 

    ✓    Fully mouldable carbon sole

    ✓    Grippy tread makes them easy to walk in and durable

    ✓    Come in the road-specific model too

    Buy now with free delivery
  6. Northwave Extreme Pro Road Shoes
    £300.00 Buy now with Probikekit

    Northwave Extreme Pro Road Shoes

    With a full carbon sole that measures 15 out of 15 on Northwave’s stiffness scale, the Northwave Extreme Pro road shoes ensure that no watt is wasted out on the road. Equipped with a super-thin reinforced upper, these shoes conform closely to your foot to provide a glove-like fit and come with two Boa-style dials for incredible adjustability on the fly. Ventilation is in no short supply either. With plenty of perforation throughout the upper and sole of the shoe, these shoes are perfect for racing during the height of summer. 

    ✓    Full carbon soles provide an incredibly stiff platform

    ✓    Fitted upper offers incredible comfort

    ✓    Dual boa-style dial design ensures proper fit

    ✓    Highly ventilated throughout to keep your feet fresh and cool

    Buy now with free delivery
  7. DMT KR3 Carbon Road Shoes
    £210.00 Buy now with Probikekit

    DMT KR3 Carbon Road Shoes

    Weighing just 225-grams per pair, the DMT KR3 road shoes are an incredibly lightweight pair of road cycling shoes designed for pure performance. With a knitted upper, these shoes provide a comfortable, breathable fit, perfect for long days in the saddle. Like many cycling shoes on this list, they come equipped with Boa dials which allow you to adjust your fit on the go.  

    ✓    Weigh just 225-grams per pair

    ✓    Fully knitted upper provides plenty of comfort and ventilation

    ✓    Boa dial allows precise fit on-the-go

    Buy now with free delivery
  8. Lake CX176 Road Shoes
    £130.00 Buy now with Probikekit

    Lake CX176 Road Shoes

    Thanks to the respectably stiff fibreglass-reinforced sole, these shoes provide much better foot support than many other shoes in this price category. Similarly, they also include genuine Boa closure system allowing you to dial your fit very effectivelyImportantly, like many shoes within Lake’s range, the CX176 comes in a standard fit and wide fit to ensure you can find the perfect shoes for your feet. 

    ✓    Fibreglass sole balances stiffness and comfort

    ✓    Include genuine Boa dials

    ✓    Comes in both a standard and wide fit

    Buy now with free delivery
  9. Giro Prolight Techlace Road Shoes
    £203.49 Buy now with Probikekit

    Giro Prolight Techlace Road Shoes

    There are lightweight cycling shoes, and then there’s these. Weighing an incredible 160 grams in a size 42.5, the Giro Prolight Techlace shoes are the ultimate pair of weight weenie kicks. Giro have achieved such low weight with a woven upper, laced closure system and intricate, no expense spared design details (even the cleat bolt fixtures are titanium)Thanks to the full carbon sole, they offer incredible power transfer too, meaning they won’t flex when laying down serious watts at the local hill climb. 

    ✓    Weigh an incredible 160-grams

    ✓    Combined lace and Velcro closed system

    ✓    Full carbon sole

    Buy now with free delivery
  10. Shimano XC5 MTB Shoes - Grey/Orange
    £78.79 Buy now with Probikekit

    Shimano XC5 MTB Shoes - Grey/Orange

    This cross-country shoe with an aggressive treaded sole and fixtures for spikes, allows these shoes to excel on muddy terrain and over the roughest surfaces. Thanks to the synthetic leather upper, they also provide excellent protection against the wetter elements. By combining a nylon outer with carbon midsole, these shoes provide excellent comfort and stiffness compared with others at this price point. While the laces don’t allow adjustment on the fly, they do offer a more precise fit across the foot and a classic look for the style conscience cyclist. 

    ✓    Aggressive tread pattern, and fixtures for spikes

    ✓    Synthetic upper provides protection against elements

    ✓    Stiff yet comfortable sole

    ✓    Laces offer a classic look and precise fit across the foot

    Buy now with free delivery


Thomas Flynn

Thomas Flynn

Writer and expert

With almost a decade of riding under his belt, Tom has dabbled in almost every major cycling discipline. These days, he's usually found aboard his fixed-gear gravel bike tackling the best trails and towpaths around Manchester and the Peak District.