What’s the difference between cheap and expensive cycling shoes?
To a cyclist, every memorable adventure begins with several pairs of cycling shoes harmoniously locking into their respective pedals and pushing off into the sunset, ready to ride the road ahead. By securing you to the bike, a cycling shoe significantly improves foot stability, maximises efficiency and helps you tackle long roads and harsh terrain with confidence.
However, like everything in life – not all cycling shoes are made equal. With such a vast breadth of choice, it can be difficult to delineate the critical differences between a top-of-the-range shoe and an entry-level one. If you understand the differences between the two though, and how each area can affect the shoe-pedal interface, you’ll be much better equipped to select your next pair of cycling-specific kicks successfully.
One significant difference between an entry-level shoe and a higher-end shoe will be the material and quality of the sole. On most entry-level shoes, the soles are constructed from plastic, which is comparatively thicker and more flexible, than the stiffer, lighter carbon soles found on higher-end shoes. Because of this difference between sole materials, the higher-end shoe offers improved stiffness and platform stability, which translates to a notable improvement in power transfer and speed out on the road.
The Shimano RT5 road shoes which are listed below are a perfect example of a set of road shoes that are great for beginners but could lack the stiffness required by more experienced riders who are pushing more power through the pedals. The Shimano RP9’s, on the other hand, have a carbon sole, and as a result, will deliver power much more directly from rider to road.