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Cycling Shoes for Your Comfort, Safety, and Performance

What do serene gravel rides, indoor sweat-fest cycling sessions, and mountain bike shredding have in common?

Cycling-specific shoes make a real difference. 

Since cycling shoes form a key contact point between bike and rider, they offer several advantages over traditional footwear. 

For those who are interested in riding with clips, clipping into pedals maintains correct foot position throughout your pedal stroke. This improves stability and alignment for a safer ride. It also engages more muscle groups, since you can pull up on the pedals as well as pushing down. The added stiffness in cycling shoe soles increases power transfer for greater efficiency and helps to reduce fatigue in your foot muscles. Additionally, the use of breathable materials and on-the-fly adjustability give comfort a boost. 

For those of you who want to rock and roll on flat pedals, you will benefit from a shoe with a sticky sole. Cycling-specific shoes have a lot more tech focused on keeping your feet on the pedals. If you don't want to find out what a pedal to the shin feels like, these are your best option.  

Whether you’re training indoors, heading for your local trails, or discovering the local gravel, cycling shoes are an essential piece of gear for getting the most out of your ride.

Check Cleat Compatibility

Cycling shoes come in two different cleat mounting interfaces. The cleat mounts on the shoe must match the pedal cleat interface to be compatible. Shoes with a 2-bolt mount (commonly called “SPD”) are standard for mountain, cyclocross, and some entry-level road bike pedals. Meanwhile, shoes with a 3-bolt mount are only compatible with road pedals. Some shoes include both cleat mounts for universal compatibility. If not, be certain that you match your pedals, cleats, and shoe styles. 

If you need any help or guidance, our friendly team members will help you find the right match.

2-bolt or SPD
Primarily for mountain shoes

3-bolt or Look/SPD-SL
Primarily for road shoes

Woman riding road bike with road shoes

Road Cycling Shoes

There’s a road shoe for enthusiasts new to the sport, recreational athletes and triathletes, and everyone in-between. 

Entry-level road shoes are typically roomier and built with more flex. They are easier to walk in than performance shoes and designed with comfort in mind.

Cycling shoes designed for performance and racing fit snugly and have stiffer soles (to minimize the loss of power transfer from shoe flex). The emerging category of gravel road shoes strike a balance between road and mountain styles, combining the stiffness and low weight of a road racing shoe with the minimum tread for comfortable walkability.

People riding mountain bikes with mountain shoes

Clipless Mountain Bike Shoes

Designed for off-road adventures, clipless mountain bike shoes feature durable construction and extra tread for hiking over rocks, loose dirt, and wet roots. Shoes with clip-in functionality (known as clipless) increase pedaling efficiency and prevent your feet from slipping around on the pedals while covering aggressive terrain or flying through the air. These trend from ultra-lightweight cross-country racing shoes with maximum sole stiffness to trail/enduro styles with grippy tread compounds for better traction on hike-a-bike sections of trail.

People riding mountain bikes with mountain shoes

Flat-Pedal Mountain Bike Shoes

Flat-pedal mountain bike shoes don’t clip into the pedals but rely on high-quality rubber and intelligent design to grip hard to the flat pedals. If you've ever ridden a mountain bike in regular runners then switched to mountain-bike-specific shoes, you'll know just how significant a difference there is between mountain-bike-specific shoes and other sport soles. 

Flat shoes are common for enduro, downhill, and dirt jumping, but some riders simply prefer them over clipping in.

Shop Our Cycling Shoe Selection

Find Your Cycling Shoe Fit

Cycling shoes should fit comfortably without being too snug. Fit often varies between brands, so stop by our shop to try on a few different models (wear the same socks you plan to ride in). Look for shoes with a little extra room in the toe box to allow your feet to naturally swell on longer rides. When shopping online, be sure and reference sizing charts before purchasing - remember, we only offer store credit for online purchases for change of mind. (You can review our return policy here.)

Mounting cleats onto shoes is a very important step, both for your comfort and to avoid injury. Cleat position affects the alignment of your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Given the repeated motion of cycling, it’s important to dial them in just right — a challenging task even for experienced cyclists. It’s a good idea to schedule a professional bike fit, which includes fine-tuning the angle and fore-aft position of your cleats, in order to ensure proper alignment. Get in touch with us to arrange yours. 

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