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8 Best Road Cycling Shoes: Beginners to Pro | Men’s & Women’s

Are you looking for optimized power transfer from your pedaling? Do you finally want improve your cycling results once and for all? The answer to these questions is probably yes, which is why this article is really essential to you.

The best road cycling shoes will definitely offer you optimal power transfer, hence a faster and longer ride guaranteed. Other than that, the shoes are breathable to enhance a serene road breeze reaching your toes. Besides that, the shoes are lightweight and really comfortable.

Anyway, we got you a collection of the top 9 picks in the market, and, as always, follow up with an ultimate buying guide.

Best Road Cycling Shoes: Top 8 Picks

We have categorized the shoes into those suitable for men and women. Let’s do a quick view if you’re in a hurry and you can also find the deep review of every Road Cycling Shoes by scrolling down.

  1. Fizik R5 Road Cycling Shoe – Best Men’s & Women’s Road Cycling Shoes
  2. Giro Empire E70 – Best Men’s Road Cycling Shoes
  3. Pearl Izumi – Best Spd Road Cycling Shoes
  4. Fizik R1 Infinito – Best Beginner Road Cycling Shoes
  5. Sidi Wire 2 – Best Sidi Road Cycling Shoes
  6. Bont Vaypor S – Best Entry Level Road Cycling Shoes      
  7. Gavin Pro – Best Road Cycling Shoes for Narrow Feet
  8. Tiebao – Best Budget Road Cycling Shoes

Let’s dive into a well-researched list of the 9 road cycling shoes that you can consider for efficient and convenient road cycling expeditions.

1. Fizik R5 Road Cycling Shoe – Best Men’s & Women’s Road Cycling Shoes

  • Material: Microtex, nylon composite
  • Gender: unisex
  • Cleat system used: 3-bolt

With wide feet, your shoe choice has to be wise. For one, you have to size up, and even when you do, some shoes will simply turn out longer but still narrow. To curb this instance, we recommend this Fizik R5 Road Cycling Shoe. It has a sleek appearance, yet offers a wider box.

Moreover, it is basically synthetic, hence quality and durability obvious. The asymmetrical design is meant for an ergonomic fit for a perfect foot comfort.

Also, the shoe facilitates breathability, through the numerous pores on the upper part of the shoe. Hence, hotspots will be minimal, while ventilation improves.

For optimal power transfer and comfort, the shoe features a nylon composite outsole, which is really rigid. It is smooth, and in a 3-hole cleat design.

Finally, you have color and color combination options with the shoe, namely black, black/ pink, white/ black, navy/ black, coral/ black, and black/ dark grey.

Pros
  • Quality and durable material
  • Perfect fit for wide feet.
  • Optimal power transfer by a carbon reinforced outsole
  • Several color options available
Cons
  • The ventilation is only on the upper shoe
  • It doesn’t allow for walking
Our Verdict
If you have wide feet, then you must understand the strain of getting quite a fitting shoe. Hence, getting a shoe that assures you of performance and the ideal fit is the best addition to your cycling

Related post: 6 Best Women’s Indoor Cycling Shoes 2020 [Top 6 Picks]

2. Giro Empire E70 – Best Men’s Road Cycling Shoes

  • Material: microfiber and mesh, nylon injected outsole
  • Gender: Men
  • Cleat system used: Universal (2-bolt and 3-bolt)

This shoe is compatible with most cleat systems. These include Look Keo, Look Delta, SPD, SPD-SL, Time, Crank Brothers among others.

In addition, the shoe’s breathability is impressive. It features a breathable microfiber, blended with a mesh upper. With such a combination, you will not just benefit from breathability but also a supportive durable fit.

Besides, the shoe uses the BOA L6 dial closure, which is adjustable via an instant release. Working in unison with the forefoot strap, your foot gets an ergonomic and secure fit.

Bringing optimized power transfer is the nylon injected outsole, hand in hand with a stainless hardware. With this, you will obviously need assurance of comfort and durability, which the help pads provide. And let’s not forget the die-cut Eva footbed, which facilitates medium arch support to your feet.

Lastly, the shoe comes in combined color options that you can’t help but fall in love with. These include grey heather/ highlight yellow, black/ charcoal heather, and, white/ black.

Pros
  • Suitable for most cleat systems
  • Secure closure system
  • Quality and durable material
  • Power transfer assured
Cons
  • Narrower for the wide feet
  • Not suitable for walking
Our Verdict
Though not suitable for every cleat system in the market, Giro Empire E70 Knit Men’s Road Cycling Shoes accommodate the most common ones. More relieving is the fact that even with the other cleat systems, you can use an adapter and still use the shoe.

3. Pearl Izumi – Best Spd Road Cycling Shoes

  • Material: synthetic and textile/ mesh, rubber
  • Gender: Men
  • Cleat system used: 2 cleat system

First off, the sole of this shoe is made of rubber, which is semi-rigid. Other than cycling, you will have the option to walk in the cycling shoe.

That does not mean that the shoe ceases from being an awesome biking choice. Injected into the rubber sole is a nylon plate, which facilitates power transfer and great efficiency on the road. Besides, the shoe is 2-cleat compatible, and clip-in shoes further facilitate power transfer.

The upper is bonded seamless textile and synthetic composite, so that you not only get optimal durability, but are also assured of comfort. Breathability from the mesh parts of the upper shoe is undeniable, so that heat buildup does not bring in discomfort.

Amazingly, the shoe has a lace closure, which is not common in cycling shoes. Therefore, it represents a regular shoe, while the lace features an inbuilt garage to prevent drivetrain interference during cycling.

The shoe is available in two color options, so you can either go with rogue red or black/ grey.

Pros
  • You can walk in the cycling shoe
  • Light and comfortable feel
  • Regular shoe outlook
  • Highly breathable
Cons
  • Narrower fit
  • More flexible sole compared to other cycling shoes
Our Verdict
When looking for a shoe you can commute with, walkability is also in your mind, since you need some stops. That’s why we brought you our top pick from Pearl Izumi, which facilitates walking.

4. Fizik R1 Infinito – Best Beginner Road Cycling Shoes

  • Material: Microtel laser perforated, Vented UD Carbon, lightweight
  • Gender: Men
  • Cleat system used: 3-bolt

A nice feel of power transfer is one of the major reasons you would look for road cycling shoes. That’s why we brought you the Fizik R1 choice, which you will love. With vented UD carbon outsole that is really rigid, you can’t expect less. Then there is the 3-bolt cleat system, which improves the experience.

Adding the effective arch support and volume control system, the shoe is so comfortable and secure. More than that is the textile material, which pressure points and enhances the high-intensive riding.

Besides, the shoe features a double BOA IP1-B dials, coupled with steel-coated nylon shoe laces. Thus, configuration, adjustment and comfort will be all yours.

For optimal breathability, the upper shoe has 1.2mm lacer perforations on the Microtel material. And then there are the minimal almost-invisible seams, which make the shoe upper flexible and comfortable.

Available in 3 color alternatives, you will get the shoe in either black, red/ black, or white/ black.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Power transfer
Cons
  • Not suitable for walking
  • Only in men sizes
Our Verdict
When the definition of your road shoe is absolute power transfer, then the Fizik R1 model is an excellent option. You not only get to cycle faster but increasing your duration on the road becomes automatic.

5. Sidi Wire 2 – Best Sidi Road Cycling Shoes

  • Material: Microfiber, vent carbon
  • Gender: Men
  • Cleat System: 3-bolt

Do you want a pair of cycling shoes that will be favorable regardless of the weather condition? Sidi cycling shoes are worth a trial, as we will see from the specifications.

Impressively, the shoe features a sole whose sole is vent carbon. The vents at the toe area allow air in and out of the shoe, while ensuring that all the moisture get a loop to escape.

It is stiff enough to allow for power transfer, but walkability is still possible in the shoe. With the help of a weave pattern, the stiffness of the sole is maximized. On the other hand, the tread offers a tread that enhances walkability. A replaceable heel pad further facilitates walking in safety.

Moreover, the upper part is ventilated, so as to prevent hotspots and to enhance ventilation. With Techno 3 push dials along the length of the shoe, your foot will be securely set. Besides, an adjustable heel retention device ensures that your heel does not slip off the shoe.

The shoe is available in 5 color combinations, so you can always check for your favorite combination.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Highly breathable
  • Secure heel pad
  • Power transfer guaranteed
  • Easy to walk in
Cons
  • Only in men sizes
  • Only allows for 3-cleat systems
Our Verdict
For a shoe that you can ride in during all the four seasons, Sidi shoes are the best options. It has regulations for both season extremes and is also really great in spring and autumn.

Related article: 6 Best Cycling Sandals: Flat & Clipless | Men’s & Women’s

6. Bont Vaypor S – Best Entry Level Road Cycling Shoes 

  • Material: Durolite, faux suede leather, carbon
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Cleat System Used: 3-hole Look system

Foot comfort is the most important factor in a shoe. This even becomes a top priority if you had a foot injury and just recovered. In this instances, BONT Vaypor is a perfect way out. The interior features a memory foam and replaceable sole guards that make your time in the shoe so comfortable that you won’t realize that you are in a cycling shoe.

Other than that, the shoe uses an Eva thermo-moldable innersole, which absorbs moisture and enhances a soft feel. Adding to the air vents at the front and the arch area, you will never be in a hurry to get rid of the shoe.

Also, the closure system, which is adjustable, is dual dial. This enhances an ideal and customized fit for the individual user.

And let’s not forget the carbon outsole, whose stiffness ensure that power transfer is obvious in the shoe.

The shoe is available in black, which is a universal shoe color.

Pros
  • Optimal power transfer
  • Maximum foot comfort
  • Facilitates ventilation and aeration
Cons
  • Not suitable for walking
  • Minimal size options
Our Verdict
When your shoe feels soft, comfortable and dry, your performance on the road increases too. In any case, if still recovering from a foot injury, you always have a chance with this comfortable pair.

7. Gavin Pro – Best Road Cycling Shoes for Narrow Feet

  • Material: nylon fiberglass, mesh
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Cleat System Used: 2 and 3-bolt

When searching for the best road cycling shoe under 100 bucks, this Gavin Pro shoe won the race. It is not only inexpensive, but also really competitive.

Firstly, the shoe bottom is nylon fiberglass, which is quite effective in enhancing power transfer. Then, it uses both 2 and 3-hole cleat systems, which, other than enhancing versatility, ensure that power transfer is optimal. Impressively, the shoe bottom further features air-flow vents, which bring about the external breeze into your feet during cycling.

Additionally, the shoe upper is almost purely meshed, so that breathability is and ventilation is well sorted. With a quick hook and loop closure system, you don’t have to use much of your time getting the shoe on. A dial at the end of the closure tightens the shoe securely, ensuring that your foot is secure.

Pros
  • Inexpensive yet high performing
  • Power transfer facilitated
  • Versatile cleat use
  • Optimized breathability
Cons
  • The closure needs readjustment to prevent constant disappointment
  • Not for walking
Our Verdict
For a cheaper road cycling option, Galvin always has your back. The better part is the assurance of shoe performance and durability.

You may also read: 6 Best Cycling Shoes for Narrow Feet – Get the Right Fit!

8. Tiebao – Best Budget Road Cycling Shoes

  • Material: mesh, synthetic, injected fiberglass
  • Gender: Men
  • Cleat System Used: 3-hole

Are you bored of always sizing up or down to get a perfect fit, and even so you still feel you are risking? Get Tiebao Road Cycling, whose accurate sizing system has proven excellent.

On top of that, the shoes use injected fiberglass on the sole, which works to bring about sublime power transfer. Compatible with SPD, SPD-SL and Look Keo cleat systems, the shoe offers you choices when it comes to pedal compatibility.

For breathability, the shoes use high-density nanometer fiber and mesh composite upper. Overall, the shoe is lightweight for better performance on the bike.

To promote safety, Tiebao shoes come with a firm sandwich toe box, which resists impact and protects the toes. An anti-slip lining secures the heel from sliding off the shoes while you are on the pedal. This is topped up by the triple hook and strap closure, which ensures that the feet stay in position inside the shoes.

In addition, the shoe has an anti-slip insole, which absorbs sweat off the feet to keep you dry.

Related Post: Best Cycling Shoes Under 100 [Top 8 Picks in Budget]

Pros
  • Power transfer assured
  • True to size
  • Breathable upper material
  • Safety precautions considered
Cons
  • Men sizes only
  • Narrow toe box
Our Verdict
Tiebao assures you of accurate standard sizing, unlike most cycling shoes. At least with it, you have the assurance of fit.

Road Cycling Shoes Buyer’s Guide: What Should You Look for When You Buy?

Fit and Comfort

Always ensure that you know the sizing of the shoe you intend to purchase. Some will run small, while others run large, yet some are in true sizes, thus you should not make general assumptions. Check this from the description, customer reviews, and if still not sure, contact the customer care.

Construction Material

The construction material will determine the performance and comfort of the shoe, in addition to the general quality. Therefore, check that the material combination is quality, and whose performance you will wish on your bike.

Sole Material

Cycling shoes require a rigid or semi-rigid sole material. if you want to commute, then the sole can be semi-rigid and even with patterns for walking. however, for optimal power transfer, carbon fiber rigidity is necessary.

Closure System

When it comes to cycling shoes, even the closure system is important. One of the major reasons is the safety and ergonomic fit that it offers your feet. secondly, an adjustable closure system allows you to release pressure from your feet whenever you feel like.

Therefore, check that the closure system is secure, not one that flips open constantly, and also adjustable for customization.

Fastening

Fastening is mostly a function of the closure, but some shoes even have a heel fastener. Especially if you have a narrow foot, the cycling shoe fastening is essential to your comfort.

Fastening enhances safety, and is also a great asset in facilitating your confidence on your bike, knowing too well that your feet are secure.

What Pedal and Cleat System You Use?

There are different pedal and cleat systems, as we all know. In the same way, cycling shoes are quite different in compatibility. While most are trying on a universal compatibility, you have to ensure that your cleat and pedal type are compatible with the shoe that you purchase.

Weather you Will Use In

Weather can be disappointing, especially if it changes while on the road. If you live in tropical environments where weather is unpredictable, an all-weather shoe could be your best solution. This way, you will minimize the disappointment that weather changes cause, and instead embrace them.

Why Do You Need Cycling Shoes for Road Bikes?

Unlike indoor biking, the trail that a road bike goes through is uneven. Therefore, the cyclist needs optimal balance throughout the trail, hence the need for a shoe that guarantees safety. all cycling shoes offer this, having been designed for the bike.

Secondly, if you are racing on the road, you will require shoes that will optimize your performance, regardless of the weather and road condition. Cycling shoes offer power transfer, which allow you to cycle faster and longer, while maintaining your balance.

Thirdly, cycling shoes are more comfortable on the pedals compared to regular shoes, since they address the specific needs of a cyclist. For instance, they are rigid, breathable and even clip in to the pedals. This is a feature that is only specific in cycling shoes.

How Often Should You Replace Your Cycling Shoes?

Cycling shoes are quite durable, which is one of the reasons they are really expensive, to say the least. They may last for as long as 6 years, so you can be assured of just a single pair satisfaction.

The best part of the deal is that the quality is consistent over the period, so you don’t actually need a change. However, you know that your shoe is wearing off when the performance starts deteriorating. For instance, the upper part starts wearing off.

Cycling Shoe Difference: Men’s, Women’s, and Unisex Cycling Shoes

Cycling shoes are either in men, women or unisex sizes, but what is the difference?

Men sizes are larger and wider, compared to women sizes. This stems from the fact that their feet tend to be different in this way, and this is in majority of the cases. However, there are unisex shoes, which are standard for both men and women. They are great options for people with medium feet sizes. Moreover, the sizes are still different, so that they are indicated in women and men sizes for the same pair of shoes.

Another difference between men and women shoes is the design, and sometimes even colors, which are gender-friendly.

What is The Best Road Cycling Shoes for Beginners?

If you are just starting out cycling, then you need shoes for beginners, which will help you adjust. You can get those that allow for walking, whose sole is semi-rigid.

Also, ensure that the shoes are easy to clip in and out, so that you avoid an accident situation on the road.

The next thing that you should consider could be the cost. Since this is your first shoe, probably one on budget will do, because you aim to buy another as soon as you are accustomed to the shoes.

However, you can decide on the best pair of cycling shoes, especially if you don’t want to get back to the shop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you need cycling shoes for road bikes?

Yes, you do, but they are not necessary. If your road bike uses flat pedals, the regular non-cycling shoes will still be an exquisite choice. However, for power transfer and better performance, clipless pedals have always been a preference, hence the need for cycling shoes.

Are cycling shoes worth it?

Yes, they are. I agree that cycling shoes are really expensive, but the service they offer on the bike is unrivalled.

Do clip in cycling shoes make a difference?

Yes, they do. Clip-in shoes are more secure on the pedal, and they enhance power transfer to a large extent, compared to non-clip in shoes.

What are the best road cycling shoes?

The best road cycling shoes have a stiff sole and a breathable upper. More importantly, they are lightweight and very good and comfortable for cycling activities, keeping your feet secure and dry.

Do stiffer cycling shoes make a difference?

Yes, they do. The stiffer the shoes, the more efficient the power transfer from the feet to the pedals should be, hence the difference. Therefore, stiffer shoes offer better pedal performance, hence better than semi-rigid shoes.

Parting Shot

Best road cycling shoes? This term is dependent to an individual, as what one feels is best may not be to another. Therefore, we allow you to choose from the 9, all with an outstanding performance compared to all the rest.

Therefore, you can now use the buying guide above to make your best choice, wish you luck!