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Which indoor cycling shoes are best?

Indoor cycling has become a very common way to exercise in recent years. Their rise in popularity is partly a result of the pandemic – many people invested in workout equipment, including cycling bikes, so they could workout at home. They’re a great way to stay active from the comfort of your own space. Most indoor cycling bikes are made with clipless pedals that attach directly to your shoes. In this case you’ll need a sturdy, yet comfortable set of cycling shoes. 

The best pair is the Venzo Indoor Riding Shoes. They come in either black or white, each with red highlights. They include a set of detachable delta cleats and have three velcro straps across the top. 

What to know before you buy indoor cycling shoes

Spin bikes vs. exercise bikes

Before you begin shopping for cycling shoes, you should understand the difference between an indoor cycling bike and a spin bike. The main difference is the flywheel, a round device inside the bike that creates resistance when you pedal. 

  • Exercise bikes are more casual than spin bikes. This doesn’t mean you can’t get an intense workout on one, but they have a much lighter flywheel that makes for easier pedaling. Also, the pedal usually is free from the flywheel, meaning you can stop pedaling and the pedals won’t continue to move.
  • Spin bikes on the other hand have a heavy flywheel, which makes pedaling more difficult. More resistance means more energy required to make it spin. This results in a harder workout and more calories burned. On spin bikes, the pedals are attached to the flywheel.

Spin bike shoes and clothing

Most standard exercise bikes don’t require special shoes, but if you’re using a spin bike, you’ll need to invest in a pair of cycling shoes. These shoes are very narrow and usually have straps on the top to keep your feet from slipping out. Their soles are very stiff for protection and the neckline is heavily padded to prevent chafing on your ankles. Each shoe has cleats on the bottom that clip into the pedals of the bike for a secure ride. 

Along with a pair of specialty shoes, many riders opt for cycling shorts for men and women. These shorts help to absorb sweat and make for a more comfortable ride.

SPD vs. Delta clips

Cycling shoes attach to the pedals using cleats. There are two different types of cleats for spin bike shoes. Delta cycling shoes use three cleats in a triangle shape, while Shimano pedaling dynamics (SPD) shoes use only two cleats. Delta cleats are most commonly found on Peloton bikes, while SPD are often found on studio spin bikes. Before buying your cycling shoes, check your bike’s pedals to know if they are SPD or Delta compatible. 

What to look for in quality indoor cycling shoes

Recessed cleat

Most cleats extend out from the sole of the shoe. This means that in order to walk around, you’ll either need to remove the cleats completely or be forced to walk a bit awkwardly with the cleats still attached. Some good quality cycling shoes come with recessed cleats, which extend the rubber base of the shoe around the cleats to create a better walking surface. This way, you won’t have to remove the cleats completely in order to walk. The rubber soles also offer better stability when walking on hard surfaces. 

Boa lacing system 

Boa dials are a closure system for shoes. Instead of using shoelaces or velcro straps, which can get in the way of the pedals, Boa dials create a secure fit without any part of the shoe sticking out. They use a rotating dial and strings to loosen and tighten the shoe. This means a more even distribution of pressure than regular laces or straps. Boa dials also make it easier and more convenient to remove the shoe. All you have to do is press the top of the dial to release the pressure. 

Breathable mesh

Feet have a large collection of blood vessels, which means they release a lot of heat during physical activity – so it’s important to keep your feet cool while you’re cycling. Having a set of cycling shoes with breathable mesh is ideal for long workout sessions. These shoes have a series of small holes in the upper and side materials. Heat is released through the holes instead of trapping it in the shoe which can cause excess sweat to build up. 

How much you can expect to spend on indoor cycling shoes

Indoor cycling shoes cost $49-$130.

Indoor cycling shoes FAQ

How tight should cycling shoes be?

A. They should be fairly snug, especially against the heel. You should be sure you have some room at the toes so they aren’t being smashed against the front of the shoe. If your feet are wide, be sure to go one size up for more room.

Do I need cycling shoes for an exercise bike?

A. Exercise bikes usually use a strap or cage mechanism that keeps your feet in place. Therefore they do not require cycling shoes. You can wear normal tennis shoes for these bikes. 

What are the best indoor cycling shoes to buy?

Top indoor cycling shoes

Venzo Indoor Riding Shoes

Venzo Indoor Riding Shoes

What you need to know: These shoes are sold in unisex sizing and offer both comfort and performance parts, making them very versatile.

What you’ll love: The sizes go from six-and-a-half up to 14-and-a-half. They’re made with a breathable mesh on the top that extends to the toes. Three velcro straps keep your feet secure along with the triple bolt Delta cleats which are compatible with Peloton bikes.

What you should consider: They only come in two colors: black and white.

Where to buy: Amazon

Top indoor cycling shoes for the money

Roydear Cycling Shoes

Roydear Cycling Shoes

What you need to know: These cycling shoes use SPD cleats and a Boa dial for convenience and adaptability. 

What you’ll love: The sole is made of nylon for water resistance and a very durable feel. They’re fairly lightweight thanks to the breathable mesh on the upper shoe. The company also offers a convenient size chart on their Amazon page, plus 12 colors to choose from, including neon green and gradient blue. 

What you should consider: The SPD cleats are not compatible with Peloton bikes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Shimano IC-5 Indoor Cycling Shoes

Shimano IC-5 Indoor Cycling Shoes

What you need to know: These are the coolest cycling shoes available – figuratively and literally – thanks to the entire upper shoe being made of breathable mesh. 

What you’ll love: These shoes use two-hole SPD cleats, which are recessed, making them very easy to walk in. The soles are made of rubber that prevents slippage. For stability while riding, there’s a reinforced plate between the exterior sole and the interior sole.

What you should consider: The sizing may be difficult to figure out since they don’t offer gender-specific sizing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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