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How To Choose The Right Cycling Footwear For You?

Are you planning an upgrade from sneakers to cycling shoes? Or are you switching to clipless pedals and finding the right cycling footwear to match?

Finding the best cycling footwear gives you a frown? Here's what you must be particular about while buying the best bike shoes and then find out what ones are best for you.

There are a plethora of options available in cycling shoes thus; to narrow down your options, start with these points:

Road cycling shoes

Cyclists who wish to maximize their pedaling efficiency must pick road cycling shoes. Shoes for road biking come with the stiffest soles and use three-hole protruding cleats to effectively connect shoes to clipless pedals. Unfortunately, the little tread in road biking shoes makes them an unfit choice for extended walking.

Mountain bike shoes

These shoes are designed optimally to provide added traction on rugged trails. And for this, the manufacturers embed grippy soles in them.

You will come across two types of mountain biking shoes:

  • Shoes that clip into clipless pedals have two-hole cleats that are recessed into the sole, making walking easier
  • Shoes that work with flat pedals have a sticky rubber sole but no cleats.

Casual bike shoes

Highly stylish yet very comfortable, casual bike shoes are perfect for recreational riders or commuters.

Also, those who want some features of bike shoes like a stiff sole or that attach to pedals in a more comfortable design can go for these shoes. For example, casual bike shoes that work with clipless pedals have cleats that are recessed into the sole, making walking easier.

Comparison of different types of cycling shoes

Mountain bike shoes

Road bike shoes

Casual shoes

Shoe sole


Very stiff


Shoe outsole

Grippy bottom for added traction

Smooth (no tread)

Smooth rubber outsole, resemble sneakers

Cleat style

Recessed into sole

Protrudes from sole

Recessed into sole

Pedal style

Flat or clipless (if clipless, typically 2-hole design)

Typically 3-hole design

Flat or clipless (if clipless, typically 2-hole design)



How to find the perfect fitting shoes?

  • It all depends on the shoe length

To own the perfect cycling shoes, one must begin with finding the correct shoe length. Different from the running shoes, the cycling shoes do not need any additional space in the front of the shoe. A few millimetres of space in the front part of the cycling shoes is sufficient for comfortable wear.

  • Width must be tight, yet comfortable

Once you determine the length, the next step is to check the width of the shoe. Keep in mind that the forefoot area must be widest and sensitive in terms of power transmission when cycling. The cycling shoe must fit firmly in this area without causing discomfort under any circumstances.

Quick tip: Please don’t commit the classic mistake of picking a bigger size, and then end up getting your feet hurt. Keep in mind that some brands are simply not made for your foot, thus choose wisely.

  • Firm hold

Next up on the checklist that you must swear by while buying cycling shoes is the firm fit in the heel area. The cycling shoes should neither slip out of the shoe while walking, nor should the shoe cause discomfort or shoe bite.

Also, make sure that your cycling shoes sit firmly on the back of the foot. Therefore, your cycling shoes should be firm and comfortable when you try it on.

  • Locking system

Next pay utter attention to the locking system. Make sure that the shoe firmly surrounds your entire foot, even when you are under the greatest strain, and provides the necessary support.

Additionally, the upper material of the shoe does not wrinkle when closing, as this could lead to pressure points on the foot. If you observe wrinkles in the upper material while the shoe is closed, it is a sign that the cycling shoes are not an optimal fit.

  • Stiff soles and firm upper material

Don’t forget the rule of thumb for the shoe's sole: the stiffer the better. This rule not only applies to performance, but also to comfort. Yes, how absurd this sounded, but it is true. With stiffness comes more stability which ultimately makes the trail less tiresome. Talking about the upper material, it is a bit different.

One must pick the best biking shoe which is as firm as possible at points of power transmission, but should be softer padded at more sensitive foot areas.

Top 5 cycling shoes for 2021

If you are planning on a longer biking journey, you need to pick a cycling shoe that offers excellent foot control. Catering to this requirement, these shoes by Lake CZ176-X are perfectly aids in avoiding hot-spots & numbness. The key highlight of these shoes is the precisely fitted toe-box that keeps the foot securely to prevent any unwanted movement.


  • Fiberglass-injected nylon outsole
  • New Clarino microfiber & mesh upper
  • Side mounted Push/Pull BOA L6 lacing system with powerstrap

An ideal pick in cycling shoes for women enthusiasts! Featuring perfect fit and comfort, the SCOTT Road Comp BOA Lady comes with the combination of lower anatomic fit strap that results in providing the best shape fit of the rider's foot. Other than comfort, the key feature of these shoes stand to be the BOA L6 fit system.


  • ErgoLogic insole provides premium fit
  • Stiffness Index 6-rated outsole that efficiently transfers power to the pedals
  • Right balance of stiffness and all-day comfort
  • BOA L6 Fit System

The next on our list is this fully featured road cycling shoes by Shimano road shoe. Known for being highly durable and reliable,the shoes come with in-built Dynalast ergonomic shaping and sole technology. It offers optimum energy transfer enabling a comfortable riding journey..


  • Micro-adjust buckle closure
  • Lightweight glass fiber reinforced-polyamide sole
  • Breathable mesh/synthetic upper
  • Shimano Dynalast ergonomic shaping

If you want a shoe that offers high performance without having to break the bank, the SCOTT Road Comp shoe is perfect. For cycling enthusiasts and recreational bikers who appreciate great fit, the shoes are a fully-featured pick. Its adaptive fit pattern with velcro-adjustable top strap positioning and two lower anatomic fit straps effectively articulates to adapt to the shape of the foot.


  • Straps/velcro adjustment system
  • Nylon / glass fiber outsole
  • Sticky rubber
  • Stiffness index 6
  • Synthetic polyurethane upper
  • 3D Airmesh
  • Anatomic fit straps
  • ErgoLogic removable insole

The Scott MTB Comp RS shoe is a proof that high performing and great fitting shoes don’t always have to be pocket burning. Its adaptive fit pattern features a wrap canopy with velcro-adjustable d-ring positioning and two lower direct mount anatomic fit straps that can articulate to adapt to the shape of the foot. The cleat adjustment range and minimal Sticki race rubber enables effective traction on roots, rocks and loose soil.


  • Velcro + anatomic fit straps
  • Stiffness index 6
  • Synthetic leather upper with 3D mesh
  • Sticky rubber
  • 3D-formed EVA

We hope these factors will guide you in buying the best cycling shoes without much hassle. Don’t forget to check out the galore of variety available at Adventure HQ other than these top five picks by us.

Happy and comfortable riding!

Previous article 7 Tips to buy your First Road Bike
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