Understanding Cycling Shoe Differences

To select shoes, visualize yourself cycling and using your bike the way you plan to ride. Then check out our chart and see what shoes match your riding.

When shoe shopping, don't underestimate the importance of trying them on. Some brands run wider than others. Some sole shapes may fit better than others. Some brands run big and some run small. No matter how much you like the look or features of a shoe, a lousy fit can ruin a ride. So, it's always best to come in and try some on.

How you ride… The shoe for you…
You're a casual cyclist who doesn't feel comfortable looking like a gonzo bikie. Consider casual cycling shoes, which look more like sneakers. There are even cleated models that work with clipless pedals.
You love rolling up the miles but you enjoy stopping to admire the view almost as much. Look at footgear made for touring. It's flexible for comfort with rubber soles and recessed cleats for walking. Off-road models work, too.
You love off-road rides and races. You'll want a lugged sole, recessed cleat, snug-but-comfy fit, light weight, decent sole stiffness (not too stiff) and secure fastening system.
You've been on off-roader but now you plan to get a road-specific bike. You may want to continue using your off-road shoes. Just get the same pedals for your road bike that you have on your off-roader.
You're a serious triathlete. Check out triathlon shoes, which are designed for high efficiency but also with features to get you in and out quick.
You ride metric centuries and group rides that are more social than competitive. You'll do fine with a mid-line road shoe because it'll be more flexible and comfortable than the full-on road race model (see below).
You enjoy hammering on the road with your buddies sprinting for every city-limit sign. Get a lightweight, high-end road shoe with super-stiff sole for exceptional energy transfer and extra-secure strap system.