Choosing the best road bike shoes to match your skills and techniques can immediately increase your efficiency and comfort when riding. Although riding in trainers is acceptable for amateur skill levels, the advantages of high-performance equipment can only be found in dedicated road cycling shoes.
Cycling shoes are specially designed for efficient pedalling; so they are made of materials selected for stiffness and lightweight. Road cycling footwear is designed to be fitted with a cleat and attached to a clipless road pedal for optimal energy efficiency.
The small plastic or metal cleat is fixed to the sole of the shoe with two, three or four bolts, typically an Allen bolt. Different cleat and shoe designs are used for different riding styles and terrain conditions.
Major Considerations for the Best Road Road Bike Shoes
Stiffness vs. Flex – Your typical road shoe features a lightweight carbon fiber or nylon sole. High-end items are typically stiffer than the low-end variety. The increased strength of the sole is designed to maximize the transfer of power from foot to pedal, greatly optimizing energy efficiency. Shoes with a greater flex are typically cheaper. A greater flex is not as energy efficient, but many cyclists find the flexible shoe to be more comfortable.
Comfort – The best road bike shoes must be comfortable. Cycling for long hours can cause your feet to react poorly to inappropriate shoes. This can result in your feet going numb or developing ‘hot-spots’ that can affect your riding capacity.
The Perfect Fit – You want a shoe that has a snug grip but allows for plenty of blood flow through the foot and especially in the toes. The toe box should be ample, but do remember that cycling shoes do not give-in as regular shoes do. A quick test when buying a road bike shoe is to take out the in-sole place it on the ground and then put your foot on top of the insole. Is your foot spilling over any part of the insole? If so the shoe is too small. Make sure to look at the widest part of your foot.
Cleat Positioning – The whole energy efficient function of the cycling shoe, the specific cleat and the high-performance pedal is pivoted on the location of the cleat mount in relation to the ball of your foot, which is where the energy transfer is the greatest. You want the cleat mount directly under or a little behind the ball, to ensure maximum efficiency. To learn more about cycling cleat position visit I Love Bicycling.
Note – One large problem with purchasing shoes online is that you will not be able to take them for a test ride. Not many manufacturers will refund or accept a return on road shoes once the cleats have been attached or the clip-in features tested.
Still, you can try the shoes on and get a good idea of how they fit without connecting the cleat. Feel your toe room and where the cleat connections are in relation to the ball of your foot. If you decide it is a wrong fit, you could still get that refund.
Pro Tip When Choosing Cycling Shoes
There are a few items you do not want to cheap out on and they are the contact points of you and the bike. So, make sure you have the best saddle, the best cycling shorts and the best road bike shoes available. Being comfortable and injury free are the most important aspects when cycling, you will enjoy the experience that much more.
7 of the Best Road Bike Shoes Review
The SH-O65 features an innovative air intake and exhaust system that keeps humidity out and foot temperatures low. The rigid fiberglass insole provides stiffness and maximizes the energy efficiency of each stroke, but still has a flexible ergonomic insole for maximum comfort.
These three-bolt compatible road shoes also feature a low-profile design with the sole purpose of increasing power. These road shoes are crafted from top-quality synthetic leather with an upper shell of mesh for breath-ability. They are available only in classic black.
The Giro II Road Shoe is especially popular with cyclists looking for durable quality and comfortable materials. This road shoe is made from genuine leather for comfort and synthetic mesh for maximum air flow.
The lightweight synthetic grips around the foot with three snug straps, while your foot rests on an Aegis antimicrobial EVA foot bed for cool, dry comfort on longer rides. Medium arch support provides a bit of flex for greater riding comfort and possibly reduced energy efficiency.
On the sole, an innovative universal cleat mount allows for three and two bolt cleat attachment; making this an excellent choice for those road bikers who like to do a little MTB training on the side. At a mere 290 grams the Giro II is a great choice for serious training when comfort is important.
The Giro road cycling shoe is particularly good for people with wide feet.
The R5 Road Cycling Shoes by Fizik provide the cyclist great versatility, comfort and maximum energy efficiency while cycling. The high-quality microtex upper holds the foot comfortably and features mesh windows for improved air intake, keeping the foot dry and cool. They are also water resistant which is great for rainy days.
Beyond being comfortable, the Fizik R5 Cycling Shoes are designed for high-performance and the rigid carbon outsole provides an energy efficient pedalling platform. Inside, a sturdy heel cup maintains the foot and leg in an optimal pedalling position for reduced risk of injury. R5’s low profile design includes an especially low stack height, the distance from the foot to the pedals axle, which further improves the energy efficiency these shoes provide.
The Fizik R5s are compatible with the three-bolt road cycling cleat system used by Shimano and Look high-performance clipless pedals. If high-performance manufacturing and energy efficient design are what you had in mind for road cycling shoes, you are sure to love this product.
The Gavin Elite Road Cycling Shoes feature a design geared toward extra comfort during your ride. They are the least expensive road shoe on the list and have more flexibility in the nylon fiberglass soles (less efficient power transfer to the pedals) and sacrifice a little on breath-ability. If you don’t plan on going pro anytime soon then these are a great entry level road cycling shoe.
The micro adjustable buckles allow you to fine-tune the exact fit of the shoe around your foot; after a mile or two, those tiny details begin to make a significant difference in both comfort and riding performance.
A synthetic leather upper grips the foot snugly and allows for plenty of air passage through breathable mesh vents. The Gavin Elites have a three-bolt cleat attachment compatible with cleats from Look and Shimano.
The Gavin Elite sizes run slightly smaller than regular, so consider ordering a larger size than you are normally used to.
You will have a hard time finding road cycling shoes that match the quality of design, materials and performance of Louis Garneau’s LS-100s. Cyclists of all skill levels will love the exquisite comfort of genuine leather and an effective air intake and exhaust system for comfortable and dry feet mile after mile.
After an hour or two on the road, you will also appreciate the stiff support of a carbon fiber outsole providing maximum power transfer from the foot to the pedal. The HM Air-Lite carbon fiber outsole is also the technology behind the LS-100s feathery weight. At only 235g a shoe, these are the lightest shoes on the list.
Another key feature are the improved heel cups, maintaining a foot and leg position designed for greater efficiency and comfort as well as a reduced risk of injury. Serious training and racing calls for an exceptional level of quality the kind found in Louis Garneau’s LS-100s.
The Diamondback Century Elite has some great features. Adjusting the size and fit of your shoe can be done on the go with an innovative combination closure system consisting of a micro-lock buckle and two easily adjustable straps.
The comfortable design includes an aggressive venting system built along a nylon-fiber composite out sole. The venting system along with a special anatomical sole provide air transfer and more natural shoe-to-foot interface, meaning feet are kept dry and well supported on longer rides.
The nylon-fiber outsole provides a good support and decent power transfer while pedalling performance. On the sole, you will notice the typical three-bolt road cleat system as well as two versatile TPU pads. These specially designed pads on the toe and heel of the shoe allow for improved grip when walking about.
The key selling point for the Pearl Izumi Road Cycling Shoes is exceptional quality and cutting-edge performance at a cost-effective price. The same high-performance and cunningly comfortable designs you will find featured in high-end products are all here for a bargain.
You will find a comfortable rigidity from a specially designed composite fiber plate and forefoot insert, for improved durability and strength. The stiffness of the outsole also effectively improves the efficiency of energy required for long rides.
Pearl Izumi’s direct-vent airflow system and top quality EVA ergonomic foam insoles, promise you a dry and comfortable riding experience. The versatile design of the sole also provides mobility when walking. This versatility is extended further with a universal cleat attachment compatible with Road and SPD systems.
Best Road Bike Shoes Review
|Picture||Road Bike Shoes Name||Price||Rating
|Shimano SH-R065 Road Shoes||$50-$160||4.4|
|Giro Treble II Road Shoe (Men)||$60-$100||4.4|
|Fizik R5 UOMO BOA Road Cycling Shoes||$130-$320||4.3|
|Gavin Elite Road Cycling Shoes||$50-$55||4|
|Louis Garneau LS-100 Road Cycling Shoes||$80-$200||4.1|
|Diamondback Men’s Century Elite Road Cycling Shoes||$75-$80||4.1|
|Pearl Izumi RD IV Cycling Shoe||$77-$150||4.1|