As a certified indoor cycling instructor of nearly five years, I can say with confidence that searching far and wide for the best indoor cycling shoes is worth the effort. So if the thought of adding another thing to your growing pile of workout gear seems extraneous, remember: Proper footwear is a game changer for any workout, cycling included. Just as running shoes align and support your lower body for specific kinds of running, cycling shoes align your hips, knees, and feet to reduce your chance of injury on the bike.
Instead of slipping your sneakers into a bike pedal cage, cycling shoes have cleats attached to the sole, which connect directly to clips in the bike pedals. This gives you a better, more secure connection to the pedal and allows for a more efficient transfer of energy. (Translation: It makes your foot’s job a little easier so you can focus on engaging key muscles like your calves, hamstrings, and quads.) Most cycling shoes come without cleats. There are two major cleat options to choose from: Look Delta and SPD. Some shoes are compatible with both, and others only allow for one or the other. If you have a Peloton, you’ll recognize the Look Delta cleats. However, SPD clips are more popular, and there are more SPD-friendly shoes to choose from than Delta. Both are relatively cost-effective and can be installed easily at home or at your local bike shop.
If you, like many others, found yourself clocking in hours on your stationary bike since the start of the pandemic, it’s high time to suit up with a pair of shoes that will support you along the way—and make your workouts more successful and comfortable.
We’ve previously covered what to look for when buying an at-home bike; now we’re here to help you find a Goldilocks cycling shoe. Below, myself and fellow cycling instructors give recommendations for the breathable, durable, and mostly stylish shoes they count on for every class.
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