The best bike shoes for 2021 are available in a variety of styles, with various characteristics, and for various types of riding.
There are models for everyone, from commuters to roadies, mountain bikers to BMXers, indoor spinners, and even those of us brave enough to wear clip-in sandals.
Only classic road and mountain bike shoes for men and women have been included in this compilation of our favorite cycling shoes to keep it focused.
Because your feet are one of the most crucial contact points on a bike, it’s critical to get the right cycling shoes. However, there are so many options that deciding what is best might be difficult.
Is it necessary to spend a lot of money on the most recent professional model, or will a less expensive option suffice?
Some people prefer sparkling white disco slippers, which can be difficult to keep clean (especially in a climate like the UK); others like basic black, which some people consider boring.
Our top picks for Best Bike Shoes For 2021
- Fizik R1 Infinito
- Louis Garneau Course Air Lite II
- Shimano S-Phyre RC9
- Sidi Alba 2
- Giro Imperial
- Five Ten Freerider Pro
Road Cycling Shoes
The soles of road cycling shoes are usually firm (to maximize pedaling efficiency) and smooth (no tread equals lighter weight).
Many—mostly higher-end models—use a triangular, three-bolt cleat-mounting style that works with the most popular road-pedal systems, including Look, counterfeit Look, and Shimano.
A four-bolt sole compatible with Speedplay pedals is available on several road shoes. To accept mountain bike-style cleats, low- to mid-range road shoes often contain a two-bolt pattern in addition to a three-bolt pattern. This allows the rider to utilize both dual-sided pedals (which are simpler to step into) and pedals with a clipless mechanism on one side and a platform on the other (which are easier to step into).
The uppers are comprised of light, supple leather or synthetic materials that provide a comfortable and secure fit. Nylon mesh is used in some of them to keep your feet cool.
While pedaling, a hard, strengthened heel cup will keep your foot from falling out. Knit uppers are becoming more popular as a result of their comfortable fit and ventilation.
Mountain Biking Shoes
There are two types of mountain bike shoes: clipless and flat. Clipless mountain shoes have sticky lugs and are built solely to handle two-bolt cleats, unlike road shoes.
While top-of-the-line mountain shoes can have carbon soles and be as stiff as a road-racing shoe, many clipless models feature a bit of flex in the toe to help in hiking.
Mountain shoes often have armoring on the toes and heels to add durability and decrease the discomfort of rock strikes. They are made of heavier-duty upper materials to resist more tough conditions—dirt, mud, rocks, roots—and frequently have armoring on the toes and heels to add durability and lessen the discomfort of rock strikes.
Flat shoes, like skate shoes, do not have clipless cleat attachments and have sticky rubber soles. Platform pedals are used, and the lack of cleats make it easy to hop on and off—ideal for stop-and-go commuting or bailing on downhill runs.
The feeling is freer and surf-like because you’re not locked in. Because you can’t lift up on flat pedals, you’ll pedal differently. Extra-grippy soles from brands like Five Ten and Vibram help you stick to your pedals better.
Fi’zi: amazing k’s Infinito R1 road cycling shoes, our favorite and first on our list of recommendations, nailed it. The first thing you’ll notice about them is how fashionable they are. They’re sleek, polished, and attractive, with a simple and clean functioning. Their unidirectional complete carbon outsole, which is one of the stiffest on the market, is what propels them to the top of the radar. When you combine that with a hard, tight cut of microtex for the upper, you get one of the most efficient power transfer road bike shoes on the market. They are also among the comfiest due to their exceptional cut and design. When you consider their one-of-a-kind latching technique, it’s easy to see why.
When compared to other top models, the Louis Garneau Course Air Lite II provides excellent performance at significant savings. Remember that we’re distinguishing between low-cost and discount items here, with these falling under the latter. What sets them apart is their unique combination of lightweight performance, excellent power transfer, and exceptional comfort, making them a shoe you can ride in all day. It is a mid-priced product that ranks among the best on the market.
When it comes to comfort and weight, the Shimano S-Phyre RC9 delivers admirably. What’s more impressive is its unmistakable performance in terms of power transfer. It’s one of the lightest road cycle shoes on the market, at only 19 ounces. The carbon sole and secure fastening mechanism ensure that your pedal strokes are efficient, while the smooth synthetic leather upper and foldover burrito design provides comfort. It’s also stunning to look at, and will undoubtedly get the attention of both your motorcycle friends and foes.
Our main issue is the loose-fitting heel. Shimano tried to be proactive by employing a cat-tongue lining within the heel to counteract this possible issue, but the results were mixed. For individuals who are concerned about appearance, the smooth, shining heel cover is prone to scuffing. Nonetheless, these are fashionistas’ and serious riders’ shoes. The carbon sole and sleek upper not only look good, but they also deliver Grand Tour-worthy performance.
Sidi has a solid reputation for high style, great performance, and a premium price tag to match. The Alba 2, on the other hand, defies the trend with a level of performance and value unusual of the flamboyant Italian label. The Millennium 4 Carbon Composite sole contains interchangeable rubber lugs on the toe and heel, just like other of the company’s more expensive versions. The firmness of the sole pleasantly surprised us, since it well exceeded our expectations for a shoe at this price point. The upper is composed of Politex, a synthetic material that has the appearance of leather but is more durable and resistant to scuffs and scratches.
The top of the shoe’s Techno 3 dial closure works similarly to a Boa dial, with little buttons on the outside that we found easy to change on the go. The two Velcro closures at the toe and mid-foot were decent enough to dial in the fit, though not as straightforward to use as Techno 3 dials. We also can’t overlook the design. Although the Alba 2 is on the lower end of the Sidi price range, it nevertheless has the same level of flair that Sidi is known for.
Giro has taken a novel approach to how the dials work, despite jumping on the twin-Boa bandwagon. Webbing loops, rather than plastic guides, direct the cables. These “soft guides,” according to the firm, decrease hot spots. The Imperial’s upper is made of lightweight mesh reinforced with Teijin TPU, the same material used in Giro’s other shoes, and the materials are welded together to create an almost seamless upper. This shoe is constructed on the same last as Giro’s other road models, resulting in a fit that is snug and low-volume. The Imperial’s upper, on the other hand, is particularly supple and forgiving, so riders may find it more accommodating than they’d anticipate from Giro.
The Imperial makes a name for itself as one of the lightest dual-Boa shoes available. It provides adequate support and stability in all situations, as well as being exceptionally breathable.
Have you ever noticed how many people use flat pedals in bike parks, downhill races, and even on your local trails? This shoe (and earlier iterations of it) aided in the achievement of that goal. Though Five Ten didn’t pioneer flat-pedal cycling shoes, this shoe, pretty much perfected the category. The Freerider Pro is lightweight and comfy, with just the right amount of stiffness (excellent for riding, okay for walking), and a sole that adheres to your pedals like glue. The most recent version is well-ventilated, dries rapidly, and includes increased toe protection as well as some moderate heel protection. Bonus: It almost appears like a street shoe, so it won’t make your significant other grimace when you wear it.