Cycle Shoes Buyers Guide

The beauty of cycling is that it can be done pretty much anywhere; on the way to work, in the countryside or on the roads - just hop on and you’re good to go!

However, expect your feet to slide off the pedals now and again and your work shoes to take a bit of a beating, unless you invest in some cycling shoes.

Cycling shoes are designed specifically to make cycling easier by clipping into the pedals on your bike, as opposed to just resting on them as you cycle. This means your feet will not only slip off, but you’ll be able to pull the pedals up as well as pushing them, spreading the effort across more muscles in your legs. Cycling shoes are usually a little more durable too, so you won’t need to worry about those leather loafers taking a beating on the way to work!

Which cycling shoes should I buy?

Before you start looking at the wide selection of cycling shoe brands and varieties out there, it’s important to figure out whether the shoes you’re looking at are compatible with the pedals already on your bike. For entry-level mountain and road bikes, you’ll often find clipless pedals that are designed to be used without cycling shoes, so you may need to invest in a new set of pedals with clips for your shoes. If you’ve already got clip-in pedals, then you’ll need to check the shoes are compatible with your specific pedals, or buy new cleats that can be connected to the bottom of your shoes and the pedal itself.

Once you’ve found compatible shoes or have fitted the correct pedals, then it’s time to start looking at the types of cycling shoe out there.

Mountain bike shoes

Although most cycle shoes are designed primarily for road bikes, there are plenty of cycle shoes that can be used on mountain bikes too, as well as specific shoes for mountain bikers. The way that mountain bike shoes cycle shoes clip into the pedals is pretty similar but you may see a prevalence of two point connecting systems in the mountain bike worldMountain bike shoes available at Halfords

With mountain bike shoes you’ll likely get something that’s a little more hard-wearing and may be able to handle muddy ground better than standard cycling shoes. These are important features, along with more flexible soles that allow for better balancing when moving at slow speeds over difficult surfaces.

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Road cycling shoes

Shoes that are designed to be used with road bikes come in a variety of shapes and styles, but it’s likely that you’ll want to buy a pair of cycling shoes that are lightweight and wick away sweat from your feet when you start sweating.

Road cycling shoes available at Halfords

You’ll find that road cycling shoes usually feature a stiffer sole that allows you to put more power into the pedals, with carbon fibre being a great option for keeping overall weight down

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Clipping in

One decision that will definitely come into play is whether you want to clip your shoes into your pedals. Road cyclists usually clip in to maximise efficiency when cycling (you can push and pull when clipped in), but mountain bikers may want to stick to flat pedals - after all, it’s easier to stick a foot out and prevent yourself from going over completely when you hit that giant rock going uphill!

Clip in shoes shoes available at Halfords


Another key thing to look out for with cycling shoes is the way that the shoes fasten. Some cycling shoes use hook and loop fastening to keep them tight on your feet, but one option to look out for is a dial-tightening system.

The advantage with these shoes is that you can tighten or loosen your cycling shoes on the go, key if you’re racing or just trying to keep up with your friends!

Cycling shoe cleats

Another important thing to look out for on cycling shoes is the type of clip they use to connect to your pedals. Usually, cycling shoes use either a two point or three point clip to connect to the pedals, so make sure the pedals you wish to use will be compatible with the shoes you’re thinking of buying. In many cases, the cleats can be changed out, so check this feature if you want to be able to switch between connections, for example if you use the same shoes on different bikes.

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For more help with pedals, check out our cycling pedals buyer's guide.

If you want to check out our range of cycling shoes, then don’t forget we stock many of our shoes in-store. This means you can try them on for size before you buy and get a feel for how comfortable they are. Our in-store cycling experts will also be able to help if you’re not sure which cycling shoes to go for.

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