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The 8 Best Spin Shoes for Any Cycling Workout

Spin shoes that clip into your pedals are a game changer for indoor cycling.

best cycling shoes
Staff, Courtesy of Nike

While it might seem unnecessary to buy dedicated spin shoes for indoor cycling, avid indoor cyclists will tell you what a game changer they are. Spin shoes clip into your pedals and help increase your energy transfer with each pedal stroke, meaning you get more bang for your buck for the duration of your ride. They allow you to pull up into the pedal at the top of the rotation as well as press down on the bottom of the rotation. You’ll engage your hamstrings as well as your quads, making you a stronger, more efficient rider.

Spin shoes also typically have stiffer soles than other exercise shoes, which means you don’t lose energy with contact from sole to pedal. Spin shoes help keep your body properly aligned during your indoor cycling workout, effectively locking you in place and helping prevent injuries.

What to Consider

Attachment Style: The two most common types of cleats (how the shoe attaches to the pedals) are Delta or SPD. SPD is a two-hole system and is more common in spin studios, while Delta has three holes, and is compatible with outdoor riding as well. SPD cleats have a lower profile and are easier to walk in, while Delta cleats are clunkier for walking around, but have a slightly more efficient energy transfer. Always check to see what your studio or at-home bike has for pedals, but keep in mind that many pedals and shoes are compatible with SPD and Delta cleats. Lastly, check to make sure your shoes come with cleats. Otherwise you’ll be buying them separately.

Style: Different styles of spin shoes will provide different levels of comfort and energy transfer. Some models look more like sneakers, offering more walking-around comfort but less power on the bike. Conversely, spin shoes modeled after traditional road-biking shoes have a narrower fit and stiffer sole. This is great for energy transfer on the bike, but you probably won’t want to walk around in them all day.

Fit: Spin shoes should be snug, but not so tight they cut off circulation. The uppers on many models will likely stretch over time, so starting with the shoe on the snug side isn’t a bad idea. Make sure the attachment points don’t pinch, and your heel feels secure without rubbing. The toe box should be more form-fitting than a hiking shoe, but not so much that your toes feel cramped. We always recommend trying on the shoes before you buy them, or at least being prepared to order a few sizes or talk to people at your local studio for help with fitting.

Sole Material: The sole material impacts comfort and performance. Most soles are made of plastic, rubber, carbon fiber, fiberglass, EVA foam, or some combination. Plastic or rubber soles are usually the most affordable, but aren’t as stiff. Foam is the most comfortable for off-bike wear, but won’t have the most efficiency in energy transfer. Carbon fiber soles are the lightest and stiffest, but you’ll pay a premium. Fiberglass soles hit that middle ground between affordability and performance. There are a lot of options, so know your own priorities when shopping around.

How We Evaluated

We talked with avid indoor cyclists to find their go-to spin shoes, charted the top brands and models, then evaluated their compatibility with the most popular at-home and studio spin bikes. We chose these models based on user feedback, pedal compatibility, and aimed for a variety of styles to fit different goals and budgets.

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Best All Around
TIEM Slipstream Indoor Bike Shoes

Comfort without too much compromise have made these spin shoes some of the most popular for both studio and at-home indoor cyclists. 

These are a stylish sneaker-type cycling shoe with a recessed clip that makes walking around comfortable and natural. Since these are more like a regular walking shoe, the EVA midsole and rubber outsole have a less efficient energy transfer than stiffer shoes, but it’s less noticeable here than in other similar styles. 

These shoes can feel a bit stiff at first, but become more comfortable after a few classes, and the mesh toe box is ventilated and highly breathable.

  • Stylish
  • Comfortable for walking
  • Recessed clip
  • Breathable
  • Slip-on

  • Only SPD-compatible
  • Less power transfer than stiffer sole
Most workout efficiency
Shimano IC5 Indoor Cycling Shoes

Riders looking to hit the leaderboard should look no further. These sleek shoes have a stiff sole for maximum power output with each pedal stroke, and the streamlined silhouette fits snugly without feeling suffocating. These shoes have a full-length plate running along the shoe for stiffness under the rubber outsole, which provides a winning combo of flex and security while walking around the studio and pedaling. 

The BOA closure adjusts in a snap, and the women’s-specific last is form-fitted for a lower-volume heel cup and a narrower fit.

  • Nonslip outsole
  • Snug fit
  • Efficiency in power transfer
  • Quick-tight BOA closure

  • No men’s model
  • Only SPD-compatible
Best Budget Pick
Santic Cycling Shoes

Compatible with both SPD and Delta cleats, these shoes are a good investment for any newer indoor cyclist. These shoes are rugged and durable, albeit a bit stiff at first. They are a popular alternative to the more expensive Peloton-brand shoe, with a stiff enough outsole for powerful performance. The shoes have easy fit adjustments with hook-and-loop closures as well as a ratchet-type mechanism to really lock your foot in place. 

Take note that you’ll need to buy the cleats and adapters separately, so make sure you have all components on hand before your next class.

  • Inexpensive
  • Compatible with SPD and Delta cleats
  • Secure fit

  • Sizing can feel inconsistent
  • Cleats not included
Most Breathable
PEARL iZUMi Quest Studio Cycling Shoes

No matter how hard the fans are blowing, a spin class can get muggy and sweaty. These shoes were built with that environment in mind, on a women’s-specific last that conforms to a lower-volume foot. Pearl iZUMi modeled these shoes from their popular road-biking shoes, with updated materials better suited for an indoor workout. 

The upper has ventilation holes and is antimicrobial, helping stay stink-free and resist bacteria buildup. The stiff rubber sole is compatible with both SPD and Delta cleats, though you’ll need to buy the cleats separately.

  • Odor-resistant materials
  • Delta- and SPD-compatible
  • Breathable uppers
  • Lightweight

  • Can feel narrow
  • Cleats not included
Best class-to-town comfort
SHIMANO SH-IC300 Cycling Shoe

This cycling shoe is another model styled after standard sneakers, and will take you from spin class to your downtown errands with maximum comfort and walking ability. These have a recessed SPD-compatible clip in the rubber/EVA sole, and a quick-tight BOA closure for an instantly secure, customized fit. 

The instep strap is wide, which means no pinch points, and the upper has a breathable mesh for the sweatiest classes. We love these shoes for riders with wider feet, or any indoor cyclist who prefers a more relaxed shoe fit. 

Keep in mind that the cushioned sole means it absorbs more energy as you pedal, so these are not the most efficient shoes, but for comfort and general walking around, they can’t be beat.

  • Good for wider feet
  • Comfortable for walking
  • Quick-tight BOA closure

  • Less efficient energy transfer
  • Only SPD-compatible
Best Multi-Use
Louis Garneau Multi Air Flex II
Louis Garneau

While these shoes don’t specialize in any one thing, they manage to do a lot well. Ideal for riders who want to take their shoes from spin class to outdoor mountain biking or gravel riding, these sturdy shoes are comfortable for longer wear and short walking stints. 

They are durable without a huge weight penalty, and have a fiberglass-nylon outsole for a comfortable shoe without compromising stiffness for that desired energy transfer. 

Since these shoes can be used indoors or outdoors in a variety of disciplines, they can feel bulkier than sleeker models, and the synthetic upper is less breathable than other options.

  • Highly versatile
  • Budget-friendly
  • Durable

  • Not as breathable as other models
  • Toe box can feel narrow
  • Cleats not included
Most Unique Design
Nike SuperRep Indoor Cycling Shoe

These futuristic looking shoes come with a highly breathable upper in a variety of wild colorways, standing out from a crowd of primarily black and white models. These shoes were designed with stability in mind on and off the bike, perfect for classes where the instructor has you working out off the bike as well. 

This includes figure-8 style straps for security, rubber studs in the outsole to avoid slipping, and a heel cup designed for a perfect fit on the bike and groundwork in the studio and other enclosed spaces.

The upper is a lightweight, cooling mesh, and the forefoot plate is vented for even more airflow. The shoes are compatible with SPD and Delta cleats, not included.

  • Highly breathable
  • Secure fit for groundwork and riding
  • Unique styling and colors

  • Run small, consider sizing up
  • Cleats not included
Best Peloton Alternative
Venzo Cycling Shoes

These are an excellent all-around shoe for performance, comfort, and compatibility with the ubiquitous Peloton bike….without breaking the bank. 

These shoes have a wicking, quick-dry upper made with a combination of solid synthetics and mesh, and a lower cut around the ankle that won’t rub. These shoes are compatible with SPD and Delta cleats, and come with the set of Delta cleats. They have a reasonably stiff rubber sole for more power, and three Velcro closures for a highly adjustable fit, though the closures won’t feel as secure as other fasteners. 

Unlike similar models, these shoes are comfortable for people with wider feet, with a more generous toe box and overall volume that still feels secure and keeps your feet locked in place.

  • Delta cleats included
  • Comfortable for wide feet
  • Good balance between comfort and efficiency
  • Affordable
  • Compatible with SPD and Delta

  • Cleats need more frequent tightening
  • Velcro closures can loosen
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