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If you’re one of the countless people who opted for purchasing an at-home spin bike during the pandemic, then chances are you’re also in need of spin shoes. Most spin bikes require clip-in shoes that provide special support and safety features while pedaling on your bike. Even if you’re heading back to the studio for a spin class, you might like the idea of bringing your own indoor cycling shoes instead of wearing used ones.
Either way, shopping for the best spin shoes can get confusing fast, since different bikes require different types of clip-in shoes. There are also other things to consider like comfort and style. To get the details on everything you need to know about buying the best spin shoes, we talked to two spin pros: Karen Maxwell, ACE-CPT and Manager of Instructor Development for CycleBar, and Brian Evans, Senior Instructor at SoulCycle.
How to Find the Best Spin Shoes for Indoor Cycling
When shopping for spin shoes, the first thing to consider is the type of bike you’ll be using them on. If you have a spin bike at home, chances are that information came with the bike when you purchased it. Do you go to a studio often? You’ll want to check with that studio to ask what type of spin bike they use so you can find compatible spin shoes and cleats.
“Some bikes offer ‘triple’ pedals, which means they can accommodate either a Delta or SPD clip,” Maxwell says. “But most indoor cycling studios can accommodate both SPD and Delta clips.” (In case you’re wondering, Soulcycle falls into the latter category.)
Choosing between a shoe that works with Delta or SPD cleats really comes down to personal preference. Evans says he prefers styles with Delta clips, as they’re “bigger and easier to clip in and out of your bike, especially in dark studio rooms.” SPD clips are smaller and may be harder to lodge into your bike pedal, meaning they may not be the best choice for beginners.
Some shoes are compatible with both cleat styles (typically sold separately), but be sure to check the product details before purchasing to make sure.
Other than cleat compatibility with your bike, you’ll also want to consider the wearability of the spin shoes you’re shopping.
“I always go with fit and comfort over overall look,” says Evans. “The right fit will be a game-changer for your performance and allow you to effectively transfer through every pedal stroke.”
According to Maxwell, you want your indoor cycling shoes to fit snugly but not too tight.
“They may feel tight at first because of the hard sole bottom, ” he says. “A little wiggle room is okay, but not too much. Over time, the shoes tend to expand as they get worn in.”
The Benefits of Buying Your Own Indoor Cycling Shoes
In addition to enhancing your comfort and efficiency during a ride, a pair of great-fitting cycling shoes also helps ensure your safety.
“Being able to personalize your fit (narrow, wide etc.) will make your ride that much better,” he says. “Wearing properly fitted cycling shoes can help avoid injury by preventing your foot and ankle from moving around during class, keeping your hips and knees in alignment and giving your body extra stability.”
And yet another reason to consider investing in your own pair of cycling shoes? It’s more hygienic.
“Even though at SoulCycle [like at many studios] we have strict cleaning protocols and thoroughly disinfect our shoes after every class, there is a sense of comfort you can take in knowing you are the only human that has ever sweat in your shoes, especially if you are a germaphobe,” says Evans.
The Different Types of Spin Shoes
When shopping for indoor spin shoes, keep in mind that these are different from mountain biking or road cycling shoes (look for pairs labelled specifically for indoor cycling). In addition to featuring different cleat compatibilities, indoor cycling shoes also typically come in lace-up or velcro styles.
“The most common, and usually the most affordable, shoes are those with velcro closure systems,” says Evans. “This makes them super easy to get on and off while keeping your shoe securely on your foot while riding,” says Evans.
For shopping made easy, we consulted our experts and customer reviews to bring you the best indoor cycling shoes for men and women. Read on to find your perfect match.
Shimano Women’s IC5 Indoor Cycling Shoe
Best SPD Spin Shoe
Maxwell ranks Shimano’s styles as the overall best indoor cycling shoes. Available for men and women, most of the brand’s shoes are compatible with SPD cleats, so if you’re riding a bike that needs Delta cleats, take note. “[Shimano shoes] are comfortable and breathable and look sharp. They’re also easy to walk around in before and after class,” says Maxwell.
Nike SuperRep Cycle
Best Breathable Indoor Spin Shoes
Evans is a fan of this SPD-compatible style from Nike, as are tons of reviewers on Nike.com. One shopper said, “They’re light, very breathable and simply very comfortable. I swapped out my Peloton shoes for these and am so happy I did. I just wish I had done it sooner” Several other reviewers note these shoes run a bit small, so you might want to size up in these.
R Roydear Cycling Shoes
Best Budget Indoor Cycling Shoe
With an average 4.5-star rating and over 1,000 reviews on Amazon, you can’t go wrong with this indoor cycling shoe from R Roydear. Priced at under $100, these shoes come in various colorways and are SPD-compatible — which means you can use them with the Peloton bike if you have it. One reviewer notes, “At the listed price, I was skeptical about the material, actual design and color of these shoes upon reception. However, I was pleasantly surprised when taking the shoes out of the box.”
Shimano Men’s IC1 Indoor Cycling Shoe
Best Indoor Cycling Shoes for Men
Evans is also a fan of Shimano’s offerings, specifically its IC1 indoor cycling shoe for men. The style is easy to slip on and off thanks to a Velcro strap closure, making it a great no-fuss option. Notably, these shoes have five holes in the sole, which the brand says are compatible with many popular pedal systems.
Tommaso Pista Women’s Indoor Cycling Shoe
Best Indoor Cycling Shoes for Women
These indoor cycling shoes from Tommaso Pista come in a variety of colors. You can buy them with SPD or Delta cleats, so they should work with most at-home or studio bikes. The Velcro clasps make them easy to pull on and off, and you can adjust the tightness to your comfort level. The soles of the Tommaso shoes are reinforced with fiberglass, which the brand says helps with power transfer as you peddle for a better ride.
Venzo Men’s Cycling Shoes
Best spin shoes for Peloton
Peloton bikes are compatible with Delta cleats or any three-hole cleat setup. This style from Venzo is a top choice on Amazon with over 3,000 reviews and an average 4.5-star rating. Another major plus of these shoes is that they actually come with Delta cleats, so you don’t have to buy them separately. One downside to the pair is that it only comes in two colors (white and black), but if you’re more concerned with function over style, you’ll be happy with these.
Tommaso Men’s Strada 100 Indoor Cycling Shoe
Best Indoor Spin Shoes for Beginners
When you’re new to spin, one of the trickiest things to figure out is how to clip in and out of your bike pedals. These shoes from Tommaso are budget-friendly, and the velcro straps make them easy to take on and off. Plus they come with Delta cleats, which Evans says are easier to figure out how to clip in and out of.
SoulCycle Legend 2.0 Cycling Shoes
Best spin shoes for SoulCycle
The SoulCycle Legend shoes are designed to be even more comfortable and durable than the previously released model. These are compatible with Delta cleats — which the SoulCycle studio and at-home bike use — and the clips are included with the shoe. These have a small wheel on the outside of the shoe that lets you adjust the tightness while you ride (although Maxwell did flag that this feature can be tricky to get used to).