Did you know that the shoes you wear can have a significant impact on your performance on the road, and your overall cycling experience? Think about it. Wearing the wrong pair of shoes is not only uncomfortable, it may also mean that you can’t even pedal properly.
This is why cycling shoes are one of the most important items in any cyclist’s riding gear. The best road bike shoes can transform your cycling experience, so you can say goodbye to various irritating issues and say hello to a fun and smooth ride all day long.
Here are the best road bike shoes that are a must try, as well as a short buying guide to help you make the right decision on which are the perfect road shoes for you.
Top 10 Best Road Bike Shoes Ranked:
Take a look at these top ten best road bike shoes that will surely upgrade your riding experience from sorely average to wonderfully amazing with all the excellent features such as speed and precise lacing, custom fit, effective power transfer capabilities, and many more.
At the top of this list are beautifully stylish and modern looking mid range road bike shoes by Giro, the Giro men’s sentrie techlace road shoes. They are on the cheap side, especially if you consider the excellent quality that is more than worth the price tag.
These shoes are renowned for their rigid soles that totally transform your riding experience, and feature a unique combination of lacing systems that offer the best custom fit that gives you the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and security.
For one thing, these shoes make use of BOA dials that are easy and convenient to use, a unique techlace system that makes the shoe fit completely adjustable, and extra velcro straps to fully ensure that the shoes stay on at all times.
2. Fizik Infinito knit bike shoes
In second place are the Fizik Infinitor knit bike shoes, more specifically, the Infinito R1, which is one of the many in Fizik’s premium road bike shoes collection. It’s an improved version of the popular R1B, and takes cycling to a whole new level.
These shoes guarantee improved fit and comfort with two revolutionary technologies when it comes to closure systems, namely, the increased volume control and the dynamic arch support, which both allow for a high performance level and optimum power transfer.
The upper portion of the shoes are knitted, which means they are ultra breathable without sacrificing stiffness. Meanwhile, the soles are made of unidirectional carbon fiber, meaning, you get the maximum stiffness and power transfer that you need.
3. Gavin Elite road cycling shoes
Ranking third are excellent entry level road bike shoes perfect for beginner and leisure riders. The Gavin Elite road cycling shoes don’t just look fashionably sporty, these shoes are also packed with various features that enhance your cycling experience.
These shoes are designed for maximum comfort and ventilation with their micro adjustable buckles that ensure a perfect fit, nylon fiberglass soles that are equipped with air flow vents, and synthetic microfiber leather that come with a breathable mesh.
This design allows the shoes to be suitable for a variety of active sport purposes, and, since they are compatible with two or three bolt cleats, you can easily wear these shoes for road bike cycling and indoor cycling activities. Talk about versatility!
4. Giro men’s treble II bike shoes
Another excellent choice for road bike shoes are the Giro men’s treble II bike shoes, this time an entry level model that is not only affordable, but also cool looking, and more importantly, highly functional, since it comes with lots of exciting features.
These include an Aegis antimicrobial EVA footbed that offers medium arch support, a universal cleat mounting system that enables you to use either two or three bolt cleats, three velcro straps that make for a snug yet comfortable fit, and a sleek and modern look.
Plus, it also makes use of high quality breathable materials such as synthetic fibers, so your feet stay cool and dry all throughout your ride. All in all, these are great and versatile shoes that you can use for cycling, spinning classes, and other activities.
5. Bont Riot BOA road shoes
Next up is a pair of shoes that really pack a punch despite the bargain price. The Bont Riot BOA road shoes not only look race ready with perfectly sporty designs boasting the Bont brand name, they’re also high performing and lightweight.
The tub style soles of these shoes make use of carbon reinforced fiberglass that allows for that efficient power transfer that you need. And, these shoes are also fully customizable to your feet, since they are heat moldable, and hence can be baked.
Not to mention, the BOA lacing system makes it easy to wear, securely fit, and remove these shoes conveniently and without a hassle, so you’re always ensured of a perfect and comfortable fit all day long.
6. Pearl iZUMi select road shoes
A great and reliable Japanese brand name that boasts the quality of USA manufactured products is the Pearl iZUMi, which is where the simple yet highly functional entry level road bike shoes, the Pearl iZUMi select road shoes, come from.
These shoes make use of nylon soles that offer a decent stiffness level, perfect for beginner cyclists and those who love to push themselves with long distance rides. These also make use of breathable composite materials to keep your feet cool and dry.
And, the way the shoes are designed, plus the materials they are made of, enable the shoes to gradually adapt to the shape of your feet, so you’re sure to get the perfectly snug custom fit that works for you.
7. Vittoria Zoom road cycling shoes
Now, this is a brand that may sound new to you if you’re in the US, but Vittoria Shoes are one of the leading and highly sought brands in the Europe, and are even worn by world champions in the field of professional cycling, so you know you’re in for a great time with these.
The Vittoria Zoom road cycling shoes are on the entry level side of the Vittoria Shoes collection, but they certainly don’t lack in any of the must have specs and features that make great road bike shoes, including the precise and comfortable fit.
These are provided by a smart combination of ratchet buckles and velcro straps that offer a perfect fit that’s also easy and convenient to achieve. If you are looking for pretty and affordable shoes that will meet your demands on the road, these are a good option.
8. Giro Apeckx II cycling shoes
The third Giro road shoes on this list, and another promising product on the mid range side, the Giro Apeckx II cycling shoes boast of lots of amazing features that make for a great riding experience, and all without the hefty price tag.
The Giro Apeckx II makes use of a composite nylon sole that is just the right side of stiff without being too rigid, and still being able to give you that much needed power transfer from human to bike and back, while being significantly more affordable than carbon counterparts.
Plus, these shoes come in two different versions, namely, the standard and high volume, so you can take your pick depending on the size and width of your feet and how much toe box you feel you need for a comfortable yet secure fit and feel.
9. Fizik Tempo power strap cycling shoes
Another Fizik brand road bike shoes are the Fizik Tempo power strap cycling shoes, which are ultra comfortable and wonderfully fitting, making them highly suitable for long rides so your feet don’t get tired, strained, and sweaty.
These road shoes make use of superior soles that are of the perfect stiffness for the kind of riding you often engage in, and yet without the hefty price of some of the more high end Fizik shoes, so you know you’re getting a good deal.
Plus, these also feature twin velcro straps that ensure a custom and comfortable fit regardless of the tension, so you don’t have to worry about the absence of BOA dials that are too expensive anyway. Besides, these shoes look good enough for daily use as well.
Finally, another one from Fizik are the Fizik R3 Aria road shoes, which not only look great with their sleek aesthetics that give you that professional cyclist look, they also come with lots of great features that enable a superior performance on the road.
One of these is the BOA dial system that addresses both the front and back side of the shoes, making sure that you get a perfectly supple and comfortable fit without any issue. Another is the microtex material that fits perfectly, is weather resistant, and is easy to clean.
And of course, there’s also the laser cut perforations all throughout the shoes, enabling optimized ventilation to ensure that your feet stay cool and dry despite the hot summer weathers as you tackle the great outdoors.
Road Bike Shoes Buying Guide
When it comes to finding the right road bike shoes for you, there are many different things that you need to take into account. After all, you’re not just looking for a pair of shoes that look on trend and stylish, but something that gives you exactly what you need on the road.
One of the most important factors when it comes to road shoes is the type of closure system it utilizes, since this determines how customizable and adjustable the shoe fit is, as well as how complicated things get when wearing and removing the shoes.
BOA dials: These are your best bet, but they can be costly. These offer the most precise fit, are easily adjustable and replaceable, and enables high performance.
Ratchet buckle: These used to be the most popular closure system, since they are sturdy and reliable, but are not as precise as BOA dials.
Velcro straps: Perhaps the most common, velcro straps are easy to use, adequately adjustable, lightweight, and cheap.
Laces: You’ll find that most shoes feature typical laces, which are alright since they’re cheap and lightweight, but hard to adjust quickly, and can get tangled with your chain.
Another important thing is what the sole of the shoes is made of, since this will affect how stiff and rigid the shoes are, and therefore how much power transfer you can get efficiently, which affects your performance on the road.
Carbon: For the highest performance, carbon soles are unparalleled since they are not only stiff but lightweight as well. The downside is they are expensive.
Carbon reinforced: When it comes to mid range shoes that are somewhat more affordable but still want that stiffness, carbon infused soles are often used.
Plastic: The cheapest and heaviest option are plastic soles, which are suitable for beginners since they are more comfortable especially for longer rides.
Pedal and cleats compatibility
Since you’re using these shoes for riding your bicycle, it’s also necessary to account for whether the shoes are compatible with your clipless pedal system in the first place, depending on the type of cycling you usually engage in.
2 hole: The Shimano Pedal System (SPD) features recessed cleats that are perfect for walking, mountain biking, touring, and commuting.
3 hole: The Look Style system (SPD-LS) makes use of wider cleats that are more stable and offer better power transfer, so they’re great for road bikes.
4 hole: There is also the Speedplay system, which requires converting a 3 hole pedal to a 4 hole one, in order to allow for full customization.
Aside from the first three I mentioned, which can be quite technical, there are other things that you also need to take into account. First of all, it’s a no brainer that the shoes should be of the right fit, not too small and not too big.
It’s important to base on the size chart of the brand and the reviews of other customers, since different brands have different sizing guides. Moreover, it’s also a must to note the width of the shoes to make sure that they don’t feel too loose or restrictive.
And then there’s also the ventilation of the shoes, which is what determines whether you feel sweaty and irritated, or cool and dry throughout your ride. Finally, the price range is, of course, a point of contention. You don’t want to spend too much on shoes that won’t benefit you.
Final Verdict: The best road bike shoes is…
Road bike shoes serve many important purposes, not only in covering your feet and protecting them from the elements, but also in transforming your cycling experience by making sure that you get the most power transfer, ventilation, comfort, and security.
Out of all the many cycling shoes out there, what I like the most are the Giro men’s sentrie techlace road shoes, since they’re not only stylish and somewhat affordable, they are also packed with all the features you’ve come to expect from decent road bike shoes.
I’m talking about stiff and rigid soles, BOA lacing systems, and plenty of others that make these truly remarkable cycling shoes that you are sure to fall in love with.