Best Road Bike Shoes in 2017 & Beyond – Buyers Guide

If you’re into biking, then you know how important it is to have the right equipment and gear for your next ride. While most people think to have a helmet or biking clothes, one of the most important pieces that you can buy is a high-quality set of shoes. This is especially true with road bikes, as speed and efficiency are crucial while out on the street. For that reason, it’s imperative that you buy shoes that are designed specifically for road bikes, rather than using standard shoes. Today we’ll be going over the best road bike shoes on the market, as well as talk about what features and aspects to look for when making your final decision. Before you hit the road, take a look and see what these shoes have to offer.

10 Best Road Bike Shoes in 2017 – Reviews

1. Mavic Cosmic Ultimate Shoe

Mavic Cosmic Ultimate Shoe For some riders, having a thicker shoe is one of the worst things possible. In fact, for these people, they would prefer to ride without any shoe at all, if only they could manage the pedals without hurting their feet. So, with that in mind, we have one of the thinnest and lightest pairs of road shoes you can find, the Cosmic Ultimate Shoe from Mavic. What makes this pair so unique is that the material is thinner than anything else we’ve seen. In fact, it’s so light that both shoes together only weigh 230 grams. Overall, this is about as close as you’re going to get as far as riding barefoot. To make sure that you get the best power transfer, these shoes come with a rotating closure system for extra tightness and a carbon fiber outsole for better stiffness. Overall, these are excellent road shoes if you are mostly concerned about performance and efficiency.

Pros

  • Synthetic bonded upper
  • Breathable mesh for better airflow
  • Rotating closure system
  • Double straps for better retention
  • Carbon fiber outsole for lightweight durability
  • Ergo 3D tongue for a softer fit
  • Thin material feels like nothing
  • Weighs only 230 grams for the pair
  • Raised heel keeps shoe on while riding
  • Heel loop for easier on and off
  • Three-hole cleat compatible

Cons

  • Might be hard to find the right size in the US
  • Closure system can be tricky in some cases
Mavic Cosmic Ultimate Shoe

Mavic Cosmic Ultimate Shoe

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2. Fizik R1 UOMO BOA Road Cycling Shoes

Fizik R1 UOMO BOA Road Cycling ShoesWhen talking about different road bike shoes, the two most important features are stiffness and breathability. Because you are working out hard while riding, it’s crucial that your feet work as efficiently as possible and don’t overheat after a few hours in the saddle. So, with that in mind, one of the best pairs you can find are the Fizik R1 UOMO Cycling Shoes. What makes this set so desirable is that the construction is second to none. The upper sole is made with thin, breathable mesh that allows for maximum airflow while riding so that your feet don’t get too hot or uncomfortable. As for the outsole, it’s made with strong carbon fiber material to give your feet much better stiffness to transfer power to the pedal much easier. The other thing that we like about these shoes is that they come with the BOA closure system. Many bikers like to have their footwear be tight around their feet so that they don’t slip off or shift during the ride, and BOA fasteners are excellent about providing exceptional tightness. A twist of the knob means that you can adjust as needed and get the perfect fit every time. Overall, these are some amazing road bike shoes.

Pros

  • Durable nylon, polyurethane, and polyester construction
  • Handmade in Italy for the finest quality
  • Double BOA fasteners for easier control
  • Uses 100% kangaroo leather
  • Carbon fiber outsole for lightweight durability
  • 3D FLEX insole is customizable for a better fit
  • Breathable top for better airflow
  • Molded for aerodynamic efficiency
  • Extended power strap over the heel
  • Shoe will not slip off while riding
  • Excellent power transfer to pedals

Cons

  • Might be too stiff for some riders
  • Front tip runs a little small when sizing
  • Can be painful after a few hours of wearing
Fizik R1 UOMO BOA Road Cycling Shoes

Fizik R1 UOMO BOA Road Cycling Shoes

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3. Northwave Men’s Extreme Winter GTX M Winter Cycling Shoe

Northwave Men's Extreme Winter GTX M Winter Cycling ShoeWhile most road shoes are perfect for summer or spring riding, if you try to use them during the cold winter months then you’ll see why having a ventilated shoe is a bad thing when faced with sub-zero temperatures. Fortunately, this next pair from Northwave is specifically designed to keep your feet toasty warm without sacrificing power and performance on your ride. The secret to these shoes is the double shield construction (DSC), which ensures that you create the ideal microclimate for your feet. No matter what the environment is outside your feet will stay toasty and warm without getting soggy or overheated. Another way to protect your toes is with a Gore-Tex membrane that is both water and windproof. This way if you accidentally step in a puddle you don’t have to worry about frostbite kicking in as your feet will feel completely dry afterward. Overall, if you’re serious about riding in winter weather, you need these shoes.

Pros

  • Double Shield Construction uppers
  • Two layers to keep your feet protected and warm
  • Creates ideal microclimate for your feet
  • Waterproof and windproof Gore-Tex membrane
  • Provides excellent thermal insulation
  • Carbon light and fiberglass sole for stiffness
  • Excellent power transfer while riding
  • Two rotor dial closures for a tighter fit
  • Heel loop for faster in and out

Cons

  • Sizes run a little small
  • Not ideal for other weather conditions besides winter
  • Can be bulky and cumbersome for some users
Northwave Men's Extreme Winter GTX M Winter Cycling Shoe

Northwave Men’s Extreme Winter Cycling Shoe

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4. Shimano 2014 Men’s Elite Racing Custom-Fit Road Cycling Shoe

Shimano 2014 Men's Elite Racing Custom-Fit Road Cycling ShoeAs far as bike brands go, none are quite as synonymous with quality as Shimano. Whether it’s high-quality derailleurs or shifters, the company has made some of the best biking gear ever. For road bikes, you will see many of the pedals are made by Shimano, so it makes sense that the brand would also make shoes to attach to the pedals to create even better results. What we like about these shoes is that they are both sleek and durable while still being extra breathable. A fine mesh upper provides excellent airflow while a heat molded custom fit means that you can adjust the feeling of the shoe without having to work hard. Just a little heat allows you to conform the shoe to your foot for the best in comfort. The other thing that comes with Shimano Shoes is the Dynalast system, which holds your foot in an ideal ergonomic position so that you can get the best performance and the greatest feeling while you ride. Also, because the shoes are built to work with Shimano pedals, you don’t have to worry about checking them beforehand to make sure that you can use them with your new ride.

Pros

  • Durable microfiber leathers for the upper
  • Fine mesh material offers superior breathability
  • Buckle and two Velcro straps for fastening
  • Heat-moldable custom fit technology
  • Adjustable insole with arch support
  • Moisture controlled material
  • Shimano Dynalast secures foot in ergonomic position
  • Excellent power transfer to pedals while riding
  • Low profile sides reduces drag and weight
  • Carbon fiber outsole for lightweight durability
  • Adjustable cleat holes

Cons

  • Sides may run narrow for some users
  • Front end might be painful after a few hours
  • Sizing can be confusing in some cases
Shimano 2014 Men's Elite Racing Custom-Fit Road Cycling Shoe

Shimano 2014 Men’s Elite Racing Road Cycling Shoe

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5. Shimano Men’s TR60 Triathlon Cycling Shoes

Shimano Men's TR60 Triathlon Cycling ShoesWe’ve already seen what Shimano can do for road shoes, but this next pair is mostly designed for all around use, rather than road biking in particular. That being said, they do have all of the features you need to get better performance while riding, but you can also use them for running or walking without experiencing discomfort. As you’ll notice, what separates these shoes from the rest is that they only come with a single Velcro enclosure on the top. This makes them a bit looser and more comfortable while walking as well as ensures that the shoe doesn’t shift too much while you ride. In the back, you have an oversized loop to help get the shoes on and off. Breathability and stiffness are still high-quality with this shoe, as you get a thick breathable mesh on top and a carbon composite on the bottom. As with all Shimano Shoes, this pair comes with the Dynalast system to keep your feet in an ergonomic position regardless of if you are riding or walking.

Pros

  • Rovenica synthetic leather upper
  • Breathable mesh design for better airflow
  • Single Velcro closure for speed
  • Carbon composite outsole for lightweight rigidity
  • Shimano Dynalast keeps foot in ergonomic position
  • Abrasion resistant material
  • Holds its shape better than other shoes
  • Heel loop for quicker access
  • Integrated air intake and exhaust built-in
  • Moisture control mesh upper
  • Reinforced heel cup keeps shoe on while riding
  • Wider cleat adjustment range

Cons

  • Sizes run slightly larger than normal
  • Might feel a bit looser than other models
Shimano Men's TR60 Triathlon Cycling Shoes

Shimano Men’s TR60 Triathlon Cycling Shoes

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6. KUKOME Sidebike Road Cycling Shoes

KUKOME Sidebike Road Cycling shoes & Pedals in Various Sizes and colorsNext, we have a set of biking shoes that come with their own pedals for your convenience. If you are at all worried about having to make sure that your bike is compatible with your shoes, you won’t have to worry at all with this set as they come with everything you need to hit the road. As far as the shoes themselves, they are made with excellent microfiber leather material on top and carbon fiber on the bottom. They are also well perforated all around to provide the best airflow for your feet so that you don’t have to worry about overheating, even in summer weather. The other great thing about these shoes is that they are also made for night riding. Visibility is always a concern when riding in low light conditions, which is why these shoes have reflective material sewn right into the upper and the Velcro fasteners so that cars can see you much more easily while you ride.

Pros

  • Microfiber leather upper
  • Wear-resistant and anti-skid design
  • Perforated upper for better breathability
  • Top buckle and two Velcro fasteners
  • Reflective material for better visibility
  • Compatible with three-hole cleats
  • Nylon and TPU outsole for stiffness
  • Raised heel will stay on your foot while you ride
  • Quick and easy fastening for convenience

Cons

  • Sizing can be difficult for US riders
  • Might run tight in the front
  • Can be painful after a few hours
KUKOME Sidebike Road Cycling shoes & Pedals in Various Sizes and colors

KUKOME Sidebike Road Cycling Shoes

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7. Vittoria Hora EVO Cycling Shoe

Vittoria Hora EVO Cycling ShoeSo far we’ve mostly seen shoes that use Velcro or buckles to stay on your feet, but this next pair from Vittoria Hora is designed with a rotor closure system to allow for a tighter fit so that they don’t shift or move while you ride. Many hardcore road cyclists swear by this type of system, so if you’re worried about getting the best fit, these might be a great option for you. In addition to the rotor closure system, these shoes come with a top buckle to keep things secure, and they have a thick microfiber upper to provide extra cushioning. The outsole is made of sturdy carbon UD material so that you get extra stiffness and better power transfer while riding. Finally, the insole is customizable as long as you provide heat, making these shoes ideal for almost any rider.

Pros

  • Thick microfiber upper
  • Mesh design for better airflow
  • Rotor closure system for better results
  • Top buckle to keep shoe from slipping
  • Carbon UD outsole for lightweight stiffness
  • Excellent power transfer to pedals
  • Heat forming insole for customizable support

Cons

  • Finding the right size can be difficult for larger feet
  • Might pinch on the sides
  • Rotor closure may be tricky in some cases
Vittoria Hora EVO Cycling Shoe

Vittoria Hora EVO Cycling Shoe

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8. Giro Prolight SLX II Road Bike Shoes

Giro Prolight SLX II Road Bike shoes Gentlemen whiteWhile getting shoes that are designed for road bikes is necessary to ensure that you can get the best performance possible, there are still varying degrees of performance from which you can choose. In this case, the Prolight SLX II Shoes from Giro are more of a casual style, using Velcro straps and an ultralight footbed for quick and easy access. If you like a more comfortable shoe that improves your performance without being too restrictive, then these could be a good option for you. As far as performance goes, these shoes have excellent stiffness and breathability. You get a thin mesh upper and a stiff carbon fiber outsole that delivers better results without compromising on comfort. While Velcro does not get as tight as other fasteners (such as control knobs), they are much more versatile and easier to use overall. The other great thing about these shoes is that they have an ultralight footbed to provide better traction without weighing your feet down.

Pros

  • Genuine leather upper
  • Breathable mesh design for better airflow
  • Three Velcro fasteners for convenience
  • Ultralight footbed for easier wearing
  • Carbon fiber outsole for lightweight durability
  • Excellent power transfer into the pedals
  • Compatible with three-hole road cleats
  • Extended heel for better fit while riding
  • Super lightweight design is 410 grams for both
  • Three arch heights for the insole system

Cons

  • Sizing can be complicated for some users
  • Might be a little too tight in some cases
  • Material can feel bulky in some areas
Giro Prolight SLX II Road Bike shoes Gentlemen white

Giro Prolight SLX II Road Bike Shoes

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9. Venzo Road Bike For Shimano SPD-SL Look Cycling Bicycle Shoes

Venzo Road Bike For Shimano SPD SL Look Cycling Bicycle Shoes & Pedals BlackOur final set of road shoes is made with comfort and cleanliness in mind. To achieve those results, these shoes come with incredible mesh uppers that allow for the best breathing ability and moisture-wicking technology. That, coupled with a removable sock liner means that you never have to worry about these shoes developing a strong odor over time. As far as performance goes, this pair uses Velcro straps for convenience and has a stiff outsole for better power transfer. While they are not as high-end as some of the other models we’ve seen, they are a great go-between for casual and hardcore riders. Finally, these shoes are compatible with any kind of pedals, so feel free to attach them to any bike you have and hit the road in style.

Pros

  • Synthetic leather upper
  • Breathable mesh for better airflow
  • Quick drying and moisture controlled
  • Removable sock liner for cleaning
  • Three Velcro straps for better support
  • Low-profile design for less weight
  • Flexible front for better feel
  • Excellent power transfer to pedals
  • Stiff outsole for easier riding
  • Compatible with all SPD and SPD-SL cleats
  • Lightweight design weighs 586 grams per pair

Cons

  • Can be hard to clip into cleats at times
  • May run large when sizing
  • Can feel a bit loose while riding
Venzo Road Bike For Shimano SPD SL Look Cycling Bicycle Shoes & Pedals Black

Venzo Road Bike For Shimano Cycling Bicycle Shoes

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10. Tommaso Strada 100 Road Cycling Shoe

Tommaso Strada 100 Road Touring Cycling Spinning ShoeNext, we get back to standard road shoes with this pair from Tommaso Strada. As far as shoe brands go, Tommaso is one of the better ones coming out of Europe, which means that these shoes are built for style and performance above all else. To achieve better results, these shoes come with a synthetic leather upper and a fiberglass reinforced polyamide outsole. While this is not as high quality as carbon fiber, it is the next best thing, meaning that these are more cost effective without sacrificing too much in the way of performance. As far as closure goes, these shoes use Velcro straps to keep them on your feet, which makes them a bit more on the casual side. Also, a molded insole means that you get better comfort overall and you won’t experience too much pinching or pain after a long day’s ride.

Pros

  • Synthetic leather upper
  • Breathable mesh for better airflow
  • Three Velcro straps for better support
  • Fiberglass reinforced polyamide sole
  • Optimized stiffness for excellent power transfer
  • Compatible with three-hole cleats
  • Thick padded upper for better comfort
  • Raised heel will stay on while riding
  • Rear reflective strip for better visibility
  • Molded insole provides excellent support

Cons

  • Sizes run small
  • Can be tight on the sides and front
  • Not ideal for hardcore road bikers
Tommaso Strada 100 Road Touring Cycling Spinning Shoe

Tommaso Strada 100 Road Cycling Shoe

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How to Choose Best Road Bike Shoes in 2017

While picking out a shoe may seem like a simple and straightforward process, the fact is that there are some key components that you have to watch out for to ensure that you’re getting the best pair possible. Here are the most important features to look at when making your final decision.

Upper

As we mentioned above, breathability and comfort are crucial when finding a road bike shoe, and the upper material has a lot to do with that. While mountain bike or casual riding shoes will want to stay closed to keep your feet dry and warm, road bikes are all about endurance and power, which is why the shoes are well ventilated to keep your feet cool and comfortable. If you don’t have the proper ventilation, then you will notice hot feet each time you ride.

Outsole

In addition to breathability, the next most important thing is stiffness. The key strategy to riding on the street is to maximize your efficiency, which is why these shoes clip onto the pedal so that you don’t risk slipping while you ride. To also help with power transfer you will need a stiff outer sole. This will make walking more of a pain, but it will ensure that you ride as fast as possible.

Cleat Compatibility

When looking at the shoes, make sure that they are compatible with your pedals. There are two, three, and four hole designs, so you will have to compare the shoes to the bike to make sure that they are a match. For the most part, high-end road bike shoes will have three or four holes, while casual riding shoes will have two.

Closure Style

To further help ensure that your feet don’t slip while you ride you need a closure system that keeps the shoe tight to your foot. Here are the three most common ways to achieve that goal.

Laces

Most riders don’t like laces because they take too long to tie up and they can be a hazard while riding. However, they are much more cost effective and can be adjusted according to your needs, so don’t think that they are totally useless.

Rotor System

If you want the benefit of laces without the burden of having to tie and untie them, a rotor system is the best alternative. This way all you have to do is turn a knob, and you can loosen or tighten the shoe as you see fit. The only downside is that if the button gets damaged, it can ruin the laces and will have to be replaced.

Hook and Loop

For those looking for something a bit more casual, Velcro straps are the way to go. They are not as reliable as laces or rotor systems, but they are much easier to get in and out and can still provide excellent closure. For best results, get a pair that uses Velcro as well as a buckle on top for added stability.

Final Verdict

After looking through these shoes, we have two top picks that stand out above the rest. If you’re interested in high-performance shoes, then we highly recommend the Fizik R1 UOMO pair as they are the most well built and have the best features. For those who want something a bit more casual, however, then we suggest the Shimano Men’s TR60 Triathlon Shoes. These are ideal for much more than riding, making them a perfect choice for those who want versatility over speed. 

About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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