Photo Credit: Kate Kanzier
If you’re into road 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 best road bike shoes. This is especially must have with road biking, 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.
Table of Contents
|Picture||Bike Name||Size [EU]||Colors||Price|
|Mavic Cosmic Ultimate Shoe||9.5||Yellow Mavic/Black||Check Latest Price|
|Fizik R1 Uomo BOA Road||40-48||Black/Red||Check Latest Price|
|Northwave Men’s Extreme Winter GTX M||47||Black||Check Latest Price|
|Shimano 2014 Men’s Elite Racing Custom||45/48||–||Check Latest Price|
|Shimano Men’s TR60 Triathlon||43||White/Black||Check Latest Price|
|KUKOME Sidebike Road||40-46||Black Red + Black||Check Latest Price|
|Vittoria Hora EVO Cycling||39||Black||Check Latest Price|
|Giro Prolight SLX II Road||39.5-44.5||White/White||Check Latest Price|
|Venzo Road Bike For Shimano SPD||42.5-47||Black||Check Latest Price|
|Tommaso Strada 100 Road||40-46||Black||Check Latest Price|
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 best road bike 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.
When talking about best 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.
While most road bike 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 best road bike shoes.
As 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.
We’ve already seen what Shimano can do for best road bike 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.
Next, 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.
So 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.
While 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 best road bike 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.
Our final set of best road bike 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 best road bike 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.
Next, 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.
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.
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 close 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.
In addition to breathability, the next most important thing is stiffness. The key strategy for 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!