Why Do I Need Cycling Shoes? (And What to Look For in a Good Cycling Shoe)

It’s one of the most commonly asked questions in a Spinning class … “Do I really need those shoes?” I’ll be honest; when I first started taking indoor cycling classes, I was skeptical. I figured I’d never wear those ugly shoes. They couldn’t make that much of a difference, right?

Wrong. It’s amazing how much of a difference a good cycling shoe makes! The biggest factor lies in the rigidity of the shoe. A running shoe (which is what you’ll see most people in a gym wearing) is designed to be flexible and light – allowing a runner to hit his or her stride comfortably. It’s padded, and with the right fit, provides for a little extra room for the toes. All these things are great for running … but not so much for cycling.

A cycling shoe is best when it does one of two basic things: to create a solid, firm base, and a snug fit (when I bought my first pair of cycling shoes, I actually joked with the guy in the bike shop – basically everything I wanted in a cycling shoe was everything I DIDN’T want in a running shoe). The hard base allows for an even distribution of power through the pedal stroke, while the snug fit will keep the foot from shifting as you cycling … saving you from some painful blisters. Another plus? Your foot is locked into the pedal by a specially-designed clip (most indoor cycles take SPD clips – your local shop can install them for you, and many will even do it for no charge with the shoe purchase – just make sure you know what kind of clips are installed on the bike or bikes you’ll be riding).

Read on for some great tips from the Mad Dogg Athletics team (the creators of Spinning) on what to look for when purchasing cycling shoes:


3 thoughts on “Why Do I Need Cycling Shoes? (And What to Look For in a Good Cycling Shoe)

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. There are no spinning classes available anywhere near where I live. Casual bike riding on country roads with significant inclines is all we have available. We ride a 7 mile route about five days a week. The hills make for some great interval training. What’s your opinion on shoe choice for this situation?

    • Any time! I wish that I had some good advice for you, but unfortunately I don’t know too much about outdoor shoes (though from a fit standpoint you’d want to look for the same things). I’d suggest visiting a cycling store – they should be able to steer you in the right direction. Sounds like you have a nice route planned out – keep up the good work!

  2. Pingback: Gym Bag Essentials – What Are Your Workout Necessities? | Strong-Fit-Beautiful

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