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Best Road Bike Shoes
Ready to upgrade your road shoes?  Here’s the line-up of the best road bike shoes you can get for your money.

Foot comfort is critical.  One of the last things you want is for your feet to acquire hot spots or go numb during those half-century weekend rides that you have planned this year.

The downside with shoes is that it is difficult to “test-drive” them.  In order to really test your shoes, you really need to mount cleats to them and take them for a spin — ironically, mounting cleats often nullifies your ability to return them.

So here are a few tips and reviews to help you get the best road cycling shoes.

Make Sure That Your New Shoes Fit Correctly:

Your shoes need to not slide around on your heel.  However, you need plenty of room in the toe box to allow for good blood flow.  Cycling shoes don’t typically have as much give in them as tennis shoes do, so if they rub on your little toe when you first put them on, they will likely still be rubbing that little toe 1000 miles down the road.

The other important thing is to make sure that the cleat mount is far enough back to allow you to mount the cleat directly underneath the ball of your foot – or even behind the ball of your foot. This is typically ok on name-brand shoes, but I have seen a few off-brand shoes that don’t have good mounting positions on them.

When you get your new shoes try them on and check for fit.  Then, have someone help you mark your approximate ball-of-foot position on the shoe.  Typically you can use a pencil or sharpie to make a nearly invisible mark that lets you make sure that you have enough room to mount your cleats properly.

 How To Size Your Bike Shoes Demonstration

Road Shoes vs. Mountain Shoes

road cleats vs mountain bike cleats

Basically, the road shoe has a 3-point pattern on the bottom so that you can attach a road cleat.  Road cleats are larger than the cleats you use for mountain biking or for spin class and deliver better power to the pedal.

Some road riders opt to go with mountain bike shoes so that they can have a little tread around the cleat.  Mountain bike shoes are also a little bit easier to unclip.

Bottom line, Road shoes are stiffer and more powerful — and are perfect for the rider who is serious about their mileage.  Riders who want some flexibility in their shoe and cleat are better going with a mountain bike style shoe.

Best Road Bike Shoes Around $100

Here are a couple of top-notch road shoes that will let you blow the peloton away, while still leaving enough mad money for that pair of aero wheels you’ve had your eye on.

Shimano SH-Rp2 Road Shoe

This has got to be one of the best value in road shoes on the market.

Designed to be an entry-level shoe, there is very little of his entry-level about this shoe. I have a long history with Shimano shoes, and in my experience, they are designed for the long haul. It is not uncommon to see a Shimano shoe that has lasted for 5+ years of riding.

It has been my experience that the uppers of a road shoe are what tends to wear out first. Thanks to the tough, stretch-resistant synthetic leather upper, the issue is able to handle lane, sun, and heat, without prematurely breaking down.

Thanks to the tough, stretch-resistant synthetic leather upper, this shoe is able to handle rain, sun, and heat, without prematurely breaking down.

Since this is an entry-level shoe, Shimano uses a fiberglass sole. Fiberglass soles are very stiff and efficient …they’re just a little heavier than carbon soles. However, many carbon soles that you see being sold at this price point, are extremely weak and actually rip apart as the miles build.

In my experience, I would much rather have one of these super-durable fiberglass soles, instead of a competitor’s no-name “carbon” sole.

I also find that these shoes have the perfect amount of breathability to help keep your foot from overheating and becoming uncomfortable on long rides.

Whether you are seeking your first road shoe, or simply an affordable road shoe that can handle heavy mileage, this is an ideal choice.

Finally, I am most impressed with Shimano’s last.  The shoe shape works well with a wide variety of feet and has been my go-to shoe for a long time.  Once you’ve ridden a Shimano Shoe, you are pretty much guaranteed to be a fan for life.

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The Louis Garneau Men’s Revo

Depending on what special you find, you can often pick up this shoe for just over $100.

It is another excellent road shoe to consider.  Louis Garneau is one of those companies that makes sure their products do not only work well but that they also are comfortable and stylish. In other words, they put a lot of care into their products.

In a lot of ways, this shoe is much like the Shimano above.  You get synthetic and mesh upper, with three straps to keep your foot in place.

This shoe pulls in a couple of nice features that the Shimano leaves out.  To begin with, the HRS90 (Heel Retention System) layers an extra piece of material around the heel of the shoe and ties it tightly to the sole.  That way, you don’t lose any power on your upstroke.

The other feature that I really like is the extra ventilation in the sole of the shoe.  This is actually a feature that Shimano incorporates into their shoes at a higher price point, and it is nice to see Louis Garneau introduce it for so little money. It really makes a difference when it comes to keeping your feet cool on long, hot rides.

We could argue all day about which shoe is “stiffer”.  I feel like the Shimano is, and hence the reason my vote goes there.  Unless you are racing, both shoes are going to deliver enough power that you won’t have anything to complain about.

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Road And Pedal Sets — Ideal for Beginners

Here, I am only going to discuss road bike shoes. These are shoes with the three-hole pattern underneath for mounting the large, road-specific cleat.

However, mountain-style cleats are also excellent for new road riders.  These smaller cleats offer more walking surfaces on the shoe and are easier to clip in and out of.  For a great list of beginner road shoes that accept the smaller, mountain cleat, read my review of the best spin class shoes.  They are 100% compatible and offer some great options.

A Great Deal On Men’s Road Shoes – The Venzo Shoes And Pedal Set

venzo road shoe
Typically, you would be hard-pressed to find a pair of shoes for $75. But shoes and pedals?  Now you are just messing with me!

This set comes with a LOOK-style cleat which is one of the easier road cleats to get used to using.  It gives you a solid platform for delivering all of the power you can and allows you to efficiently pedal down — and pull on the upstroke.

Climbing hills has never been easier.

I would not expect these shoes to last more than a couple of seasons. The problem that I have seen is that, eventually, the upper will separate from the sole — typically midway through the second season of riding.

But, you’ll still have the pedals and cleats that you can move over to your next pair of shoes, so it is a great way to get started for very little money.

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A Great Shoe For Women Beginner Cyclists – Shimano SH-WR35L

I probably should not “pigeonhole” this shoe in the “beginner” spot.  Compared to the above-mentioned Venzo’s, these shoes are bomb-proof.

Quality and durability-wise, these shoes are a large step up from what the Venzo shoe offer.

To begin with, this shoe uses a lot of synthetic leather for all-weather strength.  And then Shimano is one of the best when it comes to joining the upper to the sole, and I have yet to see one of these shoes tear out.  Not that it couldn’t happen, but it would take a lot of mileage.

The other nice feature is the triple strap.  These three velcro straps are carefully placed to help eliminate hot spots and make sure that your foot stays comfortable no matter how long you pedal.

Finally, this shoe offers you the ability to go with any cleat design.  It is pre-drilled to accept both the mountain cleat and the road cleat, so you can start out with whichever cleat you like, and then switch as you go along — it is all up to you.

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Does Anyone Make Road Shoes For Wide Feet?

For the longest time, the only way to get an “E” width cycling shoe was to stop by your local bike shop and have a mold cast of your sole for expensive custom shoe design.

A few years ago Shimano rose to the need and rolled out a line of an affordable, wide-width cycling pair of shoes.

If you have already made it this far in my blog post, you already know that in my experience, Shimano shoes are a high-quality shoe, with a long track record of holding up under constant use.

Designed with the long-lasting synthetic leather upper, and large mesh windows for ventilation. The R088 is ready for any ride.

In addition, all of Shimano shoes use the Dynalast technology which allows for a small amount of flex in the sole. This provides better circulation and more foot comfort over long rides than a completely rigid sole will.

I also like the ratchet strap near the top, for on-the-go adjustment. Sometimes during a long ride, you find that your food needs to be loosened or tightened slightly. The unique racket design makes it easy to do so without dismounting the bike.

At the end of the day, it is an excellent shoe, for an affordable price. The fact that it is available in wide width is just an added benefit.

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The Best Road Bike Shoes For Men Around $300

The very best? I’d have to go with Sidi. The only problem with Sidi is that once you’ve worn a pair of these shoes, you will never be able to wear anything else.

The key thing to recognize is that this is a departure from anything else on this page.  These shoes are the pro-level package and are ready to take you to the top of the Alp de Huez in a rage of cheering fans.

What shoes are those? The Sidi Wire Carbon

Now, most of my readers have absolutely no interest in paying the hundreds of dollars required to get their hands on one of these shoes.

And they are not the best value.

The best value would be the Sidi Genius 5.

Sidi’s are so far above all of the competition, that it is unfair to put them on the same page as other “shoes”.

Quick-drying, wicking, breathable, water-resistant uppers. You are comfortable no matter what weather you pedal into.

The ratchet system for adjusting the shoe is unlike anything else on the market. Just twist to adjust.  And, instead of just tightening across the top of your foot, the whole system is made to cradle the foot.

Between the type of material used and the ratchet system, you kinda feel like you are wearing house slippers. They are that comfortable.

But pedal up a mountain with them, and the power transfer is absolutely stunning.

It’s no wonder that they are favorites among the pros.

The whole package is so excellent, it is unnerving.

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Best Road Bike Shoes For Women Riders

For Women cyclists, it seems as though they are often offered the “dregs” of the sport.

Granted, cycling does not appeal to as many women as it does men, but that doesn’t mean the ladies can’t have cool gadgets, too.

Furthermore, it seems as though it has been universally decided by shoe manufacturers that white is the only appropriate color for a ladies’ shoe.

Apparently, they have never tried to keep white shoes clean.

The Pearl Izumi Race RD cycling shoe really fills a vital niche in the industry. It is a top-quality shoe, with catchy graphics, available in black

The 1:1 power plate delivers a very efficient ride, without compromising comfort. They also spend more time developing an anatomically correct last, which greatly enhances comfort.

The new design emphasizes ventilation, ensuring those toes stay comfortable all summer long.

It is a top-notch shoe, that is customized to meet the lady cyclist’s need for a classy, durable, and functional shoe.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do road bike shoes have a break-in period?

No, cycling shoes don’t have a break-in period, unlike casual walking shoes. They are made of stiff, synthetic materials and they retain their form very well. Not only that, but they also tend to stay in shape for years to come, so an investment in the best road bike shoes is worth every single penny.

Why do cyclists wear tight clothes?

Look no further than physics, more specifically aerodynamics. Drag slows down cyclists, and large clothes create a lot of drag. To avoid this, cyclists wear tight clothes so they’ll have far fewer things to cause air friction. Yes, it’s that simple. There are barely any other advantages to wearing tight clothes other than this. Depending on the material, they might also help you sweat less, but, again, that depends on each type of piece of clothing and what it’s made out of.

Are carbon cycling shoes worth it?

It depends on what you want. A premium quality nylon cycling shoe can be just as stiff as a carbon cycling shoe, with the only downside (or upside, depending on who you ask) being more material and thus added weight. Carbon cycling shoes are slightly lighter, so they can feel a tad more comfortable and easy to use – but, again, it depends on the type of rider that you are.

How tight should cycling shoes be?

Cycling shoes should be snug. When trying shoes on in the shop, you don’t want to have your toes against the end of the shoes or the sides uncomfortably squeezing the feet. Hold the back of the shoe and check that your heel doesn’t move when you gently pull up.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, these are the best road bike shoes that I could find. I also hope that the FAQ section of this article was useful in your research. Leave me a comment with feedback and suggestions if you so wish.

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