Cycling shoes are an essential piece of gear if you’re an avid cyclist. A good quality pair of cycling shoes will help maximise your performance, comfort, and safety while riding. With a wide range of options available, selecting the right pair of cycling shoes can be overwhelming.

However, by considering various factors such as fit, type, materials, and features, you can narrow down your choices and find the perfect pair of cycling shoes for your needs. In this guide, we’ll cover the key considerations to help you pick the best cycling shoes.

Know your riding style

Before you set off on your search for the perfect pair of cycling shoes, it’s important to think about what kind of cyclist you are. Different shoes are designed for different types of journeys, so it’s essential to pick wisely to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible.

If you ride primarily on paved roads, you’ll benefit from shoes designed with road cycling in mind. Road cycling shoes are created to maximise efficiency and aerodynamics and typically feature stiff soles for optimal power transfer and lightweight construction.

If you love your off-road adventures, be sure to look out for cycling shoes designed for mountain biking. They offer more traction, durability, and protection against uneven terrain. Look for cycle shoes with thick soles and reinforced toe boxes to offer maximum protection on your adventures.

Consider the fit

A proper fit is essential when it comes to cycling shoes. A snug yet comfortable fit ensures optimal power transfer and minimises the risk of discomfort or injury while out on the trails.

Ensure you purchase shoes from a high-quality brand and a reputable retailer with an array of options to choose from. Pay attention to the width and volume of the shoe as some brands offer narrow, standard, and wide width options to accommodate different foot shapes.

Sole stiffness

The stiffness of the sole directly impacts power transfer efficiency. Stiffer soles help minimise energy loss, particularly when you’ve been pedalling for long periods of time.

Carbon cycle shoes are a lightweight option and usually quite stiff, ideal for road cycling and maximising performance. However, they tend to be slightly more expensive than standard cycling shoes, so it’s important to think about what you can afford to spend.

For leisurely riders or those on a budget, composite or nylon soles offer a good balance of stiffness and affordability.

Closure systems

Cycling shoes come with various closure systems, each offering different levels of adjustability, comfort, and convenience.

Traditional lace-up shoes provide a customisable fit but may require frequent adjustments during rides.

Ratchet buckles, Velcro straps, and Boa dials offer quick and precise tightening with on-the-fly adjustments, making them popular choices among cyclists.

Breathability and ventilation

Cycling can be a physically intense activity, so adequate ventilation is essential to keep your feet cool and dry.

Look for cycling shoes with breathable uppers and perforated panels to promote airflow and reduce moisture.

Mesh inserts and ventilated insoles further enhance breathability, preventing hot spots and discomfort during long rides.

Durability and construction

Invest in cycling shoes made from high-quality materials and durable construction to ensure long-lasting performance.

Reinforced toe and heel areas provide added protection against impacts and abrasions, especially for mountain biking.

Check for high-quality stitching and welded seams to ensure your cycling shoes will see you through long, tough rides.

Best cycling shoes by category

To help you narrow down your choices, here are some of the best cycling shoes broken down by category:

Best budget cycling shoes

If you’re looking for an affordable pair of cycling shoes for under £40, the Ridge Leisure Cycle Shoes are a great option. The casual design is perfect for everyday bike rides, while the reflective trims increase your visibility to other road users. The 2-bolt cleat system and vented panels ensure functionality and breathability, making them a great all round budget option.

Ridge Leisure Cycle Shoes 231358

Best road cycling shoes

When it comes to road cycling shoes, you’ll need an option that provides all day comfort and performance. The Boardman Carbon Cycle Shoes are a great option for road cyclists, featuring ultra-light carbon outsole that provide excellent power transfer and a dual dial tightening system for on-the-go adjustment.

Boardman Carbon Cycle Shoes 231534

Best mountain bike cycling shoes

The Giro Tracker Fastlace Mountain Bike Cycling Shoes offer exceptional comfort and support to see you through your mountain biking adventures. From thermos bonded PU overlays to Tack™ rubber outsoles, you can be assured of excellent grip and support wherever your rides may take you.

Giro Tracker Fastlace Mountain Bike Cycling Shoes 188459

Best winter cycling shoes

If you’re after a versatile cycling shoe, the Shimano MW7 GORE-TEX is a fantastic choice. The waterproof membrane ensures your feet are protected during adverse weather conditions, particularly during the winter months. They also feature a tall neoprene ankle for additional protection.

Shimano MW7 GORE-TEX Shoes, Black 739990

Best indoor cycling shoes

If you love home training and spin sessions, the Shimano IC100 is the perfect indoor cycling shoe. The sole ventilation ensures feet stay cool and dry during your workouts while the lightweight glass fibre reinforced nylon sole for optimum power transfer.

Shimano IC100 Shoe Black 225019


As you can see, choosing the best cycling shoes involves considering various factors such as riding style, fit, sole stiffness, closure systems, breathability, and durability. Thinking about your specific cycling needs will help you narrow down your options and find the perfect pair that enhances performance while providing a more comfortable cycling experience.

Discover our full range of quality cycling shoes on halfords.com or speak to one of our experts in-store to help you find the perfect pair.