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Road bike shoes are typically optimized for performance - they are more aerodynamic in design, use light and breathable materials, and are usually stiffer to provide the most efficient transfer of power. At BikeExchange, we’re help to help ensure you’re equipped with only the best quality for one of the most important, yet often overlooked aspects of your cycling setup.
Check out our guide at the bottom of this page for further information.
Road cycling shoes are highly differentiated, ready to accommodate a wide range of factors that are often unique to each individual. As mentioned in our general guide to cycling shoes, the shoe/pedal contact point is one of three major contact points a rider has with their bicycle.
Ensuring that this contact point is optimized for both comfort and efficiency is vital in preventing injury, improving comfort and maximizing performance. Additionally, it is important to note that the shoe/pedal contact point is one that has the most variables, meaning it is crucial that careful consideration is taken in order to make the correct purchase decision.
There are a number of important factors to consider when purchasing cycling shoes, and these are certainly not limited to your beginner or average everyday cyclist.
Sizing – Perhaps the most important factor is getting a shoe that fits. Cycling shoes are now available in more sizes than ever before, ready to complement feet of any shape or size. Half size and width options are important sizing factors to consider, and it is important to consider that sizing may differ between brands. It is usually best to confirm by checking a sizing chart for each relevant brand and whenever possible, actually try them on before buying – BikeExchange shows you what your local retailers have in stock.
Shape – In addition to size, it may also be useful to look at the general design or shape of a particular shoe. A narrower heel, for example, would prevent a riders’ heel from slipping out of the shoe during the pedal stroke. Likewise, checking the width of footbed and the toe area is particularly useful for those with narrower or wider feet than standard.
Fastening Mechanism – Many different methods of tightening your cycling shoes now exist on the market. Beyond the more traditional velcro strap option, a ratchet system or dial may be preferred for a more precise and refined adjustment. Alternatively, laces are back in fashion and offer that classic look!
Ventilation – The performance and comfort of a shoe must be considered not only at rest, but also in different environments, and over different ride durations. Adequate ventilation in warmer temperatures is highly important, as generally, riders’ feet can expand and push the boundaries of the shoes confinement. On the other hand, if you’re located in a typically cooler environment, too much ventilation and you’ll be wondering if you still have toes at the end of your ride!
Sole Stiffness – Typically speaking, the more you spend, the stiffer the shoe’s sole will be. Sole stiffness equates to efficient power transfer at the pedal. Basic road shoes feature nylon soles, whereas premium models use carbon fibre for lower weights at increased stiffness. If you’re still not sure where to start, head over to our BikeExchange Blog to find comprehensive reviews of market leaders like the Shimano S-Phyre RC900 and Specialized S-Works Sub6!
BikeExchange has an extensive range of cycling shoes, pedals, shoe accessories and cleats for sale, ensuring you can create a highly integrated setup to best achieve your riding goals and objectives. With leading brands like Shimano, Giro, Northwave, Sidi and Specialized all in the one place, look no further to help maximise your performance, comfort and style!