A Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Cycling Shoes

Aug 25, 2020 |

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Do you find yourself cycling indoors multiple times a week? Do you want to get the most out of your ride? Are you tired of slipping while wearing your regular workout shoes in cycling baskets/cages? If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, it is time to treat yourself to a pair of indoor cycling shoes.

Benefits of Cycling Shoes

Wearing cycling shoes offers many advantages to enhance your ride experience: added comfort, power, and safety. Cycling shoes allow you to comfortably clip into the pedals an indoor cycling bike. These shoes typically have harder soles allowing for a more even distribution of weight when riding.

Clipping in allows riders to transfer all of their energy into each pedal stroke, which optimally engages the major leg muscles (i.e. hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, etc.). When you do not clip in, some of your energy is lost in the cushion of your sneaker, and additional energy is lost trying to keep your foot and ankle in place.

From a preventative standpoint, wearing proper indoor cycling shoes can decrease the likelihood of injury as they help keep riders’ feet and ankles aligned. Additionally, indoor cycling shoes have more traction than outdoor cycling shoes, so they can be worn around the gym without the risk of falling.

Types of Cycling Shoe Cleats

There are two types of indoor cycling shoes: SPD (two-hole cleats) and Look Delta (three-hole cleats, also known as Delta). Most gyms have bikes that are compatible with SPD cleats. Riders often find SPD cleats harder to clip in at first, but they are smaller and easier to walk in than Delta cleats.

Deltas are more of a crossover cleat that can be used indoors or outdoors. Riders may experience more energy transfer/power with Deltas and find them easier to clip in. However, spinning-bikes with three-hole compatible pedals are less common. Before purchasing your indoor cycling shoes, check to see which shoe is compatible with the bike you use most often. Once you have determined which shoe type best suits your needs, use our guide below for a sampling of recommendations:

SPD Cleat Favorites

TIEM Athletic

Style: Slipstream

Price: $125

What we love: The functionality. You can comfortably wear these sneaker-looking shoes to and from the gym without having to lug your cycling shoes with you. Plus, these come in a variety of colors for every mood. Sadly these only come in women’s sizes now (up to size 11 in Women’s), so gentleman with larger feet, hold tight!


Style: SH-IC500 WOMEN

Price: $125

What we love: Again, these shoes have great functionality at a slightly lower price point. Like the TIEM Athletic shoes, these have a full-length rubber sole to make it easy to jump off the bike and head to the locker room.

Delta Cleat Favorites


Style: Select Road v5

Price: $110

What we love: These shoes are SPD compatible, which means they can be used on a majority of spinning bikes. They also have three-holes cleats (Deltas), which will increase the power of your pedal strokes.


Style: SH-RP1

Price: $85

What we love: Again, we love that these three-hole cleats are SPD compatible. We also love that they are slightly more affordable.

Regardless of the cleats you decide to buy, our biggest recommendation is to make sure they are compatible with the bike you use most often. Buying a pair of cycling shoes may seem like a lofty investment, but they last for a long time and will help you get the most benefit from your rides!

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