How to Choose Comfortable Indoor Cycling Shoes

So you plan to buy yourself some new indoor cycling shoes but don’t know where to turn. Just like regular shoes, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to cycling shoes before you spend your hard earned cash.

Wearing specific shoes for indoor cycling for clipping-into the pedals has many benefits. But you need to to know look for if you want have pair of comfortable clip-in shoes.

There are many question ask when buying clip-in shoes for indoor cycling exercise. For instance, do you like the style, are they going to last, do they have the correct cleat fitment, and can you walk in them?

In this article, we’re going to tell you everything that you need to know before buying a pair of cycling shoes. This is going to help you get the right pair clipless shoes for spin bike workouts and make sure you’re not getting caught out anywhere and disappointed later in time.

Cycling Shoe Sizing

First up, sizing. Obviously, it matters hugely, and it’s not something you want to get wrong. When it comes to indoor cycling shoes, if you get the wrong size, either too big or small, you can’t really wear them in and let them stretch out. There’s way too much pressure that gets applied to your feet to do that.

When you order your shoes, the first thing to do is try them. Do not put the cleats on until you are sure that they are the right cycling shoes for you because companies won’t return them if they have had cleats out on.

Also, when it comes to sizing, you need to make sure you’re using the correct sizing method, for example, European, UK, or American. If you have to convert it across them, you’re going to want to use an accurate chart, and either think about sizing up or down.

Type of Indoor Cycling Shoes

You also have to think about the type of indoor cycling shoes that you are going to buy. Unlike regular shoes, cycling shoes have an extra level of functionality to them, and you need to make sure you’re getting the right shoe for the job at hand. There are three types of cycling shoes you can get, and they fit different cycling cleats.

The first is mountain bike shoes. You will be able to walk in these spinning shoes, and they will have what we call an SPD attachment for SPD Cleats. These will be the two little holes on the underside of the shoe. These will use the small metal cleats, which most typical mid-range magnetic spinning bikes will have as standard the pedals as standard to match, but if not, you will require SPD compatible pedals.

Then you have road bike shoes. These typically, you will struggle to walk in, and they will have SPD-SL attachments for SPD-SL cleats, not to be confused with SPD. These are the three holes attachments on the underside of the shoe in the shape of a triangle. These will use a few types of cleats such as SPD-SL, Look Delta, and Speed Play.

Then finally, you have shoes that have five or seven holes for both attachments so you can use them for anything you like. These are the ones you will typically see a lot of, and many companies are going this way now as it just means you have so much more capability.

An honorable mention to some people who use running shoes when it comes to indoor cycling, it does work, but not having the ability to clip in is something many people wish for when getting their first set of cycling shoes.

Check the Pedals on Your Indoor Bike

As mentioned above, you have a few different types of shoes above, and they will fit different cleats. It’s worth checking what pedals you have already or what pedals you might need to purchase to ensure that your bike is set up and ready to go when you get your shoes.

If you do need to purchase pedals, I would recommend getting Spinning Trio QR Spin Pedals. They are one of the best spin bike pedals that we have tried. They fit all major men and women’s indoor cycling shoes from SPD to Look Delta and regular cycling sneakers. They will give you plenty of options for shoes.

Consider the Style of Cycling Shoes

Now the fun part, getting shoes that you like and that match your style. One thing I love about cycling shoes is there is not such a thing as too much color or style. I have been a cycling instructor for years, and my favorite pairing of spinning shoes was some hi-viz green shoes that would glow under the studio UV light. They looked incredible in a sprint, and I just loved them.

You need to pick shoes you will be proud to wear and ones you like the look of that suit your personality. If you don’t like the look of a pair of spin shoes, then you probably won’t wear them when you go to indoor cycling classes.

Indoor cycling shoes or outdoor shoes?

The indoor cycling market is getting huge, and lots of pairs of shoes are for just indoor use only. If you are planning to buy a pair of dedicated cycling shoes for all your cycling, you have to make sure they are going to be able to go outdoors too.

Most cycling shoes can do both, but you don’t want to end up buying a cycling shoe that can only go indoors and realize they are useless outdoors. An indoor cycling shoe is made of a much thinner material and typically won’t have a resilient outer casing to protect your feet from bad weather. That said, if you can afford to have a dedicated pair of clipping shoes for indoor cycling, it’s better to buy the ones that are made specifically for indoors. They are more breathable and often mostly mesh which is great for summer sweaty indoor cycling workouts.

Bike Shoe Closure System

When you own indoor cycling shoes, you will find many types of different ways that they tighten up. You have velcro straps, ratchet straps, laces, and boas. The best, in my opinion, are boas.

BOA closure system do a fantastic job of making the whole shoes pull round your foot instead of just tight at one point. It’s not the be-all and end all though. Whatever works for you will be fine.

Shoe Sole Stiffness

You are going to want to be using the right stiffness of shoes when it comes to indoor spin shoes. The best indoor cycling shoes will have very little flexibility on the sole at the bottom, and this is precisely what you want.

This is what we call a stiff sole. You need the whole bottom of the shoes to be supporting your feet at all times. Anything flexible, and you will feel the pedal below, and in climbs, it can become uncomfortable.

Sole and Top Ventilation

I would also think a little bit about ventilation. You need a shoe that is going to let a good amount of air in. Some mountain biking shoes have very little ventilation to stop mud from getting in, and this is the last thing you want when it comes to a spinning shoe.

Typically for ventilation, road cycling shoes tend to offer the most. However, an indoor-only spin shoe will have very thin breathable materials used in its construction.


As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to picking the right indoor cycling shoes for you. You can use a road bike shoe, a mountain bike shoe, or even a dedicated indoor cycling shoe. There are so many options for you to pick from, and we understand it does get confusing. As long as you take all these into account, then you will be fine and won’t have any issue when it comes to turning up to that first class.


Hi there, I'm Sayed Hamed Hosseiny, the founder and one of the authors at (YEB). I am a former indoor cycling instructor and personal trainer with nearly 20 years of experience. With a passion for indoor cycling, I have spent years designing cycling parts, repairing, and importing exercise bikes. All the articles, tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on (YEB) reflect my personal opinion and expertise in the field. I'm excited to share my knowledge with fellow exercise bike enthusiasts and help people find reliable indoor cycling information and the best exercise bike for their needs. If you have any questions or suggestion, you can contact me at

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