If you’re serious about cycling, investing in a quality pair of cycling shoes is one of the most worthwhile decisions you can make. But shopping for the best indoor cycling shoes isn't as straightforward as it might seem. Surprisingly, there’s not really a category of cycling shoes specifically meant for indoor cycling. Instead, most are designed for either mountain biking or road biking. Mountain biking (or MTB) shoes are usually better for indoor cycling because their cleats don’t touch the ground, meaning you’ll have a much easier time walking to the locker room or water fountain after getting off your bike. Not all MTB shoes are created equally, though: For indoor cycling, you'll want to look for a pair with lots of ventilation, and avoid styles with laces that can get untied and tangled.
The other thing to know about is cleats. Most cycling shoes don’t actually come with cleats built-in; instead, you’ll have to order them separately. Installing cleats into cycling shoes is pretty easy, but note that you can often get a bike shop to do it for free. For most indoor cyclists, the best type of cleats are SPD cleats, which are by far the most common type. The only reason you might want the second most common type, called LOOK Delta cleats, is if you have a Peloton or Flywheel bike, both of which have special pedals that are only compatible with LOOK Delta cleats.
Even with these tips in mind, narrowing down the best shoes for indoor cycling can feel daunting. To skip the headache, just stick with the picks featured in this roundup, all of which come highly recommended by cyclists and, better yet, are available on Amazon.
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1. The Overall Best Indoor Cycling Shoes, All Things Considered
Backed by world-renowned cyclist Louis Garneau, these versatile cycling shoes check off all the most important boxes. Like all of the picks on this list, these have SPD-compatible soles, meaning they'll work for most indoor cycling classes. Strategically placed mesh provides ventilation up top, while cushioned EVA footbeds provide even more ventilation at the insoles. The Velcro straps make for easy on/off, and won't get tangled or need to be re-tied. Last but not least, their unique outsoles, which are made of a nylon and fiberglass composite, make them exceptionally comfortable to walk in when you're off your bike. Choose from seven colors.
- Available sizes: 36-43
2. The Best Budget-Friendly Indoor Cycling Shoes
When it comes to high-quality cycling shoes that won't break the bank, it's hard to do better than this dependable pair from Gavin. Featuring mesh panels for ventilation and a perforated insole that’s lightweight and quick-drying, these shoes will help keep you cool during even the sweatiest spin sessions. Rounding out the design are Velcro straps, which can easily be adjusted for the perfect fit.
- Available sizes: 38-46
3. The Best Indoor Cycling Shoes If You’re Willing To Splurge
While these stylish cycling shoes are a tad pricier than some of the other picks on this list, they have a ton of unique qualities that make them totally worth the splurge. Featuring stretchy mesh uppers and a sleek, slip-on design, they're lightweight, breathable, and exceptionally comfortable both on and off the bike. Plus, unlike most cycling shoes, these look like regular sneakers you'd wear on the street, which is fabulous when you're commuting home from the studio, or riding your (outdoor) bike around town on the weekends.
- Available sizes: 5-10
4. The Best Indoor Cycling Shoes For Peloton Bikes
The cool camo design on these cycling shoes by Santic is sure to bring in lots of compliments, but that's not the only reason they're worth considering. For one thing, they're the only pick on this list that's compatible with the LOOK Delta cleats used with Peloton bikes. That said, they're also compatible with regular SPD cleats, although you'll need to buy a separate adapter to make it work. Other highlights include anti-slip properties both inside and out, plenty of ventilation, and a sturdy buckle at the top, which reinforces the three adjustable Velcro straps.
- Available sizes: 6.5-12