Women's Cycling Shoes
Women's cycling shoes vary in design, material, and fit. The type of shoe you buy will depend on your cycling activities. There are several things you should consider when shopping for a pair of cycling shoes.
What are cycling shoes?
Women's cycling shoes have a thin, stiff sole and are designed to provide a comfortable, stable base. A clipless or clip-in design attaches the cleats to the pedals, allowing you to produce powerful, fluid strokes. There are three general categories of cycling shoes for women.
- Road cycling shoes: Designed specifically for pedaling, road shoes have a smooth, rigid sole with three bolts to attach an external cleat. Common brand name road cycling shoes such as Shimano, Giro, and Pearl Izumi feature a ventilated upper to keep feet cool.
- Mountain bike cycling shoes: Mountain bike shoes have two cleat slots and two screw-in spike openings at the toe to increase road traction. Lugs and grips on the sole allow for easy dismounting, walking, and running. Manufacturers like SIDI and Shimano make a variety of high-quality mountain bike footwear shoes for women.
- Triathlon cycling shoes: This women's cycling footwear has a wide Velcro strap for quick on and off transitioning from one event to the next. They feature a soft lining for sockless riding. Holes provide comfortable ventilation, allow water to drain, and allow the foot to dry after a swim.
What are SPD shoes?
SPD stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. It is a three-bolt clipless system used to attach the sneaker to the bike. SPD systems perform multiple functions such as
- Provide stability to prevent the foot from slipping
- Offer increased control
- Enhance power transfer and performance
How should cycling shoes fit?
Regardless of size, women's cycling shoes should fit snugly on your foot. There should be ample room to wiggle your toes, and the back of the shoe should hug the ankle. Brands like Giro, Shimano, and Pearl Izumi offer shoes in a wide range of sizes that feature a small toe box, narrow heel-cup, and arch support. Some brands come in European sizes so check a size conversion chart to ensure you are buying the correct size. Pay attention to the type of material, sole, and closure as they also contribute to the fit.
Do you need special shoes for sole cycling?
- Sole: Women's cycling sneakers have a stiff sole, which leads to more power during strokes. The soles may contain plastic, nylon, rubber, carbon, or fiberglass.
- Upper materials: Most cycling sneakers for women are made of man-made materials. However, some brands offer a leather model for increased comfort. Also, shoes with ventilation help prevent hot spots and keep your foot from becoming numb on the road.
- Closures: BOA laces, Velcro straps, and buckles keep your feet in place.
For safety and fitness reasons, the SoulCycle establishment requires participants to wear shoes that clip to the SPD compatible pedals on their bikes. Cycling shoes with a three-bolt system are reliable. Giro and Shimano make women’s cycling shoes specifically for spinning.