RS Recommends: The Best Spin Shoes for Studios and At-Home Cycling
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Indoor cycling is here to stay. Since the pandemic, spinning has become a go-to workout for seasoned athletes and casual people alike. If you’re just getting started on an indoor bike, or you’re a seasoned spinner, we recommend investing in some of the best spin shoes before your next workout.
Now that we’re returning to spin studio classes, we think it’s especially important to get your own spin shoes. No one wants sweaty, ill-fitting rentals from the studio, and, if you’ve been wearing the same pair on your at-home bike through quarantine, it’s likely time for replacement (regular riders should replace their spin shoes every year or so, as the clip mechanisms wear out with use).
Read on for some of the best spin shoes, as well as some tips for choosing the right pair.
Are Indoor Cycling Shoes Worth It?
Dedicated cycling shoes sometimes seem superfluous to beginners, especially when toe clips are available. But the truth is, the best spin shoes make a big difference.
When you’re firmly attached to your bike’s pedals with stiff cycling shoes, you’re able to transfer far more power to the bike throughout the whole pedal rotation. When you push down, the stiffness of the sole helps transfer all that power from your legs to the pedal. And when you rip the pedals upwards, your hamstrings come into play as well. With sneakers, you’re only exerting power on the push, and much of that energy is lost in your shoes’ cushioning.
In other words, the best indoor spin shoes not only help you go faster but also lead to a better workout too.
How to Choose the Best Spin Shoes
Just like the best stationary bikes, you’ll want to look around a bit to find the best spin shoes for your needs. Below are a few things to consider while shopping.
Compatibility: Most indoor bikes have either an SPD clip system (two-bolt) or a Look Delta system (three-bolt). Peloton bikes, for example, use a Delta system, while bikes in SoulCycle studios feature pedals with an SPD clip on one side and a Delta system on the other. If you know what kind of bike you’ll be riding, be sure to get shoes that support the right cleat system. Cleats are sold separately from the shoes, but not all shoes support both types of cleats.
Comfort: The main difference between indoor and outdoor bike shoes is comfort. While outdoor shoes need weather protection, the best spin shoes are lightweight and breathable, accounting for the lack of breeze. They should also be snug throughout to prevent rubbing in any areas.
Closure: Most spin shoes have either a Boa or velcro closure. Boa closures replace laces with wires that are tightened using a knob, allowing for micro-fit adjustments and a snug fit. Velcro straps can sometimes be lighter, and they also let you make some areas looser than others (for example, you can make the toe area looser than the upper foot). Some shoes also use a combination closure with a Boa system and one velcro strap near the toe.
What Are the Best Spin Shoes?
If you’re looking to up your performance and get a better workout, the best spin shoes can help do just that. Here are some of our favorites to buy right now.
1. Nike SuperRep
Designed specifically for indoor cycling, Nike’s SuperReps are the best spin shoes for most riders. The shoes tackle ventilation better than most with a mesh upper and ventilation on the soles for airflow on the bottoms of your feet (this can’t be found in most road bike shoes). This translates to comfortable breathability throughout your whole workout.
The SuperReps don’t include cleats, which is actually a good thing: you can buy either three-bolt or two-bolt cleat attachments to fit your bike. Plus, in classic Nike style, the SuperReps are some of the best-looking spin shoes around, coming in a few bold colorways as well as low-key black.
2. Shimano IC1
These Shimano IC1s are another example of indoor-specific cycling shoes. The upper is almost entirely mesh, and outsole vents greatly improve air circulation. This mesh is also quick-drying, so your feet won’t be too soggy after a workout. A cross-over velcro strap, meantime, allows for quick adjustments and a snug fit. Overall, the design is minimal, lightweight, and extremely breathable — which is exactly what we want from a spin shoe. As far as compatibility, the IC1 can be used with either two- or three-bolt cleats.
3. Scott Road Comp BOA Shoe
Those of us with high arches often encounter discomfort on spin bikes as pressure gets concentrated on unsupported arches. If this sounds familiar, pick up these Road Comp shoes from Scott. They come with a removable ErgoLogic insole with a metatarsal button that lends more arch support than most shoes.
Arch support aside, the Road comps are still great shoes. Although it’s a road bike shoe, ventilation is quite good with all-over perforation and mesh on the toe. Once you’re strapped in, use the Boa dial to get the right fit. Just be sure to check your bike’s cleat system, as these only work with three-bolt cleats.
Buy Scott Road Comp BOA Shoe $99.99
4. Shimano SH-RP
You can get a great pair of spin shoes without breaking the bank; these budget-friendly Shimano RPs prove it. The outsole is made of durable synthetic leather with venting holes on the sides and mesh at the toe for airflow. The dual velcro strap is easy to take on and off, or make tightness adjustments mid-ride. You also get excellent power transfer thanks to fiberglass reinforced soles, and the cleat mounts work with either two- or three-bolt systems.
5. Tiem Slipstream
While wearing most cycling shoes, it’s very tricky to walk around the studio, to and from your car, or just to the bathroom. These Slipstream cycling shoes from Tiem aim to fix that.
You’ll notice right away that they look like sneakers, not spin shoes, but they also feel a lot like sneakers when you’re off the bike. The cleat mounts (which are SPD compatible) are recessed in a rubber outsole, so no clicking around when you walk. When you’re ready to ride, a stiff EVA midsole ensures ample power transfer. Still, they’re not the stiffest spin shoes, so we recommend that serious riders opt for a different pair.
For the guys, note that these are women’s shoes. Plenty of men use (and love) them, but be sure to go up two sizes.
6. Specialized S-Works 7 Vent
If you’re an avid spinner (or you road bike and spin), consider investing in these top-of-the-line Specialized S-Works Vent shoes. Designed for the hottest rides, the shoes feature strategic airflow design elements including vented channels and mesh areas throughout. Even compared to all-mesh, indoor-specific options, these are some of the most breathable cycling shoes on the market.
The S-Works Vents are also very stiff for effective power transfer, and a dual Boa closure lets you fine-tune the fit better than most. Just be aware that these are only compatible with three-bolt cleats.
Buy Specialized S-Works 7 Vent $424.99
7. Pearl Izumi Quest Studio
Another great spin shoe is the Pearl Izumi Quest. SoulCycle actually teamed up with Pearl Izumi to create their comfortable branded rentals, so, if you like those, you’ll probably like the Quests as well.
Designed for indoor use, the Quests focus heavily on breathability and moisture control. The upper is an antimicrobial mesh and the sole features ventilation holes for all-around airflow. They also do a great job of minimizing sweat with closed-cell foam padding. Compatible with three-bolt systems and two-bolt SPD cleats, you should be ready for any class or at-home bike. Plus, we like the triple velcro straps: they’re comfortable and easy to adjust, especially if you want less pressure on certain areas.
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