Cycling as become a large part of us, and itâ€™s with good reason. Moreover, if youâ€™ve cycled more than a few times, then you know the importance of having the right shoes for the right price.
Hi, I am Todd, and I started cycling some four years back to keep fit. There are a few things that go into cycling, one of them ensuring that you have the correct footwear to accommodate the activity. I learned this very fast when I ended up in the doctorâ€™s office complaining about my ankles. A few questions concluded that I wasnâ€™t wearing the right shoes for the job. Yes, my favorite walking sneakers werenâ€™t built for cycling.
Going online, what first hit me was shoes that professional cyclists wear. Base on the price tag, there was no way I could afford those shoes. I did more digging and realized that I could get some fantastic brand name shoes that were well within my budget. If youâ€™re like me and require cycling shoes, Iâ€™m here to tell you that you can get what you need for the right price. They do need to meet specific standards; Iâ€™ve shared a buying guide at the end to help you.
7 Best Budget cycling shoes: Comparison table
Where to purchase
Look KEO, SPD, and SPD SL compatible
SPD compatible spin shoe
Fizik RS Road Cycling Shoe[amazon box=”B07H9GHS9G” template=”horizontal” ]
If youâ€™re looking for shoes to suit your every ride, then you can try this first pair of shoes. I first picked them up because of their ratings on Amazon- there must have been something good about them. What I liked about the shoe is the look. It has a timeless look, and it also proved to be versatile. Riding around was quite enjoyable. I donâ€™t recall having any problems and suitable for both genders.
- Form-fitting construction
- Carbon-reinforced nylon
- Tempo R5 Powerstrap
- Velcro enclosure design
The manufacturers of Fizik have also made an outsole from carbon-reinforced nylon. What that does is it provides comfort and balance as youâ€™re pedaling, allowing efficiency as you get your workout. You get up an enveloping fit equally paired with the Microtex Upper. Overall, the shoes fair well both on paved roads and rougher routes.
- Made to fit both genders and any foot design
- It has a Velcro strap that you can adjust for comfort
- Made from carbon-reinforced nylon
- There are no breathing holes in the shoe that makes them challenging for hot climates
Verdict:These shoes do have a high rating on Amazon, which must mean that there is something to like about them. The Fizik RS are great when you need to get a workout, the only problem is they can get hot.
PUMA menâ€™s Tazon 6 shoe[amazon box=”B01C3LK2I8″ template=”horizontal” ]
PUMA is a recognizable brand, so it makes sense that some would gravitate towards it. It has a rubber sole, which makes it multipurpose, not just for cycling. My main counterpartsimmensely enjoyed wearing them when he also had to do errands.
- Rubber sole
- run-train performance sneaker
- Textile and synthetics outer shoe
Now letâ€™s talk about the shoe itself. It has a comfortable sole that feels like youâ€™re on plush cushions when youâ€™re moving around. Thatâ€™s at least for the first while, until like any shoe, it begins to give way. An issue for some people is that the shoe is not comfortable for people with wider feet because of how much the narrow towards the toe. Thatâ€™s something to keep in mind; consider getting a half an inch larger.
- Puma is a recognizable brand that has a track record of producing nice shoes
- The shoes have a sleek look that will make yours recognizable
- You can wear it for multiple occasions even when working out
- They are narrow toward the toe and donâ€™t have breathing holes
Verdict: You can consider getting this pair of PUMAs if youâ€™re looking for a multipurpose shoe that you can cycle with and also wear on a typical day.
PUMA Womenâ€™s Tazon 6 shoe[amazon box=”B01C3LLF5C” template=”horizontal” ]
I got the womenâ€™s shoe from PUMA, and quite honestly, it faired on much better than my male counterparts. The qualities are also different, so I wouldnâ€™t say it is a fair comparison. The PUMAâ€™s women shoe is made from 100 percent synthetic leather but also has a rubber sole.The midfoot saddle does offer maximum fit and comfort as well.
- Synthetic leather outer
- Rubber sole
- Breathable EcoOrthoLite sock liner
- TPU shank
Something I did like about these shoes is the arch support, which is expected because the shoe is form-fitting. While that hasnâ€™t been an issue for me, what youâ€™ll notice immediately is the arch of your foot sits nicely in the shoe. At least thatâ€™s what a good friend mentioned, along with a review I chanced upon. Just as with the male counterpart of these shoes, they are not breathable, so you will notice how hot it gets.
- They are form-fitting
- A TPU shank increases your stability as youâ€™re working out
- You get ultimate comfort and support.
- They are narrower at the front, and they do get hot.
Verdict: It is agreed that PUMA is a brand that you can rely on. They may not be prefect about the breathability, but they get the job done when you need to cycle.
New Balance Womenâ€™s FuelCoreNergize V1 cross trainer[amazon box=”B07C2Y4JBG” template=”horizontal” ]
If youâ€™re looking for variety, then this has to be the best brand that you can purchase from. When I came across the brand, I was so impressed with the selection that I decided to purchase more than one pair. There are 35 options to choose from, and thus appealing to a lot of womenâ€™s taste.
- Synthetic outer
- Rubber and memory sole
- Low-top arch
- 35 options
It also has a memory sole, which allows your foot to fit perfectly into it. There is also adequate toe space. Something to note is that these shoes are not ideal for walking or running because they donâ€™t offer as much support. However, if youâ€™re in the gym or cycling, then for sure, they are something to try.
- New Balance offers quite a variety of colors
- Great for cycling and everyday wear
- Has a memory foam sole
- Doesnâ€™t have adequate support for all kinds of exercises
Verdict: If you like New Balance, youâ€™re assured that you have a variety to choose from. Itâ€™s also amazing that it has a memory sole so it fits you perfectly.
Venzo bicycle shoe[amazon box=”B01C4Z6NE0″ template=”horizontal” ]
Here we have a unisex shoe that Iâ€™ve started using, and so far, so good as there is the promise that it will last for quite a while. Thatâ€™s because when the company made it, they made it with cycling and riding in mind. It is ideal for your spin class and also road racing. In the description, they stated that they used award-winning technology to ensure performance.
- Compatible with Look KEO, SPD, and SPD SL styles of peddling systems
- Flexible forefoot
- Quick-drying highly-breathable mesh
- Synthetic upper
You can cycle for long periods without your feet getting hot. Something thatâ€™s also unique about it is the textile lining that has a removable sockliner. Thereâ€™s also the low-cut construction that makes it easy to slide in and out of.
- Tailored specifically for cycling and compatible with standard pedals
- Made from breathable material so your feet wonâ€™t get hot
- Easy to put on and off and has three Velcro straps for adjusting to fit
- It is somewhat problematic to use on other types of pedals
Verdict: The good thing about this brand of shoes is that they are breathable so you can get to work out for longer without feeling the instinct to throw off your shoes because of how hot itâ€™s gotten.
Giro Empire Acc Road cycling shoes[amazon box=”B00NB0I6RU” template=”horizontal” ]
This brand has to be my male counterpartsâ€™favorites for so many reasons. The Giro shoe has a classic laced closure that offers the person wearing it seven points of adjustments. At no point will you be uncomfortable when you fit it to suit your size.
- EvoFiber upper
- Full-carbon soles
- Arch support
- Eight color designs
The Giro Empire has a low stack height so that you have a direct connection with the pedals and thus more control. Thereâ€™s also that arch support that people need and love so that your performance is equally enhanced. The company made this shoe with cycling in mind and made sure that they checked all the boxes. You can get this shoe in eight different colors and designs.
- Giro made these specifically for cycling
- The show hasa stiff carbon sole for increased support and arch support
- The upper has breathable microfiber that provides a comfortable fit.
- Doesnâ€™t fit as well for those with a wide foot
Verdict: Giro is a good brand to try out given that these shoes are made for cycling. You also have a connection with the pedal and thus have an enhanced cycling experience.
TIEM Slipstream[amazon box=”B07GRJCGJK” template=”horizontal” ]
Letâ€™s start with a disclaimer; these donâ€™t significantly fall under the budget shoe category, but itâ€™s here because itâ€™s a show worth considering, and budgets tend to vary. I do own these and only take them out when Iâ€™m cycling with others and want to make a great impression. It does allow the foot to breathe throughout the class.
- Mesh and athletic textile upper
- SPD compatible spin shoe
- Recessed SPD cleat assembly
- Single strap
Do notethe cleats are sold separately; you have to ensure that the bike you use is compatible. Also, the shoes are super easy to wear and have a single strap that you can adjust. There are six colors to choose from. The company recommends you get a half size down from the average size of your athletic shoe for a more secure fit.
- The upper is made from breathable material so your feet remain cool
- Comfortable to walk in even when youâ€™re not on the bike
- East to take on or off
- You have to purchase the cleats separately to get full use
Verdict: Perhaps one of the easiest shoes to purchase is the TIEM Slipstream because itâ€™s made for spin class specifically.
What to consider when buying best budget cycling shoes
There are a couple of things to think about before you purchase your next pair of cycling shoes.
When youâ€™re buying cycling shoes or any shoe for that matter, you want for them to be comfortable. For that to be the case, they have to fit right. A lot of the issues Iâ€™ve experienced over the years are not getting shoes that fit right, and that can be off-putting even when you want to work out.
Those who have a wider fit generally tend to have a more challenging time getting shoes. The widths go from B to EEE; knowing your foot width will help you get the right shoe. Go to the store if you can.
Sole materials for cycling shoes tend to be carbon, plastic, a combination of the two, and if youâ€™re a budget, rubber. What is preferred by far is carbon soles since they are stiff and lightweight, but the reality is they are expensive.
The other type you can get is plastic ones. They are heavier but much cheaper, and so what most people go for. When you combine the two, you get something thatâ€™s midrange and works just as well as you get the best of both worlds
With that said, not everyone likes stiff soles. Some cyclists end up experiencing pain or numbness when on the bike and thus making for an uncomfortable experience. Rubber soles may not be what is typically recommended, but they help those with sensitive soles fair on much better. Only ensure to get a pair with a durable rubber sole thatâ€™s meant for athletics.
There are various types of closure systems, and weâ€™ll look at two here since the shoes in this review fall under that category. Thatâ€™s Velcro straps and laces. A quick review of the other two is BOA dials from BOA and Ratchet Buckles. The former offer precision fit and donâ€™t come cheap while the ratchet buckles; once they break, you might need to purchase another pair.
Velcro straps have been around for a long time, and they are wonâ€™t damage incase you have an accident with the shoe.
Overall, they give a snug fit, which is what you want when cycling. The other type is laces, and they tend to the lighter closer system and better at providing a snug fit. The only thing about them is you have to take a bit to adjust them to fit as you wish.
Something a new cyclist might overlook is how hot the feet get when youâ€™re active. It can be uncomfortable, not to mention the smell over time when you donâ€™t clean the shoes. While shoes specifically meant for cycling do have ventilation in mind. Those who have more cash to spare can consider getting shoes with mesh holes.
However, if youâ€™re on a budget and canâ€™t afford them, get an alternative but ensure that it is made from breathable material. When you get cycling shoes that already have that in mind because the upper is either made of mesh fabric or breathable microfiber. The bottomline is to get a shoe that allows your feet to cool off as your cycling for utmost comfort and performance.
There is nothing as frustrating as getting shoes with cleat provisions only to show up at the studio to find out they are not compatible. Before you purchase a pair, find out what pedal system that youâ€™ll be using.
There are three types. There is the SPD, which stands for Shimano Pedal System and has two holes. It is commonly used in mountain biking, and it has a recessed-cleat design so that you can wear it when moving around too.
The other type is the SPD-SL that has three holes. It is also referred to as the Look style system. Youâ€™ll find these mostly in road cycling since it provides more stability and power transfer for more leisurely peddling.
Thatâ€™s mostly thanks to the wider cleat design. Lastly, we have Speedplay with four holes. Itâ€™s hard to come by because, as the name indicates, they are only compatible with the Speedplay pedals.
What are clipless pedals?
Clipless pedals are a system where the pedal had a locking system where a cleat at the sole of your shoe attaches to on a bike. The reason why they exist is to give you a stable connection to the bike for better power transfer and stability. If you have a flat pedal, you can purchase toe cages or clips that you can fix on the pedals.
Do I need cycling shoes?
Getting cycling shoes is mainly about how you want to work out. If you cycle for short distances or even do so recreationally, you can use a shoe with a regular sole. For those dedicated to making cycling a full leg workout, then cycling shoes make a difference.