Your feet are one of the most important contact points on a bike, so it’s vital to choose your cycling shoes carefully. There’s a lot of choice though, so it can be hard to know what’s best. Fortunately, you have come to the right place.
We’ve put in the miles, so you can find the best cycling shoes for your performance requirements, riding style and budget.
Do you need to spend big bucks to get the latest pro model, or will a cheaper option perform just as well?
Some riders love a gleaming white pair of disco slippers, though these can be hard to keep clean (especially in a climate like the UK’s); others prefer classic black, but some might say that black shoes are boring.
Cycling shoes can also vary wildly in fit (we’ve got a guide to wide cycling shoes) and intended use. It would be easy to throw lots of money at the problem and end up with a set of shoes that don’t suit your unique foot shape or riding style.
If you need something to clip into, check out our guide to the best road bike pedals. If road cycling isn’t your only riding discipline, or you prefer SPD vs SPD-SL pedals, check out our buyer’s guides to the best mountain bike shoes, best gravel bike shoes and best mountain bike pedals.
Once you’ve considered all of the options, keep reading to the end for our buyer’s guide to road cycling shoes.
Best cycling shoes in 2023, as rated and reviewed by our expert testers
With so many cycling shoes on the market and so much choice, we’ve split our pick of the best cycling shoes into different price categories, from performance-oriented shoes that cost around £400 to budget-friendly shoes under £100.
Keep scrolling to see all the shoes or click on the links below to skip to the different price points:
- Best cycling shoes for £100
- Best cycling shoes for £150
- Best cycling shoes for £200
- Best cycling shoes for £300
- Best cycling shoes for £400
Best cycling shoes for £100
- £80 as tested
- Great value
- Stiff soles and two-dial adjustment
For £80, the Boardman Carbon shoe offers great features, including an all-carbon sole and twin Atop dial adjustment – a cheaper equivalent of the Boa system that works just as well. You even get a replaceable heel bumper.
Internal padding through the majority of the upper adds comfort and there’s plenty of venting to keep your feet cool, while good toe box width provides a bit of extra space compared to many cycling shoes.
- £80 as tested
- Very stiff soles
- Heavier than the competition
The Motion shoe brings Bont’s signature stiffness to a lower price point, thanks to the fibreglass sole.
The shoe is heavier than similarly priced competitors. This is likely attributed to the fibreglass sole but some will find this weight penalty worth bearing for the shoe’s stiffness.
The Motion is built around Bont’s anatomic last. While this leads to a less sleek-looking shoe than some other brands, it does create a slightly wider – and more comfortable – fit.
Dials might be preferable to the Motion’s Velcro straps, but this does keep the cost down, and there’s no getting away from the fact this shoe offers a lot of value for money.
dhb Aeron Carbon Road Dial
- £74 as tested
- A great-quality shoe with a carbon sole
- Sizing comes up small
The Aeron Carbon Road Dial shoe from dhb is one of the least expensive carbon-soled shoes currently on the market.
The sole provides plenty of stiffness and an efficient pedalling platform, but it did scuff easily in testing.
The shoe closes with Velcro straps and dhb’s Atop dial, which works a lot like a Boa, and remained consistently snug. Do watch out for the sizing, though – we recommend going down a size.
Comfort is good and the synthetic uppers were more padded than many other road cycling shoes, even if they weren’t quite as breathable.
Bont Riot Buckle
- £99 / $129 as tested
- Heat-mouldable soles
- Bargain price for the performance
At 632g for a pair of EU size 45s, the Riot Buckle from Bont is one of the lightest and best-performing shoes available at its price.
The tub-style sole design is similar to that used on Bont’s top-end Helix shoe, but is formed from carbon-reinforced fibreglass rather than carbon fibre. This material change shouldn’t worry you because the Riot’s sole still makes for a very efficient power transfer.
Baking these is the way to truly optimise the fit, so be sure to take the time to do so. Once ours had been customised to our feet, they were very comfortable and we had no issues with the closure of the Velcro strap and ratchet system. The uppers are a touch on the stiff side, though.
Triban GRVL 500
- £50 as tested
- Great value lace-up SPD shoe
- Heel raise could limit performance
The lace-up Triban GRVL 500 shoe comes in at a super-low price, but it still has a host of features.
The shoe has a nylon sole with fibreglass reinforcement. The sole is compatible with SPD cleats and has deep rubber sections for grip and walking.
The GRVL 500 provides excellent comfort on day-long rides, and while the sole is reasonably stiff, it doesn’t feel punishing.
You might find the shoe leads to your heel rising slightly when walking or riding hard, but overall there are no obvious drawbacks to this shoe.
It’s are a good budget option for all sorts of riding, from commuting to more challenging off-road rides.
Scott Road Comp Boa
- £100 / $120 / AU$150 as tested
- Great price
- Good fit and performance
Despite being Scott’s lowest-priced road shoe with Boa fasteners, the Scott Road Comp Boa still performs well.
The sole is nylon and glass fibre composite, which helps bring the cost down.
It isn’t as stiff as a full-carbon sole, but it’s perfectly adequate for everyday use.
Comfort is good and the fit is more generous than Scott’s higher-end, racier shoes, making it a better fit with thick socks.
The Road Comp Boa looks very classy for an entry-level shoe too, with a good range of colours available.
Specialized Torch 1.0
- £90 / $110 as tested
- Boa dial adjustment
- Great all-day comfort
Impressively, the Specialized Torch 1.0 swaps Velcro straps for a Boa L6 dial and crossed cord top closure, dropping around 50g a pair in weight.
Underneath, there’s a stiff-enough nylon composite sole that’s also comfortable.
That’s helped out by Specialized’s Body Geometry insoles. They use the same tech as in Spesh’s pro-level shoes, with a shape structured to support the foot’s natural curves.
At 530g for a size 42, the Torch 1.0 shoe is light enough and superbly comfortable for all-day riding, although we missed the two-bolt cleat option that’s useful for commuters.
Triban RC 520
- £70 as tested
- Superb value
- Versatile enough to ride gravel or commute in
The Triban RC 520 is tough and comfortable enough for long rides and commuting.
We’ve even found it fine for gravel riding, providing things don’t get too rough or muddy.
Simple laces and straps make for an effective closure, but we did have to do them up tight to stop the heel from raising slightly when walking.
The RC 520 is far from light, but at this price still represents superb value for money.
Best cycling shoes for £150
Bont Riot Road+ Boa
- £150 / $182 as tested
- Heat-mouldable fit
- Supremely stiff carbon sole design
With a supremely stiff, heat-mouldable carbon sole, the Riot Road+ Boa shoe brings Bont’s distinctive design philosophy to a lower price point.
The tub-shaped carbon soles are supremely stiff, making for a strikingly efficient and supportive pedalling platform.
Bont claims it offers a more anatomical fit straight out of the box, compared to other cycling shoes.
That fit can be fully customised at home by simply popping them in the oven for 20 minutes at 70°C/160°F, before putting them on and tightening them up.
Our tester found the Riot Road+ Boa runs slightly smaller than other shoes, so check the fit carefully when buying (a good reminder not to just rely on the stated sizes with shoes).
Fizik Tempo R5 Powerstrap
- £110 / $120 as tested
- Very comfortable with even tension
- A great choice for longer rides
As one of the most comfortable road shoes we’ve tried, the Fizik Tempo R5 Powerstrap makes a superb choice for longer rides.
The soles are the same as used on Fizik’s more costly R5B, meaning they aren’t the stiffest and their toe and heel bumpers are non-replaceable.
The even tension provided by the twin Velcro straps meant we didn’t miss Boa dials.
At 626g for a pair of EU45s, the Fizik Tempo R5 Powerstrap is not the lightest. But the asking price is very reasonable given the performance.
- £130/ €175 / $170 / AU$225 as tested
- Understated appearance
- A comfortable fit
Udog (short for Underdog) is a new Italian cycling shoe company that has a direct-to-consumer business model, which allows the brand to offer great value.
The Tensiones use a carbon composite / nylon blend outsole with twin inverted V-shaped ribbons either side of the mid-foot and laces to offer a comfortable yet close fit.
The shoes were warm enough for spring rides in all weathers and not overly hot on summer days. The sole is superb on the road, offering efficiency and all-day comfort.
The downside is, being available online only, you can’t try the shoes before you buy.
Fizik R5 Tempo Overcurve
- £140 / $149.99 as tested
- Great comfort
- Lots of colour and size options
The Fizik R5 Tempo Overcurve shoe is well perforated to keep your feet cool, although there are no perforations in the toe or composite sole.
The Overcurve part of the name refers to a differential cut to the inside and outside of the opening, to accommodate the different heights of the ankle bone on each side of the leg, a nice ergonomic feature.
You get a single Boa and a Velcro strap, making for easy use, although not quite the adjustability of two Boas.
The R5 Tempo Overcurve is not that light for the price at 560g (size 42).
The lack of sole vents marks them down a bit too, but with six colours and half sizes there are plenty of options.
Mavic Cosmic Boa
- £115 / $143 as tested
- Excellent performance
- Clean, minimalist lines
The single Boa closure makes for very tidy looks, but despite this, it’s easy to get a comfortable, secure fit from the Mavic Cosmic Boa shoe.
Although the nylon/fibreglass soles are mid-rated for stiffness, we found them just fine on our rides.
There are over 100 laser-cut vents in the uppers and two more vents in the soles to keep you cool.
With super-clean lines, the Mavics look super-pro, particularly in white. Look out for Mavic’s close fit though, you might want to go up half a size.
- £130 as tested
- Stiff carbon soles
- Elegant lines
With trickle-down from the Shimano S-Phyre, the Shimano RC5 shoe looks the part, with a stylish, minimalist upper.
There’s even a blue metallic option you could mistake for the S-Phyres.
A new seamless midsole reduces weight to 504g for a size 42 pair and reduces stack height by 3.3mm.
There’s an unusually large amount of cleat position adjustment to the carbon-reinforced composite soles, with their large toe vents.
The wrap-around, tongue-free uppers close via a single Boa dial, with a lower Velcro strap for comfortable, close adjustment and easy on/off.
The shoe is very breathable, with plenty of venting. Loads of size options include wide fit too.
Van Rysel RR900
- £120 as tested
- Excellent sole stiffness
- Well made and interesting colours
The Van Rysel RR900 tops the Decathlon brand’s range and offers excellent value.
The shoe has two Atop dial closures and the central rib to the all-carbon sole provides impressive stiffness.
That’s balanced by the soft synthetic uppers, which are well-perforated on each side and on the tongue, although not the toe.
The Van Rysel RR900 looks well made and there are some interesting high-gloss iridescent colour options.
At 592g for a size 42, it’s not that light, though.
Best cycling shoes for £200
Specialized Torch 3.0
- £200 / $200 as tested
- Performance, weight and comfort
- Good price
Despite lacking the S-Works moniker, the Specialized Torch 3.0 shoe performs like a shoe costing £100 more.
Taking clear design inspiration from the S-Works 7 shoe, the Torch 3.0 has a similar fit system of two Boa dials and a Velcro strap across the forefoot. This makes for easy and precise fit adjustments.
We had to unhook the top Boa lace from its anchor in order to get the shoe on though, which is a minor inconvenience.
Once on, it feels great. The fit is generous, with good arch support, and there’s plenty of support around the heel cup to prevent any slippage while climbing or sprinting.
Specialized says the FACT carbon sole rates at 8.5 on its stiffness index, compared to 15 for the S-Works shoe, but we found it stiff enough.
- £189.99 / €199.99 / $240 as tested
- Very versatile
- Good value
The Shimano RC7 goes toe to toe with the brand’s priciest shoe, the S-Phyre RC902, delivering fantastic performance for much less money.
Compared to the RC902, the RC7 is a touch heavier and the sole is carbon fibre composite not full carbon. The slight flex it gives is probably the best bet for the majority of your riding.
The shoe’s upper feels nice, with a similar wraparound strap to the RC902, and dual Boa dials ensure an adjustable, secure fit.
Ventilation could be better, so the RC7 isn’t ideal for warm-weather riding.
Best cycling shoes for £300
Specialized S-Works 7 Lace
- £300 / €325 / $325 as tested
- Classic looks
- Cutting-edge performance
The Specialized S-Works 7 Lace is the best lace-up shoe you can buy, in our opinion.
Lighter than many high-end shoes, the S-Works 7 Lace is also exceptionally stiff. But it remains sufficiently comfortable and ventilated to ride all day.
Although the laces preclude on-the-go adjustment, they contribute to an aerodynamic and stylish design.
Giant Surge Pro
- £299.99 / €360 / $399 as tested
- Brilliant performance
The Giant Surge Pro is the shoe worn at the WorldTour by Giant-sponsored Team BikeExchange.
As you’d expect from a dedicated race shoe, the sole doesn’t flinch under the force of big efforts.
There are no pinch points in the well-ventilated polyurethane upper. Two unidirectional Boa dials and a Velcro strap allow you to tweak tension.
Our testing found the Surge Pro’s premier price to be largely justified. Handy extras such as adjustable arch supports and insoles are thrown in.
Fizik Tempo Decos Carbon
- £279 / €290 / $299.99 as tested
- Flawless comfort
- Stiff soles
The Fizik Tempo Decos Carbon blends comfort, performance and ventilation in an admittedly premium package.
The sole is formidably stiff, which gives the impression of efficiency without causing your feet to ache.
The light, perforated upper and vents in the sole permit air flow.
The minimalist Tempo Decos Carbon’s single Boa dial turns both ways and distributes tension through the shoe.
Bontrager Ballista Knit
- £270 / $325 as tested
- A top fairweather choice
- Ideal for longer rides in warm conditions
Fully embracing the woven trend, Bontrager has produced a winning shoe in its Ballista Knit.
The use of a single Boa dial and lightweight material makes the Ballista Knit weigh just 554g for a pair in EU size 45.
The underside of the Ballista features a V-shaped vent that sits forward of the cleat with a rubber toe bumper, meaning you shouldn’t scuff the super-stiff carbon sole.
The Ballista has a DWR (durable water-resistant) coating. A pair of rubber waterproof overshoes designed specifically for the shoe is included.
- £300 / $399 as tested
- Great fit
- Well made
The Bontrager XXX is the brand’s top-of-the-line shoe, as worn by pros.
As you’d expect, you get the stiffest of stiff soles, which come with plenty of under-foot ventilation.
A size 45 pair weighed 568g – light but not class-leading.
There are just a couple of seams in the TPU upper, along with an array of venting holes that work well to keep your feet cool and a grippy layer at the heel to prevent lift.
Two Boa IP1 dials provide plenty of adjustment in the asymmetric, tongueless closure, and the well-structured insole and heel cup help prevent hot feet.
The Bontrager XXX tick all the boxes for a pro-level shoe.
- £236 as tested
- Incredibly comfortable
- Not great in the wet
DMT was the original innovator of full-knit uppers and the DMT KR3 shoe uses the technology to create a gloriously comfortable shoe.
The fit is excellent. The knitted design matches the shape of your foot superbly and the Boa dial deals with tension across the forefoot.
The carbon sole provides excellent stability and is plenty stiff.
It’s worth noting these are definitely shoes for summer riding. They’re breathable and well-ventilated.
While there is a polymer material fused to the main knitted fabric for protection against the elements, we wouldn’t recommend the KR3 for rainy conditions.
Fizik R3 Aria
- £265 / $300 as tested
- Sleek aesthetics
- Effective wraparound upper design
Fizik’s R3 Aria has a very sleek appearance and supple fit. The upper is also highly durable, easy to clean and resilient in bad weather.
The front Boa dial controls the fit across the forefoot. The rear dial adjusts the fabric around the heel, creating a snug, even fit.
Tiny perforations and vents in the sole create good ventilation.
Pedalling stiffness is also impressive for the price.
Best cycling shoes for £400
Shimano S-Phyre RC902
- £320 / $425 / AU$549 / €360 as tested
- Stiff and efficient
Shimano’s new top-flight S-Phyre RC902 road shoe builds on the success of the previous RC901 model and delivers across the board, with a stiff and efficient carbon sole and a good level of ventilation.
Adjustable cleat bolt holes allow you to set up your cleat just as you like. There are high-quality insoles with interchangeable arch supports included.
Shimano has updated the fit of the shoe from the previous model. While the wraparound upper and Boa dials make for a highly tuneable fit and heel retention is great too, we did find the forefoot of the shoe to be a bit narrow.
The wide version could be worth trying if you have broader feet or prefer a roomier fit.
Sidi Wire 2
- £330 as tested
- Excellent power transfer
- Comfortable fit
The Sidi Wire 2 shoe isn’t the lightest, at 660g for a size 45.5, but it looks, fits and performs brilliantly – you’ll likely be very happy with a pair of these unless you’re a weight weenie.
Our tester found them to have quite a narrow fit, but was able to easily find the right size by simply going a half size larger than usual, which is something not offered by many other brands.
Sidi persists with its own closure dials, but these work just fine. The only drawback is that they can be a little fiddly to operate with gloves on, compared to a standard Boa dial.
This shoe performs well across the board.
Specialized S-Works 7
- £340 / $400 / AU$500 as tested
- Wider fit
- Excellent security and comfort
Specialized has poured a lot of resources into developing its shoe range recently, and the S-Works 7 shoe is the result of all that development.
A roomier toe box and more generous Form Fit, compared to the previous generation, make these a better fit for slightly wider feet.
We found it to be very comfortable, with the Dyneema Mesh uppers and Body Geometry designed footbed providing a secure fit without restricting your feet in any way.
Specialized says the FACT Powerline carbon sole is the stiffest it’s ever produced, and it certainly seems to be good enough for Peter Sagan’s monstrous power levels.
The S-Works 7 looks the business too, with a classy finish and lots of colour options available.
Bont Helix / Helix Reflex
- £349 / $399 as tested
- Custom fit
- Lightweight and extremely stiff sole
The Helix is Bont’s top-of-the-range racing shoe, with a design focused almost entirely on generating maximum power transfer from your feet to the pedals.
As with all Bont cycling shoes, they are heat mouldable for a completely custom fit.
They also have the tub-style sole design that lends such extraordinary stiffness. Should you require a bit of extra visibility without sacrificing style then Bont also produces this shoe in a reflective Reflex version.
Bont has thankfully moved to a Boa closure system, which makes for easy adjustment before and during your ride.
The price is high, but this shoe feels unlike anything else on the market.
The level of stiffness is very high, so the Helix is not an endurance-focused shoe. For pure performance though, look no further.
Bont Vaypor S Hologram
- £325 as tested
- Ultra-thin, ultra-stiff carbon construction
- Heat-mouldable upper offers customisable fit
The Bont Vaypor S Hologram is a premium-priced option but if the overall shape works for you – the arch is relatively high – it offers outstanding foot retention and stability.
The ‘bathtub’ carbon construction is super-stiff and the heat-mouldable upper can be remoulded an unlimited number of times to tweak the fit.
This ‘hologram’ version isn’t for shy, retiring types, but it adds useful visibility and helps justify the slightly alarming price tag.
- £330 as tested
- Ultra-light and breathable
- Stunningly comfortable
Tadej Pogačar’s secret weapon, the DMT KRSL’s 3D knitted shoe upper is matched with an all-new carbon sole. There are four large, meshed vents for added breathability and these help to bring the weight down.
The shoes are ultra-comfortable and the stiffness and comfort is perfectly balanced. The fit is so snug that the laces seem as if they are a secondary security measure.
The heel bumper is replaceable and even on the hottest days, there wasn’t a hint of sweat on our tester’s feet. The downside is, the shoes can be somewhat chilly on cooler days.
Fizik R1 Infinito Knit
- £350 / $376 as tested
- Race-shoe stiff
The Fizik R1 Infinito Knit uses a stretchy, highly breathable, knitted fabric.
Despite its water-repellent treatment, the R1 Infinito Knit is definitely more of a fair-weather shoe.
While riding hard in hot temperatures, the stretchy knitted fabric allows your foot to swell with the heat.
The sole is stiff enough for racing. The uppers provide a very comfortable and stable fit.
Fizik Vento Infinito Carbon 2
- £330 / $350 / €350 as tested
- Impressively lightweight, stiff and comfortable
The Fizik Vento Infinito Carbon 2 adapts the design of Fizik’s pro-level R1 shoe to create a lightweight and comfortable shoe.
The upper is made from a lightweight and pliable Microtex fabric.
A band across the middle of the upper closes with a micro-adjustment Boa dial.
Together, these spread pressure evenly across the foot.
The carbon sole flexes laterally to prevent any cramping or discomfort. But a ‘spine’ runs from the cleat area to the heal providing stiffness.
The shoe offers almost perfect comfort and performance at a high price tag.
Fizik Vento Stabilita Carbon
- £375 / $400 / €400 as tested
- Stiff with an adaptable fit
The Vento Stabilita Carbon shoe uses Fizik’s Dynamic Arch Support (2.0).
The result is a shoe with plenty of comfort and adaptability in the fit.
Despite the cutaway section, the sole is still stiff. Overall the shoe performs tremendously well.
The Vento Stabilita Carbon will suit riders putting out big watts, or anyone who values close-fitting comfort.
- £330 / €420 as tested
- Superb fit and comfort
- Heavier than some competitors
Celebrating Sidi’s 60th anniversary, the Sixty shoe comes in a variety of designs, including the limited-edition snakeskin finish we tested.
Closure is via a single, centrally-placed Techno 4 dial and a front Velcro strap, which work with the robust heel cup to hold your feet firmly in place.
Sidi has updated its Vent carbon sole, too. It’s well-shaped and reinforced, for plenty of stiffness and includes a closeable vent so you can limit airflow under your feet in cold weather.
With a range of replaceable components and spare parts available, the shoe is built to last.
But at 617g a pair in size 45, the Sixty is a bit heavier than other options at its high price.
Buyer’s guide to cycling shoes: what to look for
Shopping for cycling shoes can be a bit of a nightmare with so many options, and your local shop probably doesn’t stock everything you might want to try on.
Once you’ve been cycling for a while, you might have an idea of what works for you, but if you’re just starting out it can be daunting. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a short buyer’s guide to help you get to grips with the basics.
Cycling shoes, like any other shoes, are built around what’s called a ‘last’. This is essentially a mould, shaped like a foot, that brands use to shape their shoes.
Every brand has a different last, based on their own fit philosophy. Finding a shape that works for you is obviously very important, but the only way to find out is really to try shoes on. So make sure you either go in to a shop in person or buy from an online retailer with a good returns policy.
As with most things bike-related, carbon is the material du jour when looking at cycling shoe soles. It does make sense though; prized for its ability to be stiff yet lightweight, carbon really is an ideal material for making cycling shoe soles.
The downside is, of course, cost. Entry-level shoes tend to use nylon or glass fibre composite soles in a bid to save money. These are likely to be slightly more flexible than full-carbon soles, but will still be streets ahead of standard training shoes, so it’s certainly not a huge loss if your budget doesn’t stretch to carbon.
There are three main closure systems in use today. The most popular are Velcro straps or wire laces with micro-adjustable dials (Boa and similar).
Occasionally, you even get a combination of both. Velcro straps have the advantage of being cheap, effective and easy to use, so you’ll often find these on lower-end shoes. On higher-end shoes, Boa and other similar dial systems tend to dominate due to their ability to precisely control fit.
Traditional laces have also had a bit of a renaissance in the last few years, so if you like a classic look you’ll have a few more options now. Just remember you won’t be able to adjust your shoes on the bike.
It’s always worth considering what type of riding your shoes are designed for. A lot of road cycling shoes are designed to be ridden in hot weather, for example, meaning they’re very breathable and won’t offer much protection from the elements.
If you live somewhere where the weather is invariably cold and wet, it’s worth considering whether those sorts of shoes are really the right choice, or if you’d be better off with something more robust.
Do cycling shoes make a difference?
Cycling shoes and clipless pedals are the biggest upgrade you can make when you’re new to road cycling.
They are designed to have little flex so the force can be transferred into the pedals.
As a result, you’ll find your average speed will increase because your foot is locked into place, saving you effort and any needless fatigue.
They are also typically lighter than running or recreational shoes and offer improved ventilation.
However, road cycling shoes can quickly escalate in price.
If you’re starting out cycling on a budget, you don’t need to spend the earth and an entry-level shoe will have most of the key features you need to get you out on the road.
In fact, in a test we carried out, we’re not sure cycling shoe stiffness actually matters.