You’ve taken the plunge and invested in a new exercise bike and now you just need to find the best shoes for Peloton to get started.
Here’s the thing: the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab) — including the premium Peloton bike (opens in new tab) — use pedal systems that support two types of cleats (they attach to the outsole and allow you to ‘clip’ into your bike pedals).
The first kind, known as the 2-bolt SPD cleats, will be familiar to mountain bike riders, while the 3-bolt Look Delta cleats tend to be preferred by road bikers. If you’re now a proud Peloton owner, you’ll need the latter.
At Live Science we’ve tried and tested the best-selling cycling shoes available and in stock now, ranking them for budget, cleat system and fit, before including them in our extensive round-up.
For those of you that enjoy road and mountain biking, the Nike SuperRep cycling shoes come with both cleat systems, which is handy if your exercise bike has dual-sided pedals, like the Echelon Connect EX3 (opens in new tab).
Clipping into your cleats is thought to help cyclists improve their performance on the bike, as it encourages a better foot-pedal connection, alignment and also reduces the risk of joint -related injuries. In this guide, we reveal the different cycling shoes for Peloton that you can buy today.
Best shoes for Peloton bike
The Peloton cycling shoe lands as our top pick for best Peloton shoes for the Peloton bike, which goes to show they truly are a match made in spin shoe heaven. The signature shoe was designed by Peloton specifically to pair with their namesake bike, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that it shot to the top of our testing charts.
Any Peloton lover could identify the brand of this shoe from a mile away. They’re designed in the signature Peloton colors of black, red, and white, with a P emblazoned boldly across the shoe and strap. There aren’t any other colors available though, so let’s hope you’re sold by the design. They also come packed with Look Delta cleats which will save you some faff (and cash.)
These shoes dance delicately between stiff and flexible, with a lightweight and breathable synthetic upper and mesh vent for breezy ventilation. The ankle and heel are plump with padding (a savior for sore ankles), and the shoe molds well to your foot. The hard plastic outsole provides plenty of rigidity when clipping in (for improved cycling efficiency and power output), and there’s virtually no float (foot movement) when connected with the Peloton pedals.
The Peloton shoe does veer towards the narrow side and the toe box can feel cramped on longer rides, which could be a problem for wide-footed wearers. Peloton uses a unique ratchet clip system (alongside two chunky forefoot velcro straps) which takes a few goes to figure out, but it micro-tweaks the tightness of the shoe once you’ve nailed the technique. If you can adapt to a stiffer shoe, the Peloton pair could be for you.
It’s hard to find independent customer reviews, but Reddit throws up mixed reviews. Some users believe they’re too expensive for what they are, while others find them durable and comfortable even after thousands of rides.
- Read our full Peloton cycling shoes review (opens in new tab)
Shimano is one of the most well-known cycling manufacturers in the world, so our expectations were high when taking the Shimano RC1 cycling shoes for a spin. Thankfully, they fit like a glove, and we loved the sleek and understated design.
Shimano has opted for simplicity by stripping it back with a limited color palette of just blue and black, and three quick-fit velcro straps secure feet without pinching, to complete the look. The surround-wrapping synthetic leather upper is highly breathable and reduces overlap to help minimize any hotspots, while the nylon mesh panels help improve ventilation and reduce moisture retention, and there’s also a forefoot vent on the sole.
The reinforced glass fiber outsole isn’t quite the carbon footplate of its premium peers but strikes a balance between compliance and rigidity very well, and they hold their own during rigorous uphill climbs and sprints. It’s worth buying a size up as the RC1s can come up a touch tight, and you could find your toes pushing against the toe cap when you’re out of your seat. Despite this, the heel is soft, thick, and padded (we could have used some of that around the toes), and, for an entry-level shoe, these are undeniably durable and sturdy.
The Shimano RC1 veers towards being basic and there aren’t many features to speak of, but we rate the uncomplicated approach. They’re only Look Delta cleat compatible, and you’ll need to purchase cleats separately, but sweeping in at less than $100 – we’re sold on Shimano.
This shoe pulls in 4.4 out of 5 stars and 64% of these ratings are 5 stars. Those who left positive comments stated these shoes were of great quality at a mid-range price, and others found them lightweight and comfortable. Negative feedback from customers cited sizing issues.
- Read our full Shimano RC1 cycling shoe review (opens in new tab)
We’re struggling to find a bad word to say about the Giro Regime cycling shoes. They offer buyers style and substance in one (pretty expensive) box, but while this shoe is premium priced, their minimalist design and sock-like slip-on quality place them above many of their peers.
The Synchwire upper provides enough flexibility to wrap and mold well to feet without lacking the rigidity required in a top-grade cycling shoe, and the dual BOA L6 dials allow users to fasten the shoe around the forefoot and ankle with precision often left wanting in shoes that rely solely on laces or velcro straps. This method also prevents pinching and allows you to personalize the shoe to your foot shape. The midfoot and forefoot benefit from pinprick perforations to help your feet breathe a sigh of relief during hot and sweaty exercise, and the stiff carbon-composite sole plate (one of the best materials available on the cycling shoe market) improves your power transfer and efficiency when pushing the pedals.
The premium features more than earn the shoe its price tag, and the Regime is also a looker. Giro has opted for sleek and slimline, rather than the chunky bowling look adopted by some brands, and this just adds to their high-end appeal. Perhaps the only drawback of this shoe is the BOA-dial pop-release feature, which means you can’t loosen the wire laces without releasing all of the tension in one go, but this does little to detract from the quality.
Our tester branded these shoes a lightweight second-skin, and we’re sure they’ll lure in Peloton lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Amazon customers gave this shoe a 4.6 out of 5. Positive reviews said the shoes were great for wide feet and were true to size. Others loved the arch support. Negative feedback felt the design wasn’t inventive enough and was too stiff.
- Read our full Giro Regime cycling shoes review (opens in new tab)
Granted, they’re not the most subtle-looking cycling shoe on the market, but what the Venzo Santic cycling shoes lack in subtlety, they more than make up for with comfort and performance. They’re a supremely spacious addition to our cycling shoe round-up, and this might be music to the ears of wide-footed cyclists who are fed up with shoehorning themselves into their shoes.
Yes, they’re a fine fit for wide feet, but Venzo has made these shoes affordable, too. They cost under $100, including your Look Delta cleats, and are also compatible with 2-bolt and 3-bolt cleats, so regardless of your cycling style, you can rest assured they’ll perform.
In our eyes, you’ll struggle to find a roomier cycling shoe. The low-cut heel, flexible forefoot, and 9° of float (amount of foot movement available when connected to the pedal) all culminate in a shoe to be enjoyed rather than tolerated. The synthetic upper and ultra-lightweight mesh are highly breathable, and the removable sock liner, ample cushioning, and stable outsole all lend themselves to Venzo’s vision of comfort. However, hardcore cyclists might prefer stiffer shoes that can increase their power output.
The Venzo shoe is fitted with three thick velcro straps that feel a bit outdated, and this system can sometimes lack efficient support for your foot. Surprisingly, they wrap the foot like a gentle and reassuring hug, so we can let go of our bias toward the more modern BOA-dials (for now.) The beveled raised heels are prone to chafing and left us confused, as they’re mostly found on running shoes to reduce heel strike impact. Overall, the shoe might look like a ‘90s throwback, but we're definitely along for the ride.
The Venzo cycling shoes received a 4.6 out of 5 from Amazon customers. Buyers found these shoes great value for money and super comfortable. Others loved their suitability for wide feet. Negative reviews cited the hard-to-attach cleats.
- Read our full Venzo cycling shoes review (opens in new tab)
The Santic cycling shoe is perfect for colorful cyclists looking to save their cents without cutting corners on fun and quality. These shoes are only 3-bolt compatible, but Santic provides cleats with your purchase.
Although these cycling shoes sport the look of a bowling shoe, the bold block color palette packs in some fun style and the BOA turn dial system micro-tightens and loosens your shoe in place of laces or velcro straps – although there is one small velcro strap to secure your forefoot. Santic has opted for an outdoorsy feel with the design, bringing together a durable perforated PU upper with a nylon-composite outsole that makes the shoe feel hardy yet supple. Santic claims this blends comfort with the stiffness required for optimum pedaling efficiency, and we whole-heartedly agree, although the shoe is very stiff and can take some getting used to. Users searching for a glove-like fit won’t find it with this shoe.
Regardless, Santic has still somehow managed to nail comfort, and these shoes are also suitable for wide-footed users. If you’ve got narrow feet, the adjustable dial and thick ankle padding will provide enough support – although Santic could’ve packed in more – and you won’t need to worry about any heel slippage during rides. The shoe connects well to the pedal, and the cleats stay secure even with the resistance cranked right up.
Although these shoes don’t mold well to your foot, and we weren’t won over by the bowling shoe aesthetic, we loved the color palette, durability, and surprisingly comfortable fit of the Santic – and they can certainly withstand a sweaty spin beating.
The Santic Jian1 Cycling Shoes average 4.3 of 5 from customers of Amazon, happy that the shoes are compatible with their Peloton bike. Other positive reviews concentrate on their comfort and affordability, while others like how the shoes don’t come up too big or small. Negative reviews cite how the holes on the bottom of the shoes can be too small to attach the Delta clips.
- Read our full Santic Jian1 cycling shoes review (opens in new tab)
The Rapha Classic cycling shoe is known among its (many) fans as the sort-of Prada equivalent in the luxury cycling shoe world. Upon first glance, they look unassuming but peer closer and you start to notice subtle design touches that set them apart. These shoes are expensive, but they come with a drawstring tote bag, spare pair of laces, and high arch pads to sweeten the deal.
Rapha has perfectly balanced comfort, style, and durability with the Classic. The signature Rapha reflective toe strap and multicolored strap hook elevate what is otherwise a blank canvas, and the soft palate of stone gray, black pearl, and white ooze simplicity and class. The premium carbon footplates (carbon fiber is mostly found in high-end cycling shoes) provide a rigid base to drive more efficient cycling cadence and reinforce durability. Rapha also claims their shoes are ‘the most comfortable cycling shoes in the world,’ but while we rate them in the comfort stakes, they come up tight.
The cooling perforated 100% microfiber upper is low-cut for better range of motion around the ankle, and features a double-wall lacing system to prevent pinch points and disperse force evenly around the foot. It’s a lightweight shoe with very little flex, a spacious toe box, sculpted heel, and non-slip grippy sole. This shoe does and says all the right things, but narrow-footed riders should buy a size up to avoid disappointment.
The Rapha Classic cycling shoe received rave reviews with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. They scored high for style and performance, with users rating the quality and fit of the shoe. There are only a few negative reviews and they warn customers to size up.
- Read our full Rapha Classic cycling shoes review (opens in new tab)
The Nike SuperRep cycling shoes don’t look out of place in a lineup of the brand’s most stylish trainers or football boots, and that’s the main reason we love these cycling shoes – there’s not a whiff of a bowling shoe aesthetics in sight. Here stands an undeniably good-looking shoe with sultry color palette names like Crimson Bliss and Pearl White and the signature Nike tick stamped proudly across the side, earning it a big tick from us, too.
These cycling shoes weigh practically nothing and feature a super-flexi breathable mesh upper that provides all-over air flow that is worlds apart from the stiff and unforgiving upper of some of its counterparts. The hard plastic sole offers the necessary rigidity to optimize energy return, and the crossover hook and loop velcro straps secure your forefoot and heels brilliantly, while the part-rubber base has superior grip for pottering around comfortably off the bike.
A highly desirable feature is the recessed cleat which fits through the sole of the shoe and allows the cleat to sit nearly flush with the ground. This makes the cycling shoe feel more reminiscent of a regular trainer, and makes walking far more comfortable. However, these shoes come up very tight and narrow, so we highly recommend going a whole size up if you want to benefit from the breathable design.
Nike has gone the extra mile by offering 2-bolt and 3-bolt compatibility for maximum versatility, but cleats are sold separately, and the SuperReps aren’t cheap as it is. After all, you are partly paying for the name. These shoes also come with washers, bolt screws, and an adaptable cleat insert plate (for fitting your cleats) thrown in.
Buyers of the Nike SuperReps rated the shoes as comfortable and worth the investment. Others loved the fun color range. Negative feedback claimed the plastic on the bottom of the shoe broke when fixing the cleats, and some users warned to size up because of the tight fit.
- Read our full Nike SuperRep cycling shoes review (opens in new tab)
If you’ve spent years trying to find your perfect (narrow) match, the Fizik Tempo R5 Overcurve cycling shoe could finally be your cycling savior. These shoes are clean-cut and slimline, offering a snug glove-like fit suitable for any cyclist seeking a little hug from their shoe. The design will divide its buyers, but we rate Fizik for its decisive approach to inclusive footwear.
The R5s technically sit within the midrange market but are still expensive and come without cleats. Price aside, everything about the shoe looks and feels premium, which is typical of the Fizik Italian footwear brand. The color combinations are beautiful and simple and the BOA-dial system offers micro-tightening adjustments (alongside a velcro strap) to gently hug your foot – rather than squeeze it. The perforated upper uses seam-free Microtex with a carbon fiber reinforced nylon-composite sole designed to improve cycling efficiency.
The big sell is the overcurve (construction) method which is ergonomically designed with a staggered collar to follow the natural contours of your foot; this means the shoe conforms to your natural foot shape rather than vice-versa, and it's both intelligent and supremely comfortable. Hot-weather cyclists might struggle to breathe in this shoe, as the perforations stop around the toe box and there’s no inbuilt vent elsewhere to air your feet. The toebox is a squeeze, but this is solely down to fit, as the shoe (as a whole) is thoughtfully designed with its narrow-footed user in mind.
Amazon customers rated the Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5 cycling shoe 4.6 out of 5 stars, and 80% were 5 stars. Positive reviewers loved the aesthetics and how comfortable the shoe was, but negative feedback said the shoes lacked breathability and complained they scruffed easily.
- Read our full Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5 review (opens in new tab)
The best shoes for Peloton
Surprise, surprise. The Peloton cycling shoes take the win for best cycling shoe, but only just. They’re not just aesthetically pleasing, with their trademark black and red design, but they offer brilliant value for under $100, too. We found them superior for comfort and support, and the modern ratchet clip design closed the shoe snugly around our feet to prevent any slippage on the pedals. It goes to show that you don’t need to shell out big bucks to find a fine fit.
If you’re an endurance cyclist, then we highly recommend the Venzo cycling shoe. Perfect for wide-footed wearers, this shoe offers unparalleled comfort.
How we tested
We tested all cycling shoes in our purpose-built testing center and scored them from 1-5 across the following criteria:
- Design and features
- Value for money
For all models, we tackled a fast-paced HIIT class and an active recovery session to ensure each shoe could power through and deliver.
We then gave the shoes an overall rating out of five with a final verdict summarizing each model's strengths and weaknesses, and whether we reckon they’re ride-ready.
How to choose the best shoes for Peloton
Choosing the best shoes for Peloton can be a bit overwhelming with so many options, so we enlisted the help of Marie Napier, head trainer of Ride at Psycle (opens in new tab) for some expert advice.
Napier confirms that 2-bolt cleat systems are better for mountain biking while 3-bolt work well for road cycling and indoor spinning bikes.
She says: “Three bolt cleats will give the rider a more stable connection to the pedals because the cleat and pedal have a greater surface to clip into.”
Napier told Live Science that while spinning fans often opt for 3-bolt cleats (SPD-SL and Look Delta), instructors tend to prefer a 2-bolt SPD cleat for faster transitions.
“They often have something called a ‘recessed cleat’ to make walking easier,” she says. “Fashion conscious buyers might also lean towards the 2-bolt system, and some brands make them with spinning fans in mind, too.”
Related: Peloton vs Echelon (opens in new tab)
So is one type of cleat better for power transfer than the other? The difference is minimal, says Napier, so don’t worry about that — focus on comfort and compatibility instead.
She says: “The most important thing when buying your shoes is to ensure they’re compatible with your bike, or the cleats your gym or spinning studio uses. And check your shoes aren’t too small either as this can cause numbness. You should be able to wiggle your toes in the shoe.”
There are a few more factors to consider when it comes to buying cycling shoes, particularly if you’re still debating between Peloton vs Echelon (opens in new tab)…
Lastly, when choosing your shoe, we recommend focusing on three comfort factors:
What’s your budget?
The cost of living crisis means finding a bargain is more important than ever. The good news is that some of the budget cycling shoes we tested fared better than the more expensive ones.
Premium shoes, like the Rapha Classic (opens in new tab), are made out of carbon fiber and other high quality materials to provide a stiffer shoe, which is said to improve power transfer. It could also make them more durable, but setting a budget range of $80-100, should be enough to ensure your cycling shoes will last.
What kind of strap do you prefer?
Personally, we’re fans of shoes with a BOA-dial strap system — instead of laces these use a small turn dial that tightens a thin wire. This kind of modern lacing system can really help secure your foot in place during the push-pull motion of cycling, and you’ll find the BOA-dial strap is becoming more common than the traditional laces or Velcro systems.
Saying that, many instructors and riders prefer the old school tie up laces or Velcro, so it’s best to try out a few styles to find out what fit and style works best for you.
What kind of ‘upper’ do you need on your shoe?
We recommend opting for a moderately stiff and durable upper. A stiffer shoe helps improve efficiency on the pedals and should last longer on outdoor cycles. However, try to find a shoe that feels lightweight and semi-flexible if you prefer endurance rides, as you still want to be comfortable rather than hobbling off the saddle. Still unsure? Test out shoes made from a synthetic upper as a starting point.
What kind of sole is needed?
As we’ve heard, carbon foot plates and carbon fiber reinforced materials are often favored by premium shoe brands as they create more rigidity. It’s why lots of cyclists often opt for this type of shoe, as they tend to be more hard-wearing. But if you need something more budget-friendly, nylon and glass fiber soled ones are still up there for quality and durability.
The benefits of using the best shoes for Peloton
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As we’ve heard, the best exercise bikes and best shoes for Peloton use a clip-in system to secure the foot, which keeps them in place and helps weight distribution during sprints and uphill climbs. Experts say this provides a much better foot-pedal connection, particularly during the push-pull phases of your cadence (the number of revolutions per minute your pedal makes).
Put simply, being clipped into your pedals will help you feel more ‘at one’ with your bike because your feet are less likely to slip off as you pedal or shift your weight around. Being clipped in allows you to move more fluidly as your pedals and cranks become an extension of your body.