The Best Cycling Shoes for Road, Mountain, and Gravel Riding

Cycling shoes are a crucial component of any cyclist's gear arsenal, providing the essential connection between the rider and the pedals. The right pair of cycling shoes can enhance power transfer, comfort, and overall performance, while the wrong pair can lead to discomfort, inefficiency, and even injury. In this comprehensive review, we'll explore the best cycling shoes for road, mountain, and gravel riding, catering to different riding styles, preferences, and budgets.

Road Cycling Shoes:
  • Shimano S-Phyre RC9: The Shimano S-Phyre RC9 is a top-of-the-line road cycling shoe that offers exceptional performance and comfort. Its lightweight, stiff carbon sole provides optimal power transfer, while the supple microfiber upper conforms to the foot for a secure and comfortable fit. The BOA dial closure system allows for precise adjustment on the fly.
  • Sidi Wire 2 Carbon: The Sidi Wire 2 Carbon is a classic road cycling shoe known for its durability, adjustability, and style. The shoe features a carbon composite sole for excellent power transfer and a Tecno-3 dial closure system for a customizable fit. The reinforced heel cup and adjustable arch support enhance stability and comfort.
  • Giro Imperial: The Giro Imperial is a lightweight and breathable road cycling shoe designed for high-performance riding. Its Easton EC90 SLX2 carbon sole offers superior stiffness and power transfer, while the Synchwire upper provides a comfortable and adaptive fit. The BOA IP1 dials allow for micro-adjustments and easy release.
Mountain Biking Shoes:
  • Five Ten Kestrel Pro Boa: The Five Ten Kestrel Pro Boa is a versatile mountain biking shoe that excels in both cross-country and trail riding. Its stiff carbon infused shank provides efficient power transfer, while the sticky Stealth C4 rubber outsole offers excellent traction and walkability. The BOA dial closure system ensures a secure and adjustable fit.
  • Shimano XC9: The Shimano XC9 is a high-performance cross-country mountain biking shoe designed for racing and demanding rides. Its rigid, lightweight carbon sole maximizes power transfer, while the synthetic leather upper provides a comfortable and secure fit. The Boa IP1 dials and Velcro strap allow for precise adjustments.
  • Giro Cylinder: The Giro Cylinder is a comfortable and affordable mountain biking shoe suitable for various riding styles. Its injected nylon sole offers good power transfer and walkability, while the breathable microfiber upper and BOA L6 dial provide a comfortable and adjustable fit. The rubber outsole ensures reliable traction on and off the bike.
Gravel Cycling Shoes:
  • Shimano RX8: The Shimano RX8 is a purpose-built gravel cycling shoe that combines the efficiency of a road shoe with the versatility of a mountain bike shoe. Its carbon composite sole delivers excellent power transfer, while the lugged rubber outsole provides traction and stability on uneven surfaces. The BOA IP1 dial and Velcro strap allow for a secure and customizable fit.
  • Giro Privateer Lace: The Giro Privateer Lace is a stylish and functional gravel cycling shoe that prioritizes comfort and walkability. Its lace-up closure system provides a classic look and even pressure distribution, while the nylon sole and rubber outsole offer a balance of pedaling efficiency and off-bike traction. The breathable microfiber upper ensures comfort on long rides.
  • Fizik Terra X5: The Fizik Terra X5 is a versatile gravel cycling shoe that adapts to various riding conditions. Its carbon-reinforced nylon sole provides efficient power transfer, while the rugged rubber outsole offers excellent traction and durability. The BOA L6 dial and Velcro strap allow for quick and easy adjustments on the go.

Choosing the best cycling shoes for your specific discipline and riding style is essential for optimizing performance, comfort, and enjoyment on the bike. The shoes featured in this review represent some of the top options available for road, mountain, and gravel cycling, each with their own unique features and benefits.

When selecting cycling shoes, consider factors such as fit, closure system, sole stiffness, and walkability to ensure they meet your specific needs and preferences. It's also important to choose shoes that are compatible with your pedal system and to properly maintain them to extend their lifespan.

Investing in a high-quality pair of cycling shoes can significantly enhance your riding experience, whether you're a competitive racer or a casual enthusiast. By leveraging the latest technologies and materials, these shoes provide the support, efficiency, and comfort needed to tackle any ride with confidence and style.