Pushing pedals is comfier with stiff-soled shoes, and they don't have to cost lots

Cycling shoes have stiffer soles than, say, trainers or running shoes, which makes them more comfortable to pedal in. You can pay hundreds of pounds for high-tech shoes with carbon fibre soles, but you can get perfectly usable shoes for under £50.

As Mat Brett discusses at length in our article covering everything you need to know about cycling shoes, there are broadly two types of cycling shoes: road racing style and SPD/mountain bike style.

SPD/mountain bike style shoes have a small cleat (a special stud) recessed into the sole. They're easier to walk in than road racing shoes and because the pedals are usually double-sided they're easier to get into. They're the way to go if you want to get started with clipless pedals.

Road racing shoes have stiff, smooth soles with threaded holes for a cleat that stands proud from the shoe and fits into the attachment mechanism on a matching pedal. They're efficient and secure, but there's a learning curve to getting in to the usually single-sided pedals and the shoes are hard to walk in.

Let's see what we can find by way of shoe bargains.

SPD shoes

B'Twin 100 road shoes — £29.99

B'Twin 100 road shoes 2017.jpg

B'Twin 100 road shoes 2017.jpg

These shoes from French-based sport store chain Decathlon look like a bargain entry point in cycling footwear. They're billed as road shoes, but have a two-bolt mounting for mountain bike-style cleats, so you'll be able to walk in them easily.

Muddyfox Tour 100 Low Cycling Shoes — £29.99

Thirty quid now seems to be the starting price for cycling shoes and these from Sports Direct brand Muddyfox are typical of what you'll find. You get a padded mesh fabric body, with laces and Velcro strap to cover the knot and lace ends and a cushioned heel outsole for walking.

Shimano MT34 SPD Touring Shoes — £44.99



Shimano invented the SPD shoe and pedal (it stands for Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) and in the 25 years since then the Japanese component giant has got very good at making shoes for the system.

There's a glass fibre reinforced nylon shank in the sold for rigidity, but the whole sole is cushioned for comfort. A lace closure means you'll have to be a bit careful about tying them so that they're clear of the chain.

As well as the black here, they're also available in cheery blue, and there's a women's version too.

If you're outside the mainstream 41-15 size range, you'll have to shop around a bit to find the best price for these shoes. The link takes you to Decathlon, but other sizes are usually a bit pricier.

Find a Shimano dealer


Road shoes

Muddyfox RBS100 shoes — £29.99

Muddyfox RBS100 Shoes.jpg

Muddyfox RBS100 Shoes.jpg

My eyes! It's okay, these budget road shoes from Muddyfox are also available in a snazzy white, red and black colour scheme for those who aren't sufficiently extrovert for screaming neon.

They have a two-strap closure, with a very broad strap across the top to spread the tension over your foot, and Amazon reviewers say the sole is plenty stiff. For just £30, they do the job.

B'Twin 500 road shoes — £44.99

B'Twin 500 road shoes.jpg

B'Twin 500 road shoes.jpg

With a rigid nylon sole and classic trio of Velcro straps, these three-bolt shoes from Decathlon look to be very good value. 

Shimano R065 SPD-SL Road Shoes — £47.98

Shimano R065 SPD SL Shoes.jpg

Shimano R065 SPD SL Shoes.jpg

These value road shoes from Shimano are widely available on special offer at the moment, but you can still get a full range of sizes.

Shimano describes them as all-round sport shoes and the soles will take two-bolt and three-bolt cleats on the nylon sole.

Up top there's a mix of mesh and synthetic leather, with two broad Velcro straps to snug them round your feet.

Find a Shimano dealer

dhb R1.0 Road Shoes — £25.95

Remarkably, these great-value shoes from Wiggle's own brand have come down in price by almost £20 since we reviewed them in 2012.

The colour scheme has changed, but the synthetic leather upper and glass fiber reinforced nylon sole hasn't. David Else found them "light and comfortable, perfect for training, sportives and entry-level racing; excellent value too". However, they seem to be approaching the end of their tenure as the UK's best-value cycling shoes, as Wiggle only has sizes 44 and 45 listed. We hope there'll be a new cersion soon.

Read our review of dhb R1.0 Road Shoes

Northwave Sonic 2 SRS Road Shoes — £44.99

Northwave Sonic 2 SRS

Northwave Sonic 2 SRS

When he reviewed these Italian shoes a couple of years ago, our Stu Kerton liked them, but thought the £100 RRP was a bit steep. They're a much better deal at 50% off. The nylon sole means they're not as stiff as spendier shoes with carbon reinforcement, but they're still a decent entry level shoe ideal for club or fitness riding. The comfort is good, making them an ideal choice for long hours in the saddle and the Sonics have a nice finish and show impressive signs of durability.

Read our review of the Northwave Sonic 2 SRS shoes
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Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.