Shoes for the street and the lanes for under £50

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

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 — from £37.99



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

Northwave All Mountain Escape Evo Shoes — £37.79

Northwave All Mountain Escape Evo Shoes

Northwave All Mountain Escape Evo Shoes

They're intended for mountain biking, but we don't see any reason why you couldn't belt to the office in these kicks from top Italian show brand Northwave. They've a mesh upper with a Velcro strap over laces and the walkable sole is slotted for SPD cleats.

Find a Northwave dealer

B'Twin 500 Women's Mountain Bike Shoes — £49.99

As well as range of men's cycling shoes that start at £30, French sport superstore chain Decathlon offers these women's mountain bike shoes that'll do nicely for the morning dash to the office or weekends whizzing round the lanes.

You get a three-strap closure, synthetic leather upper and rubber sole lugs for walking grip. If the white and blue colour scheme is impractical for city grime, they're also available in black.

Road shoes

Muddyfox RBS100 shoes — £29.99

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 arent 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.

Shimano R065 SPD-SL Road Shoes — £42.99

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 — £31.99

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, you'll have to be fairly large of foot, as the available size range is currently 43-48.

As well as white and silver, they're also available in white and red.

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
Find a Northwave dealer

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.