Get yourself some of the best road cycling shoes, and your riding immediately becomes both more comfortable and more efficient. While you can cycle in a pair of trainers, we’re going to assume for the sake of this article that you want to ride in dedicated cycling shoes. They are designed to be light and stiff for efficient pedalling, usually with mesh panels to keep your feet cool in the summer, and with a sole that's designed to be compatible with clipless pedals.
Best all-round top-end road shoes: Giant Surge Pro shoes
Best mid-range road shoes for year-round riding: Shimano RC7 (RC702) SPD-SL Shoes
Best performance road cycling shoes with laces: DMT KR SL Grey Road Shoes
Best high-end road racing shoes for summer: Shimano S-Phyre RC9 (RC903) Shoes
Best women's performance road cycling shoes: Liv Macha Pro Shoes
Best road cycling shoes for comfort: Crono CR1 Carbon Road Shoes
If you want top-of-the-range shoes with a roomier fit: Specialized S-Works Torch road shoes
Another great pair of lace-up performance road shoes: Giro Empire SLX road shoes
Best mid-priced women's road cycling shoes: Shimano RC5W SPD-SL Women’s Shoes
Best for commuting, touring and gravel: Giro Republic R Knit Road Cycling Shoes
Best value road cycling shoes: Bont Motion shoes
More road.cc recommended women's race shoes: Giro Regime Women’s Road Cycling Shoes
Most innovative road shoes: Fizik Vento Stabilita Carbon road shoe
Best value road shoe with a carbon sole: Boardman Carbon Cycle Shoes
Best for durability (and there are options for wide feet): Lake CX238 Carbon Road Shoe
Most stylish road shoes: Rapha Classic Shoes
Best heat-mouldable road shoes (at a great price): Bont Riot Buckle
Carbon fibre soles are common, and most manufacturers have some way of rating sole stiffness; these shoes are usually at or near the top of the scale. Although you can still get cycling shoes with leather uppers, most shoemakers now use synthetic materials. They're tough, durable and easy to care for.
Dials that you wind up to tighten your shoe, usually from BOA who came up with the concept, are now the dominant closure system, but you'll also find ratchet buckles, Velcro straps and laces on some cycling shoes.
Our list below consists of road cycling shoes only (check out our full cycling shoe reviews archive for a mix of genres) including unisex, women's and men's options. We review a lot of cycling shoes; and it appears the bike industry has been on a roll in recent years with regards to what they choose to send us, because there are a lot of high scores in our cycling shoe archives. That means we've had to make some brutal cuts to slim down our top picks, with surprising omissions such as the legendary Italian cycling shoe makers Sidi... there's always next year, if any missing brands/their PR companies want to send their wares to us for review!
That's quite enough waffling. Without further ado...