Looking for the best cheap cycling shoes? Welcome to our guide to the best SPD and road cycling shoes for under £70.
Shoes with stiff soles and soles that accommodate clipless pedals start around £30
Choose between mountain bike-style ('SPD') walkable shoes with a recessed pocket for the cleat and racier shoes that put the cleat on the outside of the sole
Race-style shoes are stiffer for better power-transmission, mountain bike-style shoes have more flexible shoes for walking
Most cheap cycling shoes use laces or Velcro straps to close them
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 £70.
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.
These from French-based sport store chain Decathlon look like a bargain entry point when it comes cheap cycling shoes. 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.
Just under forty quid is 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.
The latest shoes from Decathlon, these have a two-bolt sole for mountain bike style cleats so you can walk in them easily. They look just the job for touring, commuting and even club runs. They're also available in all black, or with blue or red in place of orange.
A shoe that seems to have lots of happy users, with reviewers citing the roomy toebox and stiff-but-not-too-stiff sole as advantages for one and off bike use.
Straightforward synthetic leather shoes from Shimano with a three-strap closure and a fibreglass-reinforced sole set up for three-bolt cleats such as Shimano's own SPD-SL system and Look, among others.
Carbon-fibre reinforced soles for stiffness and low weight are very nice things to find on shoes that cost under £60 a pair. Northwave has been making cycling shoes for literally decades so these three-strap shoes may be entry-level but they won't be low-rent.
Lace-up road shoes are achingly trendy and practical too thanks to the ability to fine-tune the tension right across your foot. The synthetic upper is well assembled, the stitching feels quality and the overall impression is of a more expensive shoe. There are many ventilation holes along the top, and muted dhb logos side and rear.
This road version will take SPD cleats, but there's a version with a proper walkable SPD sole for the same money.
Owners seem very happy with their RP1 shoes, praising the fit, comfort, sole stiffness and faff-free two-strap closure. The sole gets its stiffness from fibreglass reinforcement and there's a reflective patch on the back for visibility. They're compatible with two-bolt SPD and three-bolt Look-style cleats.
These budget road shoes from Muddyfox are available in a white and black colour scheme and have a three-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 £38, they do the job.
With a fibreglass-reinforced nylon sole and classic trio of Velcro straps, these road shoes from Decathlon look to be very good value. They'll take either three-bolt cleats or two-bolt SPD cleats.
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John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.