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These cycling shoes will make the miles fly by.

By Kathleen Felton
March 21, 2019
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So you've gotten into indoor cycling, but shelling out $3 to rent cycling shoes every time you book a spin class is starting to feel like a waste of money. Or maybe you're just feeling grossed out by the thought of sharing the same sweaty spin shoes with the million other people who frequent your favorite studio. Either way, investing in your own pair of cycling shoes is a smart choice, since you're guaranteed to get a comfortable, supportive fit each time.

"I tell new riders who have just purchased shoes to 'trust the shoes,'" says Felicia Walker, a spin instructor at New York Health and Racquet Club in New York City. "Riding confidently and comfortably will take you to a whole new level in class."

But because they're a big investment (most pairs cost $100 or more), you'll want to do your research to make sure you're buying the best cycling shoes for your needs. Here's everything you need to know to find the perfect pair of cycling shoes.

How to buy cycling shoes

When shopping for cycling shoes, experts say you should focus on comfort and fit. "Cycling is a rigorous activity, and proper fit is crucial for a safe and effective workout," says Natalie Cohen Gould, a Flywheel instructor based in New York City.

Outdoor and indoor cycling shoes are very different, she adds, so you should confirm that the pair you're considering is for the correct workout (the ones we rounded up below are all indoor cycling shoes, but you can find outdoor cycling shoes on retailers like REI, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Amazon). "You’ll most likely want a different shoe for both if you ride indoors and outdoors, as shoe constructions are very different," Gould says.

Another important factor to consider when shopping for cycling shoes is to determine whether you need SPD or Delta cleats. "Make sure you're familiar with the cleats necessary for the gym or studio you frequent," Gould says. "Some bikes have SPD cleats, some Delta, and some both." For most cycling shoes, you purchase the actual shoe online or in-store, then the cleats are sold and installed separately. You can buy both SPD and Delta cleats on Amazon.

The difference between the two types of cleats is subtle (SPD clips have two holes and are a little easier to walk around in, while Delta clips have three), but you won't want to invest in a pair of indoor cycling shoes only to discover that they're not compatible with the bikes at your go-to spin studio.

Below, five top-rated cycling shoes that deliver serious comfort and support for your next spin class.

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