So you’ve just had your first spin class, and you’re immediately hooked! Trust us - we get it. Or, maybe you’ve been taking spin classes with us for a while, and you think it’s time to up your shoe game and officially “lock-in.” Whatever the reason is that you’re in the market for new spin shoes, it can be a very overwhelming world!
As always, Stax has got you covered! We’re breaking down the complexities of spin shoes so you can figure out which option is best for you. It’s not about finding the best indoor cycling shoes on the market. It’s about finding the best spin cycle shoes for you!
Ready to get back on track with Stax? We have a ton of amazing in-person (!) and virtual classes.
What To Look For in a Spin Shoe
When it comes to shopping for the best indoor cycling shoes, there are three components you need to pay attention to - the shoe, cleat, and pedal.
Typically, you’ll want to buy a shoe that works with the pedal system on your spin bike, whether that’s at home or in the Stax studio.
Types of Pedals
There are three types of pedals that you may encounter on a spin bike:
Which pedals you're using may depend on what your bike came with or your own personal preference.
Think of flat pedals as the OG pedal - like you used to have on your bike as a kid. Flat pedals are what we're used to on the original design of a bike, and they still work great for basic biking needs.
Some spin bikes may come with flat pedals, but it's no longer the norm after the introduction of more advanced pedals. If your bike has flat pedals, you can always swap them out for cages or clip-ins.
Pros: Can be used with any shoe and you’re free to adjust your foot however you want.
Cons: Less efficient than other pedals.
Cages can take your power and efficiency to the next level because you can now both push and pull while pedaling. Like flat pedals, they can be used with any shoe and are relatively easy to get in and out of, but you get a bit more security, and you're unlikely to slip out while riding.
Pros: More efficient and powerful strokes. No specific shoe is necessary.
Cons: Need to be tightened each time you use them. Don't have a firm grip around your shoe.
Also called "clip-less" (confusing, we know), clip-ins lock your feet into the pedals for the highest power and efficiency possible.
There is a bit of a learning curve with clip-ins, as you'll need to learn how to lock in and release your shoes. But once you get the hang of it, you'll feel totally connected with your bike and ready to kick your spin class's butt.
All classes at Stax (online and in-studio) are coached with clip-in shoes!
Pros: Ultimate power and efficiency, and your feet won’t slip from the pedal.
Cons: Can take a little bit to get used to, and you’ll need specific shoes to match your pedals.
Types of Indoor Cycling Shoes
Just as there are different styles of pedals, there are different types of spin bike shoes. Which style of spin cycle shoes you choose for yourself will depend on the pedals installed on the bike you want to ride.
Don't worry, though. If you decide it's time to make a change, you can easily swap out the pedals on your bike to work with the shoes you prefer.
Your indoor cycling shoes must have cleats if you want to use clip-in pedals. Typically there are two styles of cleats: SPD or LOOK Delta. (Hold onto that thought, and we'll learn more about cleats shortly!)
Mountain bike shoes (MTBs) are built for use with mountain bikes but also work for spin class. These types of shoes are compatible with SPD cleats. They’re designed to give you the maximum control of your pedals with their grippy bottom and allow for toe-in or toe-out positioning.
Road shoes are designed for road cyclists and therefore are very lightweight and sturdy. These types of shoes are compatible with LOOK Delta cleats. They are great for when your body is in the same position for a long time but don't allow as much movement.
Considering that as spin cyclists, we're not headed for the streets or the mountains, we love the fact that now there is a hybrid shoe that gives us the best of both worlds. These universal shoes can clip into both SPD and LOOK Delta cleats.
If you're not planning on using clip-in pedals, you don't need to purchase special shoes. You can wear regular sneakers with flat pedals and toe cages. This is a great idea for beginners who are still getting used to being on a bike.
What About Cleats
You might not guess that there's a huge difference between having two clips or three clips when considering your cleat system. However, LOOK Delta and SPD cleats each have their different specific uses.
LOOK Delta cleats are typically used with street bikes and also the now super popular Peloton.
Delta cleats have a three-hole cleat system that makes a triangle shape. They are generally more rigid and therefore allow for more power transfer.
At Stax, we use SPD Keo Look cleats. You can find them here.
Designed by Shimano, SPD cleats are used mostly with mountain bikes.
They use two bolts and are the most common cleat systems used in spin studios. Shoes with these cleats also tend to be easier to walk in, although still not ideal.
Shoes that work for both
Say you have a Peloton at home, but your spin studio uses SPD clips. You might want to look into universal shoes, which can clip into both types of systems. These might also be the best indoor cycling shoes for you if you enjoy road biking, mountain biking, spinning, or any combination of the three.
Wow, that was a lot of information about shoes! Who knew the world of indoor cycling shoes could be so complicated? If you’re still a little confused about what direction you want to head, here's some of our favorite shoes you can find at Stax (psst. shoe rentals are free with classes)!
While we have a few brands in the mix, our primary ladies shoe is Diadora.
We love Diadora shoes because:
They have a stiff and sturdy sole that helps us hit it hard for those heavy climbs.
They also have a breathable liner which is perfect for the hot and sweaty spin room.
While they may be a bit pricy, these shoes seem to last forever and and we believe are absolutely worth the investment and still look and work great.
When it comes to cleats, positioning is everything. This varies from person to person, so you have to find out what works for you. As a guideline, we recommend placing the cleat at the ball of your foot to give maximum power.
Unisex & Mens
Our favorite unisex shoe is the dhb Troika Road Shoe. It provides a firm, wider base with easy Velcro straps to secure your fit.
These shoes can be hard to track down, but Chain Reaction Cycles has a decent selection and often replenishes it's stock.
Janelle hit the jackpot with the very first pair that she ever bought for herself. Despite having tried out other shoes since then, the Giro EC70 remains her favorite to this day. She loves how secure they feel on her feet and how they're super breathable. She would buy them again in a heartbeat!
Lindsay was on the nice list this year and Santa brought her a new pair of Nike SuperRep Cycle shoes!
Not only is the color fabulous - who doesn't love metallic pink? - but these shoes are made for intense movement.
They have a breathable liner and lightweight mesh on the top to keep your foot cool during the sweatiest classes. These spin shoes are also compatible with two standard types of cleats so you can mix and match to whatever suits your needs.
If you already have a pair of spin shoes - which are your ride or die? Share below in the comments!