In 2021, looks are vying with functionality on the cycling shoe catwalk. Bling is back, with shiny metallic uppers, funky colors and ‘oil-slick’ (i.e. bright and shiny) soles. Taking the Bling Beauty Queen title is the Gaerne G. Stardust, a shoe which arguably looks more at home at a 70s disco than pedaling up a mountain pass.
While we’re waiting for some of these shoes to hit the market, we’ve been looking at some of our favorite tried-and-tested models. (And yes, many are pretty as well as functional.) While we may not balk at spending thousands of dollars on our bikes and associated components, when it comes to shoes, our wallets often win the battle with our hearts (or feet).
But cycling shoes aren’t just something to keep your feet cool and dry. They can directly impact your performance, both by transferring power efficiently from your legs through to the pedals and by being comfortable enough to allow you to keep that power transfer up hour after hour. An ill-fitting pair of shoes will make cycling a misery and you may be surprised at just how much faster you can go with a stiff, well-designed shoe.
Your perfect shoe will depend on a number of factors including the shape of your foot, the type of cycling you’re doing and the level of performance you’re aiming for. In this article, we’ll be looking at shoes that are designed for clipless pedals. If you’re used to flat pedals and are looking to upgrade, check out this article for tips on getting started with clipless pedals.