10 of the best road cycling shoes you can buy in 2020
© Shimano; Giro; Specialized; Fizik
Looking to clip in for the first time? Whether you’re after a subtle entry-level set or a pair of flashy disco slippers, these kicks are tough to beat.
From newbies to the professionals of the peloton, every road cyclist needs a good pair of shoes on their feet. Your first few rides may see you combine a flat pedal with a regular trainer – just while you get the feel for things – but eventually, the clipped-in kick comes for us all.
Proper road cycling shoes that are made for the purpose will help you get more out of your riding, they deliver better power transfer from your foot to the pedal – with a stiff sole, rather than a spongy rubber footbed – and they also tend to offer a more secure fit than even the most well-made running shoe.
As with all things in life and cycling, there are cheaper road cycling shoe options and more expensive ones. There are the flashy and the functional, the versatile and the va-va-voom. The below is a collection of the best road shoes currently on the market, spanning the broad range of price brackets, allowing you to make an informed decision about which pair might be best for you.
1. Van Rysel 500
Price: £49.99 (approx Rs 4,716)
T’was a dark and stormy night. The lightning crashed against the sheer mountain cliffs behind Castle Doom and deep in the gorge below, the vampire hunter Van Rysel wiped rain from his brow. ‘Those damn vamps ain’t gonna stake themselves,’ he muttered to himself, before climbing back atop his steed – a wicked-fast carbon fibre gravel bike – clipping in his home-made cycling shoes and pedalling onwards to the nest of evil above.
Created by the descendants of vampire hunters or not, these Van Rysel cycling shoes are unbeatable on value, look great and have the added versatility of being able to run either two-bolt or three-bolt cleats – ideal if you’re just starting out on the slightly easier SPD pedals.
Igor, fetch me my garlic base layer!
2. Dhb Dorica Road
Price: £80 (approx Rs 7,550)
Ever wanted to look like good chap playing old-timey English footie while you’re riding bikes? Then boy these are the choice for you. The Dhb Dorica Road shoe comes in four colourways, but the one worth getting excited about is ‘Autumn Glory’, which looks exactly like the material used for the boots worn by the aforesaid Victorian athlete. The lace-up closure helps to boost the Corinthian sportsman vibes, while also allowing you to get a really nice fit dialled in. Compatible with SPD-SL or Look cleats, the Dorica can also be rigged to take an SPD if your tastes lean more to the muddy.
3. Bont Riot Buckle
Price: £99.99 (approx Rs 9,436)
Woaaaahhhh, woaaaaahhh! I predict Bont Riot…
…will become your new favourite cycling shoe.
Lairy, lightweight and with an appealing price tag, these are a solid set for the beginner who can extend their budget. The most interesting aspect of the Riot Buckles is that you can mould them to your exact foot shape – ideal if you don’t have a ‘standard’ trotter. Simply bung them in a cool oven at 70 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes and, once cool enough to touch, slot them on and wait for the magic to happen.
4. Dhb Aeron Road Dial
Price: £110 (approx Rs 10,380)
While scholars cannot be certain of when the term ‘disco slipper’ entered cycling nomen-clature, if you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll almost definitely find a picture of the Dhb Aeron Road Dial in white right there on the page. Just don’t go trying any Funky Chickens with that slippery carbon sole or you may find yourself being ejected from the club.
Now at the three-figure price point, you can expect to get a dial adjustment system at the top closure, although it’s still velcro a bit further down the shoe. The synthetic upper is also well ventilated if things get hot on the dance floor (or on the asphalt).
Insider’s tip: it’s recommended to go down a whole size from your regular one with these shoes as they don’t fit true to size.
5. Shimano RC7 (701)
Price: £169.99 (approx Rs 16,040)
After scanning the feature list and seeing ‘adjustable powerzone wire guide holds forefoot securely’ on these shoes’ description, you’ll probably not be able to think of anything else. While you try and process that information, here are the facts:
• It’s a great-looking shoe
• It has two Boa dials for a really nice, adjustable fit
• It has a super-solid carbon sole, so none of your watts get wasted
• It has an adjustable powerzone wire guide to hold your forefoot securely
6. Giro Empire E70 Knit
Price: £219.99 (approx Rs 20,755)
You can hear it already, the tired joke of your mate’s not-very-funny friend, Dean.
“What! Knitted shoes, is it? Did your grandma make them for you?”
Your body shudders involuntarily upon hearing a version of this ‘joke’ for the 48th time. You pause, choking back a visceral scream.
“Haha, Dean. Good one, mate.” Before adding under your breath, “except these kicks have a carbon composite sole, the upper has been DWR-treated so that water beads on the fabric rather than being absorbed, and my grandma’s understanding of carbon layup techniques is at best perfunctory.”
That showed him.
7. Lake CX238 Carbon
Price: £265 (approx Rs 25,000)
“Oh my word, what’s Linda doing floating a couple of inches above the ground and where have her feet gone?!” – Linda’s friends the first time they see her wearing her new camo Lake CX238 Carbon cycling shoes.
If you don’t want your pals to freak out, there are three other colourways, as well as a massive size range, from 39 up to 47 (UK 6–12). The upper of the shoe is a combination of full grain leather for comfy suppleness, and synthetic mesh for that much-needed breathability. As you’d expect with a shoe at this price point, it has two Boa dials for adjustability.
8. Shimano S-Phyre RC9 (RC901)
Price: £319.99 (approx Rs 30,180)
The 2020 S-Phyre RC9 is flashier than a beginner’s Morse code class, with all the performance of an open casting for the latest series of Big Brother.
One of the trickiest things with buying cycling shoes is the variability of fit. The S-Phyre has been praised as coming ‘quite close’ to working with the broad range of human foot shapes, and thus is an understandable favourite among reviewers and riders alike.
It boasts one of the nicest colourways seen on a road shoe in many years – an almost-effervescent mineral blue – as well as technological features like double Boa closure and a sole stiffness ranking of 12. A 12, people!
9. Specialized S-Works 7
Price: £340 (approx Rs 32,068)
Specialized is, of course, one of the Big Dogs of cycling. And that makes these – it’s top-of-the-line cycling shoes – the Big Paws. Don’t like the sound of buying a large dog’s dismembered paws? Here are some reasons why you might need to rethink.
The S-Works 7 FACT carbon soles rank a 15.0 on the stiffness scale. The Boa dials are the very latest S3-Snap models, while the heel is reinforced for greater strength and comfort. They look, quite frankly, indecently good.
Go on, buy the Big Paws.
10. Fizik R1 Infinito
Price: £349.99 (approx Rs 33,015)
The R1 is an astonishingly good shoe. At least as astonishing as that time David Blaine sat in that box by the Thames in London for, like, a million days and people dangled fast food in front of him with a remote control helicopter.
The upper is made of supple leather, with a vented carbon outsole that allows a bit of air-flow to the bottom of the foot, while two Boa dials do the business at fastening them to your feet. And if you liked the look of the Giro shoes above but wanted something a bit extra, the R1 Infinito also comes in its own knitted version.
At just 232g for a size 42.5 (UK size 9), these top-of-the-range shoes from Fizik are also amazingly light. At least as amazing as that time David Bla–