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If you’re into Spinning, you’ve probably got a collection of empty water bottles and sweat-soaked towels rolling around the bottom of your gym bag – and maybe an old pair of sneakers you use as “spin shoes.”
You may silently gaff at the other spinners snapping their spin shoe clasps and clacking their shoes into the pedals, dismissing the need for special shoes as entirely unnecessary. I mean, it’s not like your shoes actually TOUCH anything or hit the ground in the journey toward legs of steel right?
Well…even though they don’t touch the ground, they do touch the pedals and the pedals are the most important element to getting a powerful spin that burns the most calories.
Although not entirely necessary to attend and perform during a spin class, a spin class shoe designed specifically for this purpose or indoor cycling offers definite pluses to your spinning experience.
If you are moving from regular sneakers to spin shoes, you will be immediately surprised at how much power you have and the improved form provided by the spin shoes. You will also be more comfortable and have a more fluid circular movement.
Why Shoes? The Fly Wheel
A spinning bike works with a heavy flywheel. The front wheels on a spin bike are weighted (usually 30lbs – 50lbs) providing constant resistance while you ride and continue to spin even if you stop pedaling. This design enables a smoother more natural ride as well as increased resistance.
Because of the heavy flywheel, specialized indoor cycling shoes also offer security and safety by disallowing your feet to fly off the pedals during wheel movement. Oh, and you will get to make those snappy sounds as you clip and unclip into the pedals.
How to Choose Spin Shoes
Buying a pair of spin shoes is a bit different than buying a new pair of Birkenstocks and can be overwhelming. This article will provide you with detailed considerations as well as advice on choosing the best pair of spin shoes for you!
Get Your Style On
The first thing to consider is the style of spin shoes. There are some spin shoes that have laces. Stay away from these styles, they are generally used for outdoor cycling and/or mountain biking. Although you absolutely can use outdoor cycling shoes in spin class, you really want to purchase spin class shoes that are designed specifically for indoor cycling.
These offer the best design for the specifics of spin class – which does differ slightly from mountain biking. Shoes designed specifically for indoor cyclists take the heavy flywheel into consideration, offering a comfortable fit designed for optimal performance.
Velcro is in Again
Most spin shoes have one to three Velcro straps that connect around the shoe. Some shoes have straps that clip and some newer styles have a type of wheel that provides a snug fit. All of these are great and it’s really a matter of preference.
The Velcro strap style offers a snug fit and is very easy to get on and off, an important consideration after a hard 60-minute class when you’re dripping sweat and your legs are wobbling. You want to find a shoe that has strong straps that will hold up to the constant stretching and attaching of the straps.
Soles and Clips
Spin shoes also have a very firm rigid sole. Remember your Grade 11 science class? The soles on spin shoes are designed with force and motion in mind. The inflexibility of the sole enables your feet to exert the highest degree of power into the pedals. A flexible sole unnecessarily moves the foot during the push, dispersing power away from the isolated area (pedal) that requires it.
On the bottom middle of the sole is the clip. The clip is used to attach the shoe into the pedal. Not all cycling shoes and not all bikes have the same clip pieces. Most road cycling bikes use an entirely different clip than indoor cyclists, and the shoes are incompatible with the clips on an indoor cycling bike.
Your spin shoes will not come with a clip attached; instead, you will see two elongated ovals with four little holes on the bottom of the sole of the shoe. These will be used to attach the clip. Most (if not all) spin bikes require an SPD (Shimano Pedal Dynamics) clip.
If you purchase your shoes at a bike or cycle shop, they will be able to fit these for you properly. They can get you up on an exercise bike and ensure the fit is proper to your weight, height and pedaling form.
If you buy online, you can easily fit the clips yourself with an Allen key, however, you may need to make some adjustments. Regardless of how much you spend on your spin shoes – whether you choose a budget-friendly option or something a little more expensive – purchase the best quality clips you can, preferably those made by Shimano.
Getting the Right Fit
The easiest way to do this is to purchase your shoes in person at your local bike or cycling shops. Spinning is so popular that most shops offer specific indoor cycling shoes and are able to also attach and fit the clips appropriately.
You want a snug fit in your spin shoes so your foot is not moving around too much inside the shoe. A good fit is when your foot feels snug but comfortable and your toes are as close to the end of the shoe as possible. You don’t want your toes to touch the end of the shoe; this will create cramped toes and discomfort, especially when you’re out of the seat for jumps and jogs.
Spin shoe sizing is different than regular shoe sizing fluctuating between European sizes, North American sizes, and some just plain made-up sizing. Sizing is generally different by designer and some designers offer sizes that are larger or smaller than general sizes making it even MORE difficult to find the right size.
Find a shoe that you like – ensure it’s a popular brand, it looks sturdy and it’s a designated spin shoe. Once you’ve done that, most major manufacturers offer size charts on their websites. This website offers a comprehensive sizing of most major brands as well as the fluctuations in fit.
There really is no guaranteed way to pick out shoes and ensure they fit properly without trying them on, jumping on a bike, and feeling them out. Your best bet is really to go to a bike or cycling shop, try them on, jump on a spinning bike and see if they feel both comfortable and snug. If you can’t do that, use the chart, buy a pair online from a reputable dealer and be prepared to possibly send them back.
Like your favorite sports team, laundry detergent and Smart Phone, most consumers have a deeply loyal following to specific indooe cycling shoe brands. Although you might be a devotee of the Nike swoosh or have a deep love for the Saucony mesh, when looking at spin shoes, expect your brand loyalty to change. The best brands for spin shoes are:
- Pearl Izumi
- Louis Garneau
All of these brands have been around for years and all have created specialized indoor cycling shoes that offer the comfort and durability required in a spin shoe.
Best Spin Shoes
There are minute differences between female and male spin shoes – but these minute differences are important. Anatomically, female feet are a little different than male feet and spin shoes are designed to accommodate these differences. With an understanding of how spin shoes work and the important elements, it’s now time to outline our favorite spin shoes.
Below are the top three female spin shoes followed by the top three male spin shoes within a variety of categories.
Best Female Spin Shoes
Best Performance if you don’t care about the price
Women’s Dominator 5 Cycling Shoe – If you want a pair of shoes that are gonna kick butt, SIDI has you covered. SIDI shoes are sleek, durable and because of the combination three-strap system, they provide an exceptional fit.
They come out of the box and feel like they’ve already been broken in. SIDI shoes also have a unique ratchet system for easy adjustments while you’re on the indoor cycling bike.
They are light and offer excellent breathability. If you’re looking for a shoe that’s going to last and will provide superior performance and comfort, the SIDI® Dominator 5 Cycling Shoe is the way to go.
Best Budget-Friendly Shoe
Shimano SH-RP2 Women’s Touring Road Cycling – For most people who are just spinning a few days a week, a more budget-friendly spin shoe provides the power and comfort necessary.
This was the first pair of spin shoes I bought. I wore them a few times a week for a couple of years and they were fantastic. They are relatively light for a spin shoe and are very durable for the price. I have very little wear except for some fraying on the straps.
The design of these shoes includes a narrow top of the shoe so you do need to be careful with fitting. Consider purchasing a size up, especially if you’ve got wide feet. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option these are affordable and widely available in a selection of sizes.
Best Kinda Different Kinda Stylish Shoe
Louis Garneau Women’s Ruby Cycling Shoes – These are bright bubblegum pink but offer the performance and comfort Louis Garneau shoes are known for.
These include an Ergo Air II nylon-reinforced outsole with a patented multi-vent system for excellent power and ventilation. AND they’re bubblegum pink!
Best Male Spin Shoes
Best Performance if you don’t care about the price
Lake Cycling Men’s MX237 MTB Shoe – Cyclists who love Lake shoes REALLY love Lake shoes and usually become devoted to the light, exceptional fit, and comfortability offered by Lake shoes.
Lake soles are designed to direct all power through the ball of the foot, but still allow room for your feet. These shoes have an exceptional fit with no slippage during your ride – they will also last FOREVER.
Best Budget-Friendly Shoe
]Giro Men’s Treble II Bike Shoe] – Giro has some really great performance driven and comfort-conscious budget-friendly shoes.
The Treble II offers a three-strap Velcro system, combined with exceptional breathability and durability. This Mountain Bike shoe also uses a new SPD cleat and SPD-SL systems. The Treble also comes in yellow.
Best Kinda Different Kinda Stylish Shoe
Louis Garneau Men’s Gravel Mountain Bike Shoes – Louis Garneau has really upped their color game.
These are a really bright and fun colored blue shoe that performs well! If you’re looking for something a little brighter than the typical black offerings, this budget-friendly shoe performs well and looks great!
Garneau and Izu-mi both have some fantastically bright neon shoes this season that are sure to brighten up the sweaty space around your exercise bike.
Is it good to get special spinning shoes?
Not that it is obligatory for you to wear special spinning shoes if you visit an all-purpose gym, but there are spin studios that are specialized, and there you will find bikes only compatible with special spinning shoes. Of course, if you don’t have a pair, you can always rent one there.
What’s the recommended size for spinning shoes?
Most spinning shoes are true to size, however, you will find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to size up or even down, so the shoes are not too tight. It is important for you to wear a shoe that fits your feet perfectly, so it supports your body.
Is a spinning shoe different than a cycling shoe?
If you’ve ever tried spinning wearing your cycling shoes, you’ll know the huge difference it makes. A spinning shoe lowers the pressure off your quadriceps muscles. If you are planning to burn lots of calories, your feet definitely need the right gear.
There are some indoor cycling shoe collections that are just all-around awesome. These have been around for a while and offer superior durability and performance. If you’re still not sure what to get – try to find a pair from one of these collections.
Generally, the year or number isn’t important; most collections are updated with minor additions. If you can find a pair of shoes from any of these collections, you’re guaranteed performance and will be a very happy spinner indeed!