HOW TO CHOOSE CYCLING SHOES FOR INDOOR SPINNING – BUYERS GUIDE

Shaun George BOTS Guides

You probably know someone or have heard of “spinning classes” from someone. Maybe, you’re already a part of a spinning class. Spinning also referred to as “indoor cycling” is a form of exercise with classes focusing on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity, and recovery. It involves using a special stationary bicycle with a weighted flywheel. The flywheel along with other mechanical components replicate what it’s like to ride a real bicycle. Resistance can also be altered as per your liking. A typical class involves a single instructor who leads the participants through routines that are designed to simulate situations similar to riding a bike outdoors. Some of the movements and positions include hill climbs, sprints, and interval training.

Think of spinning as riding a normal bike. Just like on a normal bike, your fit and position need to be spot on. A wrongly adjusted spinning bike can cause aches and pains over time. If the exercises are not done correctly or the rider’s position is bad, injuries can occur; problems with the lower back and knees are most common.

Spinning is taken very seriously by people attending spinning classes – cycling shoes are a common accessory that can be spotted at most spinning classes. Just as in the case of cycling on the road, cycling shoes can help out in a big way. Cycling shoes are a lot more efficient than compared to normal running shoes. Besides, if you’re already attending a spin class, chances are that you have already been recommended cycling shoes by your trainer.

WHAT ARE CYCLING SHOES AND WHY DO I NEED THEM?

Spinning with cycling shoes

Cycling shoes are one of the greatest performance enhancing accessories to have that can really transform your cycling – the same applies to indoor cycling. You can experience the same adrenaline pumping action indoors – with the help of cycling shoes and pedals you can elevate your indoor cycling experience to new heights.

REASONS WHY YOU NEED CYCLING SHOES

  1. Cycling shoes have a stiff sole, which allows you to apply more force while pedaling.
  2. By connecting your shoe to the pedal, you will utilize more muscle groups throughout the pedal stroke.
  3. In addition to increasing force output, the stiff sole of a cycling shoe allows you to transfer power more efficiently from your feet to the pedals. A rigid cycling shoe protects your feet from the stress of pedaling.
  4. Studies have shown that the use of Cycling shoes leads to reduced occurrences of knee injuries. Modern day clipless pedals now offer varying degrees of rotational float (0° to 15°). These free float pedals allow the knee to travel in a more linear and natural motion while pedaling thus reducing the stresses on the knee.

If you still feel that cycling shoes aren’t for you then you can use the toe-straps provided on the pedals at the gym. Most indoor bikes come with these straps pre-fitted to the pedals. They’re not as efficient as cycling shoes but are a good stepping stone if you’re not too sure.

FEATURES TO LOOK OUT FOR

There are primarily two kinds of cycling shoes that you can look at for your spin classes. Both perform and function similarly – road bikes shoes use a clipless pedal-shoe combination where cleats at the bottom of the shoe attach securely to the pedals. Road shoes are usually stiffer and lighter for the highest possible performance gains. They’re meant to fit super snug too which further increases your power and efficiency.

Indoor cycling shoes

At the other end of the spectrum, you have MTB shoes that cater to riders riding in off-road scenarios. These shoes feature a 2-bolt design whereas road shoes feature a 3-bolt design. On MTB shoes, the cleat is recessed into the sole making it easier for you to walk around. The only disadvantage here is that the MTB shoes are often not as stiff and are quite a bit heavier.

We’d recommend sticking to MTB shoes for spinning as they are also usually cheaper and give you the freedom of walking around without waddling. However, if you already own a road bike or are planning to purchase one soon then a road shoe is a god idea – you could use it for the spin classes and your road rides. At the end of the day, since you’re cycling in a stationary position any cycling shoe will do fine. Consider ventilation and retention systems as a priority as the fit is essential.

SOME SHOES TO CONSIDER

1. NORTHWAVE JET 2 SHOES – Great shoes to consider for spinning as they are good on comfort and ventilation. At the given price point a stiffness index of 6.0 is great. The upper with sufficient perforation will ensure that your feet don’t overheat. We’d say that the NW Jet 2 shoes are the best spinning shoes to go for. They’re also one of the cheapest road shoes in the country. Not the greatest retention system with only two velcro straps but then again it’s sufficient for indoor cycling – ensure you get the right size for yourself.

2. SHIMANO SH-ME400 SHOES – If your pockets are slightly deeper then these are the shoes to go for. Even though they are MTB shoes, they are that bulky or heavy (which is why we love them.) Featuring tons of room in the midsole and toe-box, you can’t really complain about comfort. What’s better is that you also get 2 velcro straps along with a Boa dial that lets you dial down your fit to a more precise and snug fit. Since it’s an MTB shoe don’t forget to purchase the 2 bolt cleats.

3. SHIMANO SH-RC701 SHOES – One of the more expensive shoes that you can opt for – this is great for someone who wants to take their spinning sessions to the next level. Featuring a composite carbon sole, the RC701 is a proper performance shoe that can help you churn out those 3 digit RPMs. The fit is also excellent with 2 Boa dials that do a fantastic job of providing you with a super dialed-in snug fit. Be assured that these shoes will hold your feet well and encourage you to burn those extra calories in the gym.

REMEMBER, CLEATS FOR SPIN SHOES NEED TO BE PURCHASED SEPERATELY.


Spinning is a great way to work out and burn some serious calories. Ideal for those who may not have enough time to move out on a cycle or simply aren’t prepared to venture out into the crazy traffic that our roads have to offer. Either way, cycling shoes will certainly take your indoor cycling experience to a whole different level. You don’t have to spend a crazy amount of money to get a decent spinning shoe. Any cycling shoe should be fine – prioritize ventilation and fit as these are the most important in this scenario.

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