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A Choice Selection of Three Types of Entry-Level Cycling Shoes

By Siegfried Mortkowitz

Like football, cycling is primarily a foot sport, specifically of the forefoot. But, unlike in football, the foot does not generate power but transmits the force generated by the quadriceps and hamstrings in the upper leg and the gastrocnemius and soleus in the calf. That means the shoes you wear while cycling are essential to how well you ride because a badly fitted shoe can cause you pain but also inhibit your performance by causing you to waste a lot of energy.

The most important elements of a cycling shoe are the fastening system, the sole, the cleats and, as already stated, the fit. In addition, there are specialized cycling shoes for entry-level riders, for performance, and for wide feet. We’ll concentrate today on shoes for cyclists who are trying to find the best cycling accessories for moving to another level.

Cube RD Sydrix Pro

CUBE RD Sydrix pro shoesFor many experts, the Cube RD Sydrix Pro shoes are the ideal entry-level cycling footwear because they offer top performance at a lower cost than most of their higher-priced competitors. The primary reason for the lower price is the use of glass fibre rather than carbon to provide stiffness in the soles. In addition, the shoes have man-made uppers, rather than leather, which means they are not as supple but they are certainly firm enough to provide a secure grip on your foot, without pinching or overly compressing. In other words, these shoes are comfortable and firm. You fasten the shoes with the ATOP dial, a Boa cable-based system that provides a precision fit and is easy to adjust on the move (as opposed to lace-up fastening). It also makes the shoes comfortably light, weighing in at 234 g per shoe for the EU size 39. And the price? An impressive €139.95. A caution: These cycling shoes are – for good reason – very popular and you may have to search a bit to find them. In addition, prices will vary depending on region and availability.

Specialized Torch 1.0 Road Shoe

The Specialized Torch 1.0 Road Shoe is another popular and very inexpensive entry-level cycling shoe that uses a Boa L6 fastening system, a new element that enabled the shoes to lose 50 g over its former Velcro strap system. Its injection-moulded nylon composite sole – another cost-cutting feature – is only reasonably stiff, which won’t really be a factor until you reach a stage where you feel that it is. However, if you want to begin with something stiffer, go for something more expensive in the Torch assortment or the Cube RD Sytrix Pro (above). This is a very comfortable shoe, due in part to Body Geometry insoles and footbeds, which, the maker claims, boost power and reduce the risk of injury. And the two shoes weigh a reasonable 530 g in size 42. But best of all is the price, the equivalent of €93.71.

Decathlon RC520 leather lace-up road cycling shoes

Finally, for those who want to wear cycling shoes just to feel better when commuting or on a long ride, the Triban RC 520 is an excellent choice. They are far from perfect but at the price – the equivalent of €83.00 at Decathlon.co.uk – you won’t be disappointed, primarily because the shoes are really comfortable and rugged enough to walk on light gravel (if there’s not a lot of mud). The five-eyelet lacing system and ratcheted strap offer decent security and adjustability. Though they weigh a hefty 798 g per pair at size 42, they are still comfortable enough to wear the whole day. The comfort is helped by the perforated real-leather uppers with a layer of mesh beneath, which helps keep your feet warm and (mostly) dry in autumn. One notable drawback: these shoes work very well when clipped into SPD pedals but if you’re riding on the flat side of Shimano M324 pedals or on studded flat pedals and get out of the saddle to climb, the soles offer little grip.