Which Shoe Is Right for You?

Author: Cycling Deal Date Posted:15 October 2016

There are so many cycling shoes and brands out there these days that it can be hard to choose one that works for you. The most basic question to ask is: mountain bike shoes or road bike shoes? This will depend on what type of bike you have – and if you have both, well you might need two pairs of bike shoes.

Choosing Mountain Bike Shoes

When selecting your rough and ready mountain bike shoes, consider the following:


When you look at moulding of a shoe, take a quick look at the price tag as well. Cheaper shoes have a lower finish quality, especially in how they fit your foot. A higher quality shoe will offer more foot support, and ultimately a longer lifespan and added comfort.

Sole Material

Some mountain bike shoes are made from plastic or vinyl, while others are formed from carbon fibre. Carbon soles give offer a more ‘direct’ feel – the pedalling stiffness is noticeably increased and the weight saved is enough to make you feel better about the added expense.

Straps or Ratchets

Avoid mountain bike shoes with straps. Mountain bike shoes are exposed to a lot of sand, mud and water. All of these elements which reduce the effectiveness of strapping. A ratchet system, on the other hand, is a great way to fasten your shoes, seeing as the system is immune to mud and grit. Straps can be combined with ratchets as well, as long as the ratchets are doing the real work.

Toe Studs

Toe studs usually come in pairs that can be fitted to the very nose of your sole. The studs give added grip on what is a solid plastic shoe sole, offering minimal grip. When you run a bike uphill you do so predominantly on your toes, which is where these studs are.

Shoe Material

Some very high-end mountain bike shoes are still made from leather. Try to avoid this material if you want a hardy, yet affordably replaceable pair of shoes. Leather shoes fit like a glove, and feel amazing, but they are simply too fancy for practical mountain biking.

Choosing Road Shoes

For road shoes, keep an eye on:


Unlike mountain biking, where you stand and sit frequently, road shoes require you to be comfortable in just one position for long periods of time. Heat moulded shoes fitted specially to your feet are a great option.

Sole Material

Road shoes do require a little more stiffness than off-road shoes, purely because the rest of your bike is 100% performance based. If you want to cash in on the performance advancements of your bike, we strongly suggest even some entry level carbon soled shoes.

How Many Straps

Road cycling shoes tend to offer a greater variety of strap numbers than their off-road counterparts. Again, we recommend opting for one ratchet strap, and two straps per shoe, as this will make sure your shoes are secure even in wet weather.

Replaceable Heel Grips

Choose road bike shoes that offer a replaceable external heel gripper. Due to regular stopping at traffic lights, your shoes will likely outlast the gripper.


Make sure your road shoes have sufficient ventilation netting to stop your feet overheating on long rides.

Get the Shoes You Need

Before you hit the road, track, or mountain, check out the range of cycling shoes at Cycling Deal. Our online and instore range includes mountain bike shoes, cycling shoes and even triathlon shoes, plus specialist cycling socks and shoe covers.

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