A little known fact about Peloton bikes: It’s actually recommended that you use indoor cycling shoes with them.
Yup, the Peloton bike uses Delta-compatible cleats, which you can add to the bottom of the company’s Peloton shoes, or any pair of bike shoes with a three-screw hole setup. And, while you can ~technically~ ride with just your sneakers, Peloton really recommends you wear indoor cycling shoes.
But Peloton isn’t the only company that recommends riding with indoor cycling shoes: SoulCycle, NordicTrack, and Bowflex also suggest using spin shoes for their at-home bikes. Just a heads up: There are two major types of cycling cleats out there. Delta cleats are a triangular shape and have a more open pedal attachment. SPD cleats have two bolts and are recessed into your shoe’s soles.
OK, but why should you use indoor cycling shoes in the first place? A lot of it comes down to pressure on your foot, explains Peloton instructor Hannah Corbin. “Cycling in a toe cage will automatically make the rider dig their toes in, both to stay in the cage and to try and create power,” she says. “This will cause the Achilles and calves to become angry over time, and is mentally exhausting to constantly feel like you are about to slip out of the cage.”
A cleat that connected to the bike will help you “create more power because the cleat allows you to complete a 360-degree pedal stroke. This invites the hamstrings to join the sweat party and doesn’t allow the quads to overcompensate,” Corbin says.
Here’s what to look for in a cycling shoe, per Corbin:
- A bigger size. The majority of cycling shoes run small. “You want a few millimeters of space and if you’re wondering how to measure that, just try not to smush your feet,” Corbin says.
- Check the sole. You want one that doesn’t feel like it’s bending when you step on it, Corbin says.
- Consider spending a little money. If you’re a regular rider, you want a good cycling shoe to support you. “Some cheaper cycling shoes have a low-grade plastic sole that will make the wrong muscles work overtime to keep you stable,” Corbin says. So, don’t be afraid to spend a little more.
Other than that, just make sure the shoes you buy are compatible with the type of cleats your bike uses.
Whether you’re looking to invest in a cycling shoe for the first time or are ready to upgrade your current pair, these are some of the best options out there.
Best indoor cycling shoes
Peloton cycling shoes
If you have a Peloton bike, it just makes sense to use the company’s shoes. This $125 pair is Delta cleat compatible and comfortable, thanks to a breathable upper. A mesh vent on the base keeps your feet from turning into pools of sweat. The shoes have a quick ratchet clip and velcro straps to help you get that just-right fit. Oh! And they come with cleats. Check out Peloton Cycling Shoes here.
Related: Best 45-Minute Peloton Rides
Shimano SH-RP1 High Performing All-Rounder Cycling Shoe
Specialized Torch 1.0
Specialized’s $110 Torch 1.0 cleats have a three-bolt cleat pattern to make them Delta compatible. An ergonomically designed footbed is specially tested to help boost power and reduce the risk of injury. The sole also is light and stiff, helping you get more from your pedaling. Check out the Specialized Torch 1.0 here.
Related: Best Running Shoes for Women
Scurtain Unisex Cycling Shoes
Pearl Izumi Women’s Vesta Studio Cycling Shoe
Nike SuperRep Cycle
The SuperRep allows fans to get that Nike quality they love while enjoying all the must-have features of a traditional indoor cycling shoe. The $90 shoes have a lightweight mesh upper and vents on the sole to allow for great airflow. Adjustable hook-and-loop straps help hold your foot in place for perfect pedaling, while a stiff internal plate gives you an optimal return. A cool perk: Rubber under the heel and toe gives you traction while you walk to and from your bike. The shoes work with every major cleat system. Check out the Nike SuperRep Cycle here.
Soul Cycle Legend 2.0 Cycling Shoes
Venzo Riding Shoes
Venzo’s indoor cycling shoes are specially made to work with Peloton bikes. The $125 shoes are compatible with every type of cleat out there, and even include Delta cleats so you can hop right on your Peloton and ride. The shoes are quick-drying and have an upper made with breathable mesh. A removable sockliner lets you get an extra-snug fit. Check out the Venzo Riding Shoes here.
Next up: The best 30-minute Peloton rides