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10 best cycling shoes for men that will supercharge your rides

Add power to your pedal with a comfortable velcro or lace-up pair

Paddy Maddison
Thursday 31 March 2022 17:43 BST
Cleats help to lock the feet in place so you can utilise the entire 360 degrees of the pedal stroke
Cleats help to lock the feet in place so you can utilise the entire 360 degrees of the pedal stroke (iStock/The Independent)

A cyclist’s shoes are the interface between man and machine. They’re a vital piece of kit and something no roadie should be without.

The aim of the game is to transfer power from the legs to the wheels as efficiently as possible and a good pair of shoes allow the wearer to do this without losing any watts along the way.

Cycling shoes achieve this thanks to a stiff sole, often made from carbon fibre, and a “cleat” mechanism that clips directly into the pedal, locking the feet in place. This allows the rider to utilise the entire 360 degrees of the pedal stroke, pulling up as well as pushing down, without losing any power to flex.

Outside of these fundamental characteristics, there’s a lot of variation between designs. Some cycling shoes use traditional laces to keep them secure on the foot, while others feature Boa dials that allow for quick adjustments on the go. Some are made from leather, which is easy to clean, while others are made from woven fibres that aid breathability.

The right cycling shoe for any given individual depends largely on personal preference, but being well informed about the best options out there will make the process much easier.

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How we tested

We spent the last six weeks putting some big miles in to bring you our handpicked selection of the best men’s cycling shoes on the market right now. We tackled everything from long-distance epics to Saturday morning coffee runs in order to form a well rounded picture of each and every shoe we tested, marking them on factors such as comfort, stiffness and looks.

We only included what we deemed to be the best of the best while hitting a range of price points, from budget-friendly to high-end. Below are the men’s cycling shoes we rated highest.

The best cycling shoes for 2022 are:

  • Best value for money – Shimano rc5: £99.90,
  • Best beginner shoe – Dhb dorica: £50,
  • Best pro-level cycling shoe – Sidi shot 2: £375,
  • Best budget cycling shoe – Specialized torch 1.0: £69.99,
  • Best looking cycling shoe – Rapha classic: £180,
  • Best lace-up cycling shoe – S-Works 7 lace: £300,
  • Best for sheer simplicity – Quoc mono II road: £270,
  • Best velcro cycling shoe – Fizik tempo r5: £99,
  • Best top tier allrounder – Fizik r1 infinito: £330,
  • Best woven cycling shoe – Rapha pro team: £260,

Shimano rc5

Shimano rc5 indybest.jpg

Best: Value for money

Rating: 10/10

This modern shoe from Shimano punches well above its weight (240g for a size 42 if you’re interested) in terms of style, tech and performance. For just under £100, you can have a cycling shoe with a fuss-free Boa retention system, a surprisingly stiff nylon/carbon-blend sole unit and looks that borrow heavily from the Japanese brand’s top-flight S-Phyre model.

It’s a gateway cycling shoe that includes lots of trickle-down tech from high-end alternatives and would suit anyone from a keen amateur on a budget to a developing beginner looking for an upgrade on their velcro starter shoe. We found it to be comfortable, sufficiently stiff for low-level racing and there’s little doubt that it’s the best-looking shoe in the sub-£100 price bracket. For sheer value for money, you’ll struggle to find a better option.

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Dhb dorica

Dhb dorica indybest.jpg

Best: Beginner shoe

Rating: 8/10

Cycling shoes can be expensive, but you don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money in order to get a capable piece of kit. For those just starting out in the sport, it makes little sense to drop large sums of cash on something you may or may not decide to stick at.

That’s why we’re big fans of Dhb’s affordable cycling gear. It’s solid kit at wallet-friendly prices and the shoes offer excellent value for money. Take this lace-up option for example. At only £50 it’s extremely well priced, with a sole that’s as stiff as a board and there’s plenty of ventilation to keep your feet cool.

Looks-wise, we think the dorica goes above and beyond its modest price tag. It’s a handsome shoe with timeless good looks and a simple, fuss-free design that’ll appeal to cycling newcomers. We think it makes an excellent beginner shoe and is really tough to fault for the money.

  1. £50 from
Prices may vary
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Sidi shot 2

Sidi shot 2 indybest.jpg

Best: Pro-level cycling shoe

Rating: 9/10

If you’re looking for an affordable cycling shoe then avert your eyes, because budget-friendly this is not. However, if what you want is World Tour-winning performance and state-of-the-art engineering, Sidi’s shot 2 is the shoe for you.

At £375 it’s one of the most expensive shoes on the market, but it’s also one of the best. The footwear of choice for Chris Froome, the shot 2 might be on the bulky end of the cycling-shoe spectrum, but it’s also incredibly stiff, responsive and efficient. There’s even an adjustable heel with a sculpted liner that really locks the foot into place, and the replaceable toe and heel plates increase the shoe’s potential lifespan significantly.

The design is a little more fiddly than a Boa, but it stays firmly in place once tightened (via two dials on the tongue) and is easily loosened by pressing a pair of levers. The small reflective panels on the heel are a nice touch too, and we’ve had several compliments on the iridescent “galaxy” colourway.

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Specialized torch 1.0

Specialized torch 1.0 indybest.jpg

Best: Budget cycling shoe

Rating: 7/10

Specialized is probably best known for its flagship S-Works footwear line, but not everyone can stretch to the famously lofty price tags. Thankfully, the brand caters for tighter budgets too, and the torch 1.0 is a much more accessible alternative to some of the shoes in Specialized’s top-flight fleet.

The shoe features lots of trickle-down tech, including Body Geometry technology, which is the name given to the American brand’s research into how rider and bike interact with one another. It comes in the form of a specially designed insole that adds support and improves alignment in the ankles and knees.

It also has a Boa dial, which makes adjusting the shoe a cinch and is something seldom found on shoes in this price bracket. The sole, while not carbon, is sufficiently stiff for the average hobbyist or weekend rider and is unlikely to leave you wanting more unless you’re the type of rider who really pushes their bike to its limit.

One problem we did encounter was a small degree of heel slip. It’s irritating but it can be mitigated by giving the Boa dial an extra twist or upgrading the insole.

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Rapha classic

Rapha classic indybest.jpg

Best: Looking cycling shoe

Rating: 9/10

Even a tech-obsessed cycling futurist would struggle to not be enticed by the tantalisingly traditional styling of this shoe. The Rapha classic is a staple of the British brand’s footwear offering, featuring a simple lace-up design, bolstered by a velcro strap to the forefoot.

Lace-up can be seen as a byword for low-tech, but that’s not the case here. The classic’s lacing system has been carefully thought about and boasts a clever “double wall” design, which basically means the pressure is distributed evenly across the top of the foot and pinch points are eliminated. Don’t worry about laces getting caught in your drivetrain either – there’s a subtle elastic loop on the tongue to stow them securely out of harm’s way.

We tested the black version and we loved the reflective material of the velcro strap. It really pops at night and aids visibility on busy roads. It’s held in place with an iridescent metal loop too, which is a subtle but really cool touch that really speaks to our inner magpie. All in all, it’s a comfortable all-rounder from one of the most stylish cycling brands around.

  1. £180 from
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S-Works 7 lace

S-Works 7 lace indybest.jpg

Best: Lace-up cycling shoe

Rating: 8/10

Boa dials are everywhere in cycling now. You’ll even find them on some saddle packs. Still, this is a sport with its fair share of traditionalists, which means there’s still a market for high-end lace-up shoes and the S-Works 7 lace is one of the best there is.

The S-Works’ carbon sole is one of the stiffest we tested, but the shoes remain comfortable even on the longest days in the saddle thanks to their supple, lightweight uppers. There are always concerns about gradual loosening with lace-up shoes, but the reinforced eyelets hold the laces firm and we rarely had to adjust them, even on a 100-mile-plus ride.

There’s a good amount of padding in the heel and the tongue, which aids comfort and allows you to really pull those pedals up without causing discomfort on the top of the foot. The ventilation is great too, but this coupled with the light, relatively airy uppers means you’re going to feel that wind chill on all but the warmest of days.

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Quoc mono II road

Quoc mono II road indybest.jpg

Best: For sheer simplicity

Rating: 9/10

A lot of riders we spoke to hadn’t heard of Quoc, which is a crying shame in our opinion. This UK-based brand makes some fantastic footwear, catering for everything from road racing to long-distance off-road adventures. The mono II falls into the former of those two camps, offering a super-stiff carbon sole for optimal power transfer, smooth leather uppers for aerodynamics and an all-round clean design.

What we love most about the mono II is its simplicity. Compared to something like Sidi’s shot 2, there’s not much going on, but what there is has been carefully considered, resulting in a fuss-free, lightweight road shoe that works just the way you want it too.

Take the retention system for example. Turn the knob right to tighten and left to loosen – a design that’s arguably easier to use on the go than a standard Boa dial, and the figure of eight lacing pattern does a great job of securing the foot. We love this stripped-back cycling shoe and we think that anyone who appreciates a good design will too.

  1. £270 from
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Fizik tempo R5

Fizik tempo r5 indybest.jpg

Best: Velcro cycling shoe

Rating: 8/10

Don’t be fooled by this shoe’s simple looks, there’s plenty going on here. The Fizik tempo R5, like many shoes in its price range, features a velcro strap. But this is a velcro design with a difference. Instead of going straight over the top of the foot, the R5’s strap zig-zags over the top and down the side to add support to the arch and eliminate pinch points.

The sole is made from nylon, reinforced with carbon. This makes for one of the stiffest sub-£100 shoes we’ve tested and, at just 250g, one of the lightest too. Overall, comfort is good and performance is excellent for the price. For anyone looking for a solid, stylish cycling shoe on a budget, the search stops here.

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Fizik r1 infinito

Fizik r1 infinito indybest.jpg

Best: Top-tier allrounder

Rating: 9/10

Fizik’s r1 infinito has been our go-to road shoe for the last two years. It’s taken us up the UK’s toughest climbs, accompanied us as we cycled from one end of the country to the other, seen us through countless centuries and had more than its fair share of abuse. The dog has even had a chew on them… on more than one occasion.

In all of this time, these shoes haven’t put a foot wrong. They’re comfortable, breathable, extremely stiff and the rubberised spots in the heel all but eliminate slippage. The dual-Boa retention system is easy to tweak and allows for micro adjustments to be carried out quickly while riding. It’s also laced in such a way that it pulls up at the arch of the foot, providing a good degree of support. The heel pad is replaceable too, although ours is still going strong to this day.

We’d recommend this shoe to keen amateurs who spend a lot of time in their cycling shoes and need something that performs without compromise. We’d also advise going up a half size to be assured of the perfect fit.

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Rapha pro team

Rapha pro team indybest.jpg

Best: Woven cycling shoe

Rating: 8/10

We were so taken with the Rapha pro team’s good looks that we decided to make our first ride with it a 100-miler. This is a risky business in a brand new shoe as you can never be certain of comfort, but the pro team didn’t let us down and we returned home seven hours later, feet still very much intact.

This comfort is thanks in part to the pro team’s supple woven upper. It’s far more breathable than leather and offers a greater degree of flexibility too. This is in stark contrast to the carbon sole, which is incredibly stiff and delivers power through the pedals beautifully. Padding is sufficient but used sparingly, and the dual-boa system is great for making adjustments to the fit on the fly.

This shoe is great for anything from crit races to long days in the saddle. It’s an excellent option for the warmer months thanks to the breathable woven uppers too. The only downside is that once it gets dirty, it stays dirty.

  1. £260 from
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Men’s cycling shoes

For sheer value for money, there’s currently no better shoe than Shimano’s RC5. It’s packed full of trickle-down tech from the Japanese brand’s flagship model and will suit everyone from beginners to keen amateurs. If you’re looking to spend more, we’d point you in the direction of Quoc’s mono II road shoe.

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