There are a ton of great cycling shoes available, but the top-end models can be pretty expensive. Instead of shelling out $300–$400, check out these six road cycling shoes that are stylish, comfortable and offer a bang for your buck.
If you’re looking for modern, streamlined style, the Askium lace up is a good choice that won’t break the bank. In addition to three unique colorways, the Askium features low-profile foot positioning, elastic in the tongue to keep the laces in place and an Ortholite insole for maximum comfort and a custom-feel. The Energy Comp outsole that’s made of a fiberglass and nylon blend is stiff enough to be efficient for long-distance gran fondos without causing fatigue or pain as the miles pile up.
Similar to the more expensive Audax, the Torch uses three Velcro closures instead of a boa dial to cut costs. Minus this detail and a slightly more flexible nylon composite sole instead of carbon, this shoe fits and feels very similar. Low, ergonomically designed foot beds improve pedaling efficiency and reduce hotspots, while the synthetic mesh upper is comfortable, durable and breathes extremely well. All in all, this is a great shoe for anyone on a budget looking for a step-up over standard entry-level road shoes.
Some shoes feel more supportive than others. For us, the Rev has a snug fit that doesn’t slip or move while you pedal and seems to mold to the foot the more it’s worn. While breathable mesh uppers and moderately stiff soles are in line with what you’d expect from a quality road shoe, we really liked the durability of the construction and the co-molded rubber tread that improves traction and versatility. Whether you want to hit a spin class in the gym or head out for the occasional dirt/gravel ride, these shoes should do the trick.
The Bontrager Vostra is a performance shoe that steers away from the narrow, stiff design in favor of comfort and a roomier fit. This is optimal for those with slightly wider feet or if you find most cycling shoes to be too tight as you ride longer. The Vostra is also reasonably light and sensibly styled. Go for the gray/black colorway for a classic look or opt for the hi-vis yellow if you like to stand out.
Inspired by the top-of-the-line, $300+ Pro Leader v4, this well-fitting and performance-driven shoe is one of the best dollar-for-dollar buys on this list. Besides the stylish aesthetics, the three-layer seamless composite upper is one of the most comfortable you’ll find. The offset closure also helps to relieve stress from the instep, which we found to be a great feature for those needing a custom fit for low or high arches. The lightweight, composite power plate in the forefoot and SELECT insole make this a race-ready shoe that won’t hold you back.
A supportive heel cup, Cool Stuff insoles for added arch support and a multi-vent system for top-notch airflow are the highlights of this budget-friendly shoe from Louis Garneau. While these details make it worth recommending as an entry-level option for anyone looking to start using clipless pedals on their own, the comfort of the seamless thermo-bonded upper is what separates this shoe from others in its class, making it feel like a much more expensive model when you’re on the bike.