How to Choose the Best Women’s Cycling Shoes

The best equipment matters while this comes for cycling. Like the bike itself, the clothes and shoes wear can have a significant impact on your biking experience. I have been biking for years, and know that the best womens cycling shoes can make all the difference.

Specialized womens cycling shoes have a variety of styles and shapes, and now I am talking about what to look for when picking out the best shoes for your ride.

However, one thing to keep in mind that most of the specialized womens cycling shoes is not necessarily gender specific.

Although many brands may label them as “women’s”, the fact remains that it is usually just a different color or a smaller size than men’s products.

Besides, here is what you need to know when picking out the best womens cycling shoes.

How to Choose the best womens Cycling Shoes

Before I am entering into the details, you have to know that the specialized womens cycling shoes are biking shoes.

Firstly, you have to determine the reason you want to get them. For casual riders, bike shoes are not that necessary.

However, if you are like me, commute to work, and love to ride competitively, then you will need to find the right shoes to match your bike.

What Do You Value Most while planning for a shoe?

Are you more interested in Speed, Comfort or Versatility?

If you want the best shoes to race in, then those will be vastly different from shoes that you can walk around in when not riding.

Before reading a pair of womens cycling shoes reviews, you have to consider this.

What Kind of Riding Will You Be Doing?

Typically speaking, you could do three major type of biking. These are street biking, racing, and mountain biking.

Usually, shoemakers will refer to these as recreational, road, and mountain bike shoes, respectively.

Depending on the type of riding you plan on doing, you should try to find shoes that match your needs.

The reason for this is that each shoe type is molded specifically for that kind of riding, so road bike shoes are not ideal for mountain biking, and vice versa.

If you plan to do both kinds of riding and want to get the right specialized womens cycling shoes possible, then I would suggest you purchase separate pairs for each style of biking, rather than try to get one that will work for both.

Recommended Ways to Choose Womens Cycling Shoes

The best way to choose the perfect match is to break the shoe down into its core components.

These components are the sole of the shoe, the top of the shoe (that covers your foot), the closure of the shoe (how you tighten it), and whether or not it is compatible with different types of pedals.​

These four parts will help you determine the right bike shoe for your needs.​

Recreational Shoes

For casual riders, the most important thing is usually comfort. Since you will theoretically be walking around and riding, you want a shoe that is equally comfortable to wear in both settings.


Typically, the sole of a recreational shoe is much softer and more malleable than a road or mountain bike version.

These women cycling shoes may also have cleats for traction, but to make them ideal for urban environments, the cleats are not as pronounced as mountain bike shoes.​

In some cases, recreational shoes may also come with holes in the bottom so you can clip into your bike pedals for better contact and smoother riding.​


Many casual riders like stylish and good-looking shoes while biking to their daily life.Thus, for the most part, recreational women’s cycling shoes have more material and color options than mountain or road models.

In addition, manufacturers use faux suede, nylon, and other similar materials since they can hold up well and easily cleanable.​


Since recreational shoes are much closer to your average walking around shoe, many of these models come with laces.

Some versions may have Velcro straps or a combination of both to allow better security while riding.

In combo versions, a Velcro tab holds the knot together, so it does not tangle and catchable in your bike gears while you ride.

Pedal Compatibility

Not all recreational shoes clip into pedals, but many models offer a two-bolt system to hook onto SPD pedals.

SPD stands for Shimano Pedal Dynamics, which is the most common pedal clip system.

Road Shoes

Unlike recreational shoes, these models are for speed, and speed alone cycling systems.

Walking around in road shoes is usually uncomfortable, especially if you have clips on the soles to hook into your pedals.

These types of womens cycling shoes are generally made of high quality, lightweight material.​


To help propel you forward at top speed, road bike shoes are available with thick, hard soles. Makers design this womens cycling shoes in a way that will not bend too much.

As a result, more of your downward force goes into the pedal, making your ride much faster and smoother.​

Otherwise, the sole is very uncomfortable to walk in, except usually a padded heel for resting.​


Usually, the material on these specialty women’s cycling shoes is mesh nylon.The reason for this is that the mesh design wicks away sweat and keeps your feet dry while riding.

For long marathons, this material is necessary, lest you develop nasty wet feet.Almost all road bike shoes are made of synthetic, aerated material.​


Since laces are woefully inefficient, virtually all road shoes use straps instead.​

High-end models will have three straps while modest versions will most likely have two.​

In some cases, there may be a buckle to help keep everything nice and tight, so you do not increase drag if possible.​

Pedal Compatibility​

Road bike shoes can either come with clips or be clip less.​

Either way, most of these shoes have a three-bolt system to lock into the pedals for a better transition of power and a smoother ride.​

Mountain Bike​

For outdoor enthusiasts, there is nothing quite like mountain biking.

Personally, I like to traverse rough terrain now and then, and when I do, I make sure to have the best bike shoes possible.

Better traction is the designer aim, so that, while walking through the mud and dirt, and designed to clip onto your pedals so you do not lose your footing while you ride.​


Mountain bike shoes are kind of a cross between road and recreational shoes. These models have thick, protruding cleats so you can traverse rough terrain much easier than with regular shoes.

In addition, the sole is usually thicker and stiffer to provide a smoother ride and better transfer of motion.


Durability and sturdiness are the name of the game with this type of womens cycling shoe.​

Most mountain biking shoes have rubber toes and heels for better protection to your feet from bumps and scrapes while riding and walking.​

Moreover, the material is usually thick rubber or a canvas-type material, so the rest of your feet stay protected from the elements.​


For the most part, mountain bike shoes are like road shoes when it comes to securing them to your feet.

Many of these models have two or three straps, and a lot of them come with a buckle.​

In this case, the use of buckle is to keep the shoe on in case of extra bumpy terrain.In addition, buckles tend to work better in wet or muddy conditions, since Velcro can become useless if covered in mud.​

Pedal Compatibility​

Like road shoes, mountain bike models are also available with clips to help secure your feet to the pedal.

However, the reason to clip your feet is so you do not lose traction while riding.Since you will presumably be bouncing around on the bike, you do not want your foot to slip off and potentially cause an accident or collision.

Mountain bike shoes usually have a two-bolt system, with the holes recessed into the sole so they can work with clips or without.​

Final Verdict​

Personally, I have had all three kinds of bike shoes, and I love each of them for different reasons.

Realistically, if you are serious about biking, then you should have different styles of women’s cycling shoes for every occasion.

I spend time at home just as much on a bike trail through the woods as I am on the streets during a race.​

However, I choose to use clips to keep my feet on the pedal. You may not feel that is necessary, but I finding that it helps a lot with my speed and provides a much smoother ride.

It takes some getting used to since you have to dislodge your feet every time you want to stop or take a rest, but after a while, it becomes second nature.​

Overall, the best womens cycling shoes will be the one that fits your riding needs. Whether you are just riding to the store or riding down a muddy hill, make sure to buy a bike shoe that will help you succeed in all your rides.​

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