The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your Own Cycling Shoes


By Kelsey Cox, Master Instructor


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Why buy your own shoes?

Each cycling shoe fits slightly differently, so finding the right brand and size will maximize both comfort and performance in class. Cycling shoes are also a great investment because they will last forever.

What type?

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There are two main types of cleats used in cycling - SPD (2-bolt/hole) and LOOK Delta (3-bolt/hole). The rental shoes at Full Ride have LOOK Delta (3-bolt) cleats. LOOK Delta cleats have more surface area connecting with the pedal which tends to provide slightly more comfort, while SPD cleats are compatible with mountain and indoor specific shoes that provide lifestyle convenience. Our pedals are compatible with both types, so choosing which cleat/shoe is based on personal preference.


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There are also two main types of shoes – road shoes and mountain shoes. You can use either at Full Ride. Road shoes have a smooth, stiff sole while mountain shoes have ridges around the SPD cleat that make it easier to walk when off the bike.

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Indoor cycling specific shoes, TIEM and New Balance, are SPD cleat compatible and look and function like a regular sneaker, as in you can wear this shoe to and from class as well as clip-in for your ride. These shoes tend to be less supportive than traditional cycling shoes, so if you have foot or ankle instability, these may not be your best option.


What size?

Cycling shoes use European sizing so make a note of what size you rent at Full Ride. Sizing varies by brand, so if you are buying online you might want to stick to Shimano (what we have) since the sizing will be similar. The rental shoes at Full Ride are unisex, so if you are buying a women’s specific shoe know that it will be narrower and likely run a little smaller.


Where to buy?

You can purchase shoes at sporting goods stores and bike shops, which is a great option if you need help finding the right size and fit. If you prefer online and want a good deal has shoes for as low as $40. has a big selection, but it is pricier. And of course, Amazon can prime you both shoes and cleats.  

Cleats are not included with your shoe purchase, so make sure you buy a set of cleats and we can attach them to your shoes at the studio. Remember 2-bolt/hole = SPD and 3-bolt/hole = LOOK Delta.


Still overwhelmed?

Email with all of your questions.