The new fast paced group pedalling fitness craze that’s taking the nation’s gyms by storm – the spin class is quickly becoming a staple for those looking to get fit and have fun while doing so – but what are the best shoes for the job?
As social fitness becomes more and more popular, spin classes are beginning to carve themselves a space in every local gym – many seeing them as a much more involved and enjoyable experience to the average cardio session on the treadmill. Clipped into the pedals and attached to the weighted flywheel, the rider is aboard – essentially – a fixed gear bike, the legs constantly moving and laying down the power, meaning that even if you want to stop, you have to put effort into doing so.
To most, being in small space with 10-30 other individuals, all sweating profusely, would sound like a hellish experience – but with a motivational and engaging instructor leading the class at the front, the sessions can soon turn into a high intensity club night – particularly if the instructor is into their DJing.
Lasting around 45-60 minutes, its rare that a spin class will finish with fresh faces, ready to skip back to the changing rooms. Everyone is left reeling by the end, panting and grasping for the nearest helping hand to clamber off the bike – but there is one feeling they’ll all share, one of relief and immense satisfaction, other workouts mere larks in the park compared to a spin class.
The physical, and arguably mental, benefits of a regular spin class session are clear for all to see – a perfect alternative to a solo ride on the home turbo, or lonely jog on the treadmill, tucked away in the corner. The instructor determine the workout, but the vast majority rely on High Intensity Interval Training (HITT), hard and fast efforts that are interspaced by well earned periods of rest. This method of training can burn up to 500 and 700 calories per hour and has been attested by GB duathelete Sam McClary as, “one of the most effective training tools – testing strength and endurance all help to push your lactic acid threshold, annihilate fat, burn calories and build muscle.”
While spin classes take place on a ‘bike’, they aren’t just limited to the cyclists among you – many regarding the spin class as the best workout for those seeking more general, all-round fitness. Not all spin classes are the same either, some ran with cyclists in mind – working on cadence and powerful pedal strokes – and others with general fitness the aim of the game, utilising small weights and chest presses to engage the whole body in activity.
Best Spinning Shoes
One thing all classes share, however r, is the simple fact that your feet are strapped to the pedals for the whole session – your body at the mercy of the fixed gear/flywheel. Want something that’s versatile and can be worn on your other gym sessions, opt for a flat cycling shoe and toe straps. Looking for something more secure, then grab a pair of cleated shoes and lock right into the pedals. Whatever you do however, don’t head out with your old trainers – you’re going to need a sole with super stiffness if you want to get the most out of your session and avoid fatiguing injuries.
Spinning Shoes for Women
1. Zol Predator MTB Mountain Bike and Indoor Cycling Shoes
Utilizing a 2 bolt cleat, SPD system, the Zol Predators are fully compatible with almost all MTB pedals, functionality a big aspect of this shoe. Three carbon fiber Velcro straps keep the foot super secure and the rigid carbon fiber heel cup keeps the pedal stoke on the straight and narrow – ensuring maximum power with each pedaling effort.
The mesh leather front comes with zero stitching, keeping the shoe comfortable and also extremely lightweight. With the sole constructed from fiberglass-injected nylon, the base of the shoe stays super rigid without compromising on comfortability – even on the longest of spin classes. A perforated insole also helps on the longer, more sweat inducing of spin classes – draining sweat and excess moisture from the shoe.
This is an entry level shoe with the beginner in mind, a low-cost, all-round shoe that can also be worn to and from sessions – raised treads helping you walking without the niggling ‘clip clop’ of a standard cleat.
The Zol Predators boast glowing reviews online, one customer extremely happy with their purchase, “worked perfect for my spinning class. They are very comfortable and true to their size. I am female, I wear a 7.5 us and I ordered their size 40 and they fit perfectly. The only thing to remember to buy are the clips. I am new to spinning so I had no idea about the clips which are needed to be able to lock into the pedals, thank god my instructor had some extra laying around. I highly recommend to anyone.”
2. Giro Whynd Bike Shoes
A cycling shoe that looks like a standard trainer – the Giro Whynd is a perfect choice for those looking to use their footwear for a variety of different workouts. The shoe features a microfiber upper with mesh inserts, keep the foot aerated and free of moisture build-up. An EVA sole may not be as rigid as a standard nylon or carbon fiber cycling-specific sole, but it is extremely water resistant and offers a good amount of anti-vibration protection.
A laced fit system as well as a hook-and-loop strap keep the foot rooted, a tight fit ensuring there’s no free movement when laying down the power. The Giro Whynds also feature a handy 2-bolt SPD cleat system, a standard for most MTB pedals.
An expensive shoe is always to be expected from Giro, but their build quality and fabrics are consistently second to none – most of their models offering spare parts, e.g. foot treads, as the inevitable wear and tear sets in. One Amazon reviewer was more than delighted with their pair of Giro Whynds, “great buy, they look like regular sneakers, are super comfortable and being able to walk out of the gym without switching shoes unlike everyone else makes them awesome.”
3. Pearl iZUMi Women's W All-Road v4 Cycling Shoe
The All-Road v4 is a road shoe ready for any type of riding, whether it be out on the road, trail or intense spin class session – the All-Roads ensure pedaling comfort with its Bonded Seamless Upper, as well as confident traction when walking off the bike with its lugged rubber outsole.
A unique 1 to 1 Anatomic 3-strap closure removes pressure from the instep and eliminates hot spots building up while maintaining a tight fit. To deliver maximum power through each pedal stroke, a super-stiff nylon composite power plate ensure efficiency without compromising on weight – giving the shoe an overall featherweight feel.
There’s nothing worse than a cramping foot half way through a spin class, the All-Roads SELECT insole providing excellent longitudinal and transverse arch support to avoid all those little niggles when pedalling away. The shoes are also SPD compatible, no need to make any special pedal arrangements when off to your next spin class.
The shoe comes at a perfect entry-level price, a lot of features for such a low cost. The biggest thing about this shoe is the versatility and a pair that comes in at a reasonable price mark that can pedal on the road, backwoods and local spin class is a must have for beginners. One Amazon customer described just how perfect the All-Roads are for spin classes, “I spin 3-4 times a week and was getting sick of wearing stinky shoes that you could borrow from the studio (despite them being free to borrow). They're really comfortable for spin and are SPD compatible; biggest fan that the SPDs are retracted inside the shoe so you can wear them like a normal shoe to walk around instead of tripping over your cleats.”
4. New Balance Women's 09v1 Training Shoe
New Balance enter the cycling shoe market with a bang, a sleek looking shoe that could be worn for numerous different workouts – whether bashing the pedals or jogging on the treadmill, these are some versatile, and drop-dead gorgeous workout shoes.
The synthetic textile construction is extremely breathable and lightweight, making the shoes feel like an extension of your feet, rather than a weighty, clunky mess as is the case with other cycling shoes. While the rubber sole may produce a little flex when trying to lay down maximum power, it does provide much better comfort and stability when walking on solid ground.
A lightweight EVA midsole hugs the base of the foot nicely and makes sure comfort is prioritized – supporting all major contact points of the foot. Not to mention they’re also SPD compatible, with a small plate that is easily removed to access the screw-in points – emphasizing the versatility of this shoe as an all-round workout product.
A shoe that lies in the uppermost expense bracket, the 09v1 training shoe is not one to by on impulse – even for its sleek looks. The real catch with New Balance’s unique cycling shoe is its functionality, with this shoe you’ll only ever need one pair for all your gym and fitness activities.
The 09v1s are extremely well received on Amazon, described as, “supportive and very comfortable,” as well as a “an overall great pair of shoes that fit true to size.”
5. Fizik R5B Donna BOA Bike Shoe
The sleek color scheme aside, the R5B Donna BOAs boast a list of extremely impressive components – the award winning BOA system and single Velcro strap designed to optimize both comfort and performance. A fastening system that conforms to every contour of the foot promises supreme comfort – RoadCC explaining in their review of the shoe, “given the combination of the sleek fit, wrapping around the foot, the quite high heel cup and the shortness of the BOA cable, they were a little tricky to get on and off, but utterly stable and snug once on. With the BOA closure dialed in (easy and super-fast, even on the bike) there was little or none of the movement I often get with cycling shoes. It felt like all my effort was going into rotating the pedals, rather than moving my foot about in the shoe.”
The nylon sole is reinforced with carbon to add a rigid feel as well as keeping the shoe incredibly lightweight – enhancing power transfer – while heel and toe bumpers are added in an attempt to keep the super-stiff sole protected while tentatively walking from changing room to spinning machine.
Unlike most other spinning shoes, and multi-functional, SPD compatible, cycling shoes – the R5B Donna BOAs utilize a three hole attachment with a true road cleat in mind. As a result, these aren’t the best shoes for walking around in and certainly cannot be used for other gym workouts – well unless you want to ‘clip clop’ along on the treadmill.
If road cycling is your passion and training often times extends into the spin class, the R5B Donna BOAs are a perfect bit of kit, transferrable from your road machine to the spinning bike. However, if you’re an avid fitness buff, looking for an all-round shoe to support you throughout the entire gym, you may just want to look elsewhere. For the price tag, you need to be a serious roadie to invest in these.
Spinning Shoes for Men
1. Giro Jacket MTB Shoes
A classic, stylish and comfortable looking shoe – hiding a few little features perfect for cyclists. The leather build is extremely durable and give the shoes a simple, natural look – while also utilizing pores around the shoe to improve aeration around the entire foot.
The laced closure with lace keeper strap ensures a comfortable fit for all foot types, as well as keeping stray laces in check and away from the whirring drivetrain. A molded EVA footbed provides some comfortable support to the arch of the foot, while a reinforced toe box offers good protection and weatherproofing to the front of the shoe.
The real talking point of the Giro Jackets are the Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsoles, complete with an engineered lug under each pedal zone. The result is a stiffer than normal trainer – but with no options for cleats, the Giro Jackets are really let down in terms of their grip – BikeRadar describing them as, “foot cosseting flat pedal shoes that focus on fit, not grip.”
For a fixed geared bike, like those ridden in a spin class, toe straps will be a necessity alongside these shoes – something to bear in mind when purchasing the Giro Jackets. As with many Giro products, they do come at a price, but it is a small ask for something as durable and comfortable as this leather construction – the suede finish a nice little touch for the more fashion-inclined of customers.
2. Mavic Ksyrium Elite II Shoes - Men's
The Mavic Ksyrium Elite II road shoes are just as the name suggests – an elite road shoe made for optimum power transfer and superior stiffness. The Energy Carbon Comp outside features a composite blend of fiberglass, nylon and carbon fiber – all adding to the overall stiffness, lightweight and pedaling efficiency of the Mavic shoes.
A single ergo ratchet system and two hook-and-loop strap retention systems ensure a snug fit – but compared to a superior BOA system, or even laces, the Mavic Ksyrium Elites don’t cater for just as many foot shapes as other shoes.
An Ergo Fit 3D OrthoLite dual density inner sole designed with OrthoLite foam gives the heel and arch of the shoe some much needed support – keeping the foot stable and snuggly inside the shoe for maximum power transfer to the pedals below.
As they utilize a three bolt, ‘true’ road system, walking isn’t the easiest of tasks in these shoes – however, if your plan is to also use these beauties on your bike at home, as well as at the spin class, then the £100ish price tag is certainly justifiable. One happy customer on Amazon attested to the Mavics’ durability, “they’re a nice daily cycling shoe - they vent well and are a great price point. My last pair of Mavic's lasted 8 years and are still in great condition.”
3. Shimano SH-RP1 Cycling Shoe - Men's
Shimano’s entry-level road shoe doesn’t make any compromises in performance, despite its lower cost. The shoes are an impressively light – a claimed 255g for a size 42 – that’s only 30g more than Shimano’s lightest shoes to date, the RP9s.
The shoe is constructed from synthetic leather, keeping costs low while also giving the shoe an overall lighter, and stronger wear. Soles are made using lightweight fibreglass, reinforced with super-stiff nylon, ensuring every last scrap of power is transferred into each pedal stroke.
There’s no fancy closure system involved with this shoe, a no-nonsense two strap Velcro system may not hold the foot as snuggly as other models, but it does make them a breeze to slip on and off.
The real stand out feature of the shoe is actually hidden on the underside – a dual cleat system that is able to support both two bolt SPD, and three bolt SPD-SL cleats. For indoor use and spin class workouts, this versatility is a nice bonus, the ability to switch up cleats to fit different machines a real bonus. The low budget shoes are a real hit with customers, one online reviewer explaining how these shoes could even be advertised under the unisex market, “I bought these shoes for spin classes. Exchanged them originally and went one size down from my normal size. I am a 41 Women’s and in these a 40. The toe box is roomier, but I believe that’s to be expected in Men’s bike shoes. I have no problem wearing them in class. They feel great.”
4. Pearl iZUMi Men's Tri Fly Select v6 Cycling Shoe
A unique shoe designed with triathlon in mind – these well aerated, and super stiff shoes would be a perfect addition for anyone thinking of taking up a spin class or two. A seamless upper and 1:1™ Anatomic Tri Closure system eliminates hot spot build ups, removes pressure from the insteps and provides superior barefoot comfort – something that may be frowned upon by your fellow riding partners, but an irresistible feel for those that get to forgo the socks.
A SELECT 1:1™ Composite Power Plate sole and carbon fiber forefoot insert keep the shoe super stiff and lightweight, while also remaining extremely durable – each plate featuring Direct-Vent technology for added cooling and drainage for the sweatier of spin class sessions.
An EVA foam and rubber heel bumper give the shoe some stability while walking, but compared to other shoes on this list, the Tri Fly Select v6s are a little clunky when off the bike. Despite that, being both SPD and SPD-SL compatible really redeems them – the choice of clipping into MTB or road pedals a real bonus, especially if you’re attending multiple different spin classes all with different pedal systems.
For a modest price, these a perfect shoe to take from the triathlon to the spin class – the skills learned, and fitness earned, in the gym perfect for the taxing efforts of a triathlon. One Amazon reviewer describes the shoes glowingly, “a good overall shoe, well made, comfortable. Based on other reviews I ordered a 1/2 size bigger then my normal shoe size of 11 and the fit is good. For those with wider feet, these shoes do run a bit on the narrow side, but I did not have any discomfort.”
5. Giro Rumble Vr MTB Shoes
Very similar to their Giro Jackets, the Giro Rumbles pick up where the Jackets fell down and provide a molded SPD-compatible shank with optimized cleat zone, fixing the grip problems of the Giro Jacket with a simple clip-in system.
The Rumbles also possess a similar leather construction with the stylish suede finish that we’ve grown accustomed to from Giro of late. A breathable mesh also ensures that these shoes don’t get too sweaty, compared to the average spin class trainer.
The sole is another Vibram rubber construction with a grippy diamond pattern, and while it may be stiffer than the average trainer, it doesn’t compete against the likes of a carbon fiber, nylon blended sole. What the Giro Rumble sole does have going for it, however, is its functionality – the treads more than capable of supporting the wearer while walking and performing day-to-day tasks.
A laced closure system is a simple, but incredibly useful feature – the ability to contour the shoe exactly to the shape of the wearer’s foot. Such a snug fit ensures that the shoe remains rigid on the foot – perfect for when laying down the watts on the spinning bike.
For the price tag, the Giro Rumbles are a decent investment, especially considering their versatility and stylish nature. The ability to take these shoes from the spin class to the open road is a real draw, RoadCC also recognizing this in their final verdict of the Giro Rumbles, “versatile shoes that are great for commuting on dry days or use on light trails, but lack weather protection.”