Best Non-Cycling Shoes for Cycling
- Best Overall: Tommaso Montagna MTB Cycling Shoes
- Best Alternative: Five Ten Freerider Pro Mountain Bike Shoes
- Best Value for Money: Under Armour Charged Assert 8 Mrble Running Shoe
- Best Low-Cut Design: Reebok CROSSFIT Nano 7.0 Cross Trainer
- Best in Style: Tommaso Milano Indoor Cycling Shoe
- Best in Comfort: ASICS Gel-Venture 7
- Best Non-Cycling Shoes for Women: Adidas Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe
As a commuter who bikes to work regularly, the best non-cycling shoes for me look good with my suits and can easily be worn into the office.
I’ve tried running shoes, trainers, and snickers-like shoes, but none of these fit the bill for me.
Some of them might work for you too, so here’s a quick review of some options to consider.
The best non-cycling shoes have three things: grip, comfort, and durability.
Here are our top 7 picks for 2022.
- Best Non-Cycling Shoes for Cycling
- 7 of the Best Non-Cycling Shoes for Cycling
- What are the Best Types of Non-Cycling Shoes for Cycling?
- What to Look for When Buying Non-Cycling Shoes for Cycling
- Types of Bike Pedals
- Frequently Asked Questions
7 of the Best Non-Cycling Shoes for Cycling
Best Overall: Smart look and maximizes power transfer
- Shoes for men
- Velcro or buckle option
- Durable synthetic leather
- Fiberglass reinforced sole
- Ventilated mesh for cooling feature
The Tommaso Montagna is an MTB shoe, but it’s good enough to take on cycle commuting and still look smart in the office.
I recently spotted a commuter wearing these shoes on his way to work. They are some of the best non-cycling shoes I’ve seen for casual cyclists. I say this because they look much more like trainers than all those mountain/safety-style cycling shoes that you commonly see these days.
The sole provides a good grip for climbing. I found its overall construction very durable. They’re also relatively lightweight. Coming in at over 300g, they are heavier than running shoes.
The major downside to these shoes is that they don’t have a wide base. But their narrow profile means that your foot sits closer to the pedal, which may be an advantage if you have short legs like me.
They also grip well on wet and dry tarmac, though I haven’t tried them in muddy conditions. Overall, it’s a high-quality MTB shoe that’s perfect for mountain biking and touring.
The women’s version – Tommaso Pista – is just as solid in its performance.
Best Alternative: Perfect for off-road or over rough surfaces
- Models for men and women available
- Flat pedal Mtb shoes with rubber sole
The Five Tens Freerider have an aggressive sole. They are perfect for off-road or over rough surfaces. It feels incredibly excellent when combined with good pedals like Shimano SPD’s.
For urban commuting, it’s challenging to find shoes that have enough grip but aren’t massive, so these are great.
I wouldn’t recommend them for track sprinting or hill climbing because they’re too heavy for that. Also the grip is bulkier than a pair of road shoes. But they have been perfect for riding through mud though or over sticky roots while trail riding.
The one absolute downside is that the laces are easily broken. So it’s best to replace them with something tougher before using these on a ride.
If you want to try an aggressive feeling, then these are excellent. If comfort and traction aren’t essential, look elsewhere. There is also a Five Tens Freerider version for women riders.
Best Value for Money: Advanced and charged cushioning for impact
- Shoes for men (model for women available)
- Solid rubber outsole
- Charged Cushioning midsole
- Lightweight mesh with durable leather
Cushioned and supportive, this Under Armour Mrble running shoes were made for walking – oh, and running too! But it’s also a great alternative to cycling-specific shoes.
The outsoles have advanced, charged cushioning that absorbs impact. It effectively converts that energy into quickness and responsiveness, so your feet feel comfortable even after long rides.
There is also ArmourGuide technology applied in the midsole for stability over any surface. You are ensured with additional cushioning. The inner bootie hugs your feet securely and comfortably.
The shoes are made of lightweight mesh with durable leather, so they keep your feet cool during hot days or long rides. They are also very breathable. And it has good traction on dry surfaces (for wet surfaces, use the cycling-specific ones).
The lacing system is excellent, and the wide base of these shoes means you can feel secure when standing up on pedals or climbing hills. A little on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for with Under Armour.
For heavy riders (> 200 lbs), I would recommend going half size up to accommodate your foot width. For women, Under Armour Women’s Charged Assert 8 is just as appealing.
Best Low-Cut Design: Breathability and comfortability
- Models available for men and women
- Rubber sole
- Low-cut design
- Flex weave upper construction
- Weights 10 oz
These shoes are very sturdy and extremely quick to get on. They act as regular shoes but also offer the added benefit of cycling shoes.
The low-cut design of the shoe offers flexibility for cycling and also provides good foot protection. With a flex weave upper, these shoes offer breathability to keep the feet cool even when cycling for long hours. The flex weave also is less likely to pick up water and dirt. It’s a boon if you end up walking through puddles or simply want something that requires no maintenance.
The shoe has a rubber sole that flexes with each step, offering a great deal of comfort. The bottom is also very hard-wearing, so you can expect it to last a long time.
The Nano 7.0’s are one of the best shoes for cycling. Their quick entry and exit make them easy to use and highly convenient while riding on difficult terrain than most cycling shoes.
For women, Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0 is a great similar choice.
Best in Style: Pedal cleat-compatible
- Shoes for men (women version available)
- Rubberized and cushioned sole
- Casual sneaker style with lace-up system
- Hidden inner shank plate
The Tommaso shoes are an excellent choice for cyclists looking for stylish footwear for indoor cycling classes. The shoe can be equipped with the standard recessed SPD clipless pedal cleat and can be used with any biking pedals you may have on your bike as well.
We like that the treads on this shoe make it a superior outdoor cycling option as well.
The Milanos are also our favorite shoes for commuting, and we even wear them for casual or casual business events. They have an incredibly breathable material that keeps your feet ventilated as you move around at high speeds. The front of the shoe is made of a stretchy mesh which we also love because it’s easy to slip on and take off.
The women’s version of this shoe–the Tommaso Women’s Venezia–is just as good-looking. It has been given a feminine design with a few tweaks such as daintier straps.
Best in Comfort: Cushion, support and grip in one
- Shoes for men (women version available)
- Synthetic material (sole and mesh)
- Gel cushioning
- Ortholite’s X-40 sock liner
ASICS Gel-Venture 7 shoes are made for runners, but they’re easily one of the most comfortable everyday cycling shoes. They’re not super stiff, but they still hold you in place. The mesh upper keeps them breathable for just about any condition, and the rubber sole gives grip for a range of surfaces.
These shoes have a lot to offer, — cushioning, support and grip. For those who need orthotics, there’s plenty of room inside. The gel in the heel helps absorb shock and is a pleasant touch. They also have a roomy toe box, which is perfect for anyone with wide feet.
The Ortholite insole is removable and replaceable. This is one of the reasons why these shoes are an excellent long-term investment. They’re also machine washable, so you can throw them in the laundry when they get stinky.
There’s a lot of ventilation to keep your feet cool. These shoes are great for those who don’t want to spend too much money on cycling footwear, but still want to be functional and comfortable.
Best Non-Cycling Shoes for Women: Comfort and style
- Shoes for women
- Rubber sole
- Stretchable mesh upper
- Cloudfoam midsole and outsole
- Cloudfoam memory sockliner
The Adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe is one of the best non-cycling shoes for cycling. A good sneaker isn’t hard to find, but finding one that can perform on a bike while still being used regularly in a casual setting is almost unheard of. That’s where the CloudFoam Pure comes in. This shoe has everything an everyday cyclist needs with the comfort and style that makes it able to handle daily street use just as well.
This brilliant new design from Adidas features a slip-on knit upper that provides ample support. It sacrifices no breathability or flexibility. Thanks to its simple yet effective design. The midsole combines equal parts plush cushioning and responsiveness and stability. Again, thanks to Adidas’ Boost midsole technology that was first featured in their famous Ultraboost line.
The CloudFoam Pure’s outsole is just as impressive. It has a unique multidirectional rippled pattern that provides traction, stability, and comfort all at the same time. The elastic stretch webbing on the forefoot adds to this shoe’s overall comfort and natural fit. Along with the low-cut heel tab, it provides easy access while still maintaining a close fit.
What sets this shoe apart as an option for cycling is its synthetic and mesh upper that resists stretching, abrasion, and moisture in all conditions. This makes it much more durable than traditional running shoes, which can sometimes stretch out and get loose.
What are the Best Types of Non-Cycling Shoes for Cycling?
The best type of shoe for biking is made specifically for cycling. They support the feet while eliminating pressure points from the body weight while pedaling over long periods. Still, some running shoes can be used for cycling. Some cyclists prefer to wear running shoes because they are lighter and have better grip than cycling-specific shoes.
The cycling community highly prefers running shoes for being non-cycling-specific footwear. With that said, they aren’t always comfortable nor optimal for the needs of a cyclist! But they are an excellent choice for flat pedals.
When choosing the right running shoes, remember that they are designed for different terrains. I recommend opting for a shoe with an uneven surface like dirt roads or forest paths. This option will provide you with a better grip and make your cycling experience safer.
Touring shoes are great for flat pedal cyclists. They are made specifically for cycling, which means they offer maximum comfort and a lightweight feel that will help you cycle with ease. They offer the benefits of a clipless pedal like power transfer and convenience, but they can be used without them too!
However, they lack the grip running shoes provide and aren’t optimal for cyclists who want to ride mountain bikes or use platform pedals. Plus, they’re pricey compared to running shoes!
You can wear touring shoes for any type of bike. However, if you are riding mountain bikes, I recommend looking for a shoe with an asymmetric shape that will allow you to grip the pedal properly.
Skate shoes are great for cyclists because they provide the support and grip of cycling shoes with the comfort of running shoes!
They’re lightweight, durable, flexible, and stylish, too, so it’s no surprise that so many people choose to cycle in skate shoes. Plus, they have a pretty large platform (surface), so they’re easy to clip in and pedal with!
Remember, as skate shoes are made for double impact on the feet (running AND skating), they offer little support. People who cycle long distances might want to look into other options, as it can be pretty painful after a while!
Skateboard shoes are popular among BMX riders who can’t perform well without a good pair of shoes. The most popular brands include VANS, Etnies, Nike & Converse.
Indoor shoes are another option for cyclists. They resemble a cross between running shoes and cycling-specific footwear. They are lightweight, comfortable, and designed to last.
They’re made from a synthetic material that provides the feel of breathability, like a running shoe and the grip of a cycling shoe!
Plus, indoor bikes use rolling resistance, which makes it easier for you to pedal with less effort. This is why it’s such a popular choice for beginners who are looking to cycle.
Don’t use indoor shoes if you’re planning on using platform pedals or clipless pedals! The grip isn’t as good as running/skate shoes, and the arch support won’t be enough for other types of bikes.
However, they’re worth it if you’re going to use them only indoors or on very light traffic roads!
Trekking and Hiking shoes as Cycling Shoes
Trekking and hiking shoes are another great option for cyclists. I recommend buying a pair that’s waterproof, so your feet stay dry if you get caught in the rain!
They offer substantial support but don’t provide the same grip as running or skate shoes and can be a little expensive. Just don’t expect maximum grip! So even if trekking/hiking shoes aren’t made to be used with clipless pedals, they can still be used with flat pedals.
They’re a great option for cycling on dirt roads or forest paths. However, if you plan on using them for mountain biking or road cycling, I recommend opting for another type of shoe.
These shoes are also not optimal for very long distances, as the lack of support can cause discomfort. As these are made to be used outdoors, they aren’t very breathable and can make your feet extremely sweaty after long periods of cycling.
What to Look for When Buying Non-Cycling Shoes for Cycling
One of the most important things to consider when buying cycling shoes is comfort. While you might be tempted to buy some shiny, high-tech, expensive cycling shoes, they will do you no good if they don’t fit well or are uncomfortable. If your new shoes hurt, not only can it make riding unpleasant and even painful, it could also affect the quality of your ride. Bad shoes can also lead to injury or disable you from riding altogether.
So when you are planning to use non-cycling shoes for cycling, consider getting brands you are familiar with. You may be surprised to discover that some of your most comfortable shoes are already perfect for cycling.
Ventilation is also important because, ideally, cycling shoes should keep your feet cool and dry.
There are several ways to improve the ventilation of cycling shoes. Venting options vary from one pair of shoes to another. The price tag can also help tell you if the shoes have good ventilation; more expensive shoes may come with better vents.
If a shoe has poor ventilation, there are ways to improve it. One way is to drill holes on the sides of your shoes for improved airflow. However, this will only work when the shoes have plastic parts covered by fabric because holes cannot be drilled with all-metal parts.
Another way to improve the ventilation of your cycling shoes is to buy a low-profile shoe cover. This type of shoe cover has minimal fabric and will stay close enough to your foot so that it does not drag while you are pedaling. However, if you prefer riding in loose clothing, this may not be the right option.
Even if you buy the most comfortable, durable cycling shoes, they are useless if they cannot be worn every day.
If you want to use non-cycling shoes for everyday cycling, invest in a shoe that has a thick sole and high ankle support. The sole should also be semi-stiff so that it can withstand long rides.
The durability of cycling shoes is not the same across all brands. Some are made with high-quality materials that will last long even if you use them every day, while others will wear out after a few months.
When buying non-cycling shoes for cycling, many people are tempted to buy the cheapest option. However, while cycling shoes do not need to cost a lot of money, it is better to spend more on high-quality and comfortable shoes. The fact is that one pair can last for several years; this means that investing in high-quality shoes will pay off in the long run.
While buying non-cycling shoes, it is also essential to look at their soles. The best cycling shoe soles are stiff since this gives you more power when pedaling. They should also have a good grip on wet and dry surfaces. This is also important so that riding the brakes will be easier, a safety concern if you are using regular shoes. If the sole of your shoe has too much flex, it may cause blisters on your feet when you ride.
If you want to buy shoes with stiff soles but do not have a lot of money in your budget, look for shoes that have soles made of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a lightweight and flexible material. It can be engineered into conductive fibers to produce the stiffest shoe sole without compromising comfort. The downside with these shoes, though, is that they are usually more expensive than other types.
Types of Bike Pedals
Flat pedals are what most people are familiar with, and this is what a large majority of beginners use. These pedals have a flat platform on the bottom, which provides grip when riding, and they only allow riders to ride in flats or sneakers.
In mountain biking disciplines such as slalom and downhill racing, these are used because obstacles require riders to dismount their bike. This helps them get over obstacles so that their feet don’t get caught up in the bicycle wheel or spokes.
However, in all other disciplines, these aren’t always needed, as beginner riders may slow down too much for it to be necessary. There are many types of flat pedals on the market today. From entry-level models that will do just fine to professional ones made from a carbon fiber that will offer the highest level of grip possible.
Slick style pedals
These have a simplistic design with no traction pegs and only have cleats on the bottom flush with the pedal. There is not much in terms of support for your foot, which makes these better suited for cyclo-cross racing than mountain biking, but you can get models explicitly made for off-road use as well if you want to go this route.
Racing/Performance style pedals
Racing/performance pedals are flat but raised platforms in the center that allow riders to wear their cycling shoes when riding. This means it offers more stability and maybe easier to get into, depending on how high off the ground you are.
Sticky style pedals
Similar to the slick style pedals, these also have a flat platform, but they offer more grip in small rubber triangles that stick out. The amount of coverage provided is not enough to protect your feet from harm if you come off your bike. Debris could also get stuck in the grooves, but it offers a decent surface that will allow you to ride in almost any type of shoe.
Platform pedals are what most people who use mountain bikes are familiar with and what most beginners will use as well. These have a flat surface on top and little else other than an elevated platform in the center where the cleats are located. Besides being popular with mountain bikers, these pedals are also used in BMX racing because when flying, it is much easier to do tricks that require putting your feet down if you aren’t wearing heavy cycling shoes with cleats.
BMX style pedals
These are the same as platform pedals, but they have a higher elevated platform in the center. They are primarily designed for use with BMX bikes. But they can also be used on mountain bikes, and some models even have the option to install toe cages that allow you to wear everyday sneakers instead of cycling shoes.
Clipless pedals are best known for their use in road biking and racing, but they are sometimes used in other disciplines. These have a cleat underneath the pedal that locks into a plate on the bottom of your cycling shoe so that when you push down, it is locked securely in place.
It takes some practice to get these pedals into them. But once you do, it is easy to get in and out of them, which is beneficial if obstacles on the trail require you to dismount.
For those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on cycling shoes but aren’t interested in purchasing flat pedals, it may be beneficial to look into hybrid models.
Hybrid pedals combine the features of clipless pedals and regular shoes so that you gain the benefits of both in one product. The downside is that it takes some time to get used to clipping into these. But if you aren’t sure whether cycling will be something you stick with, they are an excellent way to see if you like the feel of riding with cycling shoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wear regular shoes for cycling?
Absolutely. Many non-cycling shoes work great for cycling and make sense, especially if you are riding a fixed-gear bike.
Can cycling shoes be used without cleats?
Some cycling shoes and cleat covers can be used without cleats. These are great for commuters who want to ride their bike in regular clothes and shoes.
Do cycling shoes make a difference?
Yes, in many ways. Cycling shoes have stiff soles, which are great for transferring power to the bike. They also allow you to use clipless pedals, which is vital for efficiency and safety. So if you are planning to regularly use your bike for exercise or commuting, cycling shoes will eventually pay for themselves in saved energy and added comfort.
If you ride a bike and want to wear regular clothes, non-cycling shoes might be a good choice. For our list, the best overall shoes your everyday wear is Tommaso Montagna for its smart look and design and comfortability for cycling.
No matter what type of shoe you buy, it is important to be safe and buy shoes that protect you from debris and other dangers.
Have a fun ride!