Your feet are a key contact point with your bike. When you're putting all your power down through the pedals, you need shoes that are supportive and comfortable.
Road cycling shoes generally use a three-bolt cleat (or four-bolt cleat if you use the Speedplay system) to attach your foot to the pedal which helps you to generate a smoother and more efficient pedal stroke.
Whilst some riders prefer to wear flat shoes or trainers, road-specific cycling shoes have a stiffer sole and more points to secure your fit. If you're riding longer distances or more often, cycling shoes help to prevent foot pain and fatigue and they can even help you to go faster.
At the professional level, soles can be so stiff that, if you're not used to cycling shoes, it can be difficult to imagine walking in them. At entry-level, you'll still find the sole stiffer than your regular trainers but it's likely that the fit feels a little more walkable and forgiving.
In our 'best seven,' we've selected our favourite road cycling shoes covering all levels and there's even a shoe especially for mountain goats.
The best road cycling shoes of 2021
Weight: 266g per shoe (size 41)
When every second counts, even the smallest details matter. These classic white road racing shoes are the result of two years of development and testing with the aim of creating a shoe that can help riders to achieve their best performances.
The full carbon sole is super-stiff to minimise loss of power through the pedals and the dimpled upper not only looks stylish but also delivers an aerodynamic advantage.
Weight: 250g per shoe (size 42)
Stand out in low-light conditions in the retro-reflective edition of the popular Fizik Tempo R5 Powerstrap. By day, they're a sedate grey but after dark, they reflect headlights and streetlights brilliantly.
The velcro Powerstrap envelops the foot, holding it securely in place with no pinch points, which means they'll be comfortable on even the longest rides. The lack of dials and ratchets also makes it easier to slide on overshoes so you can wear them through all weathers.
As seen in the pro peloton on the likes of Chris Froome and Egan Bernal, the popular SIDI Shot has been re-engineered to be even more responsive without losing that comfort that fans of the shoe love.
For racers aiming for the top step of the podium, this limited gold edition of the Shot 2 is surely a statement of intent. SIDI's Double-Techno-3 Push Flex System allows you to get a precision fit that you can adjust on-the-go for that final sprint to the line.
Weight: 196gper shoe (size 42)
Climbing specialists will love these ultra-light road shoes from Fizik. The woven net-like upper not only keeps the weight down but also keeps the feet nice and cool even on the hottest days. A Powerstrap closure wraps around the foot, keeping it nice and secure.
The R2 Carbon Outsole is the stiffest and lightest that Fizik offer so you can be assured that when you want to launch your attack, not a single watt is wasted.
Weight: 320g per shoe (size 42)
Bont have created a perfect entry-level road cycling shoe, using their renowned experience in anatomic fit and pedalling efficiency.
A simple three-strap closure helps to keep the weight down and gives you plenty of adjustment and an anti-stretch Microfibre upper keeps your foot in place, minimising fatigue as you pedal.
These high-performance shoes feature Northwave's XFrame 2® upper construction which holds the foot securely without any uncomfortable pressure points.
The PowerShape Carbon 15 sole is rated 15 out of 15 for stiffness so you can be sure no watts are wasted as you push through the pedal stroke.
Weight: 247g per shoe (size 43)
One of our lightest road cycling shoes on-site, the Gaerne Carbon G. STL features an ultra-stiff carbon sole for maximum power transfer.
The inclusion of an EPS Comfort Insole means you don't have to sacrifice performance for comfort and the anti-slip heel-cup combined with a 'Tarsal Support System' ensure efficiency even on longer races.