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The majority of shoes are going to get you from destination A to destination B. But we’re searching for sneakers for cyclists that offer more than that. Although some cyclists tend to choose cycling-specific shoes that provide comfort on the pedals and turn to formal shoes at work, in recent years, clipless shoes that look like work shoes have also increased in common when not on the bike. To have both an effective ride and the opportunity to walk around at work for the rest of the day, it is important to choose the right pair of shoes for your bike commute.The trick is to pair a breathable and sturdy cycling-smart upper with a rigid yet walkable sole that either has plenty of traction for pedals on the platform or has recessed cleats so that you are not pushed into the normal click-clack, toes-up flamingo strut that you perform in regular road shoes. Attach a street style flash and you’ve got a stylish bike shoe that lets you pedal everywhere and leaves the spare pair at home. Wherever you need to go, and somewhere in between, these choices will keep you looking and feeling good.
Pearl Izumi X–Alp Elevate
For over a decade, Pearl Izumi has perfected her X-Alp mountain bike shoes, all their mountain bike shoes get the X-Alp mark, and this is the best one yet. Designed on rugged or smooth trails for daily travel, the Elevate is one of the most comfortable shoes we’ve reviewed. Thanks to a little additional padding under the tongue, the Boa dial is placed on the top of the foot, which is rare but does not produce any odd pressure points. When you’re walking around or jumping over bricks, the big Vibram lugs are perfect and do not mess with clipping into or out of SPD pedals. The shoes are burlier than XC’s sleekest styles but smaller than they seem. A single shoe weighs less than some identical versions from other brands, at 405 grams. And it comes in men’s and women’s models.
This Shimano urban commuter shoe is casual enough to stroll around town, but still formal enough to wear to most workplaces. To offer a blend of versatility and fashion, the upper is made of suede leather, while also allowing this shoe to repel water during rainy rides and breathe during hot summer weather. You won’t spot the cleats while wandering around town because of the recessed style, and they won’t keep you from wearing these flat pedal shoes when you want to, too. At the same time, the shoe features an inner shank that offers the rigidity you need to pass power to the pedals from your thighs, but while walking, it will not interfere with your comfort. Plus, for walking around during the day, the shoe is made with a padded EVA midsole to ensure plenty of protection underfoot. Although from looking at this shoe from above, you will never know it, it hides a metal base plate recessed in the sole that accepts SPD and CLICK’R cleats to allow you to boost your riding performance. The lace-up design further improves the look of this shoe and makes it more convenient for walking around, but if the lace ends are not tucked into the shoe, it can also get tangled up in your drivetrain.
Five Ten Kestrel Pro Boa
The Five Ten Kestrel Pro Boa is the first Kestrel Boa’s second version. While only a Boa dial suit device was used for the first iteration, the newer one often contains a Velcro band to mitigate the problem of hot spots that frequently surround Boa dials. Like the Kestrel Lace, it also features a rigid sole and a Stealth C4 rubber outsole. It’s not as rigid as the original Kestrel Boa, but for long days on a mountain bike, it does give a perfect combination of grip, stiffness, and comfort. The Pro Boa has a seamless, welded-on toe reinforcement in a move from the Lace. There is also a durable synthetic upper material in the Kestrel Pro Boa that sheds moisture and prevents abrasions. If you’re not already sold, the grippy heel cup that stops heel lift when pedaling is an added advantage.
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For cyclists who may wear a semi-formal shoe to work and want the ability to travel without continually changing shoes, this trendy urban bike shoe is suitable. The outer shoe is made of real leather, which places it in the same shoe class as your colleagues would wear, while still supplying it with a limited amount of waterproofing for your journey. To add breathability to the shoe, the top has some mesh, but when traveling on a hot day it can get sticky. It comes in several shades, so you can pick your theme. The shoe has a recessed two-hole metal base plate in the sole, meaning you have the choice to choose whether to ride on flat pedals without cleats or attach SPD cleats to ride on SPD pedals. You can easily walk off the bike and with a pair of SPD cleats on the foot without noticing the cleat when you move, although the metal plate provides more rigidity to the midsole than you would expect from a comparable shoe not meant for cycling. The Vibram sole is extremely sturdy and has plenty of grips, so if you want to travel to a trailhead after work, you can also use these shoes for hiking. The shoe is slightly small in dimension, so when buying, make sure to check Giro’s sizing map. Even, compared to most cycling shoes, though the toe box is reasonably wide, if you are used to riding in spacious sneakers on flat pedals, it may feel somewhat cramped.
Etnies Marana Crank
For skateboarders, Etnies has a long history, and now it’s taking a slice in the mountain bike footwear genre. Etnies produced the signature Mid Crank, the first mountain bike offering, in collaboration with It incorporates a skate effect with a stiffer midsole that still has ample flex for a decent amount of pedal sensation and walking ease. The outsole is designed to be long-lasting and grippy on the pedals with Michelin rubber, and a sturdy top is suitable for mountain biking or commuting. The Marana Crank is part of the Crank Set that has been extended. The Marana Crank is clean, comfortable without effort, and well-suited for days on and off the bike, much like Semenuk’s riding style.
For commuter cycling shoes, these impressive road cycling shoes from Weideng have outstanding value. From two-hole SPD cleats to three-hole SPD-SL cleats, the shoes have a base plate that embraces virtually all sorts of cleats, meaning you can use a single pair of shoes for all your various rides. Remember that the cleats are protruding from the bottom of the foot, so it would not be as easy or as convenient to walk around with these shoes off the bike as on urban commuting shoes. With that in mind, thanks to the three Velcro straps around the upper, these shoes allow for an incredibly comfortable journey, which is quick and easy to secure and provide a wide range of latitude in adjusting the tightness of the shoes. The outside is made of synthetic nanometer fiber and mesh to make the shoe one of the most breathable we’ve tested while still keeping the elements out when you’re riding in poor weather. Plus, in the case of a fall or a rock hit, the PVC toe cap provides stability to the shoe and covers the toes. As you would expect for a road cycling shoe, the sole of this shoe is very rigid, which increases power transmission when you are pedaling and helps you to easily use your whole foot in the pedal stroke. The insole is well insulated and has perforations to help decrease the build-up of sweat within the foot, so you can stay cool and safe at work.