How to pick the correct shoe style, size, and width
Comfort and bike riding don’t always go hand in hand. Some of us love to suffer on the bike, pushing ourselves harder and seeing what we can accomplish with each pedal stroke. But suffering does not mean you should be in pain. So, it should come as no surprise that selecting something as personal as your cycling shoes can play a critical role in your riding comfort and cycling performance.
Shoe fit goes beyond picking the correct numbered size. Like our feet, shoes are three-dimensional and can vary drastically in function and features. Shimano offers a wide variety of cycling shoes that range from road to off-road, performance to touring, and unisex to women’s specific. Each Shimano shoe delivers unique sizing features and designs to keep your feet happy, so you tack on the miles or ride more comfortably no matter what type of terrain you choose.
Whether you’re a professional racer, weekend warrior, or weekday commuter, Shimano has a shoe type meant for you. Shimano’s three main categories of footwear include road, off-road, and indoor cycling, but each of these categories can be broken down further into specific disciplines for different rider needs.
Shimano road shoes are designed for use with SPD-SL pedals and include a three-bolt cleat design on the sole. The lineup consists of shoes for all types of road riders, including road racers, triathletes, track racers, road tourers, and recreational cyclists. Each shoe type delivers a unique blend of technology and materials designed specially to meet the needs of each rider type.
Shimano's off-road shoe range is as diverse as the types of riders you'll find out on the trails. There is something for everyone from cross country and Enduro racers to trail and gravity riders to mountain tourers and even gravel racers. Most of these off-road shoes feature a two-bolt cleat design for use with Shimano's iconic SPD pedals. However, some of the gravity shoes feature flat, rubber soles designed to work seamlessly with Shimano flat pedals.
While you can certainly use your road or off-road shoes for indoor workouts and riding, Shimano recently launched a new Indoor Cycling IC line explicitly made for the indoor crowd. These shoes feature super-breathable materials for those hot and steamy spin classes, and they have a comfortable, walkable fit so you can get to and from the workout studio in style.
Shoe Size and Women’s Specific Sizing
Once you've found the right shoe style for your type of riding and terrain, the next step is selecting the correct size. The best way to ensure you pick a shoe that perfectly fits your foot is to visit your local Shimano dealer and try on the shoes to determine what feels right. However, if you can't visit a shop, Shimano offers a useful size guide to help identify the right size for the given type of shoe. Some Shimano cycling shoes are available in half sizes to accommodate a broader range of foot sizes. Check your shoe type and model to see if half sizes are available for you.
Shimano also offers several women's specific shoes throughout both the road and off-road lineups. The women's models deliver the same technology and premium materials as their unisex counterparts, but with a slightly different last design. They fit women's feet more precisely and help improve comfort without sacrificing performance.
Finally, the last step in finding the right cycling shoes for you is deciding on shoe width. While standard shoe widths work for many athletes, those with broader feet will appreciate Shimano's range of wide shoe sizes. Several models in both the road and off-road categories are offered in this wide option, which increases the internal shoe volume to accommodate a larger range of foot shapes and sizes.
To determine if you need a wide shoe size, visit your local Shimano dealer and use a Brannock measuring device to evaluate your feet. If your foot only measures slightly wider than the standard – D is the standard width for men's shoes – you may only need to increase your shoe length by a half size – for example, go from a size 44 to 44.5. However, riders with more considerable variations in foot width should try a shoe with a wider last.
Note that wide shoes aren't necessarily meant for everyone. Using a shoe that's too wide can result in unwanted foot movement, causing rubbing or a loss of pedaling efficiency. If you're unsure, the best choice is to have your feet measured and try multiple options. Dialing in the perfect shoe will help to ensure many more comfortable miles ahead.
Whatever type of bike you ride, whatever terrain you shred, or how often you hit the road, Shimano has a pair of cycling shoes designed specifically for you. The options are extensive, but once you identify the type of shoe you need, deciding on the size and width is straightforward. With the right set of shoes, your feet will be more comfortable, and you'll be better prepared for the terrain ahead so you can focus on the fun.