Best Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling in 2021

As a kid, you probably never thought about buying a special shoe for riding a bike.

But if you want to get the most out of your workout, whether you’re into mountain biking or road cycling, you might want to invest in shoes.

The right footwear helps you pedal efficiently and gives you lots of traction, but cycling shoes can be clunky and uncomfortable and impossible to do anything else in. That’s why we looked for the best non cycling shoes for cycling.

If you’re in a hurry, these are the best non cycling shoes for cycling you can buy.

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What To Look for in the Best Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling

Many cyclists, especially road cyclists, go for clipless—that are actually clip-on—pedals and specific cycling shoes with cleats when they get serious about their hobby. These kinds of cycling-specific shoes help you use energy efficiently because they allow you to lift your foot instead of just pushing it down.

But you may not be ready for the investment right out of the gate, and those cycling shoes are nearly impossible to walk in. Mountain bikers also often use common platform pedals for the freedom of movement they provide.

If you want to be able to walk and cycle in your shoes, these are some of the things to pay attention to for the best non cycling shoes for cycling.

Stiff Soles

A stiff outsole means you’re able to push the pedal down harder. This will provide you with more efficiency when riding, which will be especially important on longer rides.

Cushioned and non-stiff soles might also give you some pain on longer distances. You’ll push too hard on the pedals and stretch your foot muscles, which can end up causing painful plantar fasciitis after you log in some miles.

Outsole Design

For the best grip on your pedals, make sure the soles have a pattern that’s made for traction. Mountain bikers especially love a pattern that fits the pedal and doesn’t let it go when you have your weight fully on the pedal.

A flat sole will also generally have a better grip on the pedal for the full length of the sole than a highly contoured one. Make sure the outsole covers enough surface of the pedal to feel reliable and comfortable.

Check out our guide on How To Make Shoes Non Slip and give your shoes a better grip.

Slim Design

It’s best to look for non cycling shoes with a narrow design instead of a clunky one. This will help you feel light when your feet are on the pedals, and you’ll move around more freely.

Breathability

You’ll likely get warm when cycling, but if your feet are sweating a lot, you’ll lose grip, and your feet may start slipping inside the shoe. The best option to prevent this is a pair of the best non cycling shoes for cycling with a breathable fabric upper. Avoid synthetic leather and other closed-off models that won’t allow for ventilation inside the shoe.

Durability

Well-ventilated fabrics do have their downside. Some mesh materials might not last long if you’re constantly scratching them against rocks, roots, or your pedals.

If your cycling style is downhill riding, BMX, or another discipline that causes heavy-duty wear on your shoes, make sure the fabric is tough enough.

Types of Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling

These are some of the preferred types of non cycling shoes for cycling.

Skate Shoes

Many mountain bike riders use skate shoes, such as Vans, for riding. These have a comfortable sole and wide fit, and the waffle sole has a great grip on platform pedals.

They do have the negative of being so wide on the upper that your feet may slip out. Vans and other skateboarding shoes also don’t have much arch support, so they might not be the best alternative for those with flat feet.

Indoor Soccer Shoes

Indoor soccer shoes are another favorite for non cycling shoes for cycling. They have a snug fit and support your feet well, but they don’t come with the uncomfortable cleats that outdoor soccer shoes have.

Trail Running Shoes

Trail running shoes tend to have lots of support and cushioning, but they also have stiffer soles than common running shoes. This makes them more durable on the trails, so you don’t feel every rock on your feet. It also gives you improved pedaling efficiency when road or mountain biking.

Cross-Training Sneakers

Cross-training and CrossFit shoes made for gym-goers are a great option as non cycling shoes for cycling. They’re low-profile enough for cycling, but they’re also stiff-soled for multiple disciplines and generally have durable uppers.

 

FAQs

What Kind of Shoes Should I Wear for Cycling?

As a general rule, wear what feels comfortable to your feet and your cycling type, but look for stiff soles to stay comfortable. A snug fit that supports your arch well is another key factor for picking out the right shoe.

Do You Need Special Shoes for Cycling?

If you’re getting into competitive cycling or want to really take your speed to the next level, you should consider special cycling shoes and pedals. Clipless pedals and cycling shoes are a good investment but not necessary for the occasional cyclists.

Can I Wear Running Shoes for Cycling?

Common running shoes aren’t the best option for cycling. Their cushioning is generally great for supporting your feet, but the sole has too much flexibility and may give you pain. Trail running shoes work better because of their added thickness to the sole.

What Trainers Are Best for Cycling?

Of the cross-training shoes you can pick for cycling, we recommend Reebok Men’s Crossfit Nano 8.0. It’s stiff but with the right amount of flex in the toe and provides sufficient cushioning to protect your joints. The Flexweave upper is breathable at the gym but durable enough to stand biking outdoors in rough terrain.

 

Reviews of the Best Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling

These are the best non cycling shoes for cycling on the market right now. We included some trail runners, indoor soccer shoes, skate shoes and cross-training shoes. Check out the reviews and make your pick!

Our Overview

This soccer shoe from Adidas is a low-profile shoe that works well for cycling thanks to its snug but cushioned fit. It’s still wide enough for most normal-width feet.

The shoe has a comfortable, padded no-chafe heel and extended tongue that doesn’t dig into your ankle when you’re pedaling. The midsole is made from a soft EVA foam that provides a lot of support for your foot.

It has a honeycomb pattern on the outsole that provides a nice grip on your bike pedals. The outsole is also flat and covers the pedal platform nicely.

The upper is soft leather, which is more breathable than synthetic material, but could be improved. If you’re cycling in very hot conditions, this shoe might be too much for you.

Also, note that the insole doesn’t have much support for the arch. People who need a more elevated structure may find it uncomfortable, especially when walking.

For cycling, we recommend these shoes, especially for those who are comfortable without arch support. If that’s the case, you can even wear these for walking around between your rides.

Pros:
  • Snug fit.
  • Comfortable no-chafe heel.
  • Soft leather upper.
  • Flat sole with a good grip.
  • Cushioned EVA foam.
Cons:
  • Ventilation could be better.
  • Little arch support.
Our Overview

This trail running classic from ASICS can handle rough terrain on a bike or foot. It has a thick, stiff sole that protects your feet when you’re riding, and a tough, tight-knit fabric upper.

The Ortholite sock liner inside the shoe molds to your foot for extra comfort and your foot feels supported from the heel to the toes. It stays firmly in place when you pedal, which keeps your movements directional and makes them more efficient.

This shoe will be best for high arches and neutral feet, but it may get uncomfortable after a while if you have flat feet. The midsole is made of soft EVA foam that makes the shoe even bouncier. ASICS shoes also include the brand’s GEL technology in the heel area to soften the impact.

The outsole is sturdy and resilient to long rides on rough terrain, so we recommend this shoe, especially for mountain bikers. The GEL layer in the sole makes the shoe great for those who need extra cushioning without making the shoe more flexible. It’s quite narrow, so avoid it if you have wide feet.

Pros:
  • Super cushioned GEL layer in the heel.
  • Comfortable insole that molds to your feet.
  • Tough and stiff outsole.
  • Breathable fabric upper.
Cons:
  • May cause pain for people with low arches.
  • Narrow design.
Our Overview

Vans classic low tops are an option many mountain bikers choose. For a shoe for cycling use, this one has enough stiffness to make it an excellent choice. The waffle pattern provides excellent traction on the soles when pedaling, and the rubber makes it stickier so your feet won’t slip off the pedals.

This model is great for cycling use, but it comes with a couple of caveats. Most importantly, this shoe doesn’t provide arch support, so standing or walking for long periods can become painful. You can put in your own orthotic inserts if it gets too much.

The shoe has laces, but the opening is so wide that it’s easy to slip your foot in. On the other hand, it also slips off easily if you don’t have the exact right size.

The classic Vans canvas with a suede upper is breathable and pretty tough. It’s still fabric, though, and may not be as long-lasting as leather.

Vans tend to be narrow and generally run small for their size, so make sure you pick the right size for your feet. The good news is that since this is such a classic, the sizing tends to remain the same through the years, and you won’t have surprises with each new pair.

Pros:
  • Breathable upper.
  • Stiff, flat sole with excellent grip.
  • Durable.
Cons:
  • No arch support.
  • Narrow sizing.
Our Overview

This trail running shoe made it to our list of the best non cycling shoes for cycling because of its aggressive outsole pattern and toughness. The sole is stiff, and the toe is reinforced for extra protection, and the tight-knit fabric upper protects your foot in all conditions.

This model grips your feet and holds them in place tightly, whether you’re running or cycling. Thanks to its SensiFit system and quick-tie laces, it fits like a sock, and you won’t have to worry about tying your laces mid-ride. It’s narrow, though, so you may want to go up if you’re between sizes.

The sole is not entirely flat, so not all riders will find the best support on their pedals with this shoe. What separates it from other models is the Contragip design on the outsole, with sharp lugs and deep channels. They bite into a soft trail if you ever need to let one foot loose from the pedal.

The midsole is cushioned, but not too much. This shoe wasn’t designed for softness and flexibility, which makes it an ideal option for biking. The biggest perk of this model is that it’s extremely tough, and many happy customers report it lasting for years.

On the negative side, note that this shoe is not made for walking on hard surfaces and can become painful. The lugs on the soles are also so big that they can feel uncomfortable on some pedals.

Pros:
  • Aggressive outsole pattern for amazing traction.
  • Stiff sole.
  • Snug, sock-like fit.
  • Quick-tie laces that don’t come loose on your ride.
  • Amazingly durable.
Cons:
  • The lugs can feel uncomfortable on some pedals.
  • Not for walking on the pavement.
Our Overview

The Samba is another example of Adidas indoor soccer shoes that are excellent for use with cycling. The shoes are one of the brand’s legendary early models, and their low-profile design gives them a great look for casual use, as well.

For cycling, we appreciate the Samba’s extra-long tongue that you can twist, so it doesn’t dig into your ankle when pedaling. The upper is soft leather, and the outsole is gum rubber that offers a great grip for riding a road or mountain bike.

This model does include extremely high arch support, which can turn out to be painful for those with low arches. In this case, you can replace the insole with one that’s a better fit for you, so the problem is generally easy to solve.

The Samba has an additional perk, and that’s its versatility. You can wear this pair with pants when walking around town, and unlike cycling shoes with cleats, they don’t look strange.

Pros:
  • Cool retro look.
  • Leather upper.
  • Great grip on the outsole.
Cons:
  • High arch support can get uncomfortable.
Our Overview

One definite plus for Crossfit shoes is that they’re made to withstand hard workouts while keeping your feet relatively dry. The fabric uppers still need to be tough enough to handle movements—like dragging your feet—and give you support for everything from jumping to lifting weight.

All of these characteristics make a Crossfit shoe like Reebok’s Nano 8.0 an amazing option for cycling, as well. The upper is a super breathable but resistant Flexweave, and the sole is relatively stiff for an exercise sneaker. They still provide enough cushioning to protect your joints in rough terrain.

The heel construction is rigid and keeps your foot firmly in place, which means you can really rely on the stability of this shoe when pedaling. The forefoot area does have some flexibility, so the sole is not completely rigid. At the front, there’s some extra protection to keep your toes safe when pedaling.

The shoe is also narrow enough to not feel clunky on the pedals, so we recommend it for beginner road cyclists and commuters who get in a lot of miles every week. The toe box has some more wiggle room than the midfoot area, so they’re still comfortable.

Note that this model runs a bit small, so you may want to order half a size to a full size bigger than your regular size. Also, for low arches, this shoe may be a bit painful due to its high design in the midfoot area.

Pros:
  • Amazingly breathable Flexweave upper.
  • Enough stiffness for pedaling.
  • Sock-like, hugging fit on the ankle.
  • Toe protection.
  • Rigid heel construction for stability.
Cons:
  • Small sizing; opt for a bigger size if in-between.
  • Can be painful for low arches.
Our Overview

For a great cross-training shoe for women that’s also ideal for cycling, check out this Reebok model. It has a breathable mesh upper, a sock-like fit and a flat sole with a small heel-to-toe drop, which helps you get a nice grip on your pedals.

The inside of the shoe has a stretchy liner, which keeps your foot in place during workouts. Some customers do report this bothering them, but for most, this layer is a positive addition. The toe box is pretty wide, but the midfoot area really hugs your foot and doesn’t allow your ankle to move from side to side.

When your foot is supported and doesn’t move around, you can keep your cycling movement more directional and gain efficiency. This makes these Reeboks a good option for cycling, as well as other cardio and gym workouts.

These shoes are also lightweight, so you don’t waste your energy with clunky footwear that weighs you down.

Note that this model doesn’t have much of an arch, so it’s better for those who don’t require support. It also doesn’t have protection for the toe, which can be a negative if you’re cycling in rough conditions.

Overall, we recommend this shoe for women commuters and beginning road cyclists, especially those who also work out in the gym.

Pros:
  • Lightweight.
  • Liner inside the shoe that keeps your foot in place.
  • Breathable upper.
  • Great cyclists who also hit the gym.
Cons:
  • No toe protection.
  • The inside liner can rub on your feet uncomfortably.
Our Overview

This Brooks shoe is meant for running, but it’s an overall good alternative for those cyclists who want a versatile sneaker. It’s very cushioned and bouncy to walk in, so it’s excellent for those cyclists who need a little more padding and shock absorption.

We recommend this shoe for those with overpronation or flat feet. It includes Brooks’s GuideRails design to keep your foot aligned at all times, which helps you keep your pedaling movement clean. The fit is sleek and streamlined, and the upper mesh fabric is super soft and breathable.

Do note that this is a highly cushioned shoe, which also means it’s not stiff in the sole. If you’re doing lots of long distances on your bike, it might get uncomfortable, but generally, this is a good option for casual cycling and commuters. This is also a shoe you can take from your bike ride straight to a run or to the gym.

Some customers note that this shoe’s toe box can collapse a bit when stepping on it, but most don’t have a problem with it.

Pros:
  • Extra-padded and cushioned sole for shock absorption.
  • GuideRails design keeps your foot in place.
  • Amazingly breathable mesh upper.
  • Versatile, easy to go from the bike to the gym.
Cons:
  • The cushioned sole is not made for long-distance riding.
  • Some customers note that the toe box collapses.
Our Overview

These ASICS trail running shoes are a good pick for road, light gravel, and mountain biking. They feature a tough synthetic leather upper mixed with fabric mesh, a stiff sole, and a reinforced toe for extra protection.

For trail running shoes, these don’t have an aggressive pattern on the outsole, so they’re still comfortable on the streets and when pedaling. They provide better traction than normal running shoes, which helps you keep your feet firmly on the pedals.

The outsole is flat, which helps keep your foot stable while pedaling. Note that the design is best for high arches, and the insole is glued in place. This means you can’t easily swap the insoles if you need a little less arch support.

This is an entry to mid-level trail shoe, so it’s not as durable as some of the more high-end models. However, the price is far lower than that of the more expensive brands, and overall it’s a good value purchase.

Pros:
  • Stiff, flat sole.
  • Great traction on the pedals.
  • Reinforced toe cap for protection.
  • Stable fit.
  • Affordable.
Cons:
  • The insole is glued in and difficult to change.
  • Not the most durable shoe.
Our Overview

Diadora has some super affordable shoes for soccer. These indoor shoes are an excellent purchase for those looking for the best non cycling shoes for cycling because of their small size and stiffness.

The outsole is non-marking gum rubber, and the upper is completely made of synthetic leather. There’s also a lot of padding all around the shoe. It’s not the most breathable model on the market, but we do consider it an excellent option for those looking for a low-budget shoe for cycling.

This model is ideal for road cycling, commuters, and casual cyclists. It’s narrow and snug, so it keeps your foot stable on the pedals, but it can be too tight for wide feet. The EVA foam layer in the insole keeps your foot comfortable and absorbs shock, and overall, the sole feels stiff and protective of your feet when pedaling.

Pros:
  • Tight; narrow fit for road cycling.
  • Stiff soles that keep your feet stable.
  • Lots of padding around the foot.
  • Affordable.
Cons:
  • Non-breathable upper.

The Winner

The shoe that came out on top in our review of the best non cycling shoes for cycling is the Adidas Mundial Goal men’s indoor soccer shoe.

It fits snug and comfortable around your foot, and the EVA foam midsole adds some nice cushioning. The honeycomb pattern on the outsole helps keep your feet firmly on the pedals, and the no-chafe heel keeps you comfortable throughout your ride.

If this indoor soccer shoe isn’t what you’re looking for, check out the other options, from trail running shoes to cross-training shoes. There’s bound to be one for every taste, budget, and riding style.

 

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