Enter the world of women-specific cycling shoes.
When considering cycling gear, few components are more important than the choice of footwear, but with all of the different riding types, compatible cleats/petals and price points, it can be mind boggling to find your perfect match. One way to pare down the selection is to shop for women-specific cycling shoes. I have to admit, the first time I was asked the question, “what makes a cycling shoe women specific”, I was a bit stumped and after a bit of searching, I was surprised at the amount of studies that have been done in this area.
Research has found that the shape of women’s feet, and therefore shoe-fit needs, fall into a bell curve. The bulk of the curve (the majority of women) need a shoe that is narrower in the heel/ankle and has more arch support (for higher arches) than typically provided by a men’s shoe. Of course, this is not true for all women, but most will find more comfort, support and power transfer from a shoe with these distinctly non-male characteristics.
With this in mind, these are our top picks for women-specific cycling shoes of 2016.
Best Road Shoe:
The Empire Shoe by Giro is QOM approved. Created with a full carbon sole, this lace-up, high performance cycling shoe built on a woman’s last has unrivaled adjustment with a footbed that lets you fine-tune your fit with an adjustable arch support. Why laces? Giro’s designers say it best:
“Once upon a time, nearly every shoe had a laced closure. In the last few decades, however, mechanical closures have been developed to mimic the function of laces while providing the ability to adust fit on-the-fly. But with each new system, there is always a tradeoff to be considered: limited tolerance to grit and grime; added weight; increased exposure to damage in a crash; or less precise fit adjustment…So why laces? Because the fit and feel of a laced shoe is unrivaled. From different lacing patterns to more incremental adjustment points, laces simply provide more range when it comes to fit, and the feel is more natural.”
Best Triathlon Shoe:
Designed for quick transitions and high performance, this shoe comes in at the top of our list. Not only is the Flynt an amazing tri-specific shoe with it’s breathable microfiber cover, lightweight sole and multiple cleat-compatibility, it’s also a great summer option for road riding. Find more details or purchase, here.
For club rides, touring, commuting, single-track, bike-packing and more, the Manta is a very versatile option. We recommend it because it really does give you the best of all worlds: a recessed cleat area for off bike walkability; supple microfiber upper with straps and micro-ratcheting buckle; a stiff and efficient nylon outsole that optimizes each pedal stroke. You’ll be amazed at all the places these shoes will take you. Find out more, here.
Here’s to comfortable shoes and long miles!