The Complete Guide to Peloton Cycling Shoes

·9 min read
peloton-bike-shoes
peloton-bike-shoes

Peloton

So you took the plunge and ordered a Peloton bike. Congratulations! Welcome to the family. Many people have dedicated their unused gym and studio membership money to buy a new piece of home gym equipment this past year and couldn't be happier with the purchase. (If you haven't bought one yet but are thinking about it, also check out these affordable Peloton bike alternatives.)

So now you're thinking: "Okay, what else do I need? A mat for under the bike? Do I need dumbbells, too? What shoes do I get for this thing? If I already have cycling shoes, can I use them with your new Peloton bike?" Deep breath — below you'll find all your Peloton shoe questions answered.

Types of Cycling Shoes

Can you use any shoe you want with your Peloton bike? Nope. In fact, not only will you need a cycling shoe, but you'll also need a specific type of cycling shoe. To make your life easier, you can order Peloton-branded shoes right along with your bike; however, if you decide to buy shoes elsewhere, you could end up with something that doesn't work for your shiny new Bike+.

SPD vs. LOOK Delta (3-Bolt)

There are two types of cycling shoe "cleats" (the things that allow you to clip into the pedal and stay there): The SPD cleat (a small silver clip that usually rests in a divet within the sole of the shoe as opposed to sticking out) and the three-bolt LOOK Delta cleats (big triangles that are great for clipping in securely, but stick out from the sole of the shoe a bit, which can make walking a little wobbly).

Unfortunately, Peloton pedals — at present — are only compatible with the three-bolt, LOOK Delta cleats. This limits your options somewhat, but fear not! We have a guide to Peloton-compatible shoes prepared for you.

Of note: Some shoes (including the Peloton brand shoes) come with a LOOK Delta cleat. Other cycling shoes might not come with a cleat at all, and require you to purchase one separately and attach it yourself or pay extra for someone else to do it. If you're not getting Peloton-branded shoes (which come with LOOK Delta cleats), you can buy the proper cleats on the Peloton site, or elsewhere such as REI or Amazon.

If You Already Have SPD Shoes or Want SPD Shoes

As a recent Peloton convert and recovering Spin studio addict, I've tried my fair share of cycling shoes. That said, most of the shoes I own have SPD cleats on the bottom. And even though cars can drive themselves now, you can't convert your Spin shoes from an SPD cleat to a Delta cleat (IKR?). There are special adapters you can buy that can convert a LOOK Delta shoe to be compatible with SPD pedals, but not the other way around. So in order to use shoes that I already own, I purchased aftermarket reversible pedals (like the ones they have in many cycling studios) that are compatible with both types of cleats. There are also aftermarket pedals that are compatible with just SPD clip-ins.

A note on that… I would only recommend this route if:

  • You already have a pair of shoes that are SPD, and know you prefer them.

  • You want to buy a pair of shoes that only features an SPD clip (for instance, you have a unique shoe size or foot shape, and you find a specific shoe that is only SPD compatible, or you like the ~style~ of one that is only SPD compatible).

  • You do road cycling, or Spin at another studio beyond your Peloton, and SPD gives you more options to clip in and out of other bikes.

  • The pedals are less expensive than a new pair of shoes.

⚠️ A forewarning ⚠️ if you do follow suit: Changing your pedals out to aftermarket ones will void the Peloton warranty on the pedals (not the rest of the bike, just the pedals) — this is definitely something to keep in mind if you're set on using SPD pedals and shoes. And, you can always switch the pedals back to the OGs if you end up changing your mind or getting different shoes — this isn't a permanent alteration. (The r/pelotoncycle subreddit was really helpful as I explored this option.)

Peloton Cycling Shoes

Buy it: Peloton Cycling Shoes, $125 (with cleats), onepeloton.com (note: Scroll down on this page to see items a la carte.)

Comes with cleats: Yes

Compatible with: Delta

If you're in the process of placing a Peloton order and you don't already have a pair of shoes, one of the simplest options is to grab a pair of these branded Peloton cycling shoes at checkout. They include the Delta cleats that are compatible with the Peloton pedals, and have a velcro strap closure with a "quick ratchet clip" to get a snug fit. These have a mesh vent and a breathable upper to prevent soggy cycling feet, and have one of the broadest ranges of sizes. For the price (especially compared to what else is out there), this is one of the easiest and best options if you're not picky. (Related: The Best Peloton Instructor to Match Your Workout Style)

Shimano IC1

Buy it: Shimano IC1, $90 (without cleats), zappos.com or rei.com

Comes with cleats: No

Compatible with: Delta and SPD

Extremely well-rated, extremely-popular, under $100, and rather tough to find (due to… you know, popularity), the Shimano IC1 is compatible with both types of pedal systems. As with sister styles IC3 and IC5, these are super durable and comfortable, but IC1 is the only version that works with the Peloton-ready Delta clips. Even though the cleats are sold separately, the combined price still makes this shoe the most affordable option of the lot (which is wild, given how high-end Shimano cycling shoes are!). If you're already thinking you might want to try an SPD-compatible shoe, definitely check out the other IC styles, too.

Nike Superrep

Buy it: Nike Superrep Cycling Shoe, $120 (without cleats), nike.com or bandier.com

Comes with cleats: No

Compatible with: Delta and SPD

Okay, so these shoes are sexy. If it's possible to be attracted to a shoe, it has happened here and now. Aside from the extremely sleek aesthetic, these Nike Superreps have a snug fit (and they run small, so order a half size up), and are compatible with both SPD and LOOK Delta clips, making them perfect for a versatile cycling lifestyle. You'll have to buy cleats, FYI, as these come bare and ready for you to choose your fighter. If you opt for Delta cleats, you'll be ready to roll once your blessed Peloton Bike or Bike+ arrives. (Related: The Best Peloton Workouts, According to Reviewers)

Pearl Izumi Quest

Buy it: Pearl Izumi Quest Women's Cycling Shoe, $100 (without cleats), amazon.com, rei.com, or zappos.com

Comes with cleats: No

Compatible with: Delta and SPD

Pearl Izumi makes some of my favorite Spin shoes. The storied brand is so trusted in the cycling world, and for good reason — their quality is top notch. (Consider grabbing a pair of their padded bike shorts as well.) The upper on these is meshy and perforated, the inside is just lightly cushioned, and the fit is snug with three velcro straps. Though my Pearl Izumi cycling shoes are SPD-only, the Quest is compatible with both types of cleats, making it a simplified yet versatile choice for a Peloton shoe. These do not come with cleats, so you'll have to add those to cart, too.

No Bull Cycling Shoes

Buy It: No Bull Cycling Shoes, $179 (without cleats), nobullproject.com

Comes with cleats: No

Compatible with: Delta

Definitely the priciest option, but also the most unique cycling shoe ever. These do not come with cleats, so you'll need to purchase those separately, and note that these are set up for three-bolt LOOK Delta cleats. They're one of the only cycling shoes that lace up (as opposed to velcro in), and the "deconstructed" top is perforated so your feet don't get hot and sweaty (genius!). Low key looks like Swiss cheese moonlighting as athletic gear. No Bull gives you the option to use Afterpay (so you can pay off your Peloton shoes the way you pay off your bike), and offers free shipping over $99.

Tommaso Pista

Buy It: Tommaso Pista Cycling Shoes, $125 (with cleats), amazon.com

Comes with cleats: Yes

Compatible with: Delta or SPD

Delta cleats are pre-installed (!!) on these highly-rated velcro-top shoes, featuring a moisture-wicking liner and a "ventilating air port" near the toes — ideal. If you're looking for an all-white shoe or a pink- or blue-lined option, these could be a great choice for you. The biggest caveat is the limited size range; these come in a women's 6 to 11 (as opposed to the women's 5 to 12 you'll get with the Peloton bike shoes). They're available on Amazon and, in some regions, can be sent via one-day shipping.

TIEM Athletics

Buy It: TIEM Athletics Cycling Shoes, $130 (without cleats), amazon.com, or bandier.com

Comes with cleats: No

Compatible with: SPD

These TIEM Athletics cycling shoes are arguably the most aesthetic, style-focused choice, with the most variety in color options. (For the record, these are the shoes I have personally been using in the past few months with my Peloton and my aftermarket pedals. Do you see why I didn't want to give them up?) I 100 percent was one of those people who saw them and said "Oh my GOD how cute are these!" — because they look like regular sneakers! If you like to stack your Peloton classes or hop on and off the bike during your workout for strength intervals, these are a great choice because you won't have swap shoes. They're also perfectly comfortable and my feet don't cramp even when I'm pushing to a 120 cadence in an *NSYNC-fueled Cody Rigsby class. Unfortunately, these are only compatible with SPD clips — and cleats are sold separately — so if you're committed to the SPD life, road biking, or fashion, these will be for you.

Venzo MX Cycling Shoes

Buy It: Venzo MX Women's Cycling Shoe, $125 (with cleats), amazon.com

Comes with cleats: Yes

Compatible with: Delta and SPD

While I haven't personally tried Venzo brand shoes, the brand has become very popular during the indoor cycling gold rush — and as a result, are a top seller on Amazon. These white and purple bike shoes give a little nod to '90s style, but are said to run on the small, narrow side (so size up, or pick another option if you have wide feet — but refer to the size chart!). They have a perforated top, three bands of velcro for a snug fit, and are compatible with both types of cleats. For the $125 option, you can get a pair of Delta clips sent with your purchase.