The 7 Best Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling [2021]

The Best Non-Cycling Shoes For Cycling

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I would like to share with you the best non cycling shoes for cycling. I selected them based on the market research that took me over 5 hours. First I found suitable types of shoes for cycling and then I selected the best shoes from these categories.

This selection contains shoes for both – men and women. It includes shoes from various price ranges so even if you are on a tight budget, don’t worry.

My favorite non cycling shoes for men are the Under Armour Charged Assert 8. They provide good durability, comfort, and ventilation.

The best shoes for women are Adidas Cloudfoam Pure and Nike Air Max Bella TR 2. These shoes are almost the same so feel free to choose the brand you like.

In this article, you will also learn what types of non cycling shoes are suitable for cycling, what types of bike pedals to use with regular shoes, what are their pros & cons, and much more.


Visit this article, if you look for the Best Mountain Bike Shoes for Platforms.


What Are the Best Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling?

ProductTypeFor 
Under Armour Charged Assert 8Running shoesMen & WomenCheck Price
Shimano SH-MT701Touring shoesMenCheck Price
ASICS Gel-Venture 7Trail/Hiking shoesMenCheck Price
Vans AtwoodSkate shoesMenCheck Price
Adidas Cloudfoam Pure Running shoesWomenCheck Price
Merrell Moab 2Hiking shoesWomenCheck Price
Nike Air Max Bella TR 2Training shoesWomenCheck Price

The Best Men & Women Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling

Under Armour Charged Assert 8

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Pros

  • 20+ colors available
  • For both men & women
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Comfortable
  • Very breathable

Cons

  • Bad arch support so it is better to use them with orthopedic insoles
  • Not very suitable for hiking and trekking

These running shoes from Under Armor are designed primarily for men, but they are also sold in colors suitable for women. They are well-ventilated, which you will appreciate on cycling trips in summer and during hot days.

Charged Assert 8 shoes are flexible enough for walking. And they will work well on platforms thanks to their roughened sole. Their low weight (weighs only 0.62 lb [280 g]) is good for easy pedaling.

These shoes have an attractive design so you can use them in a city or for commuting to or from work, for example.

I do not recommend using them in rough terrain like unpaved forest roads etc. These shoes are not designed for these conditions so you risk damaging them.

Their main disadvantage is the weak support of the arch, so it is good to use them with orthopedic insoles if you have flat feet.


Shimano SH-MT701

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Pros

  • Usable with flat pedals as well as with MTB pedals (Shimano SPD)
  • BOA dial for quick adjustment
  • Very breathable
  • Stiff sole for cycling, yet flexible enough for walking

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Only one color available

Yes, I can hear you. You are looking for non cycling shoes for cycling, and now I want to introduce you to these ‘cycling’ shoes. Hold on, the Shimano SH-MT701 are a perfect compromise between a cycling and a regular shoe.

These shoes look like a normal shoe. Yet, they don’t have standard shoelaces. They use BOA dial instead. You just turn with it and your shoe will tighten. Shimano SH-MT701 are also compatible with cleats for Shimano SPD pedals.

If you don’t have SPD pedals on your bike, don’t worry. All you need is flat pedals. These shoes provide enough grip thanks to a flat sole so your foot won’t slip as easily. The flexible, but rigid sole will also allow you to walk comfortably.

In the summer months, you will also appreciate their breathable construction. The main disadvantages of these shoes are their slightly higher weight (0.8 lb / 365 g) compared to running shoes and limited color selection.


ASICS Gel-Venture 7

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Pros

  • 15+ colors available
  • Breathable & durable
  • Shock-absorbing gel sole

Cons

  • Bad arch support so it is better to use them with orthopedic insoles

If you are looking for a relatively cheap shoe suitable for more demanding terrains, and for riding a bike at the same time, ASICS Gel-Venture 7 might be a good choice for you.

These shoes are designed for running on trails because their gel sole absorbs shocks. However, thanks to their flexibility, breathability, and durability, Gel-Venture 7 shoes are also suitable for flat pedals.

You can choose from more than 15 colors. Their main disadvantage is the relatively poor support of the arch, so it is better to use them with orthopedic insoles.


Vans Atwood

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Pros

  • 20+ styles available
  • Flat sole with holes is perfect for platform pedals
  • Iconic design

Cons

  • Weak arch support so it is better to use them with orthopedic insoles
  • Not as ventilated compared to the running shoes
  • Not very suitable for hiking and trekking

I’m finally getting to the skate shoes. I simply could not miss these iconic VANS. This brand is popular among BMX riders, downhill, and mountain bikers.

The sole of these shoes is flat, but it contains a lot of holes into which the metal studs on bike platforms can “stick”. Thanks to this, the shoe will not slip off and will provide you with a very good grip.

These shoes have also earned popularity due to the comfort and a sense of connection with your bike. However, people with flat feet should consider wearing them with orthopedic insoles because this model does not offer sufficient arch support.

I don’t recommend using them for hiking or trekking. Their sole is not built for rough terrain and your foot can slip of rocks, etc.


Adidas Cloudfoam Pure

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Pros

  • A very large variety of colors available
  • Very lightweight & breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Good arch support

Cons

  • Not very suitable for hiking and trekking

The iconic design of the Adidas Cloudfoam Pure shoes made them the desired item of many girls. The shoes are very comfortable, provide excellent breathability, and are very light (depending on their size, they weigh 0.44 to 0.55 lb [200 to 250 g]).

Thanks to their flexibility, low weight, and rubber sole, they are also an excellent choice for bikes equipped with flat pedals. The loops on the front and the back of the shoes also make it easier to put them on.

The insole made of Cloudfoam Memory is worth mentioning too. It adapts to your foot so it offers maximum comfort. You can choose from a huge number of different colors.

These shoes are designed for running and walking on paved roads. Therefore, I do not recommend them for more demanding terrains.


Merrell Moab 2

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Pros

  • Very durable (suitable for rough terrains – hiking and trekking)
  • Waterproof yet breathable
  • Moderate arch support
  • Good ankle support
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Relatively heavy (1.75 lbs / 794 g)
  • Too warm for hot weather

If you are the type of person who combines a bike with demanding hikes, these shoes are made for you. They are primarily designed for hiking and trekking, but you can also ride a bike with them.

Their main advantages include breathability and water resistance at the same time. So your feet will not sweat as much and at the same time, your shoes will not get wet when it starts to rain.

Despite their breathability, however, I do not recommend these shoes for hot days because their lining is pretty warm. The shoes are ideal for spring and autumn weather.

The shoes provide moderate arch support and are also comfortable for people with flat feet. However, due to the durable construction and solid sole, they are relatively heavy (1.75 lbs / 794 g).


Nike Air Max Bella TR 2

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Pros

  • A large variety of colors available
  • Very breathable
  • Flat sole with holes perfect for platform pedals
  • Comfortable
  • Moderate arch support

Cons

  • Not very suitable for hiking and trekking

Nike Air Max Bella TR 2 are popular running shoes. They are light 0.51 lb (230 g), comfortable, and well ventilated. Thanks to their flat sole with holes, they will hold well on the platforms of your bike.

The loop on the back makes it easier for you to put them on. Thanks to the breathable materials, Max Bella are also perfect for warm days.

Their attractive design is suitable not only for running and cycling but also for training in a gym or for walking in a city. However, don’t recommend them for rides and walks on/in rough terrains, as they are not as durable compared to trekking shoes.

You can choose from a range of attractive colors and both standard and wide fit.


My Verdict

Depending on your riding style, I recommend choosing either more breathable and lightweight running or training shoes.

For men, Under Armour Charged Assert 8 are a good choice thanks to their breathability and comfort.

For women, Adidas Cloudfoam Pure or Nike Air Max Bella TR 2 are the best non cycling shoes for casual riding on paved roads or commuting.

Choose more durable and heavier shoes for cycling trips combined with trekking and hiking. These shoes include ASICS Gel-Venture 7 for men and Merrell Moab 2 for women.


Basic Types of Bike Pedals

The type of pedals you use on your bike significantly affects how comfortable your ride will be. Let’s quickly go through the types of pedals that are available on the market. You may find out that buying a pair of clipless pedals is better for your riding style.

There are 3 main groups of bike pedals:

  • Platforms/flat pedals
  • Clipless pedals (road, MTB)
  • Hybrid (a combination of platforms and clipless pedals)
basic types of bike pedals
These are the basic types of bike pedals available on the market

If you want to ride a bike in non cycling shoes, your bike should be equipped with platforms. Riding with clipless pedals while wearing other than cycling shoes is very uncomfortable and even dangerous for less experienced riders. Believe me, I’ve already tried it and it did not end well.

Platform Pedals

Platforms, also called flat pedals, are the simplest type of pedal. You do not need special cycling shoes to ride them. You can wear any non cycling shoes.

You will find plastic platforms on cheaper, mass-produced bicycles. These pedals are usually equipped with reflectors on both sides to increase your visibility in the dark.

TIP: Feel free to increase your visibility and thus your safety in the dark by using bike wheel lights.

Plastic platforms are not very good for longer bike trips or for more demanding riders. I remember when I was riding one of my first bikes. During a trip, I destroyed the pedal just by pedaling too hard. You can guess how it turned out. I had to push my bike more than 10 miles (16 km).

basic platic pedals
Basic type of platform pedals

Mountain bikers and BMX riders use platforms that are made of more durable materials, such as aluminum or magnesium. They offer better support for the foot, and thanks to the metal studs, the shoe does not slip off them.

NOTE: There are also so-called cage pedals but they are not as popular nowadays so I did not include them.

Clipless Pedals

You will need special cycling shoes to ride in the clipless pedals. You can clip in your cycling shoes into a special mechanism that holds them. It brings many benefits (read the pros and cons below).

Road Clipless Pedals

Road pedals aim to provide sufficient support for road bike shoes while maintaining a low weight, stiffness, and aerodynamics. You can clip into them only from one side. Yet, Speedplay pedals are an exception. You can clip into Speedplay pedals from both sides.

The most commonly used types of road pedals include:

Road clipless pedals should be lightweight, stiff, durable, and aerodynamic so you can take maximum advantage of them on your rides and during long races.

READ MORE: The selection of the Best Road Cycling Shoes.

You can often see road cyclists struggle with clipping into the road clipless pedals. Matt Stephens, a former GCN presenter, is a very good example.

Matt Stephens and his top 5 funny crashes

MTB Clipless Pedals

MTB pedals have the same purpose as road pedals. However, their construction is different and they provide the possibility of clipping in from both sides. In mountain bike races, there is no time to turn the pedal to the right side so the rider can clip in more easily.

TIP: Check my selection of the Best MTB Shoes for Clipless Pedals.

In addition, there is a higher risk of unclipping during mountain biking to keep your balance compared to road cycling. So it is important to make the clipping as easy as possible.

Hybrid Pedals

The hybrid bike pedals combine various types of pedals. For example, a platform with MTB pedal, or a platform with road pedal, etc. One side of the pedal is the platform, and the other allows to clip in the cycling shoe cleat.

There are also hybrid pedals on the market that have the clip mechanism and the platform on the same side.

71FEmnbSHRL. AC SL1500

Hybrid bike pedals are good if you use your bike for short commuting and bike trips. You don’t have to change your bike pedals depending on where you go.


Pros & Cons of Different Types of Pedals

I’ve summarized the pros and cons of using different types of bike pedals using multiple resources and my experiences in the following table.

Type of PedalProsConsRecommended For
Platforms (flat pedals)• You can use them with any type of shoes.
• You don’t have to clip into them so you can avoid a possible fall due to not unclipping on time.
• You can’t pedal in circles (you cannot pull up).
• Your foot can slip off more easily.
Beginners, commuters, BMX riders, MTB riders
Road clipless pedals• You will feel like you have better control over your bicycle.
• They are lightweight.
• You can pedal in circles.
• They are longer than MTB pedals, so they provide more support for your foot.
• You can’t clip in from both sides.
• Expensive – You will have to buy pedals, road bike shoes, and cleats.
• It will take you some time to get used to them.
Road cyclists
MTB clipless pedals• You will feel like you have better control over your bicycle.
• You can pedal in circles.
• You can clip in from both sides.
• Expensive – You will have to buy pedals, mountain bike shoes, and cleats.
• It will take you some time to get used to them.
• They are heavier compared to the road clipless pedals.
MTB riders
Hybrid pedals• You can decide what type of shoes you use (normal footwear or specialized cycling shoes).• They are heavier compared to clipless road and MTB pedals.
• They are bulky.
Commuters, bike packers, and people that like bike trips
Pros and cons of different types of bike pedals | Sources: Bicycling, Skedaddle, Active, Singletracks

How to Choose the Best Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling?

Based on the previous section, you know that the best types of pedals for using non cycling shoes are flat pedals. Now, I am going to explain to you, what you should look for when buying regular shoes for cycling.

Comfort

The shoes you want to use when riding a bike should be comfortable. It is always better to try them in person to make sure you buy the right size and fit.

If you can’t try the shoes in person, don’t worry. Just measure your foot and try to find out if the shoes are suitable for wide or narrow feet. If the shoes don’t fit, don’t hesitate to return them and try a different size or model.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation is important especially if you want to ride in the hot summer months. For example, running shoes are made from breathable mesh that allows better airflow. This makes them a perfect choice for riding your bike in the summer.

The ventilation helps to cool your feet so you won’t sweat as much. You will feel much more comfortable, and you will perform better because you won’t feel like your feet are burning.

Durability

The non cycling shoes you will use for cycling should be durable. Especially, if you will ride with them in a forest or similar environment. Riding on roads does not put as much pressure on the shoes as riding on trails.

To find out whether or not the shoes are durable, check their construction, and don’t hesitate to pay more for better quality shoes. Avoid buying shoes that are too cheap (under $25).

Stiffness

Cycling shoes, especially those for road cycling, are usually as stiff as possible to transform the energy you put into every pedal stroke. Regular shoes are much softer, especially running shoes have soft soles to increase impact absorption.

This means that if the soles will be too soft, you will lose a lot of energy that you may miss during longer trips. Also, the shoes should provide you with enough protection and support for your arch.

If you have problems with flat feet, make sure you use orthopedic insoles to prevent pain and increase the comfort on your bike. I use them in my road cycling shoes and they do their job well.


What Are The Best Types of Non Cycling Shoes for Cycling?

Below, there are the main types of shoes that meet the main features I talked about in the previous section. I explain why these types are good for cycling and why you should consider buying them.

Running Shoes

Running shoes are very comfortable. They are designed to be light, provide impact absorption, and ventilation. Due to the softer sole, you will lose some energy that you put into a pedal stroke. Yet, if you do not plan to go on long trips, running shoes are a good choice for flat pedals.

Nike Shoes Running GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Just remember that even running shoes are designed for various terrains. Personally, I recommend choosing those designed for demanding terrain like dirt, paved, and forest roads. Their sole is not as smooth and hard as with road running shoes so they will provide you with a better grip.

Touring Shoes

Touring shoes are a great compromise between cycling and regular shoes. They look like regular shoes. The difference is that you can mount them with a cleat so you can use them with clipless pedals.

Of course, you can use these shoes even if you ride on platforms and if you don’t have clipless pedals. Thanks to their versatility, they are one of the best choices for cycling with flat pedals.

These shoes tend to be flexible, so they allow comfortable walking. I am sure you appreciate it on cycling trips with your family and friends.

Due to the fact that touring shoes are intended for use in more demanding terrains, they are more durable than ordinary shoes.

Skate Shoes

The main advantage of skateboard shoes is their flat sole. It contains a lot of holes into which the studs from the pedals can fit and hold. Thanks to this, you will have a very good grip and your feet will not slip off the pedals as easily.

skateborad shoes
BMX riders like to ride in skateboard shoes – they provide good grip

For these reasons, skateboard shoes are very popular among BMX riders. They can’t perform very well without a good pair of shoes. The most popular brands include VANS, Etnies, Nike, Converse, etc.

Indoor Shoes

Indoor shoes are very similar to running shoes. Their fundamental difference is in the sole and construction. The sole is made of rubber so that the shoes do not slip on a smooth surface in the gym.

NOTE: Be careful if you ride in these shoes in the rain, the shoes may slip more easily from pedals due to the rubber sole.

This type of shoe is not as well ventilated as running shoes, however, it is just as comfortable. It also holds your feet well so you avoid sprained ankles and similar injuries. The advantage is also higher durability compared to running shoes.

Trekking, Hiking, and Trail Shoes

These types of shoes are usually very durable, yet breathable and comfortable. They are heavier compared to running shoes. You can use them in more demanding terrains like in the forests, on trails, hikes, etc.

TIP: Make sure you don’t ‘boots’ or similar types of bulky shoes. They make riding a bike very uncomfortable.

Compared to other types of shoes, they are not as flexible as running shoes, for example. This means that riding a bike for long distances may not be as comfortable while wearing them.

Golf Shoes (Subject of Discussion)

You may read on some websites that golf shoes are also good cycling shoes alternative. I don’t play golf so I don’t have personal experience riding a bicycle with them.

I did research on various cycling forums and I found only one thread where the golf shoes are discussed. According to the users, they are good for platforms thanks to a specific rubber sole and its grip.

If you have ever used golf shoes for cycling, let me know your experience in the comments below if they are worth it or not.


Cycling Shoes FAQ


This post is regularly updated to provide you the most up to date tips on products. If you find a product that is not up to date, please, contact me.

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