Solo sessions at the gym or lonely runs in the local park are slowly becoming a thing of the past – group exercise the new craze sweeping the nation. From organized park runs, to the revolutionary Zumba class – organized, fast paced, social workouts are the new way to get fit, and have fun while doing so.
Spin classes fall into this category of fast paced, fitness fun – a group of 10-30 individuals pedaling like crazy for up to an hour – the most intense of classes incorporating strict intervals to hone power and build muscle. The classes are often lead by an experienced instructor, a member of staff that will shout out commands from the front, while also controlling the all-important playlist – techno dance music a staple of most sessions.
While the classes may take place aboard a static bicycle – the sessions aren’t just limited to cyclists, nor those experienced in the art of two-wheeled machines – these are classes open to everyone with all manner of different kit. Every rider, no matter their experience level, or overall fitness, will be strapped into the pedals – toe clips or rigid cleats the most common fixings. Some may opt to spin in their standard trainers – but take it from us – they’re doing it wrong. You’ll need a rigid sole to maintain efficient power transfer – a stiff sole also helping to avoid any fatiguing injuries notorious with normal, weak-bottomed shoes.
The spin class is swiftly becoming a staple workout session, offered in abundance by most gyms across the nation. A fast paced, social exercise craze – the spin class offers an ‘all-round’ fitness gain that many other workouts struggle to provide – but how on earth do you pedal those static bikes and which shoes are the best for the job?
Women's Spinning Shoes
1. Louis Garneau Women's Multi Air Flex Fitness Shoes
Branded as a designated fitness shoe, that can also be take out onto the local MTB trails – this new trainer from Louis Garneau champions both comfort and rigidity – all at a more than affordable price point.
The Multi Flex Air outsole is well ventilated and allows a lot of airflow, preventing overheating while also allowing for good toe flexion while walking on solid ground. As is the standard with Louis Garneau shoes, the Multi Air Flex provide a characteristic, roomy fit inside the shoe – a HRS-80 retention in the heel cup ensuring the foot stays firmly in place.
Utilizing a three hook and loop, Velcro strap system – the Multi Air Flex shoes aren’t the greatest at contouring to each specific foot, but they are incredibly easy to adjust while riding – no laces to get in the way of the drivetrain.
Like many MTB/fitness shoe hybrids, the Multi Air Flex shoes are SPD compatible – allowing for a rigid fit between rider and pedal. At an affordable price point, this is the perfect entry-level shoe to use at both the local spin class, and out on the weekend trail. The shoes have a glowing rapport from customers.
2. Giro Whynd Bike Shoes
Masking itself as a standard trainer, the Giro Whynd is a perfect choice for those looking to use their footwear across a wide range of different workout sessions. SPD compatible, these shoes can be used as both flat soled cycling shoes, or cleated versions on the spin machines – optimizing power transfer from rider to pedal.
The shoe is constructed from Giro’s unique, microfiber upper, complete with mesh inserts to keep the foot aerated and free of any moisture build-up. Like the New Balance trainers above, an EVA rubber sole isn’t as rigid as some of Giro’s other competitors – but it does offer supreme functionality, the Giro Whynds able to tread on solid ground compared to their road-specific counterparts.
Utilizing a classic lace fit system, like the rest of Giro’s shoe range, the Whynds achieve and unparalleled level of fit – the contouring achieved by laces incomparable to Velcro and ratchet straps, even the award-winning BOA fit system. The upper, microfiber material is also extremely water resistant – the Giro Whynds perfect footwear to also take out on the muddy, MTB trail.
Giro shoes are renowned for their incredible construction and durability – what they do lack, however, is an affordable, entry-level variant – Giro making no compromises when making their shoes, not even a compromise on superior materials to construct a cheaper shoe. Despite their expensive price, their quality is second to none – most of their models offering spare parts and warranty in case of wear and tear.
3. Mavic Women's Ksyrium Elite II Shoes
The Mavic Ksyrium Elite II Women’s road shoe is a value-packed marvel that fits the demands of every road cyclist – from amateur to seasoned pro. The Energy Carbon Comp outsole features a composite construction of super-rigid fiberglass, nylon and carbon fiber – keeping weight low and stiffness high.
A single Ergo ratchet and two hook-and-loop strap system achieves a precise fit – keeping the foot snug inside and leaving no room for ‘free space’ that would otherwise impact upon pedaling efficiency. An Endofit tongue at the front of the shoe holds your foot in place, providing what Mavic call, “The Glove Effect”. The shoe construction is complete with an Ergo Fit 3D Ortholite dual density inner sole for supreme comfort, as well as a synthetic leather mesh upper to keep the whole shoe well-ventilated.
Compared to the other shoes on this list, the Mavic’s use a three-bolt cleat system – a road-specific system that isn’t too great for walking when off the bike. While the three-bolt may ensure a more rigid fit – these are shoes that can only be used when strapped to the pedals, no running to and from the gym in these.
For a carbon composite sole, fine-tuning ratchet closing system and breathable upper construction – the Mavic Ksyrium Elite IIs are incredible value for money, a mid-range shoe that won’t break the bank. One happy customer on Chain Reaction Cycles describe the shoes glowingly, “I bought a size 7 (uk size) in these and they fit like a dream! Really comfortable and a lot nicer than my previous Specialized pair for both fit and look! Some may not, but I like the matt finish, it’s very unique.”
4. Pearl iZUMi Women's W All-Road v4 Cycling Shoe
The Women’s All-Road v4 is a cycling shoe fit for many types of riding – whether out on the road, MTB trail or indoor spin class – the All-Road v4 is a perfect, entry-level shoe that champions comfort and confident traction both on and off the bike.
A lugged rubber outsole, housing an inner SPD cleat screw-in port, the All-Road v4s are as comfortable walking on solid ground, as they are clipping in and pedaling away. A unique 1 to 1 Anatomic 3-strap closure system removes any built-up pressure points from the instep and heel – all the while maintaining a tight fit for optimum pedaling efficiency.A SELECT insole hugs the foot nicely and shapes to any contour – whether an arched instep or totally flat foot – the SELECT insole will support your foot with vigor and prevent any niggling cramps when the going gets particularly tough. For the shoe’s incredible versatility, across a wide range of different terrains – the entry-level price point is an absolute steal and a must-have for beginners.
5. New Balance Women's 09v1 Cycling Shoe
The popular, sleek trainer brand have expanded their range into new markets – the 09v1 Cycling Shoe catering for hobby cyclists with a desire to hit up the local spin class. The synthetic textile construction of the upper material is extremely breathable and lightweight – allowing air to circulate freely and keep your feet nice and fresh.
The sole is made of a rubber material which may not be as rigid as road-specific cycling shoes – but it does pack a punch in the versatility department, this pair of New Balance trainers suitable for both ON the bike, and OFF the bike. Complete with a lightweight EVA midsole, the foot fits snug into each shoe – avoiding any free space that may detrimentally effect power transfer with each pedal stroke.
The 09v1 Training shoes are also SPD compatible – a real bonus if your local spin machines require cleats and rigid fixings. A small plate reveals the easy-to-access cleat points, the ability to run the shoe as a flat sole or cleated sole one of its biggest selling points.
New Balance is a popular brand, and with well-known labels clearly comes large price points, the 09v1 Training shoes falling into the uppermost expense bracket. But, considering its functionality, style and breathability – this is a shoe that can be worn both outside the gym, and inside, across a wide array of different workout sessions.
Men's Spinning Shoes
1. Giro Rumble Vr MTB Shoes
The Giro Rumble Vr is an incredibly versatile shoe – one that you can actually walk to class in, as well as ride a spinning bike with. At just 425 grams in size 42, they’re incredibly light – without that unappealing weighted-down feeling you get with some more heavy duty cycling shoes.
The outsole is made with Vibram Ecostep Rubber, while the molded recessed cleat area is compatible with SPD pedals. The perfect balance of functionality for spinning and easy walkability. The closure system is lace-up, and built with a high-quality breathable mesh – for those classes when it gets extra hot and sweaty in the studio.
RoadCC say this in their review, “versatile shoes that are great for commuting on dry days or use on light trails, but lack weather protection.”
2. Shimano Mens RP1 Bicycling Shoes
The RP1 cycling shoe from Japanese mega brand, Shimano, is a stylish, functional but very accessible option for spinning classes and beyond. Two velcro straps across the face of the show allow for a hyper-tweakable fit – giving you the perfect platform to put down the watts.
The synthetic leather upper balances aesthetics with functionality, helping to extend the lifespan of the shoe and boosting its sweat-proofness. The soles are made with super-light fiberglass that has been reinforced with nylon - for excellent power transfer through the shoe and into the pedal. Best of all, the RP1 is compatible with both SPD and SPD-SL cleats, so it can be uses across most spinning bikes AND most MTB or road bikes too.
3. Giro Carbide R Bike Shoes - Men's
Giro know a thing or two about building a bike shoe, and their Carbide R model is no exception. The quality breathable upper is made with synthetic fiber, with a traditional three-strap closure across the front – allowing for a really secure, but adjustable fit.
The accessible price point makes these shoes an excellent investment for spinning, but they can also be pressed into service for the odd commute – maybe to and from the spin studio! A heavy, outsole reinforced with nylon-injection gives great power transfer into the pedals of your spinning bike.
BikeRadar had this to say about the Carbide R: “At a budget price, the Carbides are packed full of performance. Just watch that hard tread on slick surfaces”
The shoe is available in five different color-ways – ideal for showing off a bit of your personality, or matching to the rest of your workout gear.
4. Tommaso Montagna 100 Mountain Bike Cycling Shoe
For those on a budget, look no further than the Tommaso Montagna 100. This brilliantly made cycling shoe is set up for use with SPD cleats, making it the perfect option for most spinning bikes. Tommaso sell their models direct to the consumer with no middle man, offering you an exceptional level of value.
The sole of the shoe is made with stiff but light fiberglass, giving you excellent power transfer so you can really get the most out of every workout. The durable synthetic leather upper meanwhile is comfortable, tough and provides a snug but non-chafing fit. Low profile hook and loop straps offer an ergonomic fit, adding comfort and security to all of your rides.
The Montagna is covered by Tommaso’s extremely generous 100% Fit Guarantee, 100% Free Fit Returns and 2 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty.
5. Sidi Dominator Shoes - Men's
The Sidi Dominator sits at the very top of the spinning shoe family tree. It’s called the Dominator, after all. It’s capable of high-level MTB riding and is fitted with SPD cleat compatibility as a result – which means it’s more than capable of bringing your performance in spinning class to the next level.
The Competition 2 Sole has a super-efficient tread design, while the nylon foot platform ensures not a single watt ends up being wasted. The Dominator’s Technomicro Microfiber upper is stain- and scratch-proof, while the overall breathability of the shoe is improved with strategically placed mesh panels.
Pressure is distributed evenly across the instep by Sidi’s Soft Instep Closure system, with a Caliper Buckle 2-way ratchet and secure straps providing extreme precision when it comes to fine-tuning the fit. This amount of on-the-fly fine-tuning is incredibly useful in the middle of a workout and can help avoid those unwanted spin class blisters.
The Dominators are water-repellent and dry quickly, so they won’t end up with that awful build up of smells that come from a well used pair of spin shoes. They are also resistant to mildew buildup.
One reviewer said this about the Dominator: “Pros: tight, light weight, great racing/ riding shoe. after I put them on, I hardly noticed they are there-just what I want in a good shoe. Cons: I have to reach and really work to get the first latch of the buckle, but once started fits well, rides well. Recommendation: great shoe, and you get what you pay for.”
Spinning - The Ideal Workout
Most spin classes follow guided HITT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) – hard and fast efforts separated by well-earned periods of restful pedaling. This particular method of exercising is favored by many a pro cyclist – Team GB attesting to the method, describing it as, “one of the most effective training tools to test both strength and endurance.” Each session can burn up to 500-700 calories, with two or three classes a week perfect to start reaping the fitness benefits early on.
Clipped into the pedals on a stationary bike, the rider is attached to a weighted flywheel that can be adjusted to make each stroke easier or harder – perfect for classes that include sweat-inducing interval sessions. By the end of each class, you’ll be hard pressed to spot a fresh face, everyone breathing the same sigh of relief that the session has reached its end – some even struggling to dismount their static bike. The feeling of satisfaction at the end of each class, however, is incomparable – a true workout for all muscle groups, legs, core and cardio – the infamous trio.