You don’t have to have Peloton shoes to ride your Peloton bike. There are, however, some benefits to investing in the correct cycling shoes for indoor cycling on your exercise bike. They help you get the most out of your workouts or peloton rides and provide a level of safety that you might not have if you use your regular gym shoes for cycling, both on road bikes and stationary bikes.
The best cycling shoes are snug and fit your feet well. They provide adequate support and are rigid enough to transfer the power from your legs to the pedals instead of flexing and dispersing some of the energy through the soles. Cycling cleats, like Peloton cleats, that clip onto your pedals, not only give you a workout when you push down on your pedals but also when you pull up.
Not all cycling shoes are compatible with Peloton pedals and may require you to modify the pedals for you to use them. However, there are various Peloton compatible shoes available if you would prefer not to purchase Peloton branded shoes. While Peloton has a wide range of sizes, they do not have a dedicated women’s shoe line. Instead, they offer unisex shoes in sizes for both men and women.
When you are looking for spin shoes to use with your Peloton bike, you need to look for shoes that are comfortable, provide adequate support, and are compatible with the pedals of the bike. You may also prefer cycling shoes that fasten with one or more Velcro straps. These just make them easier to put on, take off, and adjust how they fit around your feet. Shoes with breathable mesh also add comfort as they keep your feet cool during intense rides.
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It’s Really All About the Cleats
Specialized cycling shoes are often referred to as cleats. However, the cleat is the small triangular wedge attached to the sole of the front part of a cycling shoe. This wedge clips into the bike pedals and essentially attaches your foot to the pedal.
A cleat is attached to your cycling shoes with bolts. Usually, cleats come in one of two configurations: two-hole pattern or three-hole pattern. A two-hole pattern is attached with two bolts placed next to each other. They generally have more tread than three-hole pattern cleats. This makes them slightly more comfortable and easier to walk around in.
Three-hole pattern cycling cleats attach to the shoe with (yes, you’ve guessed it!) three bolts. These bolts are usually arranged in a triangle. These cleats give you better power transfer and help keep your knees aligned, especially when you are riding out of the saddle. Three-hole pattern cleats have less tread and thus are difficult to walk in and best used only for cycling.
The pedals on your Peloton bike are designed to fit Look Delta cleats. These cleats are adjustable to give you plenty of stability.
Benefits of Using Cycling Shoes vs. Regular Tennis Shoes
You can use regular tennis shoes or gym sneakers with your Peloton bike, but you will have to modify the pedals. The pedals that come with your Peloton bike are designed to work with cycling cleats. To use your gym sneakers with your Peloton bike, you will have to change the pedals out for clipless pedals or pedals that can accommodate a toe cage. With a shoe cage, you slip the front of your foot into the cage. The cage holds your foot in place with the ball of your foot on the center of the pedal. Some toe cages come with a Look Delta cleat attachment at the bottom. With these toe cages, you will not need to change the pedals that come with your Peloton bike. Instead, you can simply clip the toe cages to the pedals and use them with your gym shoes.
If you do use your gym sneakers, you won’t get as much benefit out of your cycling as you would when you use cycling cleats. When you use shoes that do not attach to the pedals, the main effort that you exert comes from pushing each pedal down in turn. This does make for a great workout as it engages your quads, glutes, and calf muscles.
When your foot is attached to the pedal, you also exert effort to pull each foot up. When you pull up, you use your hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower front legs. At the same time, being clipped onto the pedals makes your pedal stroke more fluid and places less strain on your knees.
When you use a toe cage, you might get some of the benefits from this upward pull motion, but if the cage is not snug around your foot, it still has some play. This could make climbs more difficult.
Tennis shoes and gym sneakers’ soles are designed to give way slightly whenever there is any impact on the sole of the shoe. This is to disperse the pressure that you incur when walking or running. The soles are soft and give way to some degree each time your foot meets a hard surface. These soft and flexible soles will bend and wrap around your bike’s pedals and could place stress on your feet.
Different Kinds of Cycling Shoes That Can Be Used With Your Peloton Bike.
Mountain bike shoes (MTB)
Mountain bike shoes generally have more tread on the soles to accommodate those times when you need to navigate rougher terrains while you are out mountain biking. Their soles are more rigid than gym sneakers or tennis shoes, so they could work on your Peloton cycle. However, most mountain bike shoes are fitted with SPD cleats, which means you will need to change out the pedals of your Peloton bike to SPD pedals to accommodate them.
You could consider purchasing mountain bike shoes (and changing out your Peloton bike pedals). This could work if you plan to do indoor cycling on your Peloton bike and mountain biking, and you don’t want to buy two different pairs of cycling shoes. If you plan on mostly indoor cycling, this might not be the best option for you.
Touring or commute shoes are a kind of hybrid between cycling cleats and regular gym shoes. The soles are quite flexible, and the SPD cleats are recessed. The SPD recessed cleats sit inside the sole instead of protrudes from it, making walking with them much easier than conventional cycling cleats. Like mountain bike shoes, touring shoes could be an option if you are looking for something that you can use both for cycling and going to the gym.
Road cycling shoes.
Road shoes have very firm soles, and that optimizes the power that you transfer to the pedals. Most road shoes are fitted with Look Delta cleats, making them the perfect fit for your Peloton bike pedals. They are the best shoes for Peloton riders if you are looking for alternative indoor cycling shoes instead of purchasing Peloton branded shoes.
What do the numbers on the bottom of Peloton shoes mean?
If you purchase a pair of Peloton cycling shoes, you will see some numbers and lines on the soles. These are there to help you position the cleats. The bottom of the cleat should be in line with the horizontal numbers and lines on the soles of your cycling shoes. The diagonal lines help you place the cleat so that it is in the middle of the ball of your foot. You could pop into your local Peloton showroom or Peloton studio if you need help fitting your cleats to your Peloton shoes.
How much do Peloton shoes cost?
Peloton cycling shoes go for $125 on the Peloton website, and you could purchase cleats for $25. Peloton Interactive, Inc. also offers bike accessory sets. The Bike Essentials set includes a pair of Peloton bike shoes (with cleats), weights, and headphones for $150. The Bike Works set includes everything in the Bike Essentials kit along with a heart rate monitor (that connects to the Peloton app for different Peloton workouts) and a bike mat for $250. The Bike Family set includes two pairs of Peloton shoes, two heart rate monitors, two pairs of headphones, two water bottles, one set of weights, and one bike mat for $450. They have a wide range of sizes, and they fit well even if you have a wide foot.
How often should you replace your cycling shoes?
How often you will need to replace your Peloton shoes will depend on how much you use them. If you use them regularly, you will likely need to replace them every year. If you use them every day, sweat a lot, or do longer rides more often, you might have to replace your shoes sooner than that.
Investing in a pair of Peloton compatible shoes will significantly increase the benefits that you get out of your Peloton class. They make your ride safer and more comfortable. While you can use toe cages with gym sneakers or different styles of cleats, the Look Delta cleats will give you the best performance during your Peloton rides.