Last modified on March 12th, 2022 at 10:18 am
Buyer's Guide Table of Contents
The needs of a touring cyclists differ from a day rider. So why choose shoes that aren't specific to your needs?
If you're here, you've probably already had a crappy pair of shoes and a bad experience cycle-touring.
Believe me, I've been there.
Having a pair of shoes that are designed to fit the needs of touring cyclists can make or break your ride.
We put together this list of the top cycling touring shoes to help give you a leg up on your next cycling adventure.
Before we dig into all the details, here's a preview of what this article will cover. If you want more details about any particular shoe, just click "Jump to more details" and we will carry you on your way!
Sidi Dominator 5
Overall Rating - 4/5
Synthetic material means it will hold up on the wildest adventures. At just over 1lb, they are incredibly light without feeling flimsy. Best for cyclists who spend most of their tour time on the bike rather than walking around.
Giro Men's Privateer R
Overall Rating - 4/5
Versatile shoe that is great for mountains, road, and cross country. The bottom of the shoes are indented rubber, making them great for walking, climbing and cycling alike. Lighter than most shoes other than the Sidi Dominator 5. Great all-around touring shoe.
Editor's Choice - Pearl Izumi X-Project
Overall Rating - 4.5/5
A mix between cross country and trail shoe. Offers great power transfer and a secure fit. The design is close to what you would find with a hiking shoe, making them great if your tours consist of hiking as well as cycling. Comes with support wedges to customize how the shoes fit and support you.
Choosing Cycling Touring Shoes
Choosing the best cycling shoes for touring is quite an important task because your shoes will keep you comfortable on long rides that may go for miles on end. Touring-specific shoes need to not only provide you proper power to your pedals, but also be comfortable to walk in. Most cycling shoes have hard soles or clips, making them great for cycling, but bad for walking.
Choosing the best bicycle touring shoes will ultimately come down to selecting the choice that has what you're looking for, and is within your budget. Our team has tried various cycling shoes, and from that has been able to compile this list specifically to help you make the best choice.
Most cycling shoes are designed to help you get the ideal power transfer to the pedals. Many cycling shoes also come with Velcro straps to help keep everything secure. It is important that you shoe fits snugly, but doesn't restrict your foot. Comfort is key with long rides, especially when it comes to touring.
If you have wide feet, you will need to select a shoe that is specially designed to not be restrictive, but still provide you the support you need. If this is the case, you may even need to get a few pairs of cycling socks too. They can help promote proper blood flow and keep you cool. You can read more about them here.
The following are the best cycling shoes for touring. They all offer a variety of features that ultimately make them a great choice for long distance cycling and walking.
It is extremely lightweight, but does not compromise on strength and durability. It is designed primarily as a cross-country shoe, and will do great on long rides. While it is primarily used for cyclists, you can get away with moderate walking without issue.
Due to its stiff bottom, you may get uncomfortable walking for long periods of time. It is more expensive than other options, but will prove to be worth the money.
The Sidi Dominator 5 is one of the most popular mountain and road bike shoes of all time. Sidi is known for producing comfortable shoes, and the Dominator 5 continues this legacy. The upper section of the shoe is made from a synthetic material, which allows for less deterioration over time.
It comes with ratchet strap Velcro for a secure, customized fit. The middle of the Velcro straps come with plastic teeth which are designed to provide a much more secure fit.
The Sidi Dominator 5 is one of the lightest pair of shoes in its class, coming in at just over 1lb per shoe. Unlike some of its competitors, the lightweight feel does not lend itself to also feeling flimsy. The materials used in the shoe construction allow for a comfortable lightweight fit, that will also stand up to just about whatever you throw at them.
The Dominator is traditionally considered to be a cross-country shoe. The power transfer is top notch so you can rely on them for long rides. However, this does come at a price. They have a firm sole, which may make extended periods of walking difficult, but not unbearable. If you are planning on doing any sort of climbing on your tours, you may want to select a shoe that is geared more heavily toward walking/running, than cycling.
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These are a very versatile shoe that will appeal to a wide range of cyclists. The 2017 version has a new and improved rubber sole which gives you great grip on the bike, as well off. You will be able to safely climb and walk just about anywhere.
There aren't many! As long as you don't have feet that are too wide and may be bothered by the race-type fit, these are an excellent pair of shoes for the price, and in general.
The Giro Men's Privateer R cycling shoe is an extremely versatile mountain, road and cross country shoe. Regardless of the type of riding you do, these shoes are up to the challenge. The 2017 version of the shoe has some upgrades from the previous version which earned it a place on this list.
The original privateer R had a nylon sole, which is a great material for cycling, but didn't lend itself well to walking and climbing. The new rubber sole provides you with grip on your bike, but also allows you to walk and climb slippery surfaces safely.
These shoes are pretty comfortable, but do tend to fit snuggly. They have a more race-ready feel than some other comparable options. If you plan on the majority of your touring being on your bike, this shouldn't be an issue. However, if you are planning on a mountain bike/hiking combo, you should go with shoes that have better ankle support and grip.
These shoes are very light, as they are geared to be used by racing cyclists. One of the only shoes that are lighting than the Privateer R are the Sidi Dominator 5's.
They are lightweight, have excellent power transfer and make great hiking/walking shoes. No other shoe on the market has comparable versatility.
The shoe is definitely not cheap. However, there is much else out there that is quite like it. If you have the money to spend on a great touring shoe, these are the absolute best choice.
The Pearl Izumi makes this list due to its very apparent mixture of cross country and trail shoe. It’s features make it hard to classify into a single category, which makes it a great touring shoe. The X-Project offers excellent power transfer, minimal weight, as well as a secure fit.
When you are cycling, the power transfer on these shoes is great. When you are walking, there is a noticeable flex which allows you to grip the ground and climb slippery surfaces quite simply.
The design of the shoe is quite appealing. The upper is seamless and comes in a variety of colors. The sole is made of carbon which not only looks great, but contributes to the light-weight feel of these shoes.
When it comes to comfort, Pearl Izumi did a lot right with the X-Project. The insole system comes with different support wedges to make for a highly customized and fully supported fit. While the insoles only vary in thickness by millimeters, it can make all the difference.
This is an excellent all around shoe, and tops the list of the best touring shoes of 2017. If you are willing to pay a slightly higher price tag, the X-Project’s are surely the way to go.
Choosing The Best Cycle-Touring Shoes
If you plan on bike touring, you need to be sure that you have the right gear to keep you comfortable at all times. There are many cycling shoes on the market, but not many of them are also designed to be hiking/walking shoes.
As an avid group of cyclists, our team has put together this list to help others find the best cycle touring shoes available. Each product listed has pros and cons, but ultimately are all a great choice for someone who is looking to start a new adventure.