Why Are Cycling Shoes So Expensive? Discover 3 Major Factors

Why Are Cycling Shoes So Expensive_ Discover 3 Major Factors

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes and wondered: why are cycling shoes so expensive? There are a couple of underlying reasons. Join us as we uncover them.



When you are in the process of purchasing a new pair of biking footwear, it can often seem like a heavy investment. But why are cycling shoes so expensive?

Well, there are several factors that play into this. Knowing it can help you make better buying decisions.

Why Are Cycling Shoes So Expensive_ Discover 3 Major Factors

Why Are Cycling Shoes So Expensive_ Discover 3 Major Factors

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Why Are Cycling Shoes So Expensive?

High Demand

Why do cycling shoes cost so much?

It is, in part, a matter of supply and demand. In professional cycling, athletes are willing to pay for premium quality sportswear to improve their performance. For them, this is a worthy and necessary investment.

A pair of cycling shoes is the most efficient way for power transfer to the pedals. These competitive advantages that come with turn them into must-haves.

A well-fitted pair of shoes can also help ensure your safety. They can help you prevent many injuries to the feet and ankles. Casual ones don't hold your feet tight enough.

Wearing ill-fitting footwear for long biking sessions can cause foot pain, blisters, and scratches.

These can develop into more serious problems like infections, nerve damage, and deformities. But, you should know that this type of shoe won't break in.

Sportswear manufacturers don't have many incentives to mass produce this type of shoe. Casual bikers tend not to buy them as they don't need them as often.

Unless you need rigorous and intense per-week cycling practices, a pair of sneakers will be good enough. But you don't have to be a pro to buy them. They can provide better performance and security for everyone.

Do good cycling shoes make a difference? Check the this video to understand what the higher price tag gives you:

Quality Material

Leather Shoes

Leather Shoes – Source: Flickr

The advantages of this specialized footwear come from their high-end materials. The materials that make up the footwear can help increase protection and comfort.

A lot of the breathable materials are expensive and hard to come by. Some, like natural leather, are labor-intensive to produce. This can drive up the price of the final sportswear.

Expensive materials contribute to the high cost of these shoes. These include natural leather, synthetic leather, suede, and high-quality nylon mesh fabric. Together, they form the upper, interior, plus sole.

Several high-end brands have their footwear upper part molded in one piece, unlike more economical options that stitch many material panels together.

You can expect the more expensive shoes to be carrying much less weight. Being more lightweight is another reason cyclists will pay high prices for them.

High-end ones have soles made up of carbon fiber. It is much more lightweight and stiff compared to other materials, like molded plastic. And carbon is more costly. A notable cheaper option is fiberglass mixed with plastic.

Increased Stiffness


Cleats – Source: Amazon

Another element that you may pay good money for is a high level of stiffness. Compared to other types of footwear, more pricey shoes offer much greater stiffness.

A pair of ultra-stiff ones provide much-needed supports for your foot and pedal. When you wear them, they would feel like an extended part of the pedals of your mountain bike.

When you lift your feet after every pedal stroke with high-end shoes, the pedals don't fall away from your feet. This is very important if you want to carry out intensive practices.

The constant gripping of an expensive shoe helps improve performance. The clever design of the cleats and sole material makes them more premium.

This factor of increased stiffness allows you to transfer force from your feet to the pedals with more efficiency.

Because those with a stiffer sole are less likely to bend and flex, you would much prefer this lack of flexing. This helps you preserve a lot of energy when most needed.

Pedaling performance with these ones is way higher than that of less stiff pairs. During periods of all-out cycling or sprints, this is an efficient way to transfer the forces of your feet to your bike's pedals.


How Much Should You Spend On Biking Shoes?

From our experience, around $225 should be where you should look. The bike shoe market is competitive and dynamic.

The common price points for quality footwear fall between $150 and $400. Choosing one within this price range will give you great performance, better protection, and safety.

You can get your hand on a pair of carbon soles with fiber composite at around $225. They will also have quality upper materials. Minimizing hot spots and bulk is what they can bring you.

But if you are on a budget, go for one for around $150. These can provide the essential performance improvement that you need. And if you can afford to, models over $300 can give you much greater comfort.

What's The Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Biking Shoes?


Sole – Source: Wikimedia Commons

How much difference do good cycling shoes make? There are clear differences in the sole quality between the cheaper shoe and more higher-end ones.

Entry-level shoes' soles tend to be more flexible and thicker. This is not ideal since we want a stiff and light type of shoe.

One more difference is their quiet, closure strapping system. A typical entry-level model will fasten using a Velcro system.

Boa-style dials are stable for more expensive pairs of cycling shoes. Ratchet mechanisms are also a common option.

Are More Expensive Cycling Shoes Worth It?

So is it worth it to get cycling shoes? The answer to this question boils down to your goals as a cyclist.

Because there are diverse options available in different price ranges, you are bound to find a pair of footwear that is worth and budget appropriately.

But if you are looking for models with many extra advantageous features, you can go for more higher-end shoes.

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Why are cycling shoes so expensive? After today's post, we hope you can find it informative and helpful in answering these questions.

You need to remember that price is a great indicator of quality. You can often find more safety, security, and functionality with a bigger price tag. You get what you pay for. Cheap shoes can’t offer you these features.

Ridge Davis

Ridgid Fitness represents the synthesis of Ridge Davis's career experiences in fitness and sports.

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