Best Recessed Cleat Cycling Shoes [Review] in 2020
This guide has been written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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Figuring out which shoes to buy for a comfortable and grippy cycling experience, is an important decision to make. Some would say it is just as important as choosing which bike to go for. Shoes need to be an exact fit of what you need, and comfort. They need to look fashionable and fit your taste at the same time. They are the first thing our attention is diverted to when we see someone riding a bike. It’s also important that the shoes are durable and last you a long time before feeling the need to change. Longevity is an important need when it comes to recessed cleat shoes for your bike riding experience, and we will take a look at some of the best recessed cleat shoes available.
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Our breakdown of the best recessed cleat cycling shoes
Tommaso Pista Women's Spin Class Ready Cycling Shoe
Top Choice Item
Tomasso brings recessed bike riding cleat shoes for women in 3 different color schemes. These are black/pink, black/blue and white/silver. The two color scheme in all options complement each other great. The shoes offer versatility and compatibility at the same time, keeping comfort and performance as the first most important feature. The shoe sizes are also well manufactured in a way that no matter what size you are, they will fit you perfectly. The sizes available, match the sizes on the chart perfectly to minimize any issues regarding fit. Soul of the shoe is reinforced with fiber glass which increases power while paddling and maximizes stability of the shoe. Ventilated mesh allows proper air pass through to keep your feet sweat free and comfortable.
Fiber glass reinforced soul for better performance
Two-in-one color scheme which helps customize shoe better
Leather on the outside for looks with mesh padding for comfort
Good grip on the bottom of the shoe for better riding experience
Sole may be a little slippery on the inside
Latest deal: Tomasso Pista
Venzo Bicycle Men's or Women's Road Cycling Riding Shoes
Prime Picked Item
Venzo brings bicycle riding shoes for both men and women, which come with 3 velcro straps to provide better fit and looks. The black, white and red combination is a stunning looking design which looks sleek and modern. Fits in and matches most outfits easily and complements your bike as well. The shoe is compatible with Peloton Shimano SPD and Look ARC Delta cleats as well. These are some of the well-known cleats available in the market. The perfectly curved ergonomic shape of the shoe makes it easy to wear and delivers on performance as well. The shoe is made out of highly breathable mesh and synthetic that makes the shoe very comfortable and it has quick drying ability as well.
Quick drying, breathable synthetic with mesh
Removable sock liner
Low-cut construction for a lightweight and fast performance
Compatible with most cleats
Tightening straps can be improved
Latest deal: Venzo Shoe
Tommaso Milano Commuter/Spin Bike Cycling Shoe
If you are looking for a sleek pair of recessed cleat shoes, Tomasso has got you covered with their not to over the top modern looking shoes. These shoes have a black and grey color scheme going on which gives them a very understated vibe. This shoe will definitely attract minimalists looking for a simple yet functional shoe design. Speaking of functional, the shoe look very comfortable to provide you with an easy casual bike riding experience. The shoes have a hidden inner shank plate which adds functionality and power to every stroke you take on the bike, delivering at its full capacity. The quality of the materials on this shoe is amazing and they are precision fit to fit your feet perfectly. The shoe turns a lot of heads and is a definite eye catcher.
Precision fit for better fitness
Comfortable and perform well with the hidden shank
All-black minimal design to fit in perfectly
Can be upgraded to clipless shoes and pedals
May run small due to friction while riding
Latest deal: Tommaso Milano
Venzo Bicycle Cycling Shoes
Venzo brings you a very sleek shoe with a very modern design. The shoe has a jaguar style art on the heel side up and the black, silver and white color combo looks understated and bold at the same time. Shoe features a quick dry synthetic with a soft mesh for comfortable riding for a long period of time. The shoe is easy to ride with or without the cleats installed. The shoes weigh less as well which allows to increase power and efficiency while cycling. The shoes come with a one year warranty which gives the buyer confidence in the company. The shoe is a definite eye catcher and goes for an amazing price.
Quick dry synthetic fiber and soft mesh for comfort
Easy to ride with or without cleats
Lightweight to increase performance
One year warranty out of the box
Pedal quality can be improved
Latest deal: Venzo Shoes
PEARL iZUMi Men's X-PROJECT PRO
Best Value Item
Pearl brings you a very unique looking recessed cleat shoe with an amazing color scheme going on. It has two way color combination on one of the available designs. It is a shocking orange and black combo which looks absolutely stunning and bold. The other one is an all-black minimal understated look for the minimalists who try to keep it simple and elegant. Either way you cannot go wrong with the design of this shoe. The shoe has a completely re-engineered carbon composite soul that delivers amazing pedaling performance. It also has an advanced 3 layer seamless composite upper which eliminates hot spots by adapting to the shape of your foot for better grip and fit. It has a bi-directional closure to wrap around your feet for a snug fit. Double BOA IP1 reels allow adjustability close to 1mm and pop up for full release. The shoe looks awe-inspiring and is a definite eye catcher.
Carbon composite sole for better pedalling performance and hike ability
3 layer seamless composite upper provides breathability and eliminates hot spots
Double BOA IP1 reels allow 1mm micro-adjustability and pop up for full release
1:1 insole ratio allows for independent left and right arch
Ventilation may wear out at around 75 degrees or up
Latest deal: Pearl iZUMi
How we’ve picked the top recessed cleat shoes for road bikes
Choosing the best shoe for cycling can be a hard choice, especially when there are so many amazing options at such low prices. Shoes need to deliver on comfort, quality, and performance as some of the main pillars when it comes to cycling. They need to provide proper ventilation and have a soft breathable mesh padding to go along with it.
Good road cycling recessed cleat shoes offer lightweight construction with soft and ergonomic souls and ventilation. They should have stiff but comfortable souls for better power delivery. These shoes use a clipless pedal-shoe combo where the cleats can attach to the shoe without a problem. The cleats come in different variations. These are 3-hole cleats and 2-hole cleats. Typically recessed cleat shoes have 3-hole cleats but some from Shimano features 2-hole cleats also. Perfect ergonomic shape is also a very important factor in shoe performance and it is very important that the shoe precisely fits and then adapts to your routine with time.
All the above-mentioned manufacturers we took a look at today had a unique trick up their sleeves to catch the eyes of the audience. Some offered amazing ventilation while others offered breathable mesh padding and leather. Some had a precision fit while others were lightweight with synthetic fibers that dry quickly. What all of them had in common was good quality and amazing pricing, as expected. Choose either of them and you will not be disappointed.
Best recessed cleat cycling shoes buyers guide
Cycling shoes are lightweight and stiff for easier pedaling. They also have a mesh that allows breathability. Their sole is normally stiff and compatible with clipless pedal cleats.
Cleats are usually mounted on the shoe and they help to lock the pedal. Their clipless set up enables efficient power transfer which allows you to ride the bike comfortably.
However, cleats come with different features and shapes which makes them ideal for different riding conditions.
There are different types of cleat systems but recessed cleat systems are the most preferred. Cleats can be recessed to sit externally or into the sole of the shoe. Mountain and urban shoes normally have recessed cleats that facilitate easier walking.
Recessed cleat shores are suitable if;
– You want to have normal-looking shoes for the gym or studio
– When you need to unclip off the bike frequently
– If you want to walk to the gym without using the bike
How to pick the best-recessed cleat cycling shoes
Fitting – One of the best ways to make your rides more comfortable is ensuring that you are using the correct shoe size. Cycling shoes are also available in different widths, sizes, and shapes which means that you need to ensure that the one you have picked matches with the size of your feet.
Breathability – Just like cycling helmets, cycling shoes should have enough ventilation. This will allow air to circulate and will also prevent your feet from sweating.
Fastening mechanism – These shoes come with various tightening mechanisms such as Velcro, buckle or ratchet systems, wire retention systems and laces. As compared to other options, ratchet systems are the heaviest and the most expensive. On the other hand, laces are the most affordable but they are not the best. Velcro straps are very simple, strong, and lightweight while wire retention systems are the most lightweight.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are recessed cleat cycling shoes worth it?
These shoes are very important because they provide excellent power transfer from your feet to the pedals. They are also breathable, lightweight, and long-lasting.
- What are the benefits of cleat cycling shoes?
The major benefit of these shoes is that they are more secure and safer as compared to others especially when cycling at a high speed. They also provide a great feeling of control and connection.
Content Manager at Pedallers
Alex is a cycling expert at and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. She searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.