What Shoes Do You Need to Wear to Spinning Class?

Regular athletic shoes may compromise your spinning workout.

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Busting your behind in spin class is an effective way to burn calories. Wear the wrong shoes, however, and your feet might hurt and you may not get all the results you crave. Next time you head to group cycling class, put your tootsies into shoes that offer stiff soles for optimal support and power.

What is Spinning Anyway?

Energizing music, motivating instructors and the vibe of a group are what make spinning a popular workout. The class consists of a group of athletic hopefuls riding specially designed stationary bikes under the guidance of a trained instructor who brings through a variety of terrains that include windy roads, potholes, hills and speedy flats. In one 40-minute class, you can burn 400 to 500 calories and train your heart. If you are new to spinning, you may feel a bit out of sorts with other participants donning cycling jerseys, padded shorts and shoes with clips.

Importance of Shoes

Just because spinning happens at a gym, it does not mean that any old gym shoe is right for the class. Athletic shoes are categorized for a reason – each one is designed for a specific type of movement. Running shoes, for example, offer support for pounding and provide stability. The soles of running shoes tend to be flexible to promote more natural foot movement. In spinning, your foot rests on a pedal and if you have a flexible sole, it can cause undue pressure on the bottom of your foot – leading to numbness or aching. A flexible-soled shoe also inhibits your ability to push with optimal power – which may mean you get less oomph out of your workout.

Cycling Shoes

Cycling shoes, worn by the likes of Lance Armstrong, have a stiff sole that helps you pedal with more power – so you can ride faster and harder, potentially equaling a bigger calorie burn. Moves such as standing climbs also become more accessible because the stiff sole helps you balance on the pedals without your foot collapsing. Cycling shoes can be outfitted with clips that allow you to snap your foot directly into the pedal. If you do not have clips, you must insert your foot into a cage that holds your foot in place. The cages are not always ideal, as they can put uncomfortable pressure on the outside of your foot. And if you do not fasten it tightly enough – you risk slipping out.


Some cycling shoes can cost a bundle, so check sales in the off-season. If you are not sure you are ready to invest in a shoe specific to cycling class, choose the stiffest-soled athletic shoes you have. Walking shoes are generally stiffer than running shoes. Basketball shoes also feature a stiff sole but may feel clunky in the pedal cages.

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