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The Best Women's Cycling Shoes

author image Max Roman Dilthey
Max Roman Dilthey is a science, health and culture writer currently pursuing a master's of sustainability science. Based in Massachusetts, he blogs about cycling at MaxTheCyclist.com.
The Best Women's Cycling Shoes
Cycling shoes can make a big difference in performance. Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Having the right pair of shoes can make a big difference in your cycling routine. Cycling shoes improve your efficiency by connecting your feet to the pedals, keeping you safely positioned at high cadences and allowing you to pull up slightly during your upstroke. The best cycling shoes for women should fit tightly around the feet to prevent sore spots during a ride, and usually feature ventilation that keeps the feet cool and comfortable.

Made For Your Feet

For cycling shoes to work well, they need to fit well. Women's specific sizing will give you the best fit, since even petite women fall within the sizing range for cycling shoes. The best cycling shoes feature a ratcheted closure system; a spring-loaded clasp and a plastic strap click together for a custom fit that can easily be adjusted, even while riding. These closure systems are often matched with velcro straps, which lets you fine tune the fit of your shoes so they're completely snug.

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Light and Fast

The top cycling shoes usually feature a carbon fiber last. This material is extremely stiff and lightweight, making it ideal for racing cyclists. The upper of the shoe is usually a combination of synthetic leather and mesh, with key areas left open for ventilation to prevent the build-up of moisture inside the shoe. Cycling shoes connect to the pedals using a 2-hole cleat system or a 3-hole cleat system. The 3-hole system is usually found on the top cycling shoes, since it redistributes the power from your pedaling stroke over a wider surface area, which is more efficient.

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