10 Triathlon Cycling Shoes to Upgrade Your On-The-Bike Footwear
Unlike traditional road bike shoes, triathlon cycling shoes feature a more minimalist, stripped-back design. Often created with just one or two over straps and larger heel loops for easy entry and removal, tri cycling shoes are made for fast transitions.
And because triathletes are just exiting the swim before mounting on the bike, triathlon bike shoes are made with greater ventilation and faster drying materials. If you’re in the market for an upgrade, here are ten triathlon cycling shoes worth a look.
Perhaps the best bang for the buck when it comes to performance tri bike shoes, the Fizik Powerstrap R4 is incredibly stiff and lightweight with a full carbon outsole.
The strap design is extremely simplified, allowing for smooth insertion and removal even while on the bike. A knitted upper enables optimal ventilation.
Boasting an average of 4.6 out of 5-star review, the Fizik Powerstrap R4 tri shoes are affordably priced at around $109 on Amazon and are unisex for both men and women.
Pearl Izumi is a household brand name in the triathlon space, and these Tri Fly 7 cycling shoes are a dependable option for both men and women. The sole uses direct-vent technology to facilitate drainage and a mesh upper helps dry things up in a fly.
The notched main strap and double heel loops are designed for efficient entry coming out of T1 and dismount entering T2. The reinforced nylon sole is stiff and lightweight, offering a unique combination of both 3-bolt cleat and SPD compatibility.
The sleek, black design comes in at a price point of around $110. Buy them directly from Pearl Izumi in Men’s and Women’s. You can also find them at Backcountry as well as Amazon in Men’s and Women’s.
Shimano’s TR5 is designed to be a short-course triathlon cycling shoe for women, allowing for faster transitions and overall ease of use. If you’re just entering the world of triathlon but want a high-quality bike shoe, you can’t go wrong with this option.
The sole is made of lightweight fiberglass that offers superior stiffness and power transfer similar to carbon. The mesh upper is mindfully tailored in abundance to maximize ventilation. The all-white look screams speed.
The Tri X-Speed XZ is a performance mid-range triathlon bike shoe that is made for men but doesn’t exclude women. Incredibly lightweight and breathable, this shoe delivers Kona-ready capabilities at a fair price.
Louis Garneau Tri X-Speed XZ offers 2 and 3-bolt SPD/SPD-SL pedal capability, making them great for your triathlon bike or indoor trainer. A full mesh upper optimizes ventilation and breathability for hot weather riding.
Well-reviewed and well-priced, you can get Garneau-quality cycling shoes with the Tri X-Speed XZ for around $159 on Amazon.
If you’ve tried Lake cycling shoes in the past, then you likely know the level of quality, fit, and feel that they offer. Lake’s TX223 Tri Shoe is no exception, delivering the ultimate in comfort and performance.
Designed with a carbon outsole for maximum power transfer, perforated sole for air intake breathability, and microfiber uppers for cleanliness and comfortable pedaling – the TX223 Tri Shoe is meticulously engineered for high-performance triathletes.
One of the hottest-looking triathlon bike shoes from a quality-driven brand, Pearl Izumi’s Tri Fly Pro are different from other cycling shoes in that they use BOA® Fit System technology versus an over-strap. Preferred among many types of cyclists, this twist dial option tightens the shoe to perfection and is just as easy to loosen/draw as straps.
Pearl Izumi is a pioneer in the tri shoe space with its 1:1® PRO Air Carbon Power Plate, which delivers superior stiffness and overall weight reduction. The fully knitted upper provides high breathability and zonal stretch – all of which are reinforced with synthetic leather for exceptional durability and longevity.
One of the most well-designed triathlon cycling shoes for elite performance and head-turning good looks, the TR9 is a podium topper in the Shimano family.
A true triathlon racing shoe, the TR9 is designed for professionals. They offer a rigid and lightweight carbon sole, stabilizing heel cup for optimal positioning and power transfer, and a breathable mesh and water-resistant upper for exceptional ventilation and quick drying.
The T-5 Air from SIDI is a fashion-forward, performance-minded triathlon cycling shoe that helps maximize your pedaling potential on the bike. Shown in the image above is the grey/yellow scape design, with the women’s option having a similar look with a rose/white color scheme.
Supported by rave reviews, the SIDI T-5 Air is a favorite among triathletes. They’re designed with a vented (Polytex) perforated upper and light carbon composite sole. The remarkable fit and sizing are also worth noting among those who’ve tried the product.
Go with something a bit more low profile with the Transiro Infinito R3’s from Fizik. Delivering professional-grade performance with a minimalist design, these triathlon cycling shoes look great and feel even greater.
Built with a full carbon sole, the Transiro Infinito R3 tri shoes are highly stiff and lightweight, optimized for power transfer and responsivity. This unique triathlon bike shoe design uses a combination of a primary strap and BOA® Fit System around the ball of the foot.
You can find the Fizik Transiro Infinito R3 for around $299 on Amazon.
A high-performance road shoe that’s triathlon-friendly, the S-Works EXOS are built upon an extremely lightweight carbon sole that maximizes stiffness (13.0 stiffness index) and power transfer. The Specialized body geometry footbed and Dyneema mesh outer conforms to your feet so well that you’ll forget they’re on.
Using a single BOA® Fit dial as the primary fastener, the S-Works EXOS are easy to get on and off, making them a fantastic triathlon bike shoe for any distance racing. At about 300 grams per pair (or .66 pounds), they’re some of the most lightweight cycling shoes you can find.
The S-Works EXOS cycling shoes can be found for $349 (sometimes less) at Backcountry.
Do You Have Triathlon Bike Shoes to Suggest?
Do you like a particular pair of triathlon bike shoes that we haven’t mentioned? We want to know about it! Let us know your favorite tri cycling shoe and contact us!
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About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is an experienced multisport athlete who specializes in various forms of cycling. Mountain biking, road cycling, and eventually triathlon is what initially catapulted Tyler into endurance sports at a young age. Today, he competes in ultra gravel bike races on the professional level. Tyler is the Head of Content for Better Triathlete and leads the site’s editorial team. Learn more about Tyler. Or follow him on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.