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Peloton bikes are quite expensive. Getting bike shoes can make the purchase even more costly on an already stretched budget.
If your exercise equipment budget is getting stretched by a peloton bike purchase, learning last minute that you might need to buy bike shoes might frustrate you. Peloton's shoe pricing and clarity can be annoying for people who don't want to buy shoes only to find out they were unnecessary or, worse, don't even work with a peloton.
You can use Peloton without bike shoes as long as you get toe cages (which are cheaper than bike shoes) and wear your sneakers on the bike. Without toe cages or bike shoes, your pedaling speed will be too slow to follow, even in beginner classes.
In this article, you will learn whether getting straps or toe cages to anchor your feet to the pedals is better than getting bike shoes. You will also discover different toe cages and shoes to make your choice. By the end, you will know which shoe or strap to pick based on your budget.
The information in this post is curated from Peloton's own support resources as well as public reviews that are cross-referenced in a category-wide analysis. That's why you can use it as your complete guide to the peloton shoe dilemma.
Using the Regular Shoes With Peloton: What To Expect
Using Peloton without bike shoes is a choice. And like all choices, it comes with consequences. Here are a few things you can expect using Peloton with regular shoes:
Zero Pedal Pull
Unless you're using a stationary or recumbent bike, you'll need toe cages or a clip-on strapping attachment to anchor your shoes to the pedals. Otherwise, you'll not be able to pull up the pedal, which significantly reduces your pedaling efficiency.
Depending on the shoe and its fitness for high-speed athletic activities, you might experience a level of discomfort wearing shoes not meant for bikes. Dress shoes are the most uncomfortable, while sports shoes and sneakers are the most comfortable.
Wear and Tear
Shoes not meant for bike riding can experience accelerated wear and tear because of peloton activity. If you take fast-paced spin classes with shoes that are made for walking only, it is reasonable to expect the shoes to wear out faster.
If you use loafers or any type of sans sports slip-on shoes, you might not be able to pedal fast enough for advanced peloton classes. Slides have the lowest speed ceiling, followed by loafers and boat shoes. Laced shoes have the highest pedaling capabilities provided they have enough sole traction.
Do You Need To Buy Peloton Shoes?
You don't need to buy peloton shoes but need cycling shoes or delta-compatible shoes with cleats in order to get enough traction for medium-speed peloton use. Otherwise, you might not be able to pull up the pedal, may experience discomfort, tear your shoes, or have to cycle at a very slow pace.
These problem areas are relevant because they can allow you to pick the best shoes from your closet. It is not necessary to get new shoes for the Peloton. You just need to get shoes that will be comfortable, not experience disproportionate wear and tear on the cycle and will allow you to pedal faster without sliding off. Above all, you need a way to keep your shoes attached to the pedals.
Peloton recommends using toe cages as a way to improve your sneakers' traction to the bike pedals. Since this is Peloton's own recommendation, it has enough credibility to make you keep the peloton shoes out of your cart.
Peloton bike shoes are more expensive than regular bike shoes. Your choice is between bike shoes and sneakers used with a toe-cage attachment. Toe cages are cheaper for people who already have sneakers. For those who don't own a pair of sneakers already, buying toe cages and sneakers can have a higher collective price tag than just getting bike shoes with clip-on cleats.
Bike Shoes vs. Sneakers on Peloton
Here is a quick comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of using bike shoes and sneakers on the Peloton
Overall, sneakers with toe cages are the best for people who are using Peloton for the first time, aren't completely committed to cycling, and own a pair of high-end sneakers already. For everyone else, bike shoes are recommended.
Best Toe Cages for Peloton Bikes
Before we review the right bike shoes, let's look at toe cages you can order if you want to use the sneakers you already own. You should look for shoe grip and pedal grip alongside the longevity of the toe cages when buying them online.
Venzo Bike Pedal Toe Tips
Venzo Bike Pedal Top Tips can help you get maximal upward pedaling traction in the absence of cleats. They grip the bike pedal and the shoe equally and require you to move your foot backward to remove it from the toe cage. This motion is unlikely to occur naturally, which means you can easily bike as if you were wearing bike shoes.
The Venzo tips have a vertical strap that can be adjusted according to shoe size, making them ideal for peloton bikes that are used by more than one person. That said, these tips cost 50% of the average price of new bike shoes. In other words, they are not the most wallet-friendly solution, even though they are the best-rated tips.
With over 1500 reviews and ratings, the Venzo pedal adapters have a global average rating of 4.5 stars on a 5-star scale. Multiple customers have vouched for the tips' compatibility with Peloton, and the manufacturer has guaranteed by the assertion that its product is compatible with the bike.
Boerne Toe Cages
A more budget-friendly version, Boerne Toe Cages also optimize your upward pedaling coverage but don't last as long. The build of these toe cages is reminiscent of the Venzo tips, and their functionality is also pretty similar. But as is the case with all things cheap, the longevity of these toe cages is not guaranteed.
At a 4.2-star average, one can see that these cages are slightly less well-received than the Venzo tips. However, given a nearly 50% difference in price for a 0.2-star lower average, the deal is reasonable.
Best Bike Shoes for Peloton Bikes
The best bike shoes for peloton bikes are KESCOO Unisex Cycling Shoes because they come with a DELTA cleats clip and have a breathable mesh upper, just like peloton shoes. The manufacturer guarantees peloton compatibility by including it as a feature in the product information.
Most importantly, these shoes are priced at 60% below the average peloton shoes and 20% below the average bike shoes. This would bring the shoes' quality into question, but given that over 800 people have given it enough positive reviews for a collective average of 4.4 out of 5 stars, one can infer a satisfactory level of quality.
If you want a higher-priced version with even better quality materials and build, then Venzo Bike Racing shoes with Delta Cleats might last longer. These shoes have a unique design not as closely reminiscent of Peloton shoes as KESCOO shoes (which look almost like peloton shoe knock-offs). Still, Venzo bike shoes are 100% compatible with Peloton bikes.
Moreover, they have far more reviews, which communicates market confidence. With over 4000 reviews and ratings, Venzo bike shoes have a global collective average of 4.5 stars, a point higher than the KESCOO cycling shoes.