How to Tell If Your Bike Shoes Fit Right

How to Tell If Your Bike Shoes Fit Right

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Properly fitting bike shoes can add speed and comfort to your rides.

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Properly fitting bike shoes can make the difference between a fun bike ride and a very uncomfortable one. An ill-fitting bike shoe can cause blisters or numb feet, which will most likely make you want to head home as quickly as possible. The best way to find out if your shoes fit properly is to ride with them on for at least half an hour. Your feet typically swell when you exercise, especially in the heat, so it's hard to tell if the shoes fit if you just try them on inside.

Test Your Shoes both On and Off the Bike


Put your cycling socks on your feet and step into your shoes with the straps loose. Tighten the strap closest to your toes first and work up to the strap nearest your ankle. Snug each strap just enough to keep your feet from sliding around in the shoes.


Ride your bike for at least 30 minutes. If you feel any numbness or hot spots during this time, stop and readjust your straps. If your feet get numb, the straps may be too tight. If you feel your heel slipping or your feet moving side to side, the straps may be too loose. Try riding in both a seated and standing position to get a feel for how the shoes feel in both positions.


Get off your bike and stand in your shoes. Check the distance between your toes and the end of the shoe. If your toes touch the end, the shoes may be too short. If you have more than a finger width between your toes and the end, they may be too long. Check the sides of the shoes as well. If there is any gapping in the material, they may be too wide. If you can barely fasten the straps or your feet bulge over the sole of the shoe, they may be too narrow.


Sit down with the shoes still on your feet and check the length and width again. You're sitting a lot when you ride a bike so it's important to make sure the shoes aren't too loose when you sit down on the bike seat.

Things Needed

  • Bike shoes
  • Cycling socks
  • Bike
  • Helmet


  • If you don't already own shoes and are looking to buy, try going for a run or walk for 30 minutes before you shop. Most bike shops won't let you try the shoes before you buy. Trying them on with your feet slightly swollen will at least help you get a better fit in the store.


  • When testing your shoes on your bike, always wear a helmet. Check your local cycling laws and be sure to follow them for your own and other people's safety.