Cycling is generally a fun sport but for the most part, you’ll get to enjoy it only if you have the right cycling gear. The sandals you wear when cycling are part of this important cycling gear.
Sandals meant for cycling combine open design with shoe performance specifically meant for cycling. There are a number of factors to consider when you’re buying sandals to wear when cycling.
You need to consider whether they’re suitable for all the different weather conditions and if there’s ventilation in case of weather changes. Does this ventilation give the maximum comfort you need in a cycling shoe or sandal pair?
You also need to check the sole and the feeling you get when wearing the footwear. Does the footbed also assure you of all the comfort you need?
Aside from the flat or raised footbed, you need to look at the uppers, the sandal design, and all the color options the sandal model is available in and if it will require you to wear waterproof socks.
Is the sandal pair stiff enough to offer great performance while bike touring? Does the sandal pair come with a rubber sole or an EVA midsole?
Is the rubber outsole compatible with your pedal system? You also need to test the fit of the sandal to get the best ones.
The thing about these cycling sandals is that they’re not like flip flops, your ordinary socks, sandals for walking, or regular shoes. As such, you have to be keen when buying a sports sandal, especially considering different brands all give different options.
As a bicycle user, you’ll get plenty of recommendations as to which pair of these many sports sandals for cycling you should go for. You might get confused.
To help you make a decision, here’s an article with a list of the best cycling sandals you can find on the market.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Cycling Sandals
If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the cycling sandals that most people buy).
- Shimano SD5 Top Pick
- Nashbar Ragster II Runner-up
- Exustar E-SS503 Runner-up
Top 5 Best Cycling Sandals – Our Reviews:
1. Shimano SD5
The Shimano SD5 cycling sandals come with a more flexible sole compared to their predecessor which is the older Shimano SD66L. It’s something a lot of people like but there’s a group that does not, citing that this makes the sandal uncomfortable to the feet while riding since the support in the footbed is insufficient.
Some say that these sandals are excellent for walking but since the sole is hot, it results in hot spots. Considering the pedal will deform it, this further leads to pressure points on the feet too.
That said, these sandals are great for both walking and biking around town. They are comfortable to wear thanks to the SPD sandals cleat they’re designed with.
Since you’re feet collect dirt while you ride your bike, you’ll need to wash these cycling sandals before inserting them into your bag when you’re not using them. You might also have to wash the inner lining frequently.
The good news is that these Shimano SD5cycling sandals dry quickly. It’s also worth mentioning that these cycling sandals could leave you with a tanned imprint on your foot or both of them.
It’s generally a great pair of sandals for those who don’t mind the lack of stiffness considering it can be used when you’re on and off your bike during a tour.
The Shimano brand is known to produce long-lasting bike products and these cycling sandals are no exception. They’re more durable compared to other similar models on the market today.
The sandal has a classic dual-strap that ensures it fits you comfortably.
- Wide stable rubber sole
- Flat rubber footbed
- Glass rubber reinforced shank plate
- Synthetic leather upper
- Moisture control mesh layering
- Quick-drying after washing
- Suitable for bike tours
- Suitable for general walking around
- They lack stiffness
2. Nashbar Ragster II
The second model of cycling shoes on our list is the Nashbar Ragester II. They’re competitively priced and are great particularly for beginners who are just trying out something new for them.
Finding a pair is easy seeing that you can just go to the company website and get your size. Whether or not you wear socks, these sandals fit tightly.
The Nashbar cycling sandals come with a toe guard at the front that protects your toes from any injuries while cycling.
The sole of these sandals is stiff, making them ideal for long-distance cycling races but they’re not the best for walking around. They come with SPD-compatible sole that provides pedal efficiency.
The rubber outsole provides traction to the cycling sandals.
- Foam-padded footbed
- Compatible with 2-bold MTB cleats
- Textured rubber outsole
- 3 hook and loop straps
- The fit is roomy
- Has maximum adjustability
- Great for long-distance cycling
- Not suitable for walking around
3. Exustar E-SS503
The Exustar E-SS503 is another one among those great low-priced cycling shoes although the price fluctuates with different sizing. They come in a design that improves your efficiency as you ride, thanks to its comfortable fit.
The Exustar sole is not as flexible, making it suitable for cycling. The stiff sole is, however, the reason why they’re not the best for long hikes as they could end up hurting your feet.
The Exustar sandals are closed-toe cycling sandals and cover more of your foot than the traditional sandals which means your toes are well protected from injuries or any accidents. This greatly contributes to how well power is transferred from your feet to the pedals when you’re cycling.
The Exustar E cycling sandals are available in pairs for both male and female cyclists and it’s generally easy to find your size.
The biggest problem or complaint received from those who have used these Exustar sandals is that the sole’s glue is not strong. As such, the sole could come off within just a month of light use.
- Stiff sole
- Available for both men and women
- Available in a variety of sizing choices
- Improves cycling efficiency
- Comfortable fit
- Offers toe protection
- Not suitable for hikes
- Sole’s glue is not strong
4. Keen Commuters
The Keen Commuters cycling sandals are another great option but they’re not just perfect for commuting as the name suggests—they’re ideal too for those looking to go on a cross-country bike trip.
Since the Keen Commuters offer sandal versatility, they can also be used if all you want to do is just walk around when you’re touring in towns. They simply give you that much-needed comfort cyclists search for in a bikepacking or touring cycling shoe.
Depending on your shoe size and width, you might have to size up by half. If anything, it’s better to go to the market or shoes store where they are sold to try them on before you choose.
These sandals for cycling come in a design that looks narrow, but they are really not. They’re also not quite flexible.
These Keen sandals, although a popular option, are not readily available. You’ll experience some difficulty finding them online especially if you’re looking for men’s sizes because they’re always in and out of production.
Keen Commuters also provide great toe protection. The only problem you’ll face with the Keen Commuter is that they’re not the most durable cycling shoes you can find out there.
- Toe protection
- Narrow design
- Versatile sandals
- Protect toes from injury and accidents
- Hard to find
5. Gold Pigeon Sandal Easy Snap
Another one among the best performance sandals for cycling is the Gold Pigeon Sandal Easy Snap. They come in a design that’s somewhat closed compared to other sandals.
They have a toe guard that gives comfort and protection to your toes. They also feature an easy clasp that allows you to have the most ideal fit around your feet.
The design also boasts a footbed for soft cushioning, more comfort, and support when you’re riding your bike. They are a great pair of sandals for cycling because of their durability and high traction.
They have synthetic upper material and when you wash them, expect quick drying.
The sandals come in different colors and designs too. This means you have the option to get the sports sandal for cycling in a design that appeals most to your preferences.
- Closed design
- Easy clasp
- High traction
- Synthetic upper material
- Different designs and colors
- Toe protection
- Different color options
- Different sandal design options
- Great feet fit
- Mostly closed and feels like shoes instead of sandals
As mentioned, if you’re a cyclist who’s going to be out riding, you’ll need to get some great riding shoes with socks or a good sandal pair. Whether you decide to go for shoes and sandals, you need to do some research first.
There are several reviews on just about any pair of sandals you’re considering for cycling. You could read about the cycling sandal design of a range of sandals available on the internet and check out reviews written by some cyclists and users.
You could also search for some comparison that gives details on the fit and outsole. Remember, just like a flat sole, the outsole is an important factor when looking at shoes and sandals meant for cycling
The outsole is generally the outer part of the pair of sandals you choose for cycling.
Moreover, cyclists can check the uppers of the sandal they pick too online. The uppers of a cycling sandal could be leather uppers, nylon mesh uppers, or any others around.
Reading product articles about some cycling sandal models will tell you which ones have the best uppers and which sandal brand is more compatible with certain pedals.
After reading the posts on various sites that sell different sandal pairs for cycling, you might want to email them for more recommendations about a thing or two that you didn’t understand. This can be about features such as the uppers, toe style, durability, and so much more.
You can find the contact details on the website menu. Since the manufacturing companies pay a lot of advertising fees, the sites should be able to provide the best information to help you choose the right sandals for cycling.
Out of all these five models of cycling sandals, you might still question which one among them is the best sandal pair to go for.
My pick for the top cycling sandals is the Shimano SD5 sandal. They’re great cycling sandals made by the renowned Shimano brand.
They’re nice for bicycle touring and are also an excellent choice for walking because of the comfort they provide. Compared to any regular shoe, they give you great ventilation too when you’re out riding your bike.
The fit of these cycling sandals is also comfortable and most people generally appreciate the design.