These indoor-specific shoes offer a great budget introduction to cleated cycling shoes, either for spin classes or indoor training sessions on the turbo. The sole is certainly not in the same stiffness league as carbon soled shoes, but works well for everything apart from hard sprints and low cadence efforts. The upper is comfortable and hugs your feet nicely, but can be a bit loose when sprinting. Colour options are limited but the size range is huge, plus the provision for both three and two cleats makes these very accessible to many users.
Lightweight - especially for such a budget shoe
Comfortable (foot-shape dependant, of course)
Both three and two-bolt cleat fixings is a nice feature
Not great for maximal power transfer
Strap can create a pressure point on the side of feet
When sprinting your feet can move around inside the shoe
No colour options other than black
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Mention Shimano, and the first thought has probably jumped straight to groupsets. It’s a fair association - the Japanese giant is the world’s biggest producer, after all.
But Shimano’s portfolio stretches more widely than that, boasting some of the best cycling shoes in the form of its range-topping S-Phyre road cycling line. The Shimano IC102 Indoor Cycling Shoes we have on test here slot into a quite different segment of the market, the best indoor cycling clothing one - at a much lower price point and specifically for use riding indoors, these are excellent value and comfortable for sweaty sessions too.
Shimano IC102 Indoor Cycling Shoes: construction
Although the power numbers put out by the top e-racers are comparable to that of WorldTour riders on the roads, the Shimano IC102 Indoor Cycling Shoes aren’t solely an indoor specific model - they’re also designed as an entry-level option for greatest accessibility. The sole of the shoes uses a 3 and 2 bolt cleat pattern, so as to cater for pretty much any pedal/cleat platform.
With that in mind, the soles of these shoes aren’t made from super-stiff carbon, but rather a less expensive glass-fibre reinforced Nylon. This still delivers a reasonably rigid sole - ranking six on Shimano’s proprietary scale. Although looked at another way, that scale does go up as high as 12, and there is quite a difference between the IC102 Indoor Shoe and race-oriented carbon-soled models.
The upper of the shoes is almost sock-like, which fits really nicely and feels comfortable around your foot. It also makes the shoes very easy to put on. The Velcro fastening system is similarly comfortable and efficient, however it’s not possible to cinch it down as tight as with a Boa dial system.
Shimano IC102 Indoor Cycling Shoes: the ride
Slipping the IC102 Indoor Shoes on for the first time, they fitted nicely and seemed to suit my feet well, which are narrow at the heel, wide in the forefoot, and low volume. The Velcro strap did indeed work well at keeping my feet fairly, secure but there’s not much room for adjustment and you can’t tighten it up really hard like you can with Boa dials.
The shoes felt comfortable while doing efforts of up to around 400w - as long as the RPM was between 80 and 100 (more on that later). When doing sprint efforts, the shoes did feel a little loose on the feet as I tend to pull up on the pedals quite a bit - and the low volume of my feet probably didn’t help matters in terms of the movement inside the shoes.
During low cycling cadence efforts, I had the same issues and the flexing in the soles of the shoes was a bit more noticeable. I also noticed a hotspot on the outer side of my left foot right where the Velcro strap attaches. Unfortunately, the strap has no give, so this problem only got worse as the ride went on. This was a shame, as the upper of the shoe is very pliable - it’s just that the strap itself is noticeably stiff. A change of the strap location would likely result in a far more comfortable shoe.
Although the shoes are designed for indoor riding, the ventilation wasn’t something I particularly noticed while riding in these shoes. There are plenty of vents on the underside, but the upper doesn’t offer as much ventilation as some other indoor specific shoes I have used.
For turbo riding without sprints, or big gear efforts, these shoes are actually very good - assuming that the Velcro strap doesn’t put pressure on the side of your foot. However, fit is a very individual thing, so I would certainly recommend trying these on before committing to them, just to see where the pressure builds up on your foot if you keep them on your feet for a while and tighten them up fully.
For flat-out efforts, such as sprints, these shoes just aren’t stiff enough. But equally, this doesn’t really matter when just training and not racing or e-racing on Zwift - to be fair they are advertised as spin shoes for group cycling classes at the gym, rather than performance kicks.
Shimano IC102 Indoor Cycling Shoes: value
In terms of price, these are very good value. The only other shoes on the market in a similar price range are the FLR F35-iii at $69.99 / £60 or the dhb Dorica Road at $109 / £70, although these are both significantly heavier - but potentially a bit stiffer and less ventilated.
In terms of other indoor specific shoes, the Adidas Indoor Shoe uses a similar Velcro strapping system and fibreglass reinforced sole, but at a much higher price of $130 / £110 (some on sale for 30 per cent off). The Nike SuperRep is another option but again $120 / £110 - and both Adidas and Nike offer a smaller range of sizes available.
Shimano IC102 Indoor Cycling Shoes: conclusion
The Shimano IC102 Indoor Cycling Shoes are very good value and decently ventilated, making them ideal for indoor cycling. The placement of the Velcro strap could be improved to deliver better comfort for some foot shapes, but on the whole the shoes are comfortable to wear and ride in. Sprints and low cadence efforts highlight the relative lack of stiffness in the soles, but for the majority of riding they work perfectly well.
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