Cycling shoes have an incredibly stiff, inflexible sole because the traditional wisdom is that the stiffer the sole, the better it transfers power to the pedals, but that s only partially true.
A good, high-quality stiff-soled cycling shoe is excellent, but they don’t get infinitely better as they become less flexible.
Moreover, the stiffness in the body isn’t making as much difference as you might hope. Do cycling shoes stretch?
Cycling shoes do not stretch on their own and should retain almost 100% of their unyielding shape for their entire working life. While a small amount of width stretch is possible in some cycling shoes and materials, if yours stretches beyond a very slight widening, it’s low-quality. The stiffness is why these shoes are highly prized and effective for pedaling.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
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Do Cycling Shoes Break-In
Cycling shoes do not break-in. They may have a couple of millimeters give to offer across the broadest part of your foot, but it’s not guaranteed.
It is essential to purchase the right length, width, and fit for your feet for the most part instead of expecting your shoes to adjust. The synthetic materials do not easily lend themselves to stretching.
How Long Does It Take For Cycling Shoes To Break-In
There is no time frame for breaking in cycling shoes because they don’t stretch. That said, it’s a good idea to take it slow with a new pair.
Ensure that they feel good on your feet, and there’s no unnecessary pressure anywhere before you wear them out for riding.
Do Lake Cycling Shoes Stretch
Lake cycling shoes are made from Carbitex CX6, which has the highest tensile strength of any commercially available fiber.
That strength transfers power to your pedals, but it doesn’t give way. If you are looking for a shoe that stretches, Lakes are not the right option for you.
However, if you want a made in the USA brand purpose-built to hold its form, you’ll love Lake.
I recommend Lake CX241 Wide Cycling Shoes from Amazon if you need a little more space in the toe-box.
The Nu-foam lining helps keep you comfortable, while the Lake Competition carbon fiber sole stays firm. You can learn all about these excellent shoes when you click here.
- Upper Material: Helcor leather
- Lining: Nufoam
- Closure: 2 BOA IP1 dials
- Sole: Lake Competition carbon fiber
- Cleat Compatibility: 3-bolt road
Do Sidi Cycling Shoes Stretch
Sidi cycling shoes don’t stretch, but they do mold to your feet. A good pair of these high-end cycling shoes will help you go further with less effort.
The sizes go up by three millimeters for a half size and six for every full-size jump so that you can get a great fit.
I suggest the popular Sidi Men’s Sunrise Road Cycling Scape from Amazon. It’s easy to get comfortable with a shoe size chart that shows you the fit in centimeters and how to measure your foot.
Plus, Sidi is known for its excellent, comfortable heel cups. Try them out on your next ride when you order here.
Do Shimano Cycling Shoes Stretch
Shimano cycling shoes will stretch slightly if you get an outstanding shoe stretcher. However, it’s worth noting that this particular brand is made for narrow feet, so it’s not for every rider.
Please try the Lakes I recommended above instead if you want a wide shoe.
For those who prefer a narrow shoe, check out the SHIMANO SH-RP1 High Performing All-Rounder Cycling Shoe from Amazon.
These durable and comfortable shoes come from a trusted name in cycling products. Best of all, you can wear these for indoor or outdoor cycling. Have a set of Shimano’s shipped to your door by clicking here.
- The SH-RP100 (RP1) is a Versatile 5-Hole Outsole: Compatible with both SPD / 2-hole and SPD-SL 3-hole cleats and clip-in pedals
- Stiff and Lightweight Sole: Fibreglass reinforced sole for maximum power transfer
- Simple and Secure Fit: Double strap closure for a comfortable and snug fit
- Durable Construction: Made from synthetic leather for long-lasting performance
- Pedaling Performance: Comfortable fit and optimum support for pedaling power and efficiency
Do Cycling Shoes Run Small
Cycling shoes do not run small. They should fit but not be overly tight because your toes will spread as you press down on the pedals.
Most brands of Cycling shoes run true to size, but it’s essential to check the brand size chart rather than simply going with what you think is correct. Additionally, if you’re between sizes, never size down.
How To Stretch Cycling Shoes
Cycling shoes don’t have much give. The rigidity allows your feet to effectively transfer energy from your legs to the pedals, then to the crank, chain, and wheels.
Clippies or shoes that clip to the pedals are the most effective, but all cycling shoes are more rigid than sneakers or running shoes.
However, there’s a little bit of lateral give. I’ll walk you through the process of stretching cycling shoes.
1 – Getting It Right The First Time
The best thing you can do to get the right fit is to get the correct size in the first place. Leather shoes stretch and give, so do some synthetic materials.
However, Cycling shoes are made to retain their stiffness and form precisely as they were when you first put them on because the rigid body makes them effective.
Check the fit with and without socks to ensure that your new shoes aren’t pressing uncomfortably on any part of your foot.
Numbness at the end of long rides is a frequent complaint, so make sure you have enough space in the toe box to wiggle your toes. You don’t want overly tight cycling shoes.
2 – Lateral Movement
If your cycling shoes are going to stretch at all, it is usually only side-to-side across the broadest part of your shoe and foot.
This will happen naturally as you wear the shoes the first time or two you ride. You don’t need to do anything.
3 – Loosen It Up
If you need more room in your cycling shoes, I recommend loosening the laces. Some cycling shoes use velcro or straps instead, but you can ease the fit regardless of the closure style.
You can even widen velcro and ratchet straps on the go without needing to stop and get off your bicycle.
4 – Heat Moldable Brands
There are very few brands of cycling shoes that are made to be heat moldable. You can literally warm them up and stretch them to fit, but their flexibility will depend on the specific brand and materials.
You need to pay close attention to the manufacturer’s directions on how to heat mold their particular shoes.
I recommend watching this video from Son of A Cyclist. He talks about getting the right fit and Bont, one of the only heat moldable brands.
How To Stretch Your Cycling Shoes Better
The only thing you can do to loosen up most cycling shoes is use a very high-quality wooden shoe stretcher.
These specialized devices are made to open up shoes, though they’re usually placed inside leather shoes.
More importantly, doing this won’t give you extra length on your cycling shoe from heel to toe. You can, however, get a little more width.
I recommend the HoundsBay Bulldog Premium Professional 2-way Wooden Shoe Stretcher from Amazon.
You’ll love the targeted stretching feature so you can get the most out of every pair you wear.
Plus, HoundsBay is a Texas-based US company with a hundred percent satisfaction guarantee so you can feel good about supporting them. Learn more about this top-quality shoe stretcher when you click here.
- ONLY 1 Premium Stretcher is included with your purchase. It's Designed for Both Right & Left Shoes. CONSIDER GETTING 2 as it's nice to stretch both shoes at the same time, although not necessary.
- GET THE PERFECT FIT - Stretch your Shoes into the Perfect Fit for your foot with this Premium Professional Shoe Stretcher used by the experts. Made from Polished Metal and Beautiful Beech Hardwood, it is Heavy, Smooth, and Indestructible.
- FAST 2 WAY STRETCHING - In just 8 Hours, Stretch the Length or Width of your Shoe into the Ultimate Comfort Fit for your deserving foot. You can also stretch both the length and width at the same time.
- TARGETED STRETCHING WITH 6 STEEL BUNION PLUGS - These included metal plugs allow you to Loosen Multiple Small Areas inside your shoe that may be causing you discomfort. A Great feature to Relieve Bunions, Corns, and other shoe pressure points.
- BASED IN TEXAS - SATISFACTION GUARANTEED. Buy with 100% Total Confidence. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, HOUNDSBAY offers a LIFETIME WARRANTY and excellent, professional customer service. Because of the Bulldog's Heavy-Duty, "No-Plastic" Construction, it will be the last Shoe Stretcher you ever buy, thus saving you from future purchases. It will last the rest of your life.
Helpful Tips To Know If Cycling Shoes Stretch
The design of cycling shoes primarily prevents stretching. Unlike most leather sports shoes, a bicycle-specific shoe isn’t made for various movements but rather to maximize the efficiency of a single move that is repeated.
Here are more helpful tips to know if cycling shoes stretch.
- Although you should be able to wear good cycling shoes right out of the box, it’s best to take it slow and not ride for hours in a new pair. By stretching out your adjustment period, you can easily determine if the fit is right for your foot without pain, numbness, or discomfort.
- Non-cleat mountain bike shoes are the most likely to have more flexibility. Since MTB riders frequently end up off their bikes walking more of the time than other riders, some mountain bike-specific shoes will stretch and ‘break in’ more than other cycling shoes.
- As you walk or pedal throughout the day your feet spread out naturally. You should expect to loosen your shoelaces as the day wears on, but you can also use this knowledge to get the right fit for cycling shoes. Always try them on at the end of the day when you’ve been active.
Not every shoe is made for flexibility, and no shoe is less flexible than a cycling shoe. However, this may seem like a disadvantage on casual inspection. It’s not.
The rigid body and firm sole allow riders to transfer motion from their bodies to their bicycles with a minimum of lost energy.
The downside is that you need to choose the correct shoe size, or your feet will most likely be in pain, but with a proper fit, you can ride for hours, and it shouldn’t cause you any discomfort.