So you got a Peloton bike and are ready to get started riding? For most cyclists and spin bike enthusiast the rule of thumb is to pay attention to places where you touch the bike. This means focusing on your handle bars, the Peloton pedals and cycling shoes, and the saddle.
Getting these things right will make for a more comfortable and enjoyable time on the bike. Let’s start with what you need to know about Peloton when it comes to shoe selection. Whether you are a beginner looking to join in on your first ride (see our guide to the best rides and classes for beginners), or an advanced cyclist looking to get the most out of your FTP, having good shoes will make you more comfortable and maximize your power on the bike. The Peloton branded shoes are a great option for this, but they are not the only choice.
If you really want to get the most out of your cycling experience consider customizing your shoe and pedal setup.
Getting Peloton Shoes On and Off
If you want to know how to put on peloton shoes, just Step into the shoe and pull the Velcro straps tight. The hard plastic belt should also feed through itself and you can use the lever to ratchet it tighter. Cycling shoes should be snug, but not too tight since your feet may swell during a ride. Check out to picture below to see how to tighten the third strap using the cranking ratchet. To loosen this you push the same small tab on the ratchet the other way.
To get the cleats attached to the pedal, slip the front of the shoe on first, then start pedaling. If you have the toe in, a normal pedal rotation should do the trick to get clipped in.
Getting shoes on and clipped in is half the issue. So, what’s the easiest way how to get Peloton shoes off the bike? Just push your heel away from the bike. After a hard class when your legs are jelly, this motion can be a bit annoying.
If you can’t get the cleat detached, you can also just reach down and unstrap the shoe to slide your foot out. Then you can hop off the bike and pull the shoe off. To do that, just grab the shoe from above and twist counter clockwise.
Are Cycling Shoes Required For Peloton?
The short answer… No, Peloton shoes are not necessary but some type of custom cycling shoe will improve the experience. Although cycling shoes are NOT required for Peloton, not having them will still require some customization. By default the Peloton comes with a pair of Delta-compatible pedals. This means they will work with any standard cycling shoe that has a delta cleat design (a cleat is just the attachment part on the bottom of the shoe).
The primary Peloton shoe includes a delta cleat, and has a three point attachment mechanism that needs to be screwed in. The attachment points also include location lines that help to align the cleats into uniform position.
Due to how the pedal and delta cleat attach, the pedal itself is not flat and instead has a small bump it in. In comparison to what most consider a standard bike pedal, the delta cleat pedals are not flat and trying to ride with just them and sneakers will give you bad grip on the pedal and make things much less fun. This is why, although Peloton shoes are not required, you still need to consider what footwear you want to be using.
It is worth calling out that the Delta cleat style is a non-recessed style cleat, which means they stick out from the bottom of the shoe. When walking on flat ground the non-recessed style will clack against the floor (potentially scratching some floors) and it is generally uncomfortable in them. There are alternate recessed style cleats available, but this will require a switch to a different pedal style. For a spin bike that sits in one place this is not a big deal as the strap in shoe is pretty easy to take off if you need to stop your ride and walk to go take care of something.
The bottom of Peloton shoes is made from a hard plastic and does not bend easily. In contrast to normal running shoes, or other tennis shoes, this is so that they can transfer power directly to the pedal. A soft soled shoe that bends will allow some of your energy to be lost as the shoe flexes, in comparison to a hard soled shoe which helps put pressure applied in the heel directly into the pedal.
Do Peloton Bike Shoes or Cleats Wear Out?
Over time the delta cleat will wear down. It is a mechanical connection that requires a snug fit between the pedal and the bottom of the shoe. Although the setup is made of durable materials it will wear over time and the fit will start to loosen.
At first this may just make it slightly harder to clip in or out, or the attachment may feel loose or wiggly, but after a while the connection will completely wear down. Expect to have to replace your shoe and cleat at some point, although their life will avry depending on how often you ride and how much walking or additional wear you put on them.
Can I Wear Sneakers on Peloton Bike?
Yes, If you plan to have a lot of people riding the Peloton and do not want to buy cycling shoes for each, the best move is to switch to a toe cage design.
There are attachments available for around $30 that clip onto the existing pedal and provide an adjustable set of straps to slid the toe of your shoe into. For people who prefer to ride in their normal shoes, or just don’t want to spend $100 per person on specialized bike shoes a toe cage is a good option. Also, if you find Peloton shoes uncomfortable consider getting toe cages instead and riding in normal shoes.
Do I Need Peloton Shoes At A Hotel?
Most likely not. Many shared Pelotons, including those at gyms, hotels, or resorts, will have toe cages attached. It is too complicated to try to get the right shoe size and rent them out/clean them. The same goes for workplace gyms or those in large condo/apartment complexes. Don’t worry about bringing an extra set of specialized shoes on the trip.
If you are staying at a resort that has Pelotons, call ahead and confirm. When riding there though, remember that each bike is different so do not try for a PR. Even with a less efficient shoe if the hotel bike has a different calibration you may be well below or we’ll above you expected training zones.
Can I use SPD Cleats, Look Cleats, or Speedplay Cleats with a Peloton bike?
Yes, so long as you get the right pedal too. There is no reason you have to stick with the delta cleat design or Peloton shoes. Especially considering that the shoes are $100+, and the cleats another $25. If you already have a preferred pair of cycling shoes that you use on the road or even a mountain bike, it may be worth it to just get a pedal that works. Also know, that “Look” is really a brand name and these are Delta style cleats.
There are two ways to get a different cleat to work on Peloton. The first is to get an adapter for the shoe that changes the connection point into that of a Delta cleat. This can be a good choice if you have the shoes but do not plan on using them on a normal SPD or Speedplay (or whichever cleat you are converting from) on a regular basis. However, if you plan to still use the cycling shoe on the original pedal you may have to undo the adaptor each time you want to switch.
The second option is to swap out a pedal on the Peloton. If you are the only one riding it, or if everyone riding it will have the same cleat style, this is a good option as it makes your native shoe work naturally and reduces the number of parts required. Peloton pedals are normal and if you have ever swapped out a pedal on a bike before it will be pretty easy.
Can You Use Peloton without shoes? Can I ride a Peloton bike barefoot?
Yes, but it won’t be comfortable. If for some reason you want to ride a Peloton entirely barefoot, the best option is to swap out the pedal for something flatter and smooth. Most flat pedals have some sort of grip on them, to help get traction from a shoe to a pedal, but riding barefoot this would cause some issues.
If you are insistent on riding barefoot (which we recommend against) look for the pedals of a beach cruiser which are designed for barefoot riding.
Do Peloton shoes run small (or large)?
The branded Peloton shoes are accurate to their sizing, so long as you do not have extremely wide or narrow feet. Consider getting the size that you would normally be comfortable in a walking shoe. If you are in between on sizes it is fine to go up one size though since it is easy enough to pull them tight and any wiggle room will not risk injury or blisters like it would in other sports.
Overall cycling shoes typically fit snug, so this also is worth considering. Your foot should not be sliding around inside of a shoe and most cycling motion is effectively up and down. Compared to other sports specific shoes, like running or tennis, the fact that your foot stays in place means that a standard fit on the shoe can be a bit tighter.The base of the shoe is narrower than a standard shoe, as it helps to transfer power to the pedal rather than building up a huge platform.
Having Problems Clicking In?
If your Peloton shoes won’t clip in there are a few things to check. First make sure you know how to attach shoes to a Peloton bike. The delta cleat style requires you to simply step into the pedal and should snap right in.
If it does not, make sure first that your cleats are properly attached to the bottom of the shoe. It should go without saying that you also should make sure the cleat even exists. When we first purchased our Peloton we ordered it with two pairs of shoes and one of them showed up without any cleats in the box. The other the cleats were already attached to the shoe, and in talking about this with friends it seems that some come with the cleat pre-installed. If there is not cleat the red part that requires screws to stay attached to the bottom of the shoe, then of course you won’t be able to clip in.
Each cleat attaches with three screws, and if they are loose there may be just enough wiggle room that is causing mis-alignment. There are numbers on the bottom of Peloton shoes, these are to help locate the cleat in precisely the right location.
If the numbers and attachment on both shoes do not match it may just be that the movement required to detach one shoe is different than the movement to detach the other one. If the numbers on the bottom are the same though it will help make riding feel more natural as well. The other issue is that the cleat might be worn down. Since there is a mechanical fit that requires just the right amount of material on the pedal and on the cleat, make sure there is no noticeable wear on the plastic.
It’s possible to wear down the end of the cleat and pedal so that even in the right alignment they do not have enough overlapping material to stay held together. If you do see a break in either component, reach out to Peloton service as you might be able to get a replacement under warranty.