Spin Class Gear Buying Guide
Spin Shoes & Cycling Shoes
Not all spin shoes are the same, and there are several important features to consider when shopping for these indoor cycling shoes. The first thing to look for in a spin shoe is cleat compatibility. Typically the stationary bike at your local gym will work with two-holed Shimano-style SPD cleats. It's recommended you check out the bikes at the local gym and meet briefly with the class instructor to make sure what cleats are required. The Shimano SPD cleat is almost universally used in spin classes since it is easy to engage and release from the pedals. They are also favored on mountain biking shoes for the same reason since you may need to jump out of your pedals to put your foot down. Many people will simply get a pair of MTB cycling shoes for this reason. The next thing to look for in quality indoor cycling shoes is comfort. High-end cycling shoes can be very stiff, meant for power transfer and not-at-all made for walking around. Gyms also frown on gym members scratching their nice studio floors with those metal cleats. Indoor cycling specific shoes (and some MTB shoes) usually feature a recessed cleat area so you can walk or run around without tripping or causing damage
A couple of things to note, cleats do not come with shoes; they typically come matched as a system with bike pedal. Since there are quite a few different types of pedals, not every shoe is compatible. AVOID Triathlon cycling shoes, or Road cycling shoes that only of three-hole cleat compatibility (SPD-SL or LOOK style). These are great for speed and power on performance bikes with the appropriate pedals, but they aren't typically compatible with indoor cycling bikes. So before purchasing your first pair of spin shoes, be sure to check with your local gym instructor to verify the type of cleat they use on their bikes. Then look for shoes that are compatible and comfortable. If you'll be walking to or around the gym you might want a softer, spin class specific shoe. If you want more performance, you can opt for a stiffer sole on a higher end shoe and change from your gym shoes before getting on the bike.
Most questions about spin classes are related to the gear required. Again, comfortable workout clothes, a towel to wipe your face, and a water bottle are the essential items. You can choose to upgrade from gym shorts to a complete kit of performance bike apparel for comfort and better handling of heat & moisture, but shoes are the most asked about. Typically you can just use your running or training shoes with the indoor bike's built in toe clips, but to get the most from the spin class experience, many people will get a pair of cycling shoes & cleats. You can get a performance benefit from cycling shoes & cleats through a more efficient transmission of power to the pedals.
Indoor cycling is a great aerobic activity for burning a lot of calories, augmenting your muscle training routine, and improving your outdoor cycling technique. It's also a great way to continue training when inclement weather is not conductive to getting your bike out on the roadway. Your fitness goals in spinning classes are based on heart rate intervals, often with motivation from pounding music, a barking instructor, and a group of other sweaty classmates for support. You can also set up your own home gym with your own bike and an indoor trainer.
Throughout the various workout phases in an indoor cycling program you'll need just a few things to start; comfortable workout clothes, a towel to wipe your face, and a water bottle are essential. In the spin class at your local gym you can expect 30-75 minutes of training at various levels of intensity. Even though you are training with a group, ultimately you are responsible for your own workout. You can utilize these classes to improve your heart rate, muscle strength, cadence (pedal rate), endurance, and body positioning. An indoor bicycle may not be an actual bike, but it's a good place to start, work out the kinks, or pinpoint and improve problem areas.