Recessed Spd road shoes

So I’ve had a little look at the usual online shops for new shoes, basically going back to Spd rather than Spd sl (for muscular/injury reasons). Can’t really find any Spd shoes with recessed cleats that don’t look overly like an mtb shoe.
Without spending a fortune, Anyone know of a road style shoe with recessed Spd fitment?

What kind of riding do you do? Is it a performance shoe that you want?

The Giro Republic and Rev have the kind of sole that I think you’re looking for.

EDIT: Also Shimano RT5

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Thanks, mostly road, club rides etc with the possibility of racing at a low level. They don’t have to be high end shoes

I’ve got a pair of Shimano RX8 ‘gravel’ shoes out for delivery today that I’m anxious to try. They are very much road shoes with a few tread blocks to recess the SPD cleat.

Shimano XC5 is another model that looks promising as well, at a sightly lower price point.


Fizik has some more “minimal tread” SPD shoes also. I’ve never worn them but I’ve eyed the Overcurve X3 a couple times because its one of the few SPD shoes you can get in white.

Couple of options I found:

Gravel shoes!

Obvious when you think about it

Here’s another option:

I have the mountain bike version of the X-Alp and really like them.

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Specialized Recon range is worth a look, namely the 2.0, 3.0 or S works.

This is also an option for road shoes:

As is this:

Otherwise: just go with Shimano RX8 or XC5 / Northwave Ghost / Spec Recon


I have a pair of Fizik Terra x5’s as gravel shoes that are very similar to the shimano rx8s or xc5. Look like a road shoe with minimal tread on bottom. No one would ever notice the difference.


I’ve had the RX8’s for several months now and love them. I use them on all my bikes (Road, MTB, Gravel) now. Was hesitant to use them as a road shoe but really like them now.


Fizik X5
Shimano XC7/9


A bit of caution when using adapters, some combinations may increase the chances of twisting an ankle if caught unaware.

I hadn’t consider this until I saw this vlog (about 8 minutes in).

I have used the Bontrager Expresso’s for over a year and plan to buy them again. Silent walking and comfortable once broken in.

I used to wear these when using the indoor bikes at the gym. I think it’s what you’re asking for.

I’ve been spd shoe shopping and discovered Shimano just released a new entry level line. Check out the XC3 which comes in at $120 and has a BOA dial. Plus it comes in wide sizes which I’ve finally found a pair that is sub $200 (by a mile) compared to other cycling wide shoe offerings.

Otherwise they also released an XC1 with velcro straps at $90 retail.

So far the only place online I can find XC3 (in wide) is REI but one of my local bike shops stated they could special order it for me. Going to see if an upcoming 20% member coupon will work on them (hoping for Labor Day to have another one).


There’s physically nowhere into which a cleat can recess on a typical road shoe. All you’ve got is an insole + thin sole + cleat.

An MTB or “casual” shoe makes it look like the cleat is recessed, but it’s actually tread that’s protruding around it, which means whichever way you go, you’re going to end up with a bulkier, heavier shoe.

Downhill/“skate” style shoes are no exceptions. My Five-Tens are like boat anchors.

Nice find!

Received my pair of RX8s. Really nice shoe. I don’t love the pattern, but its not obnoxious. Build quality definitely looks on par with other $200+ shoes I’ve looked at. In the end, this is exactly what I was looking for - a ‘road’ shoe (light and stiff) with spd compatibility to work for commute and gravel duties.

Incidentally, I’ve normally worn 42.5s or 43s in most brands, with quite a bit of room in the toe and the cleats slammed back. I went with the wide version of the RX8 and actually had to exchange the 43e for a 42e. I’ve never thought of myself as having particularly wide/high volume feet, but it turns out that I’ve been sizing up to accommodate for shoes not being wide enough. Interested to see where my cleat position works out with these, albeit switching from Keo to SPD make it apples to oranges.