Is it worth the investment? YES! Ok end of post … Just kidding, but this will be a short one.
Over the past year I have taken quite a few cycling classes and started to do the math. Typically if you sign up for a cycle class, the studio will let you borrow a pair of cycle shoes for free the first time and then charge you $3 every time after to rent them, and for those of you who have never taken cycle class, the answer is YES you do have to wear special shoes for class. Anyways, for a decent pair of cycle shoes, it’s going to cost you around $130-180. Mine were $150, however, a lot of studios will run specials on their merchandise throughout the year or even give you a % off if you leave a review, which is what I did at DEFINE Bellaire so my shoes ended up being like $120. Now let’s do some math. I had a month membership to DEFINE of unlimited cycling AND won a 10 class pack to soul cycle PLUS I had a few class pass credits which I wanted to use to try out a few cycle studios. Point being, I only had to 40 classes my entire life for this to be a good investment, and guess what?!?! I have way exceeded that by now. Not only do I no longer have to pay to rent shoes, I also don’t have to wear someone else’s stanky sweat soaked shoes. BUT before you run out and buy some shoes, there are a few things you should know.
Cycle shoes have these clips that lock your foot to your pedal so when you are sprinting or out of the saddle, your feet don’t go flying off the pedal. So let’s take a look at the two main types of clips for indoor cycle shoes. There are the ones that feel like you are walking around with a massive rock under your foot and you can hear someone walking up from a mile away, those are called three-hole (commonly called “Delta”) system. Then there are the clips that are much more subtle and flat on the bottom called two-hole (commonly called “SPD”) system. SPD shoes are much more attractive, mine are gorgeous, but are typically harder to clip in for new riders. It took me forever to figure out how to clip in after I bought my pair because I was so use to the Delta clips, but not i’m so use to it that it’s hard for me to use the Delta clips on the rare occasion I forget my pair at home.
Anyways, I don’t think I have ever come across a studio that didn’t accommodate both types of clips. The pedals on these bikes are two sided, one side uses the Delta clip and if you flip the pedal over, the other side uses the SPD. I am in love with my SPD cycle shoes by TIEM pictured below. Not only are they comfortable, but they also just look like normal tennis shoes vs the clunky ugly Delta clip shoes. One day I was signing in at Soul Cycle with my cycle shoes in hand, clearly visible and the guy behind the counter was like, do you need cycle shoes, and I just looked down at my shoes and was like… you mean these?? He like had a fit over how nice they looked and had a million questions about them because he thought they were so cool. Anyways, to wrap this nonsense of a post up is basically just to say that if you are going to take 40 or more cycle classes in your life, it is totally worth it to buy your own shoes ANDDDDDD I highly recommend the TIEM ones I have. They are so pretty 🙂
(Left) Delta Clips – notice the bumps on the bottom (Right) TIEM SPD Clips – notice the flat bottom like a tennis shoe
A huge thank to @atcheeylaurenn (instagram) for inviting us to try out SoulCycle. @atcheeylaurenn had some free passes to try out SoulCycle and she did a damn good job recruiting some first time riders for a Sunday morning sweat sesh … and boy did we sweat! So I have tried a few cycle places now (Revolution Studio and DEFINE Body & Mind) and I really REALLY loved Revolution and really really didn’t like DEFINE so I had a good scale to compare SoulCycle to and I would say if Revolution is a 10 and Define is a … 4 then SoulCycle is an 8 overall.
The overall atmosphere and facility of SoulCycle is very similar to Revolution. The staff is super friendly and helpful. The staff got us set up and clipped in beforehand. The instructor came up and introduced himself before class and used our names throughout the class to keep us motivated. The actual facility was bright and clean and had fun designs on the wall and a signature yellow spin bike outside … overall it was very inviting and easy to find. They also have a wall of merchandise/apparel you can purchase which I took a look at and LOVED what they carried but need to resist my urge to buy even more workout clothes right now.
First thing we did when we walked in was sign the little waiver and get our bike assignment, which they actually email you the day before with extra instructions and what to expect … it was actually a really cute and welcoming email … I’ll post a screenshot of it below. They we got our shoes and were shown around to the lockers and restrooms/dressing rooms. We locked up our crap and put on our shoes and were ready to get clipped in and start riding.
Like I said before, the staff came in and helped all the newbies get their bikes adjusted and get clipped in. Our class had A LOT of first time riders! (Side note: The studio can hold 60 people per class. I would say we had about 30 or so at the Sunday 10:45AM class) Pinij (@pnalampoon) was our instructor and he came around and introduced himself, then it was time to ride. The workout itself was pretty killer. I was literally drenched in sweat at about the halfway point and then the sweat just kept pouring out my body … it was amazingly gross. So far I have said all good things about SoulCycle, so why am I rating it below Revolution you ask?? It all has to do with the actual workout.
So at SoulCycle we rode … and rode and rode and rode … then did a few push ups, a few tap backs and only 3 arm moves with the weights. Although I feel like I got a fantastic workout, It was just kind of the same thing over and over. At Revolution, we rode but we did tap backs and push-ups and tricep dips and jumps and sprints and hills and we danced!!! Then when we picked up the arm weights, oh man, I thought my arms were going to fall off they hurt so bad. At Revolution we were constantly switching it up and doing something new. At SoulCycle, there just wasn’t as much variation. Also, at Revolution there was like lighting variation so like black lights and a very club-ish vibe, whereas SoulCycle was still club-ish and they played with the lights a bit but just not as sweet of a vibe as Revolution … although MUCH better than the vibe at DEFINE.
Anyways, overall I really enjoyed my session at SoulCycle. I’m not going to post the prices, because you can also find them all online at https://www.soul-cycle.com/ but if you’re a first time rider you can do a 3-class pack for $60, which isn’t that bad if it includes shoe rental … but I didn’t ask about that and I doubt it does. The other good thing about SoulCycle is if you buy a class package, let’s just say you buy the first time 3-class pack, you can use them whenever and at any location. They have 2 locations in Houston – Memorial (the one I went to) and River Oaks.