Can Men Wear Women Running and Cycling Shoes and Vice Versa? How Are They Different

Cycling or running shoes vary differently in styles between men and women. But, there are some which designed in unisex styles so both men and women can wear them. However, some color options might not be suitable for men like pink, purple, or multicolor. 

Nevertheless, some men are looking for these colors, and they can’t find them easily in the men’s category. 

Men’s feet are usually wider than women’s. So, when finding a running or cycling shoe in the women’s category, a man that normally wears a size 7 should go for size 8 wide, and vice versa. 

so can Men Wear Women’s Running and Cycling Shoes and Vice Versa?

Men and women can wear each other’s shoes especially the ones that are styled as unisex. The primary difference between a man’s and a woman’s shoe design lies in the Length. A size conversion of 1.5 can be applied to make up for the design difference.

Regardless of these differences, men can wear women’s running and vice versa if they can find the right fit.

Further, in this article, we will talk about the differences between running and cycling shoes for men and women. You will also get to know how to find the right fit if you are looking for a shoe in the opposite sex category. But first, consider checking out our post on How Many Running Shoes Should You Have? Types & When To Replace Them!

Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Running Shoes

The width of the shoes

According to Road Runner Sports, the width of both men’s and women’s shoes remains the same. For example, if you are a woman and you wear a D size, it will still be D if you go for a man’s shoe.

However, when we consider the length of the shoe, there is usually a 1.5-size difference between men’s and women’s shoes. (Source)

It’s good to know that men’s shoe sizes fall between 8 and 13; however, women’s shoe sizes range from 6 to 11. So, even if the numerical size is the same, there will be a difference in the overall shape and size of the shoe.

You would see the Running shoes in only three widths: medium width, normal width, and extra-wide width (for both men and women).  

Considering the different feet shapes for men and women, men’s shoes are generally offered in wider and in larger sizes than women’s shoes. 

The shape of the shoes

Men are said to have a broad and long foot when compared to women as there is a significant difference in their calves, ankles, forefoot, and heels. The forefoot of the women is usually wider than the men. But the heels and ankles of the women are narrower than the men.

For this reason, the women’s shoes are then designed wider in the forefoot, but it gets narrower towards the heels and ankles.

The heel of the food helps to act as a cushion when the feet strike the ground. When that happens, there is a distribution of force around the foot. The striking of the ground is usually done by the heels first. For the men, they always have their feet more angled and pointed upward than the women’s.

This difference in the feet heel results in the men having a more angled heel than the women. (Source)

The different weight/body mass.

When it comes to running shoes, we also have to see if women run differently than men. According to Live Science, men normally run faster than women because of the extra muscle they have in their legs.

Moreover, the higher percentage of body fat in women becomes a hurdle for them while running. 

Men weigh more than women as they have more muscle mass. So, the soles of the shoes are manufactured to accommodate the muscle mass of the men.

The muscle mass of men is 15 percent more compared to men. For this reason, the women’s shoe soles are lighter and softer compared to men. 

The quadriceps angle

The angle is between the anterior thigh muscle and the tendon at the front of the knee (knee cap). The hips of women are wider than the men, so it is expected for them to have wider Q-angles than the males.

For this reason, they require more support in their shoes compared to the men.  This factor has been taken into consideration by the manufacturing companies, so they use materials that help provide more support and even out the weight.

These running and cycling shoes for both sexes are made, keeping in view these differences in their body. Nevertheless, both sexes can try on shoes in the opposite sex category and find the right fit that would feel more comfortable and easy to wear. 

What Shoes Sizes Will Fit the Opposite Sex?

When it comes to either cycling or running shoes, you should get half a size bigger (after conversion) than your usual size regardless of your gender. This is to ensure that it doesn’t feel too tight when you are running or cycling.

This same rule would apply if you are to look for similar shoes in the opposite gender category.

However, make sure you know your right shoe size before applying this rule, so you don’t select a sports shoe that is way smaller or bigger than your actual shoe size.

If the shoes you have chosen feel a little too roomy for your size, you can wear a thick pair of socks to help give you a tighter feel. You could also wear insoles which will also provide good support to your feet.

Asides from wearing thick socks or insoles, you could use a pad/foam at your heel to close up the excess gap.

These tips will help tweak that excess volume or high insteps especially when you are a woman opting for a man’s running shoe.

When looking for a shoe in the opposite sex category, don’t forget to check out the men to women (and vice versa) shoe size conversion chart to find the right size. A man’s size 8, for example, will be a woman’s 9.5 and so on.

So, if you are a woman who wears size 8 in the women’s category, you will have to find a 6.5 size in the men’s category. On the other hand, a man who wears size 9 will have to find a size 10.5 in the women’s category.

Some shoe brands will not have more than a specific size in the women’s category, so men who are quite tall or who wear more than size 12 may not find their size in the female category.

Are Woman Shoes and Men Shoes Priced Differently?

If we talk about designer shoes or fancy shoes for women, they cost a lot more than men’s shoes in the same category.

But when we consider running shoes, especially mid-range brands like Nike, in this category men’s shoes are usually more expensive than women’s shoes.

Some brands make only women’s shoes, while there are some brands in which both men’s and women’s shoes are exactly the same prices. So, it largely depends on the brand you choose rather than the size or other factors.

According to Forbes, most high-end brands make expensive shoes for women except Fendi and Christian Louboutin. If we consider these two brands, the median price in the men’s category is higher than that of women’s.

Valentino and Jimmy Choo are among the top shoe designers that price female shoes much higher than male shoes.

Now, let’s look at the popular brands like Converse and Nike that offer moderately priced running shoes for men and women. Regardless of gender, their shoes are priced in the range of $40 to $80, with Nike being the most expensive and Converse being the least.

Such brands more or less offer the same price in both the men and women categories.

Reebok and Skechers are brands that offer mid-range sneakers in almost the same price range. However, if we consider the median price, the men’s shoes are priced slightly higher than women’s shoes in this category of brands, but the difference is no more than $10. 

Avoiding overspending on triathlon gear and check out our article on the List of Triathlon Gear You Do Not Need; & What’s Actually Required!


Men who are short in stature and women who are taller than average female height can wear each other’s shoes without any problem. However, to find the right size, it’s good to try them on first because a man’s 7 size is not the same as a woman’s 7 and so on.

Also, companies manufacture these shoes to suit the differences in the quadriceps angle and the body mass of both men and women.

Regardless of these differences, men can wear women’s running and vice versa if they can find the right fit. Avoid yourself the hassle and check the shoe I use that served me for thousands of miles listed in the Best Triathlon Battle-Tested Budgeting Gear

In this article, we looked at what sizes would fit the opposite sex along with the difference in price and other features.

If you are a man looking for a specific girlish color or a woman looking for a wider-width running shoe, you can easily find your match in the opposite sex category.

Check out : Are Triathlons Harder Than Marathons? Alternatives & Why To OR Not To Race One


An extreme triathlete who have competed in dozens of triathlons including IronMans and Extreme triathlons.

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