Mountain bike shoes are more than an accessory. They keep your feet and legs secure and protected and deliver power to the pedals. Therefore, choosing the right mountain bike shoes is of utmost importance for improving your experience.
Here, we’ll review the best mountain bike shoes and discuss their pros and cons to help you find the perfect match.
- Best Mountain Bike Shoes: Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
- Choose the Best Shoes
Best Mountain Bike Shoes: Reviews
Five Ten Men’s Freerider Pro Mid Mountain Biking Shoe
The Five Ten Men’s Freerider Pro Mid Mountain Biking Shoe offers enhanced impact protection and high-quality padding that gives you ultimate control on and off your bike.
These shoes are perfect for anyone who wants the legendary pedal control of the classic Freerider shoes paired with more protection and coverage. In addition, the shoes are known for providing exceptional grip due to the Stealth S1 rubber compound. This outsole compound is hard-wearing, durable, and offers fantastic traction, even when you’re not on your bike.
Thanks to the exceptional pedal grip, you’ll feel connected to your bike regardless of the terrain. In addition, the top-quality sole absorbs all vibrations efficiently, so you can enjoy comfort and security even on the bumpiest trails.
We mustn’t forget to mention the extended cuff design. Not only does the design provide more ankle protection and stability, but it also keeps the debris out, so you’ll enjoy maximum comfort.
What We Like
While they may not be the prettiest shoes you’ve ever seen, they are definitely among the best choices when it comes to grip and protection. The manufacturer paid attention to every detail and created a top-quality mountain bike shoe with many useful features.
One of the best is the sole, which is covered in raised dots. The dots are around nine millimeters in diameter and two millimeters in length. When you place the shoes against the pedals, these dots engage the pedal pins perfectly, so you don’t have to worry about your feet slipping. The superior grip these shoes offer is especially noticeable when biking uphill or overcoming obstacles.
Another feature worth mentioning is the cushioning. It’s important to remember that proper mountain bike shoes shouldn’t be extra-cushioned. You must still “feel” the obstacles on your feet to react appropriately.
Of course, the manufacturer knows this, which is why these shoes provide the perfect cushioning and enhanced protection in crucial areas. If you’re worried about your ankles, you’ll be happy to know these shoes feature Poron and D30 impact foam that offers long-term and consistent protection and performance.
These shoes have three hook-and-loop straps that ensure a tight and secure fit. The straps are wide enough to distribute the pressure evenly across the entire shoe. However, since the material is synthetic, it could feel stiff initially, so it may take a few days to break the shoes in.
What We Don’t Like
While the synthetic upper has its advantages, one drawback we need to mention is the lack of breathability. The shoes may protect your feet from moisture and debris, but due to their rigidity, there isn’t proper airflow. If you live in colder areas, this may not represent a problem. However, if you often ride in high temperatures, you may need to look for shoes with more breathability.
Another potential disadvantage is the price. These shoes have a pretty hefty price tag.
- Exceptional grip
- Enhanced protection
- Protection from road debris
- Hook-and-loop straps
- Lack of breathability
- On the expensive side
Tommaso Montagna 100 Men’s Mountain Bike Cycling Shoe
The Tommaso Montagna 100 Men’s Mountain Bike Cycling Shoe is breathable and comfortable and maximizes the power transfer. Hence, the shoes have everything you need for an ultimate biking experience.
You’re ready for everything with the Tommaso Montagna 100 Men’s Mountain Bike Cycling Shoe. The shoes provide exceptional performance both on the bike and on the road.
One of the best features of these shoes is the fiberglass-infused sole. Thanks to this addition, you’ll get durability, stiffness, and maximized power transfer, which improves your biking performance, allowing you to ride faster and longer while using less energy.
Another advantage of these shoes is their compatibility. You can use them with all two-bolt cleats and pedals, making them suitable for various activities. Besides mountain biking, you can use these shoes when indoor cycling, touring or commuting.
The manufacturer created mountain bike shoes that hit the sweet spot between stiffness and comfort, so it’s no surprise they are on the list.
What We Like
One of the first things we notice about a shoe is its design, so let’s start with that. The Tommaso Montagna 100 Men’s Mountain Bike Cycling Shoe features a sleek, ergonomic design. At first glance, the shoes look like any other mountain biking shoes, but they offer much more.
These shoes have a two-hole pattern that allows you to move into clipless MTB shoes without difficulty. Plus, the shoes are compatible with all two-bolt cleats and pedals, making them highly versatile.
We know a tight grip is vital for a smooth ride, and these shoes don’t disappoint in this aspect either. They have three Velcro straps that construct an easy-to-use closure system. You won’t have to waste time tying your shoes while on the trail. They will stay on your feet even if riding in the harshest conditions. Besides the enhanced convenience and security, the stripes have an aesthetic purpose and make the shoes more visually appealing.
The most impressive feature of these shoes is the fiberglass reinforced polyamide sole, which improves your experience and enhances comfort. Compared to other soles with no fiberglass reinforcement, these soles are more durable and provide a better power transfer. In addition, you don’t have to worry about the shoes being too stiff. Your feet and ankles will remain protected, and you’ll enjoy superior comfort.
The synthetic leather upper contributes to the comfort, while the ventilated mesh keeps your feet cool even at high temperatures.
What We Don’t Like
The most significant disadvantage of these shoes is that they don’t feature standard sizes. Hence, you must be careful if you order without trying them on. The manufacturer has a detailed size guide to help you determine the right fit. If you order the wrong size, don’t worry. Tommaso offers free fit returns, which is a nice touch.
Keep in mind that these shoes aren’t water resistant. This is important if you often ride your bike in wet terrain.
- Fiberglass reinforced sole
- Ventilated mesh
- Synthetic leather upper
- Not water resistant
Ride Concepts Men’s Livewire 2021 Mountain Bike Shoe
Don’t let the appearance fool you – the Ride Concepts Men’s Livewire 2021 Mountain Bike Shoe is anything but ordinary. Instead, the shoes offer an impressive grip and have exceptional protective features.
At first glance, these shoes look nothing like the other mountain bike shoes on the list. However, the subtle styling disguises these shoes’ power, grip, and comfort.
Let’s begin with the design. The shoes feature the Rubber Kinetics DST 6.0 High Grip outsole that provides a firm pedal grip and security. When riding, you’ll notice the rubber feels grippy and gives you better control over your bike. In addition, if you stand up, you’ll feel the pins sinking into the rubber, providing utmost security and comfort.
Thanks to the impressive design, the shoes offer a balance of power transfer, off-bike walkability, and a great pedal feel.
What We Like
Although Ride Concepts is a relatively new mountain bike shoe industry player, they’ve hit a home run with the Livewire model. We love that the shoes don’t look like typical mountain bike shoes. Instead, they have a seemingly simple design that features the latest technology and gives the user ultimate comfort and protection.
Ride Concepts teamed up with a company called Rubber Kinetics to design rubber that will offer riders the perfect blend of durability, comfort, and security. The result is the Rubber Kinetics DST 6.0 High Grip that many compare to the legendary Stealth rubber by Five Ten. If you aren’t familiar with Stealth rubber, it’s one of the most iconic rubber compounds. Therefore, we can say that Ride Concepts has done a fantastic job with these shoes. The sole has a pattern of well-spaced hexagonal dots that lock in the feet to the pedals.
The midsole is made of EVA foam, a material known for its durability, resistance, and cushioning properties. In addition, the foam will absorb any shock and vibration so that you can enjoy utmost comfort while riding, regardless of the terrain.
The tongue is fully-gusseted, which prevents debris and flying rocks from sneaking into the shoes. Another advantage of these shoes is the synthetic upper with a mesh that provides maximum breathability. Thanks to the excellent design of these shoes, you can ride your bike all day without feeling discomfort.
What We Don’t Like
Undeniably, these shoes have a lot to offer and a few potential drawbacks. Many riders don’t like the laces instead of straps. If the laces become loose while you’re riding, you’ll have to stop to tie them, which can be frustrating. Also, loose laces can get stuck in the spokes or pedals and cause accidents. Make sure to tuck the laces in when tying them to avoid potentially dangerous falls.
Another thing worth mentioning is that these shoes are on the narrower side. If you have a wider foot, you should size up at least half a size. Even then, the shoes may be uncomfortable for some.
- High-quality outsoles
- EVA foam
- Fully gusseted tongue
- Interesting design
- Laces instead of straps
- Narrow model
ZOL Predator MTB Mountain Bike and Indoor Cycling Shoes
The heavy-duty ZOL Predator MTB Mountain Bike and Indoor Cycling Shoes are designed to help you effortlessly conquer any terrain. Their versatility, durability, and ergonomic design make them excellent for both beginners and seasoned bikers.
These shoes are an excellent choice if you’re looking for high-quality mountain bike shoes that can be used outdoors and indoors. They can be used with Shimano, Look, SPD, and all universal MTB cleats, making them highly versatile. You can wear these shoes while riding your mountain bike, but they’re also great for fitness and indoor cycling.
Another reason these shoes have found a spot on the best mountain bike shoe list is the bolt cleat adjustment scale on the soles. This allows you to control the power transfer and boost your performance.
The convenient design provides a tight fit and a secure grip, regardless of whether you’re pedaling or walking.
What We Like
We love the eye-catching, black-and-red design that offers plenty of features. As mentioned, the shoes are compatible with numerous cleats, giving you greater flexibility.
These shoes are an excellent choice if you’re looking for comfort and security. The three strap closures secure your feet and provide a tight grip while pedaling. In addition, those worried about sudden impacts can have peace of mind because these shoes feature additional rubber protection at the front. This rubber acts as a buffer and reduces the risk of injuries.
The shoes offer excellent performance while you’re pedaling, but they’re just as impressive when you’re walking. Most mountain bike shoes aren’t built for walking on wet, uneven terrain as they tend to be slippery. This isn’t the case with these shoes. Thanks to the nylon tips on the sole, you’ll have a firm grip even on the most challenging terrain. In addition, anatomic closure follows the shape of your feet, ensures even pressure distribution, and eliminates hot spots.
The manufacturer used premium materials for these shoes, thus ensuring durability. Although sturdy and designed to handle every terrain, they have an optimal amount of cushioning. Plus, the breathable mesh guarantees proper airflow and prevents odors. Thanks to the tongue center separation, your ankle will move freely. You’ll love the ZOL Predator MTB Mountain Bike and Indoor Cycling Shoes if you want shoes that don’t limit your movement while biking.
What We Don’t Like
If you have wider feet, you’ll likely find these shoes uncomfortable, even if you size up. Moreover, it may take a while to break them in.
Some riders complain that the metal on the bottom isn’t of the highest quality and that it rusted after some time.
- Additional rubber protection at the front
- Nylon tips on the soles
- Anatomic closure
- Three straps
- Metal on the bottom isn’t of the highest quality
Giro Rumble VR Men’s Mountain Cycling Shoes
The Giro Rumble VR Men’s Mountain Cycling Shoes offer the best of both worlds. With these shoes, you’ll get the appearance of regular shoes and the features of mountain bike shoes.
Many people decide not to buy mountain bike shoes because they don’t like their stiffness and bulky appearance. But, let’s face it, the design is essential. Fortunately, you can get a pair of high-quality mountain bike shoes without compromising appearance.
At first glance, the Giro Rumble VR Men’s Mountain Cycling Shoes may not look trail-oriented, but their excellent design proves otherwise. Let’s start with the soles: the manufacturer uses top-quality Vibram. Vibram is the leader in manufacturing high-performance soles that can handle all conditions. The diamond pattern and aggressive tread across the toes and heels guarantee excellent grip regardless of the terrain.
What We Like
The design is definitely the strongest point of these shoes. Besides the Vibram soles, they also feature EVA foam that minimizes shocks and vibrations while riding, giving you superior control and stability. In addition, the upper is made of breathable synthetic, which provides optimal airflow to keep your feet comfortable even at the highest temperatures.
Many mountain bike shoes are narrow, and people with wider feet have trouble finding the right model. Fortunately, these shoes have a roomy toe box and a standard fit, so they won’t feel too tight.
We love the versatility of these shoes. They work with all two-bolt pedal/cleat systems like Shimano, Look, Crank Brothers, etc.
As a result, you’ll get cycling-specific features like pedal/cleat compatibility, a tight grip, and the comfort of hiking shoes.
Unlike many mountain bike shoe models that feature strap closures, these shoes have laces. While some riders see this as a disadvantage, we have to say the manufacturer did a great job with the lacing system. You can adjust them according to your preferences and be confident they won’t become loose easily.
What We Don’t Like
Since the shoes don’t have additional toe box protection, they may not be the best choice for rough trails. However, this lack of protection isn’t a big problem for gentler trail riding.
- Highly compatible
- Tight grip
- Excellent design
- Vibram soles
- No toe box protection
- Not a lot of foot support
Since there’s a wide range of options on the market, selecting the right mountain bike shoes can be challenging. If you’re unsure which aspects to focus on, this guide will help.
There are two basic types of mountain bike shoes. The first type is shoes with two-hole cleats that attach to clipless pedals. The second type is shoes without cleats that work with flat pedals. Which one you’ll choose will depend on your riding style and preferences.
The cycling shoes you choose should be paired with a compatible pedal. This ensures the proper fit and maximum stability and security while riding. Some mountain bike shoes are compatible with two- or three-bolt pedal systems, while others are suitable for both. Before purchasing your shoes, ensure to check their compatibility.
Most mountain bike shoes feature straps or laces. Some say straps are better because they’re more convenient. You can quickly adjust them while you’re riding your bike. On the other hand, laces are often lighter and give you more room for discovering your perfect fit. But they can also pose a risk if they get stuck in the spokes or pedals.
Since it’s impossible to say one is better than the other, it’s up to you to find the most suitable closure style.
Many mountain bike shoes run true to size. However, this isn’t always the case because some models are pretty narrow. So if you’re between sizes, it’s usually best to size up. The perfect shoes should feel snug but not too tight.
Care and Maintenance
Most mountain bike shoes don’t require much maintenance. You can wipe them with a damp cloth if they aren’t too dirty. If the shoes are crusted with mud, you can submerge them in a bucket of water and use a brush and mild soap to clean them.
Some materials may need special care that can be more time-consuming. You should always double-check this before purchasing your shoes.
How to Install SPD Cleats on Mountain Bike Shoes
Here’s how to install SPD cleats on your mountain bike shoes:
- First, turn the shoes over to the cutout in the sole with two bolts. Using a wrench, remove the bottom plate. If the plate is already removed from your shoes, ignore this step.
- Insert the base plate into the provided slot on the bottom of your shoes. The protruding screw holes should face the bottom of the shoe. Ignore this step if the base plate is already installed.
- Place the thin metal protective plate over the slots. This plate prevents the cleats from damaging the bottom of plastic shoes. You can ignore this step if your set doesn’t come with the protective plate.
- Position the cleat over the plate.
- Put the inner part of the cleat in the slot of the main cleat body. The threaded holes should be aligned with the holes of the base plate.
- Attach the cleat to the base plate using the provided bolts.
Check your shoes occasionally to ensure everything’s in the correct position.
What Shoes to Wear to Mountain Biking?
You should get flat-soled shoes designed specifically for mountain biking if you have flat pedals. Those with clipless pedals should get mountain bike shoes with cleats that ensure a secure fit.
Nowadays, the market is filled with mountain bike shoes. Which ones you’ll choose ultimately depends on your style and preferences.
Do I Really Need Mountain Bike Shoes?
If you’re a beginner or ride short trails, you probably don’t need mountain bike shoes. However, in all other cases, it’s better to get mountain bike shoes because they provide traction, stability, and protection.
What Are MTB Cycling Shoes?
MTB cycling shoes or mountain bike shoes are shoes designed for cycling on rough, uneven terrain. They have a specific design and features that guarantee durability, traction, and firm grip.
Choose the Best Shoes
As you can see, selecting the best mountain bike shoes can be challenging. However, if you want a high-quality, versatile pair with an ergonomic design and strong soles, we recommend the Tommaso Montagna 100 Men’s Mountain Bike Cycling Shoe.
Those who want a blend of mountain bike shoe-specific features and a simple design should check out the Giro Rumble VR Men’s Mountain Cycling Shoes. Their comfort, high-quality materials, and tight grip make them suitable for lighter trails.