10 Best Mountain Bike Shoes Reviewed

Riding a bike is exhilarating and great for your health, but mountain biking is another level of riding, and much more demanding. Studies have proven that cycling can boost your mental and cognitive abilities, and paired that with the outdoors has endless benefits mentally and physically. You just need to be properly prepared, and prep work is crucial before hitting the trails with your bike. Using a cycling machine in the gym simply cannot compare to riding a bicycle in the open, particularly a mountain bike through the trails.

Best Mountain Bike Shoes biking through the trails

When cycling, what you have on your feet is one of the most important things to put into consideration. Your feet do most of the work and need to be able to grip the pedals. Should you need to come off the bike and carry it, you need shoes that can handle the trail terrain.  Consequently, if you have on shoes that are uncomfortable or unsupportive, the riding experience can and will be terrible. A mountain bike is an intricate bicycle that has numerous supportive feature that ease the ride, but you need to be geared up properly, regardless. For example, the foot pedals are constructed to provide adequate support and grip to and for riders foot motion. To get maximum efficiency and support from the pedals, the rider should have shoes that have adequate grip and traction, provide ample ankle support and have excellent cushioning for the constant pressure put on the feet.

Last Updated: May 23, 2017
by Daniel Gonzalez :

The newest update accommodates for 2017’s best and highest rated mountain bike shoes, with much more in-depth, specific information, features and price comparisons.

Featured Recommendations

Five Ten Freerider
  • Five Ten Freerider
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • BMX-inspired leather
  • Price: See Here
Shimano XC50
  • Shimano XC50
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Reinforced Midsole Plate
  • Price: See Here
Five Ten Hell Cat
  • Five Ten Hell Cat
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stealth S1 outsole
  • Price: See Here

Finding such a shoe is quite difficult and time-consuming, but there are great options out there. There are two types of cycling shoes-clipless and flat pedal shoes. Clipless shoes are attached to the pedal using a cleat and ratchet. The flat pedal shoes have adequate grip and flat outsoles.  We’ve conducted the in-depth research regarding the best type of shoes for mountain biking, saving you time and effort so you can get the shoes you need and get out there. Every shoe on this list has been tested for endurance, overall performance on the trail and are ranked according to thousand of wear-tester feedback.

 

10 Best Mountain Bike Shoes

 

1. Five Ten Free Rider

The Five Ten Free Rider, makes it at the top of our list because of its brands reputation as a high-performance shoe. The free rider is a versatile cycling shoe that can be used for many sporting activities. This brand is known for manufacturing shoes for extreme sports. The Free Rider provides excellent traction, has good grip, is a high friction shoe, provides ample foot support and cushioning.
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Outer Sole
The outer sole is designed with industrial-strength rubber that provides excellent traction and has a high friction ecoefficiency. This sole is made from BMX inspired leather and sticky STEALTH S1 rubber. The combination of this two compounds provides a high-performance shoe that can be used for mountain bike cycling.

Upper Part
The upper part of the shoe is constructed with breathable fabric in combination with leather that offers excellent durability and breathability. The shoe is designed with a vamp lacing up technique to provide a better fit for the rider.

Cost and value
The shoe retails for close to 110 USD. It is quite an expensive investment but it is worth the price. This is because the shoe is a high performance, durable and comfortable cycling shoe that can be used for other extreme sporting activities.
Pros

Excellent Durability

Good grip and traction

High Friction shoe

Ample cushioning

Provides Exact Fit

Cons

Quite expensive

Offers only two color combinations

2. Shimano XC50

The Shimano XC50 is an all-round comfortable cycling shoe that comes in a range of tailored sizes. The outsoles of the shoe are fitted with micro-density lugs that have soft arches to provide better pedal stability. These lugs also contribute to the overall enhanced traction and grip that the shoe has to offer. The widened base also increases the overall stability off the shoe when used on rough terrain. This contributes to the versatility of the shoe.
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Midsoles
The midsoles are reinforced with Glass fiber reinforced polyamide plate to provide optimum spike mount. These polyamide plates also contribute to the overall durability of the shoe and are incorporated to provide enhanced stability.

Upper Part
The upper part is designed with sealed synthetic leather that provides comfortable, all-season rides. These fabric is industrial-grade leather and it contributes to the overall durability of the shoe. The upper part is also fitted with micro-adjustable buckle and off dual straps to provide a better and snug fit when cycling.

Cost and Value
The shoe retails for close to 115 USD. It is one of the expensive options in this list and this is partly because of the reputation of the brand in delivering high performance shoes.
Pros

Has optimum Spike amount

Enhanced Durability

Better pedal stability

Versatile

Snug Fit

Cons

Quite Expensive

Offers only Two Color Combinations

3. Pearl Izumi X-Project Pro

The Pearl Izumi X-Project Pro is a high performance and durable cycling shoes. The X-project Pro is a lightweight and clipless shoe that is designed for mountain bikers and cyclocross riders. The versatility of this shoe does not end here as it is also designed for runners. The upper part of the shoe is extremely breathable and it complements the rigid outer sole.
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Midsole
The midsole of this shoe is made of Izumi’s patented carbon composite material. This material contributes to the rigidity of the midsole and the outsole. The rigidity provides the power and stability needed for pedaling.

Outer Sole
The outer sole is designed with complimentary EPA, that provides the required flexibility needed for running. It is also designed with molded rubber lugs that provide enhanced traction and stability that contributes to the ease of pedaling that is associated with the shoe.

Cost and Value
This shoe retails for between 260 and 280 USD. This is the most expensive option as compared to other cycling shoes on this list. Nonetheless, the value of the shoe is incomparable to the price because it will last for a longer time and still deliver on all its features.
Pros
Pros

Versatile

Rigid Midsole for better pedaling

Flexible outsole for easier running

Excellent traction and grip

Good Stability

Cons

Very Expensive

Hard to break In.

4. Shimano R065

4. Shimano R065
The Shimano R065 is an affordable sport shoe that is very versatile and can be used for running, mountain biking, gym training and training rides. This shoe provides adequate comfort, breathability, stability, power, propulsion and efficiency needed for pedaling. It provides room for a wider cleat adjustment that ensures that the user can get the right pedal fit when riding.
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Sole
The outer sole is made with rigid, lightweight, fiberglass-reinforced polyamide that enhances the power transmission. It is also designed with the patented Shimano Dynalast technology that secures the foot into a more ergonomic position to provide an efficient and powerful upstroke.

Upper Part
The upper part of the shoe is designed with synthetic leather that is mixed with an Integrated air intake and exhaust mesh fabric that is meant to provide durability and breathability simultaneously.

Cost and Value
This shoe has both affordable and expensive options as it retails for between 60 to 200 USD depending on a number of factors such as size and color combinations selected.
Pros

Lightweight

Durable

Powerful Upstroke

Breathable Mesh

Versatile

Cons

Few Colors Available

Rigid sole makes it hard to break in.

5. O’Neal Trigger II

5. O’Neal Trigger II
The O’Neal Trigger II are flat pedal cycling shoes that are an upgrade from the previous cycling shoes in the Trigger O’Neal collection. The shoe can be used as a casual or sporting shoe because of its stylish design. Comfort was the main key feature in this selection as there is sufficient ankle padding and toe room to protect the feet from externa debris.
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Outer Sole
The outer sole of this shoe is designed with a unique rubber compound that has been dubbed the honeycomb rubber. It has honeycomb-patterned tread marks that provide enhanced traction, grip and stability.

Upper Part
The upper part of the shoe is designed with a combination of leather and breathable nylon mesh. This contributes to the overall breathability and durability of the shoe. Additionally, it is aligned with extra padding on the inside to provide the foot with extra protection from external debris.

Cost and Value
The shoe retails for approximately 100 to 240 USD. This huge range of price accommodates for the size and color options selected with the most expensive option being aligned with the biggest shoe size.
Pros

Extra padding for enhanced Comfort

Breathable Upper Mesh

Durable Leather and Nylon fabric combination

Stable Outer sole

Cons

Quite Expensive for Bigger Sizes.

Inconsistent lacing technique

6. Giro Rumble VR

6. Giro Rumble VR
The Giro Rumble VR is designed to provide an excellent and comfortable on and off bike performance. The upper part of the shoe is designed with a Flexible, yet strong microfiber fabric that is integrated with a nylon mesh to offer durability and breathability simultaneously. It is also designed with a simple yet efficient lace up technique that offers an enhanced and snug fit.
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Outer Sole
The outer sole is designed with Vibram rubber that provides enhanced traction and grip. It is also designed with a Molded SPD compatible shank that offers the right amount of rigidity while complementing the flexible rubber.

Midsole
The midsole is made with a Molded EVA foot bed with medium arch support that offers enhanced comfortability. It is also incorporated with a patented technology known as Precision Fit that hugs the fit and provides a warm and snugger fit.

Cost and Value
The shoe retails for approximately 100 USD. The value of this shoe is incomparable to the cost. This is because this shoe can be used for numerous sporting activities and still provide a quality performance.
Pros

Rubber Ouster sole for Superior traction.

Breathable Upper Mesh.

Made with leather fabric for increased durability.

Hidden lace pockets to eliminate snag.

Better pedal grip.

Cons

Hard to clean

Has deep heel cups that can injure the ankle.

7. Specialized 2FO

7. Specialized 2FO
The Specialized 2FO sound like military grade armor and this shoe lives up to its implied meaning. It can be used on rough terrains and for cycling. The inner part of the shoe is heavily padded to provide extra comfort and protection from external debris. This padding may be perceived as a disadvantage because it reduces the overall sensitivity of the shoe. However, other complimentary features such as the midsole and outer sole compensate for this.
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Upper Part
The upper part of the shoe is designed with a nylon Air Mesh that provides enhanced breathability. This fabric Is also designed to shed moisture that can accumulate in the shoe due to sweating.

Outer Sole
The outer sole of the shoe is designed with Slip-Not rubber compound that provides a good grip and improved traction. This rubber is of medium density and is quite flexible. In comparison to other shoes, this density compromises the durability but it is compensated for by a ridged midsole.

Cost and Value
The shoe retails for between 100 and 150 USD. The price range is quite minimal as compared to other shoes in this list. It is a more affordable option when considering flat pedal shoes.
Pros

Breathable Upper Mesh

Moisture-Wicking Fabric

Enhanced traction provided by Slip Not rubber

Extra padding for comfort.

Cons

Reduced Durability

Reduced sensitivity.

8. Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V

8. Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V
Whether you are looking to change cycling shoe or are a beginner cycler, the Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V provides the much-needed top-shelf performance and superior value. They provide a combination of power, comfort, stability and foot protection: all important features required by a rider. It also has a removable cover that hides the cleat holes and provides the user with a range of options regarding the use of this feature.
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Sole
The midsole of this shoe is designed with run-shoe Eva foam that offers comfortability and enhanced cushioning concurrently. The outer sole is made with industrial strength rubber that offers enhanced traction and grip.

Upper part
The upper part is made with fully lined Mesh material that is designed to provide barefoot comfort. This ensures that the rider does not loose time during the riding and physical transitions.

Cost and Value
The shoe retails for approximately USD90. This is quite inexpensive as compared to other options in this list. Furthermore, it offers some of the most important features needed for cycling.
Pros

Enhanced Cushioning provided by EVA foam mid sole

Good traction and grip

Good Stability

Affordable

Cons

Synthetic sole that can be tough to break in.

A bit small and narrow in comparison to other cycling shoes.

 

9. Mavic Alpine XL

9. Mavic Alpine XL
The Mavic Alpine XL is an all-seasoned cycling shoe that is quite versatile and can be used as a casual and sporting shoe. The sole is quite flexible and enables the wearer to use it on rough terrains where they cannot cycle. The ankle area is designed with a Neoprene cuff that provides protection to the ankle from external debris.
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Upper Part
The upper mesh of the shoe is made with a combination of synthetic leather and nylon mesh that is meant to provide the right amount of breathability and durability simultaneously without compromising on foot protection from external debris.

Toe Box.
This shoe was heavily designed to offer optimum protection and the toe box was not left out. It is made of rubber that protects the toes from external impact with rocks.

Cost and Value
This shoe retails at approximately 110 USD. It is considerably priced considering the features that it offers to the rider. It provides good value for money particularly when it comes to protection of the feet.
Pros

Enhanced protection

Flexible Rubber Sole

Unique lacing technique to offer snug fit.

Breathable upper mesh.

Cons

Reduced Stability

Reduced Durability

10. Five Ten Hell Cat

10. Five Ten Hell Cat
The last shoe in our list is the Five Ten Hell Cat. This unique sporting shoe offers a novel combination of features such as cushioning, durability, stability, foot protection and enhanced traction and grip. The manufacturer is known for providing high-quality, high-performance shoes for extreme sporting activities and this shoe is made for numerous sporting activities in this range. Its versatility is undeniable.
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Sole
The outer sole is made with proprietary Stealth rubber that provides sticky grip with enhanced traction. Additionally, this sole is clipless to provide unique and enhanced stability on the foot pedal.

Upper Part
Th upper part is made with DWR treated fabric that repels water thereby providing protection from wet compounds. It is also designed with a Lace/Velcro Brand strap closure that is adjustable to provide a snug fit.

Cost and Value
This shoe retails for approximately USD70. Among all the options available in this list, it is the cheapest since all sizes are available at the same price. This provides good value for your money.
Pros

Adjustable strap for snug fit

Waterproof

Durable

Excellent grip and Traction

Cons

Not Breathable

Reduced cushioning.

When choosing shoes for mountain biking, the most important feature is foot protection. This is because the terrain that you will be riding your bike is made of numerous loose external debris that could easily hurt your foot. Additionally, one should ensure that your selected choice provides adequate traction, and grip on the pedal and on rough terrain, excellent cushioning, comfort and breathability in order to supplement the features that are meant to offer you protection.

All other features such as fashion sense and color should come secondary to these important features. The shoes on this list are both for beginner riders and veteran cyclist. The combination of features in most of these shoes are unique and efficient in delivering a powerful performance while riding.

Most of the shoes are quite expensive in comparison to the normal sport shoes, but this is because of the combination of high-performance features that constantly deliver incredible results. If you want a shoe that will be a good investment for your money then any choice from this list will work. I would recommend that if you are a beginner rider you should choose a shoe that is easier to break in so that you do not end up with injuries that could dampen your experience.