As interesting as mountain biking is, you shouldn’t forget safety. Apart from your mountain bike and helmet, mountain bike shoes are also essential kits. A high-quality pair of mountain bike shoes along with bike shorts will play a significant role in your biking experience. Most beginners wear any pair of shoes they feel comfortable with and use the bike pedal to power the bike. However, experts or people who ride frequently prefer mountain biking-specific shoes such as cleated bike shoes. These shoes work in combination with pedals and essentially lock the rider’s feet to the bike. These shoes give power to the pedals, and their strong construction keeps your feet secure and protected. Mountain bike shoes will provide feedback through the pedals and are also secure and comfortable.
Generally, there are two distinct types of mountain bike shoes- flats and clipless shoes. Both are great options, though riding style and personal preference may likely influence your choice. Most flat shoes are often reserved for trail, enduro, and gravity riding and make for easy maneuverability on the bike. Clipless shoes mechanically attach to the pedal through a cleat, giving a secure connection for better power and control. So, we’ve included flats and clipless shoes for you to make a choice. It’s smart to get a pair of each flat and clipless shoes so you won’t be restricted in any way.
Five Ten Freerider Pro
This incredible mountain bike shoe looks good, and it’s hard to beat when it comes to performance and comfort. It may not have the thickest sole, but it delivers an impressive grip, and pedal feel as it’s made from the dotted Stealth S1 rubber compound. It features a thick upper material that offers good ventilation and protection around the heel and toe area. This excellent shoe fits perfectly, with laces the primary means of retention. In addition, this model has a clever lace keeper that holds everything in place to prevent them from eventually coming undone.
Giro Cylinder II
This lightweight, clipless mountain bike shoe features mesh panels that keep your feet cool and ventilated, especially in hot conditions (sort of like running shoes). Its outsole is made from a fiber and nylon combination, and it has a dial and retention system paired with a lower velcro strap. The Giro Cylinder II is a good option for all-around riding such as light-trail riding, XC, gravel, or even cyclocross. Also, its result is a good entry-level SPD shoe which makes it a perfect option for people looking to start using clipless shoes.
Crankbrothers Mallet E SpeedLace
This is an all-around trail shoe manufactured by Crankbrothers. After years of producing pedals and other components, it produced the Mallet E SpeedLace as one of its debut models. It serves as a trail/enduro clipless shoe with an MC1 compound sole (which is considered mid-friction). As a result, it’s not as sticky as other shoes and creates less drag when clipping in and out of the pedals. This shoe’s outer and upper material also feels protective and tough for when the trails get rough. Overall, in terms of performance, the Mallet E SpeedLace is an excellent shoe with a design that doesn’t sacrifice comfort.
Pearl Izumi X-Alp Flow
The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Flow is an excellent flat pedal shoe that’s ideal for mountain biking beginners. Despite its simple design, it’s a great option for people looking to get into mountain biking for the first time. It offers an uncomplicated lace-up system commonly seen in casual packages. It has a dual-compound sole that has a combination of chevron lugs and strategically placed rubber siping for optimal flat-pedal grip. The only downside is that it could have offered better protection around the ankles and toes. However, judging its price, it’s a good entry-level mountain bike shoe that still does the business.
The Scott MTB Team Boa is a performance-focused MTB shoe with a tuneable fit. This excellent mountain bike shoe has a stealth appearance, and it benefits from a Boa retention system which adds to its premium feel. It is a clipless shoe, and the comfort and performance of this shoe are of a very impressive level compared to the flagship MTB RC SL model. It features a reinforced heel cup that supplies a slip-free pedaling action. This is backed up by a stiff fiberglass or nylon sole with rubberized tread. Also, aside from its performance, it has a roomy toe box, and the ErgoLogic insole support system also allows you to tailor the footbed by way of swappable segments for an improved fit.
This is one of the best clipless trail shoes that’s hard to beat. It is a perfect choice for enduro and trail riding as this shoe takes advantage of a clipless pedal interface. It has a bit of ventilation and has SpeedLace closure and a ratchet, making it easy for the shoes to be cinched down tight. ME7 rubber outsole offers purchase while scrambling over wet logs or steep hike-a-bikes, and the carbon midsole increases pedaling efficiency.