Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Shoes in 2021 – Reviews

best bike shoes

Whether it is your first time, or the next rodeo in the mountain tour, there’s a chance that you need a new pair of mountain biking shoes. Finding the best mountain bike shoes can be a daunting task to do. Here are the tips which you can consider to find out the most ideal mountain bike shoes for you.

1. Five Ten Freerider ($100)

Five Ten Freerider is a great option for rough downhill trails. The sole is stiff enough to avoid hotspots while standing, while retaining enough flexibility and traction on rock for the occasional hike-a-bike. The shoes feature breathable suede-leather-and mesh uppers and shock-absorbing Stealth S1 rubber outsoles have high-friction dotted tread. One of the downsides of this model is that you lose some efficiency and power by not being connected to the pedals.

2. Shimano SH-ME3 ($100)

Shimano’s ME3 is a premium clipless mountain bike shoe at a very reasonable price. The ME3 has an easy-to-use buckle system that gives a comfortable fit. Its high-density synthetic leather uppers with perforations improve fit and breathability. At $100, this mountain bike shoe is a good budget-friendly option for XC riding, daily commutes to work, and light all-mountain endeavors.

3. Specialized S-Works Recon ($425)

Specialized’s S-Works Recon is a wonderful mountain bike shoe created for cross-country, cyclocross, and gravel racers that want an uncompromisingly powerful and ultralight shoe. The fit is very snug to maximize efficiency with a strong Dyneema mesh upper and dual Boa dials across the top of the foot. Its mixed-terrain FACT carbon plate maximizes power transfer and Alloy Boa S3-Snap dials enable riders to dial in their perfect fit quickly and easily.

4. Specialized 2FO Cliplite ($180)

This is a great shoe that includes flat pedal and traditional lace-up versions. Its wide, recessed two-bolt cleat pocket works seamlessly with clipless pedals, and a composite nylon plate gives enough stiffness for XC rides. The Specialized 2FO ClipLite MTB Shoes provides an amazing pedal connection, comfort, and protection. The two independent Boa S2-Snap dials make dialing in the perfect fit quick and easy.

5. Pearl Izumi X-Alp Summit ($140)

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Summit is an excellent mountain bike shoe that features a composite shank in the midsole for good power transfer, durable upper material, and great toe protection that wraps partway around the sides of the foot. Its 1:1 Anatomic Buckle Closure system removes pressure from your insteps to help minimize hot spots. Nylon shanks promote efficient energy transfer and provide support for walking your bike.

6. Shimano SH-GR7 ($140)

Shimano SH-GR7 is a great mountain bike shoe that features a neoprene cuff for keeping out small rocks and dirt. This shoe provides comfortable feel and high-quality, long-lasting build. It has a durable rubber compound with tightly spaced blocks in the middle for grip on the pedals, and wider lugs at the toe and heel for hiking traction.

7. Bontrager Foray ($160)

The Foray is one of Bontrager’s best mountain bike shoes and has a soft rubber compound, which helps with off-bike traction. The shoe goes from an exclusively Boa closure to a mix of Boa and hook-and-loop system over the toe. The tongue design is excellent and improves comfort. Its durable, GnarGuard rubberized coating protects against abrasions and fights debris. In conclusion Bontrager Foray, works well in a variety of situations.

8. Ride Concepts Livewire ($100)

Ride Concepts Livewire is a wonderful mountain bike shoe. Its Rubber Kinetics DST 6.0 high-grip rubber outsoles provide a transitional feel. D3O High Impact Zone Insole Technology provides both enhanced protection, versatile and flexible materials for shock absorption and impact protection. Plus, the fully gusseted tongue prevents intake of dirt and debris. This shoe is an excellent opton on great price.

9. Giro Jacket II ($90)

Giro Jacket II is an amazing shoe that is perfect for casual riders. With its comfortable interior and easy walkability it feels great. Boasting a padded, comfortable fit and Vibram® outsoles, these dirt slippers have the grip you need when things get spicy, without the hardo look you dread!

10. Northwave Clan ($150)

Northwave Clan is a great shoe that provides an internal shank for increased rigidity and efficient power transfer and reinforcements at the toe and heel for additional protection from rocks and trail-side impacts. These shoes employ a comparable—albeit slightly grippier—Michelin outsole. With thermo-welded TPU reinforcements, the Northwave Clan MTB Shoes 2019 become more durable and provide just a bit more protection.

Mountain Bike Shoes: A Guide for Beginners

Mountain Bike Shoe Categories

Cross-Country (XC)

Mountain bike shoes for cross-country purpose can be different from other disciplines. Cross Country or XC is one of the most rigorous mountain bike disciplines in the cycling sport. The Cross country requires the tactic, durability, as well as the great energy from the rider to cope with the challenges of the courses.

The XC challenges the low weight and the technique that you need to use in the different kinds of courses. Most of the time, the courses are surprising for the riders. In this case, the mountain bike shoes for XC racing should be low eight, comfortably fit, as well as durable.

All-Mountain

All-mountain mountain bike shoes are pretty much the same with the trail bike shoes. Well, it is because the challenges are there. These include the prolonged bike excursions within the mountains.

When it comes to the courses, there will be a lot of ascents and descents. The frequencies of going up and going down are plenty so that the riders will need to wear the most comfortable and resilient bike shoes possible. The shoes designed for all-mountain can work well although you are off the bike. The models are usually lighter but provide solid protection. The traction is also the key to the all-mountain shoes. It is important to pick the lighter shoes because it will give ample support when you saddle. You will feel the huge difference when saddle the way up.

Downhill

Downhill mountain bike shoes have different characteristics compared to the other types of mountain bike shoes. The Downhill designed footwear focuses on the quality of the walk-ability and the maximum foot protection. Although the shoes must be durable and protective, it can maintain the durability of the pedaling platform. It is also a great option for wider pedals. The Downhill shoes are heavier because these provide multi layer of foot protections. Thanks to the bulkier construction, it can protect your feet better than other type of mountain bike shoes.

Pedal Compatibility: Clipless vs. Flat

Clipless Pedals clip the foot into the place through the spikes. There are two components: clips and groove. The configuration of these components are usually standard, regardless of the differences of brands that you see. So, when it comes to the biking clipless pedal, picking the mountain bike clipless shoes will be a great option.

Flatbed pedals are the most common pedals. Most starters and standard users use these kinds of pedals. The notable characteristics of the flatbed pedals are the wide and flat surface of the pedal. The good thing about flatbed pedals or platform pedals is that they are cheaper and more general. You don’t need to use any special footwear. You can just wear any kind of shoes that you feel fit and comfortable.

Stiffness and Power Transfer

Stiffness and power transfer are the important aspects which can affect the choice of mountain bike shoes. Shoes with more stiffness tend to be more expensive since these are made of carbon fiber flex which provide a good medium to transfer the power. The stiffer carbon fiber tends to be lighter than other kinds of material. With the good quality of stiff materials, you will be able to transfer more power.

Outsole and Grip

The outsole is an important component to look in mountain bike shoes because it can differ between the good and bad grip. The grip provided by the outsole is what connects you with the bike when you are conducting your activities out there. The outsole designs will be a crucial aspect if you are spending more time with the mountain bike on a daily basis. The quality of the outsole will be prevalent due to the connectivity between your feet and the pedal.

Closure Systems: Laces, Velcro, Ratchet, and Boa

The closure systems in the common models from various brands are actually all great. So, the decision to choose the closure systems will be down to your own preferences and needs. Laces are the most common closure system used in the flatbed pedal mountain bike shoes. It is simple to use.
The ratchet and boa will be a great option if you are interested in adjusting while wearing the gloves. These systems are common in the enduro and cross country mountain bike shoes. Last but not least, Velcro is the secondary closure to support the ratchet system.

Weight

The weight will also be an important aspect to consider. The lightweight shoes, for instance, can help you to give more power when you are riding. Lightweight mountain bike shoes can be your top option. But you could tolerate the differences from one pair to another.

Foot and Toe Protection

Mountain biking is a physically demanding sport discipline. Even in any sport, the foot and toe protection are very important features to protect your feet from the impacts and bumps. The cross-country shoes tend to be lightweight since they prioritize power transfer. Tall mountain shoes have more cushioning to minimize the falls impacts.

Wet Weather Protection

Outdoors lovers will need to cope with the nature challenges. Therefore, one would need to pick the shoes that can protect them from the wet weather. In this case, you don’t need to worry since all of the designs from XC, all mountain to the downhill models come with the moisture resistance feature. Most of the modern mountain bike shoes come with the DWR coating which can repel the other elements.

Breathability

You might be exploring the places in the warmer climate. Some riders do not realize that their fatigue can be due to the bad ventilation of their current shoes. You will want to replace your older shoes with the new mountain bike shoes which come with the good ventilation system.

Durability

If you are going to wear the mountain bike shoes for a long time in the future, then it is very important to choose the shoes which are resilient and durable. Consider to focus on the brand which has a good reputation in the line of products which last for a long time.