When you're out for activities like mountain climbing and cycling, you must have the right type of shoes. Choosing the best mountain bike shoes can be an uphill task, given the many varieties available. Overall, mountain bike shoes fall into two categories.
The first type has cleats on the outsoles, ideal for use with bikes with clipless pedals. The other model comes with low-profile soles made from sticky rubber. These are known as flat pedal shoes. The debate on which type is better is endless, but the clipless type is stiffer and features recessed bolt holes where the pedal cleats attach.
Your preference determines the type you settle for from among the assortment. The current trend comprises a mix-and-match system with a dial, hook-and-loop, and lace closure.
When buying a pair of mountain bike shoes, you want a pair that'll deliver excellent performance. A reliable shoe is the one that delivers the best grip.
Furthermore, you also want a pair that feels comfortable, is durable, and affordable. In this review, you’ll come across a few top-notch pairs. They’ll get you started in your search and also help narrow down your options.
Top 5 Best Mountain Bike Shoes of 2020
OUR TOP PICK
The Gavin MTB Mountain Bike Shoe is a good choice for both men and women. The mesh fabric makes it ideal for a wide variety of activities in addition to mountain cycling.
The MTB Mountain Bike shoe is designed for compatibility with MTB, SPD, and Crank Brothers pedals. The insole is lightweight and perforated, providing for added comfort. They’re easy to wash and quick-drying.
The soles are stiffer compared to other cleat shoes, yet offer a higher degree of flexibility. The bumpy grip sole provides ease of walking and cycling on muddy and rough terrains.
The Gavin MTB Mountain Bike shoe gives maximum power and efficient energy transfer. The state-of-the-art technology used in making the shoes delivers good traction, keeps the feet comfortable, and allows breathability.
The shoe is comfortable and lightweight to wear during training. The fabric is made from synthetic microfiber leather with a blend of breathable mesh panels. The incorporated air vents are useful in helping maintain temperatures at cool levels.
The design of the shoe is rigid and stout. This is achieved by the use of nylon fiberglass that gives efficient power transfer when cycling or pedaling. The soles are stout-lugged for a firm grip on challenging trails and also made to last.
To enhance your safety, the shoe features a three hook-and-loop closure for a comfortable and secure fit. It also has a reflective heel tab that improves visibility by other riders, even in low-light situations.
The Gavin Mountain Bike Shoe is designed in a way that makes it compatible with a wide array of applications. These include SPD, SPD-R, and SPD-SL.
- The design and closure system of the shoes delivers maximum comfort and foot control
- Provides excellent fit and traction
- The fabric and materials used on the shoe are highly durable and easy to maintain
- Easy cleat installation and adjustment
- Affordable, light, and breathable
- The shoe sizes are smaller and have a tighter fit than regular shoes
- The shoes don’t automatically adjust on the bike and pedal cleats
The manufacturer of the Tommaso Vertice shoe offers a level of quality unmatched by the competition. The two-year manufacturer warranty is proof that the shoe is built to last.
Tommaso comes with several high-quality features. The first is the ultra-rugged VI Bram sole that provides a firm grip and traction. The toe box is hardened and reinforced, making them ready for all types of trails.
You can count on the shoe for an amazing grip as well as its quick-drying, breathability, and stability features. The quick and reliable closure system enhances these characteristics. It has three ergonomic Velcro straps for the best fit at all times.
For the best fit, ensure you use the recommended chart to get the size right. If unsure about your size, match the CM sizing with your current shoe size for the best sizing option.
The top-notch performance of this shoe will amaze you. However, this level of performance is not possible without comfort. That’s why the Vertice has been designed as the most comfortable shoe by adding tons of extra padding.
Overall, the shoe provides a fit that feels snug around the foot, feeling like a glove. It also offers protection against rocks and other hazards you come across on the trail.
The fully adjustable top strap allows for maximum customization for the perfect fit. This means that every user can find the best level of comfort by adjusting the strap accordingly.
If you’re looking for a pair of mountain bike shoes with unmatched versatility, the Vertice it is. With the pair, you’ll easily add power to every stroke. The hidden inner shank plate provides optimum power transfer without compromising your comfort.
- The shoe is very comfortable and easy to adjust using the Velcro strap
- Provides powerful traction on all terrain
- Come with a reflective strip on the heel for enhanced visibility
- The price is friendly and affordable
- Each respective size fits perfectly and feels snug on your feet
- Too heavy for professional mountain cycling
- Poor quality control as you have to adjust the cleats to match the pedal
Freerider Mountain Bike Shoe is the perfect description of comfort and style. It’s an excellent choice for men who want to be sure about their safety when they’re unsure about the terrain.
The Five Ten shoe is an upgraded version of the standard Freerider shoe. It comes with some enhanced pro features that make it a little more expensive than others in its class.
This is your go-to flat pedal that has remained unchanged over the years. The shoe comes with a stiffer midsole that you wouldn't notice by looking at the slim outer shell. However, it provides plenty of pedal feel and bike connection once bedded in.
The upper of the shoe is made from a reasonably rigid fabric and is tough enough to resist cuts and abrasions. It’ll also maintain its shape and support for some considerable time.
The ankle collars are snug and padded to prevent rubbing and heel lifting. They're also well fixed to avoid dirt and stones from getting inside the shoes. Furthermore, they improve the impact absorption to prevent feet from tiring on long and rough descents.
The extra abrasion-resistant scuff stitched on the outsole enhances the overall durability. One thing you might not like is the thinner midsole that reduces the model's protection and support.
Five Ten comes with a dotted stealth rubber sole that offers you a reliable hold. Your feet will get a feel of being properly locked even on the most uncertain terrains. It’ll help maintain your confidence against bouncing or twisting around even on slippery paths.
The outstanding grip, excellent foot support, ease of cleaning, and sorted protection are all reasons to choose this shoe.
- The sole is super sticky and hence stays comfortable on the pedals
- The toe box is reinforced for more comfort and safety
- Breathable and lightweight fabric and materials
- Made to last long
- The shoe has a casual and trendy look
- Comes off pretty fast
- Retains water hence not a good fit for wet terrains and also takes longer to dry
The Fizik X5 Terra shoe is yet another pair among the most popular mountain bike shoes. It has a stylish and compact design that also promises comfort and durability.
Fizik is an off-the-road model since it’s dominated by a Microtex upper. The revamped design is excellent, with an offset tongue that cushions your feet against pressure.
Another significant change in the design is on the insoles. Through new technology, the brand has made the carbon sole to match more closely with the shape of your foot. The intention is to provide more support and comfort for the entire length of the foot.
While the previous model felt flat and without shape, the new version is more encompassing and supportive. The base feels a lot more solid, even with the relatively small contact point.
The shoe's whole system has been modified to work very well around the entire foot area. The flexible Microtex upper wrapping will support the arch and heel, without interfering with the toe box.
New Looks and Impressions
The appearance of the shoe has also changed with the revamping. It comes with a splash of attractive colors like strong red and pink tones. Similarly, you can get military green hues, fluorescence yellow, grey, and dark blue or plain black.
Overall, you’ll be impressed with the new X5 mountain bike shoes as they’re more comfortable and better looking. Their price tag isn’t ridiculous either, despite the excellent tread pattern, high-end uppers, and stiff carbon composite sole.
- The shoe is designed for a luxurious and stylish fit
- The sole grip and flex is well-suited for off-road use
- Available in a wide variety of beautiful colors
- Reasonably priced
- Very comfortable, easy to maintain, and offers protection for the feet
- The suede is not very durable and requires a lot of cleaning care
- The midsole is made of plastic which could slip off the pedals
Venzo Mountain Bike Shoes are versatile and compatible with a variety of mountain bike pedals. They are perfect for MTB off-road riding, touring, and commuting.
The first thing you'll notice about the shoes is that they have a stiff and sturdy sole. They significantly reduce the amount of energy lost when riding.
Long-distance riding usually generates heat due to the friction of the cleats. Fortunately, the sole is heat insulated to prevent you from the impact of friction. This makes it compatible with clipless pedals and Dual Platform Multi-Purpose pedals.
The premium quality of the Venzo mountain bike shoes will help avoid injuries. You neither have to worry about durability, nor experience quality issues. The one-year warranty on the shoes is enough proof that Venzo is a mark of quality and reliability.
The construction of the shoe features Velcro fasteners for safety and security. Unfortunately, these make the shoes a little heavier than most premium models. Overall, they’re easy to clean, are breathable, and built with mesh panels to keep the feet cool and dry.
One factor that limits people when it comes to investing in a pair of clipless shoes is the cost. In addition to the shoes, they also have to buy a pair of compatible pedals. This can make the purchase very complicated.
With the kit from Venzo, this will be the least of your concerns. The pair is an entry-level clipless model ideal for mountain biking. Furthermore, they come with matching pedals, which you can easily attach to your bike.
The pedals consist of an aluminum body construction for the perfect blend of strength. They’re also compatible with all Shimano SPD cleated shoes, hence offering you a long-term investment.
- The shoes are of high quality and give value for money
- They provide the best fit as they feature a Velcro strap for adjustment
- The package comes with bike pedals included hence worth the price
- The shoe provides a great solution to beginners who can’t figure out which cleats go with which pedals
- The sole and cleats are designed to deliver extra power
- Package lacks instruction manual for installation of the pedals
- Too narrow for people with wide feet
Best Mountain Bike Shoes of 2020 Buying Guide
When looking for a pair of mountain bike shoes, several factors come into play. Apart from being comfortable, the pair must also provide good traction and stay firmly fixed on the pedals.
Many factors influence the decision of whether to buy clipless or flat mountain-bike shoes. In this review, you’ve been introduced to some of the best brands and models available. Once you find one that suits your preferences, you'll be off to a rollicking ride.