Best Mountain Bike Shoes 2017 | 7 MTB Shoes Reviewed

7 Best Mountain Bike Shoes Review 2017 (Buyers Guide Included)

best mountain bike shoes

What you wear on your feet can impact the quality and effectiveness of your mountain bike riding experience. Wearing a shoe that isn’t designed for mountain bike riding can leave you miserable and in pain. The best mountain bike shoes are practical and durable, making them a wise long-term investment.

It’s true you could potentially wear any type of shoe, but if you’re training and riding regularly, you’ll want a shoe that is efficient while also providing comfort.


How to Choose a Mountain Bike Shoe (Buyer’s Guide)

The best mountain bike shoes will have a sole similar to a hiking boot, in that they’re rugged and slightly flexible. This gives the rider traction and comfort when walking on rocky terrain.

For wet and snowy weather, a mountain bike shoe would handle the conditions better, while keeping your ride comfortable and dry.

Road Bike Shoes vs. Mountain Bike Shoes

A road shoe generally has a stiff sole for efficiency, but is very uncomfortable to walk in. They are meant for flat terrain and dryer weather conditions. Mountain bike shoe sizing will vary between brands.

This isn’t just in the length as there can be variations in the toe-boxes and mid-foot region. Women will need to convert their size over to a men’s. For example, a women’s size 7 is a 5.5 in men’s.

Flat vs. Clipless

This area can be a bit confusing as neither shoe uses a clip to lock the shoe in place. Flats work with flat pedals that use a series of pins to help keep your foot in place. These shoes generally have a soft and sticky sole, allowing for a better grip on the pedal. A flat pedal shoe is likely to be stiffer than a tennis shoe while providing more cushion and padding for comfort.

Clipless pedals have a recessed area for a cleat to fit into it, creating a better bond between the shoe and the pedal. The best clipless mountain bike shoes come with multiple cleats on the sole so you can lock your foot in a position that fits your style. These shoes are well ventilated which is ideal for warm weather riding, but can leave your toes frozen in the colder months.

Here is the buying guide from global cycling network. It's very helpful though it's titled choosing cycling shoes but there is in-depth details on how to choose the  right mountain bike shoes comparing to generic cycling shoes.


Criteria for Finding the Best Mountain Bike Shoes

Whether you’re purchasing flats or trying to find the best clipless mountain bike shoes, there’s several important factors you need to take into consideration.

Comfort and Durability

Mountain bike shoes are stiff, which can increase pressure on the forefoot. For those who are vulnerable to pain, it’s important to pay attention to the insole. Ventilation and lightweight materials keep your feet cool while providing some flexibility.

While fiberglass is significantly stiffer, the molded plastic lugged outsole make it more difficult to walk in. For durability, you want a shoe that can withstand rocks, branches, mud, and water.

Power Transfer

The tighter the shoe, the more power you’ll be able to transfer. The downside to this is it can restrict blood flow. A contoured heel cup and instep strap will help with stability and power transfer.

Traction and Walking

The best clipless mountain bike shoes and flats will be able to accomadate the terrain you’re riding. A carbon fiber reinforced shank is great for pedaling, and it’s comfortable to hang out in.

You can also read How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Shoes (From singletracks.com)


7 Best Mountain Bike Shoes Review

To determine the best mountain bike shoes for you, we’ve spent countless hours riding and testing dozens of different shoes based on these criteria. We put them through rigorous tests while riding them for thousands of miles to find the best mountain bike shoes on the market today.

Which ones made it to the top of the list? Here are our top seven picks of the best mountain bike shoes available.

1. Giro Rumble VR Cycling Shoe - Men's MTB Shoe

This Giro Rumble VR are high-quality mountain bike shoes for flat pedals. Designed to function on and off the bike, it’s a comfortable all-day shoe for bikers riding on gentler trails.

A molded EVA footbed and midsole provides cushioned support while the microfiber body and vented mesh provide comfort and breathability.

The inner shank transfers power while the sole has a shallow diamond pattern that provides grip on soft ground and the petal. 

Key Features

  • It works with SPD clipless pedals, flat pedals, and toe clips with straps.
  • The microfiber and mesh upper is water resistant, supple, and breathable.
  • Medium arch in the footbed provides comfort and support.
  • Laces are non-slip and have hidden pockets to eliminate snags.

Pros

The Giro Rumble VR holds the heel to provide minimal heel lift while having a roomy toe box and thick padded tongue.

The sole has a decent grip and the vibram rubber provides optimal traction. Rumble VR is a forgiving shoe that hugs the foot without crowding or binding it.

Cons

While the sole and padded heal provide comfort, it also compromises power transfer.

If you’re riding on rough terrain, the toe box protection is slightly under-par compared to other mountain bike shoes for flat pedals.

2. Louis Garneau Women's Multi Air Flex | Best Mountain Bike Shoe For Women

Its outsole is also rigid for efficient pedaling while the HRS-80 assists in a powerful pedal stroke. 

The entire shoe is well ventilated and has Velcro as opposed to laces.

Key Features

  • ​Specifically designed for a women’s foot.
    Specifically designed for a women’s foot.
  • ​Ability to position your cleat using the visual display (compatible with SPD cleats).
    Ability to position your cleat using the visual display (compatible with SPD cleats).
  • ​Synthetic leather and mesh upper is water resistant. 
    Synthetic leather and mesh upper is water resistant.
  • ​Reflective heal for added visibility.
    Reflective heal for added visibility.

Pros

These women's mountain bike shoes are great for spin classes or riding the trails.

The ventilation system is top-notch for comfort and breathability, while also providing a secure fit.

For evening and night riding, the reflective heal is a nice addition that makes you more visible.

Cons

Mountain bike shoe sizing can vary, and in this case the shoes run on the smaller size.

We recommend ordering one size larger than normal. The toe box is slightly narrow, and you need to order the clip separately.

The Pear iZUMi is a lightweight shoe with a nylon and composite fiber plate for durability.

It also removes pressure from your instep with a three strap anatomic closure.

Key Features

  • ​Synthetic leather, mesh, and sole provide comfort and breathability.
    Synthetic leather, mesh, and sole provide comfort and breathability.
  • ​Work for outdoor riding and indoor spin classes.
    Work for outdoor riding and indoor spin classes.
  • ​The closure follows the natural shape of the foot to eliminate hot spots.
    The closure follows the natural shape of the foot to eliminate hot spots.
  • ​The heel cup has an integrated molded power band.
    The heel cup has an integrated molded power band.
  • ​They’re SDP compatible.
    They’re SDP compatible.
    The heel cup has an integrated molded power band.

Pros

The Pearl iZUMi womens mountain bike shoes are durable and sturdy. 

The design helps you to use your leg correctly when pedaling and transfers power appropriately.

Whether you’re new to the sport or a veteran, these mountain bike shoes provide the right support and power transfer.

Cons

The mountain bike shoe sizing runs on the smaller end and the front is designed on the narrow side.

Be careful about ordering to large of a size as this can lead to the heal slipping.

4. Five Ten Freerider EPS Men's MTB Shoes | Best Mountain Shoes for Flat Pedals

The construction of the shoe helps prevent the outdoor elements from entering while providing the essentials of comfort, durability, and power transfer.

Key Features

  • ​PrimaLoft insulation throughout the entire shoe, including the tongue.
    PrimaLoft insulation throughout the entire shoe, including the tongue.
  • ​Additional foam insulation in the sock liner.
    Additional foam insulation in the sock liner.
  • ​Single piece leather on forefoot to reduce seams and water intake.
    Single piece leather on forefoot to reduce seams and water intake.
  • ​DWR-Treated leather with S1 Stealth rubber outsole.
    DWR-Treated leather with S1 Stealth rubber outsole.

Pros

The added protection keeps your feet much drier than other mens mountain bike shoes.

With the addition of the PrimaLoft, the parts that get wet dry quicker and reduce the chance of musty aromas.

They’re decent mountain bike shoes for flat pedals that offer an optimal grip and wear resistance when riding.

Cons

While the shoe is available in a low and mid-top, the low-top doesn’t protect your foot from getting wet well.

The mid-top doesn’t provide good mobility and is lacking in tread when walking on snow and ice.

While the shoe is available in a low and mid-top, the low-top doesn’t protect your foot from getting wet well. The mid-top doesn’t provide good mobility and is lacking in tread when walking on snow and ice.

5. Shimano Men's Mountain/Sport SPD Cycling Shoes | Best Clipless Mountain Bike Shoes for Beginners

These mens mountain bike shoes are ideal for off-road riding and first time trail riders.

The high traction rubber outsole with a rigid midsole plate provides comfort, along with optimal pedal efficiency.

Built to be tough and snug, the Shimano SPD Cycling shoes are breathable  while supporting a wide range of foot shapes.

The toe box has extra space, and the flat insole is lightweight and comfortable.

Key Features

  • ​Dual hook-and-loop straps for comfort and support.
    al hook-and-loop straps for comfort and support.
  • ​A stretch-resistant synthetic leather with a mesh upper.
    A stretch-resistant synthetic leather with a mesh upper.
  • ​Fiberglass-reinforced and polyamide midsole plate that balances stiffness with compliance.
    Fiberglass-reinforced and polyamide midsole plate that balances stiffness with compliance.
  • ​Extra volume in the toe box.
    Extra volume in the toe box.

Pros

These are the best clipless mountain bike shoes for beginners on the market.

The shoe is durable and leak-proof, while being easy to adjust to your foot size due to the Velcro straps.

 The Shimano SPD comes in wide sizes, which are difficult to find, and the hard plastic soles make walking easier.

Cons

Don’t use standard mountain bike shoe sizing charts as you’ll most likely find yourself with too small of a size.

The shoes also don’t come with cleat nuts as they need to be purchased separately.

The Shimano Women's SH-WM53 shoes a great pair to pick up if you’re new to XC racing and off-road biking.

They come equipped with polyurethane outsole lugs, which provide an excellent pedal grip. 

This mud-shredding shoe provides optimal traction on steep sections that require you to either walk or run up them.

The sole of the shoe is made with a fiberglass-reinforced nylon, and it has a stretch-resistant synthetic leather and mesh upper for breathability

Key Features

  • ​Triple asymmetrical straps to prevent uncomfortable pressure that might be placed on your foot.
    Triple asymmetrical straps to prevent uncomfortable pressure that might be placed on your foot

  • ​A cross X-strap to relieve tension from the top of the foot during a push off motion.
    A cross X-strap to relieve tension from the top of the foot during a push off motion.

  • ​A narrower heel cup, added support for the instep, and a smaller toe-box.
    A narrower heel cup, added support for the instep, and a smaller toe-box.
  • ​Synthetic leather is lighter and stronger than natural leathers.
    Synthetic leather is lighter and stronger than natural leathers.

Pros

The shoe is very comfortable and is great for spinning. 

The Shimano clipless pedals and cleats are easy to install and fit great with the shoe.

This is a great mountain bike shoe for newbies and veterans. 

Cons

The sizing can be off depending on your foot structure, and the toe-box felt a bit too roomy.

After riding for a bit, the toe-box wasn’t as large as it seemed at first.

​The Giro Empire VR90 come with laces on a top-end XC shoe that are different from standard laces.

This shoe is rated as the best mountain bike shoes on the market, and they live up to their reputation.

 The base has an Easton carbon fiber EC90 sole that is stiff and lightweight for comfort and traction.

This mountain bike shoes come with three different inserts and won’t stretch out over time. A Mont outsole is layered over the carbon to make walking easier while also protecting the carbon.

Key Features

  • ​A leather shoe with a Teijin microfiber upper material.
    A leather shoe with a Teijin microfiber upper material.
  • ​Cleat compatibility with a 2-hole design.
    Cleat compatibility with a 2-hole design.
  • ​Limited custom add-ons make the shoe an economic purchase.
    Limited custom add-ons make the shoe an economic purchase.
  • ​The inserts are available in low, medium, and high arches.
    The inserts are available in low, medium, and high arches.

Pros

It offer a great sole grip and are built to be long-lasting.

The laces provide a uniform support and the shoe itself is very lightweight. 

This mountain bike shoe is an optimal choice if you’re looking for slim fit.

Cons

Because this is a narrow shoe, the sizing differs from standard charts.

Be sure to learn how to lace them correctly or the elastic strap can break.

Final Words

 You also want to make sure there is little movement on the pedal as this can make your riding difficult and tiresome. A durable shoe that can withstand the elements while providing comfort will create a more enjoyable riding experience. These are the qualities you want to look for when choosing the best mountain bike shoes for you. 

The Giro Empire VR90 come with laces on a top-end XC shoe that are different from standard laces. Theses shoes are rated as the best mountain bike shoes on the market, and they live up to their reputation. The base has an Easton carbon fiber EC90 sole that is stiff and lightweight for comfort and traction. These mountain bike shoes come with three different inserts and won’t stretch out over time. A Mont outsole is layered over the carbon to make walking easier while also protecting the carbon.
Giro Empire VR90 Men’s Mountain Bike Shoes
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