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What are the Best Mountain Bike Shoes?

For the beginner biker the type of bike shoes you wear probably never even crossed your mind and let’s be honest you can ride a bike in just about any type of shoe, right? However, if you are serious about mountain biking you can really benefit from bike shoes designed specifically for cycling.

When compared to normal athletic shoes, biking shoes offer a stiffer sole which in-turn helps to efficiently transfer the energy as you pedal. The stiffer biking shoe sole also helps to stop your feet getting overly tired as a result of wrapping around the pedals as you push down. Some of the best mountain bike shoes are usually paired with specialized pedals that help to hold your feet securely on the bicycle as you ride over rough trails.

best mountain bike shoes review

Best Biking Shoe Brand

There are many types of mountain bike shoes readily available in the marketplace and picking out the best bike shoes for you can often leave you scratching your head. To help narrow down your options you can try to focus on some of the best bike shoe brands that way you know that you are getting the best mountain biking shoes your money can buy.

Bike shoe brands such as Giro, Shimano, Mavic, and Specialized are at the top of their game when it comes to the best biking shoes. These brands offer a wide range of bike shoes to suit all tastes, at different budgets and with different materials and closures.

The choice really comes down to personal preference as there really is no single good choice. However, generally the more expensive shoes are stiffer, lighter and typically offer a more feature-rich fitting system.

Best Mountain Bike Shoes 5 Our Favorites

Below we have picked out five of the best shoes for mountain biking. Each of the below MTB shoes are a great choice for those that ride beginner mountain bikes as well as seasoned pros hitting the trails hard.

Giro Privateer

Giro PrivateerRating: ★★★★

The Giro Privateer isn’t going to win any prizes for its looks, but when you are wanting to mash those peddles and hit rugged trails looks are the last of your worries. The Privateer features a synthetic leather upper that is not only supple but holds its shape for miles and miles of riding. It is secured with a ratcheting buckle at the ankle along with two loop and hook closures.

The synthetic leather is also very breathable ensuring that your feet stay sweat free and dry no matter how high the temperatures.

The natural dual-density, gum-colored sole soles offer just enough flexibility and give that your heel doesn’t pull out when walking around and they are a great MTB shoe when it comes to transferring power to the pedals.

Shimano XC50

Shimano XC50Rating: ★★★★★

You’ll either love or hate the “Stormtrooper” looks of the Shimano XC50 mountain bike shoes. However, they are a popular budget choice with many bikers. Aesthetics aside, the Shimano XC50’s are a great bike shoe if you are looking for a shoe focused on more bike time with the ability to walk around with ease if and when needed rather than a normal sport shoe.

The tread pattern on the Shimano XC50 features a texture that helps to stop slippage and the clearance around the cleat pocket is just enough making the XC50 the perfect multi-discipline choice.

The sealed synthetic leather upper is comfortable in any riding condition and the micro-adjustable buckle and offset dual straps ensure a tight fitting bike shoe even on the muddiest and wettest of MTB trails.

Mavic Rush

Mavic RushRating: ★★★★★

For many mountain bikers looking the part is as important as anything else and the Mavic Rush doesn’t disappoint in the looks department with its visual styling of a road racing shoe. The low profile tread on the Rush has a lot to do with its likeness to a road bike shoe but don’t let the low profile tread fool you as the performance for mountain biking is still there.

When it comes to the stiffness of the soles they are great on and off the bike and you won’t feel like you’ve been standing on metal tubes all day and the straps and ratchets do a great job of spreading pressure and reducing fatigue.

The bike shoe upper has been crafted from a synthetic mesh material which allows for easy evaporation with in-turn will keep your feet dry and the insole’s have had an antibacterial treatment to help keep the shoes smelling a little fresher.

Sidi Eagle 5

Sidi Eagle 5 Fit ShoesRating: ★★★★

If money isn’t an issue and you are really looking for the best mountain bike shoes you can buy, then the Sidi Eagle 5 with its modern design should be at the top of your list.

Sidi are a renowned classic Italian brand of quality biking footwear and the craftsmanship, and fit of the Lorica material is exceptional – as the old saying goes you get what you pay for and bike shoes are no exception.

When it comes to mountain biking the durability of the Sidi Eagle is excellent and with the serviceable ratchets and buckles the cost per wear soon falls when compared to cheap bike shoes.

Northwave Hammer SRS Mountain Bike Shoe

Northwave Hammer SRS Mountain Bike ShoeRating: ★★★★★

The Northwave mountain bike shoe has been designed specifically for the sort of MTB riding we suggest mountain bike shoes to be great for; combining a mix of walking time and riding time. The look and feel of the Northwave mountain bike shoe is visually appealing, however, its vibrant colors may not suit all tastes.

What is clearly evident with this mountain biking shoe is the emphasis on off-the-bike comfort and the Hammer’s are almost slipper like in comparison to other bike shoes. The sole is very flexible, almost like a trainer shoe, flexing between the ball and toes. On the bike this isn’t so great but if you prefer a bike shoe that is an all-rounder shoe suited for walking and biking the Northwave Hammer is a good, solid choice.

What Are The Main Types Of Bike Shoes?

Generally speaking there are two main types of bike shoes that can be categorized as mountain bike shoes and road bike shoes. Let’s take a closer look.

Mountain Bike ShoesMountain Bike Shoes

Mountain bike shoes tend to have a stiff sole for efficient pedaling but also have enough flex in the sole to give you enough traction whilst walking on rugged trails. Some of the best mountain bike shoes offer a lacing system, a rip and stick system or cam straps combined with buckles to ensure a snug fit of the shoe.

Mountain biking shoes are a popular choice for casual road biking, touring, or even for indoor cycling classes.

Road Bike ShoesRoad Bike Shoes

All of the best road bike shoes will be made with a lightweight construction, a smooth outside as well as good ventilation. Unlike mountain bike shoes, road bike shoes have exceptionally stiff soles helping to facilitate maximum power transfer to your pedals.

Road biking shoes have very little traction on the sole and because of their inability to flex they are not the best bike shoe for extended walking.

Best shoes for mountain biking

What to Look for in the Best Mountain Bike Shoes

Before you run out of the house, cash in hand, take a few minutes to find out what to look for in the best mountain bike shoes. Like all biking accessories such as mountain bike helmets and bike computers, its always best to know what to look for before you part with your hard-earned money.

Tread Pattern

When choosing the best pair of MTB shoes you will want to consider the amount of lug or tread on the outer soles. If you are mountain biking you will need a good amount of tread so that you don’t slip when carrying your bike down a rocky trail section or up a steep muddy hill.

Fastening systems

Most of the best shoes for mountain biking will feature a Velcro strap system or a ratchet/buckle system. The Velcro straps are simple and easy to use and will keep your shoes tight even is dirt and water. If you are wanting a durable and secure fit that won’t let you down the ratchet/buckle system is going to be the best. Most bike shoes that use a ratcheting buckle will combine a buckle on top with at least two Velcro straps below.

Other top rated MTB shoes feature laces and provide a pocket in the tongue of the shoe to hide away the laces so that they don’t flap around and get cough the drive chain.

Insole support

Most of the athletic shoes will scrimp on the insoles, because they are hidden and not really something though about. Many people won’t have an issue with wafer-thin bike shoe insoles but it is something to take into consideration the save your feet from unnecessary aches and numbness on long rides.

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