ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MTB SHOESCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST MTB SHOESMTB SHOES REVIEWSSIDI SD15GIRO TERRADURO MIDMAVIC CROSSMAX SL PROPEARL IZUMI MEN’S X-ALP SEEK VIISHIMANO SH-AM7GIRO RUMBLE VRFIVE TEN FREERIDER CONTACTSCOTT MTB TEAMHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MTB SHOESFLAT SHOES OR CLEATSTHE CONTROVERSYTHE CONSENSUSNYLON OR CARBON SOLESMTB SHOE SIZE AND FITMTB SHOE CLOSUREHIGH-TECHLOW-TECHVENTILATIONCLEAT PLACEMENT What makes a pair of shoes great? We always look at fit comfort, and style, but the best mtb shoes go even further. They’ll let you conquer a mountain uphill and downhill, and they’ll keep your feet safe on winding, rocky trails. Some of the factors in choosing mountain bike shoes include pedal compatibility, riding style, weight and flexibility. Do you need a cleat-compatible shoe for clipless pedals or a super grippy flat shoe for platform pedals? No matter your preference, we have recommendations to make your next ride faster and more comfortable. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’ve reviewed dozens of bike shoes to create this list of our 10 favorite shoes including styles for men and for women. So low-key bike commuter and mud-spattered racer alike, we have a shoe for you. For more of our top mountain bike gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Men’s Bikes | Women’s Bikes Pedals | Wheels | Tires | Brakes | Saddles Chains | Cranksets | Derailleurs | Gear Shifters Helmets | Lights | Computers | GPS | Pumps Shorts | Jackets | Shoes | Gloves LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR AFELLOW BIKER?Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your biking friends.From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone. VIEW NOW QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MTB SHOES 1. SIDI SD15 VIEW AT REI 2. GIRO TERRADURO MID VIEW AT AMAZON 3. MAVIC CROSSMAX SL PRO VIEW AT AMAZON 4. PEARL IZUMI X-ALP SEEK VII VIEW AT AMAZON 5. SHIMANO SH-AM7 VIEW AT JENSONUSA 6. GIRO RUMBLE VR VIEW AT JENSONUSA 7. FIVE TEN FREERIDER CONTACT VIEW AT JENSONUSA 8. SCOTT MTB TEAM VIEW AT AMAZON COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST MTB SHOES PICTUREMTB SHOEBEST USECLOSURESOLEWEIGHTPRICERATING PICTUREMTB SHOEBEST USECLOSURESOLEWEIGHTPRICERATING Sidi SD15OverallBOA-Velcro2-Hole Cleat375g$$$$4.0 Giro Terraduro MidOverallBuckle-Laceup2-Hole Cleat420g$$$5.0 Mavic Crossmax Sl ProOverallBuckle2-Hole Cleat370g$$$$$4.0 Pearl Izumi Men's X-Alp Seek ViiBudgetLaceup2-Hole Cleat365g$4.5 Shimano Sh-Am7BudgetVelcro-LaceupFlat365g$$5.0 Giro Rumble VrCasualLaceupFlat/2-Hole Cleat430g$4.3 Five Ten Freerider ContactCasualLaceupFlat390g$$4.5 Scott Mtb TeamCasualBOA-Velcro2-Hole Cleat350g$$$5.0 MTB SHOES REVIEWS SIDI SD15 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Highly-durable shoes that excel on varied terrain WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A CLOSURE: BOA-Velcro SOLE: 2-Hole Cleat WEIGHT: 375g PROS: Durable, rugged, easily repaired and maintained. CONS: Price GIRO TERRADURO MID Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: High-comfort riding through all-weather conditions WOMEN’S VERSION: Giro Terradura Women’s CLOSURE: Buckle-Laceup SOLE: 2-Hole Cleat WEIGHT: 420g PROS: Sheds water, water resistant, comfortable CONS: Weight MAVIC CROSSMAX SL PRO Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: High-speed CX racing WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A CLOSURE: Buckle SOLE: 2-Hole Cleat WEIGHT: 370g PROS: Weight, ventilation CONS: Price PEARL IZUMI MEN’S X-ALP SEEK VII Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Aesthetic-minded riders seeking comfort and a less rigid, classic sneaker style and feel WOMEN’S VERSION: Pearl Izumi Women’s X-Alp CLOSURE: Laceup SOLE: 2-Hole Cleat WEIGHT: 365g PROS: Comfort, style, weight, price CONS: Flexible SHIMANO SH-AM7 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Flat shoe downhill and gravity riding WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A CLOSURE: Velcro-Laceup SOLE: Flat WEIGHT: 365g PROS: Weight, comfort, grip CONS: Slippery in rain, style GIRO RUMBLE VR Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Stylish versatile shoes for flat or clipless pedals WOMEN’S VERSION: Giro Women’s Petra VR CLOSURE: Laceup SOLE: Flat and 2-Hole Cleat WEIGHT: 430g PROS: Style, comfort, versatility, price CONS: Flexible, weight FIVE TEN FREERIDER CONTACT Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Serious or casual riding in stylish flat shoes WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A CLOSURE: Laceup SOLE: Flat WEIGHT: 390g PROS: Price, style, comfort, grip CONS: Weight SCOTT MTB TEAM Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Versatile, lightweight shoe that can be easily adjusted WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A CLOSURE: BOA-Velcro SOLE: 2-Hole Cleat WEIGHT: 350g PROS: Weight, adjustable, style CONS: Price Gear up for mountain biking, without breaking the bankGet the Latest Deals on MTB GearSent right to your inbox...GEAR UP FOR MTB HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MTB SHOES FLAT SHOES OR CLEATS THE CONTROVERSY If the most contentious debate in mountain biking is singletrack trail design, then clip-less vs flat pedals is a close second. Clipless pedals use interlocking cleat systems to lock the shoe to the pedal. They require cleat-compatible shoes Meanwhile, flat pedals are just the simple platform pedals we all started on. The latter is easier for new riders and less expensive. The former is preferred by most experienced riders. THE CONSENSUS Clipless pedals have become almost mandatory in road cycling, but mountain biking still has a love for simple platforms and grippy, textured flat shoes. Neither choice is wrong and more a matter of personal preference than any proven data. If you want to wear comfortable sneakers, go with flat shoes. If you want to try the extra stability and efficiency of cleats, buy a two-hole mountain bike cleat compatible shoe. We’ve detailed the benefits, differences and history of the various pedal systems in a previous article on the best mountain bike pedals. For most riders, the decision is made by the company they keep along with their level of interest and preference. Solo riders can go with either. However, social riders will probably prefer being similarly equipped so that technological advantages don’t ruin the camaraderie of a group ride. NYLON OR CARBON SOLES Mountain Bike Rider notes the importance of paying attention to the material used in your soles. Carbon is trendy, rigid, and low-weight, and very popular for road bike shoes. Nylon is a more popular choice for mountain bike riders since it is cheaper and has a more flexible sole, which is more comfortable for walking. MTB SHOE SIZE AND FIT We’re used to buying shoes that aren’t quite comfortable immediately. Traditional leather and synthetic shoes break in, becoming comfortable with time. Not so with bike shoes. Made from sterner stuff, a bike shoe should fit immediately. According to REI, it won’t actually change with time. You want a shoe that feels snug around your foot but allows your toes to move freely. Everything else should be held firmly in place. Again per REI, slippage may be due to the fact that bike shoes aren’t designed for walking. Try a smaller size to rule out fit issues first. MTB SHOE CLOSURE HIGH-TECH There are lots of ways to close a shoe. Many MTB shoes feature high-tech closure mechanisms. The options may include boas, reel-based ratchet systems, or buckles. Others may be similar to zip-ties or velcro straps. Many shoes mix-and-match features. One common combination is velcro fasteners on the lower half and a boa at the top. These systems allow for a secure fit with maximum comfort. These are also very popular. They tend to be expensive and are the standard for closure systems on cleat-compatible shoes. LOW-TECH Lace-ups tend to cost less, but can be dangerous. Catching a shoelace in the chain or around the pedal can lead to a crash. Most modern mtb shoes will feature some way of tucking or hiding the lace after it has been tied. Lace-ups largely fell out of favor, but have made a big comeback in mountain biking. According to Bicycling magazine, this resurgence can be explained by aesthetic preferences, comfort and ease of use. Lace-ups may be a more casual choice, but they’re perfectly valid for mountain bike riders of any level. VENTILATION Many riders buy shoes for different seasons. A great summer shoe will come with mesh ventilation at key places, letting the foot stay cooler but also letting in water if it’s wet or muddy. Well-vented shoes are cooler and not sufficient on their own for cold-weather riding, where the toes are especially vulnerable. While well-heeled riders may own a shoe for each season, most of us are going to have to make a compromise. Thankfully, you can go with a well-ventilated summer shoe and buy inexpensive bike shoe covers or “booties,” which slip over the shoe for specific conditions. Water-repellent booties for rainy days, insulated booties for winter temps and wind-blocking booties for crisp fall and spring weather are cost-effective add-ons that will turn your kicks into a shoe for all seasons. CLEAT PLACEMENT An important part of shoe fit on clipless pedals is cleat placement. Many shoes have a wide range of spots where cleats can be attached. The two-hole cleat attachment spot can be moved along an anterior-posterior track. Some shoes do not have a track, and you’ll need to assess cleat placement as part of overall shoe fit. The editors at Bikeradar have published a video and simple how-to on fitting the cleats once you have your shoes and pedals. With a hex key and a little thread lock, you’ll have your new shoes setup in no time. MOUNTAIN BIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSMOUNTAIN BIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. MTB BASICS 4. MTB MAINTENANCE 2. MTB CLOTHING 5. MTB SKILLS 3. MTB EQUIPMENT 6. MTB TRAINING 1. MTB BASICS 2. MTB CLOTHING 3. MTB EQUIPMENT 4. MTB MAINTENANCE 5. MTB SKILLS 6. MTB TRAINING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.