Best Mountain Bike Shoes: Improve Grip, Traction, and Comfort

Race through trees, dirt, and downhill with these top mountain bike shoes

TheDrive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

Mountain biking is thrilling, entertaining, and a great way to get outside and see nature. Whether you’re entering a race, riding for fun, or exploring new trails, you will need the right gear for the job. The proper mountain bike shoes will add more strength to your ride and increase your grip on the pedals. If you need a high-quality pair of mountain bike shoes, consider these for your next adventure.

  • Best Overall
    Diamondback Trace Clipless Pedal Compatible Cycling Shoe
    Summary
    Summary
    They feature a black suede body made of breathable mesh. The durable rubber outsole offers enhanced grip on pedals. The mid-sole is reinforced with nylon for improved efficiency.
    Pros
    Pros
    Cleats are compatible with SPD and platform pedals. The material reinforces the toe and heel for increased stability and strength.
    Cons
    Cons
    The straps holding the laces aren’t the most durable. The cleats don’t allow for much adjustment. Snug fit.
  • Best Value
    Tommaso Montagna Mountain Bike Shoe
    Summary
    Summary
    They feature a polyamide sole developed out of sturdy and powerful fiberglass for more strength. Synthetic leather hugs around the foot for improved comfort.
    Pros
    Pros
    Ventilated mesh material allows air to flow freely through the shoes. They’re easy to slip on without the need for laces. The Velcro tightly and comfortably holds them to your feet.
    Cons
    Cons
    They are only compatible to fit with SPD pedals. The cleats can be a hassle to fit into the pedals.
  • Honorable Mention
    Gavin Mountain Bike Cycling Shoe
    Summary
    Summary
    They are developed out of carbon fiber with increased durability and power. The mesh material keeps your feet cool.
    Pros
    Pros
    The two-bolt cleats fit SPD, mountain bike, and eggbeater pedals. The lightweight perforated insole provides a comfortable ride and is quick to dry.
    Cons
    Cons
    They may fit a little snuggly, so you might want to order one size larger. They can also be squeaky and loud.

Tips

  • Only walk-in mountain bike shoes for short distances. They may be uncomfortable if walking long distances. They can also be quite slick, so be careful.
  • Your feet may hurt or ache after a long ride, so consider bringing a pair of tennis shoes or flip flops to change into after riding.
  • You will need to purchase clips for the shoes after buying them. They are then inserted into the bottom of the shoe and attach to the pedals.
  • Some mountain biking shoes are versatile and are compatible with hybrid bikes and road bikes.
  • If you want to match your shoes to your bike, you may be able to find a pair in the same color and style that also matches your clothes and helmet.

FAQs

Q: What are the different types of pedals?

A: Mountain bike shoes are able to fit in and grip to different types of pedals. However, not all are compatible with each other. SPD stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics and is one of the most common types of cycling pedals. They require two to three cleat clips to properly clip into them. MTB stands for Mountain Bike Pedal, and they are also pretty common. There are also eggbeater pedals that are shaped like egg beaters and are smaller than normal ones. They require special shoes.

Q: How do cycling shoes work?

A: They generally all work by clipping or inserting the shoes into grooves in the pedals to hold them in place. This prevents your feet from slipping off during a difficult ride. Clipping in provides you with improved power and grip on the pedals as well.

Q: Are mountain bike shoes supposed to feel stiff on my feet?

A: Yes, cycling shoes are meant to feel stiff. That doesn’t mean they should squeeze or hurt your foot while you’re wearing them. The stiffness allows them to hold onto the pedals and not bend or fold like normal shoes.

Final Thoughts

For one of the best pairs of mountain bike shoes that are comfortable and cool your feet, consider the Diamondback Trace Clipless Pedal Compatible Cycling Shoe

You can also use the budget-friendly Tommaso Montagna Mountain Bike Shoe, which is grippy and sturdy.

Which mountain bike shoes do you recommend? Tell us in the comments.