CategoriesMountain biking

Top Mountain Biking Shoes You Can Find in 2024

Mountain biking shoes are pivotal in enhancing your on-trail experience, playing a crucial role in comfort, efficiency, and safety. These shoes are specifically designed to offer a stable pedaling platform while ensuring breathability, impact protection, and a firm grip on the pedals—elements crucial for every mountain biking discipline from cross-country to downhill on both flat and clipless pedal systems. With advancements in technology, mountain biking shoes now come with a variety of closure systems including Boa, Velcro, and traditional laces to ensure a perfect fit, supplemented by features like Vibram soles, toe protection, and rubber treads for enhanced walkability and durability.

In 2024, the options for mountain biking footwear cater to every rider’s needs, whether you prioritize power transfer and pedal efficiency in clipless shoes for rigorous cross-country rides or require the flexibility and strong grip of flat shoes for downhill adventures. This article dives into the top mountain biking shoes available, exploring their key features, from sole composition to comfort and protection, to help you find the perfect pair that enhances your ride across different terrains and disciplines.

Best All-Around Flat MTB Shoe: Five Ten Freerider

Pedal/Clip Compatibility

The Five Ten Freerider is renowned for its versatility, compatible with both flat and clipless pedals. This feature makes it an excellent choice for riders who enjoy a variety of mountain biking disciplines, from casual trail riding to more technical downhill segments.

Best Uses

Ideal for a wide range of activities, the Five Ten Freerider excels in trail riding, enduro, and downhill biking. Its robust design and superior grip also make it suitable for casual use off the bike, ensuring riders can transition smoothly from rugged trails to urban environments.

Enclosure

This shoe utilizes a traditional lace-up closure system, providing a secure and adjustable fit. The laces allow for easy on-the-fly adjustments, ensuring comfort and stability during long rides or when transitioning between different terrains.

Price

The Five Ten Freerider offers excellent value, combining high-quality construction with an affordable price point. This makes it accessible to both beginner and experienced riders who are seeking a reliable, all-around mountain biking shoe.

Weight

The weight of the shoe is moderate, balancing durability and comfort without compromising performance. Each shoe weighs approximately 14.75 oz in a men’s size 9, providing a solid platform without feeling overly heavy.

Models Available

The Freerider is available in various models and colorways, catering to different preferences and budgets. Each model maintains the core features that make the Freerider a favorite among mountain bikers.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Excellent grip with Stealth S1 rubber outsoles.
  • Durable, abrasion-resistant synthetic upper.
  • Compatible with both flat and clipless pedals.
  • Versatile for multiple biking disciplines and casual use.
  • Good value for the quality and features offered.

Cons:

  • Not as stiff as some dedicated clipless shoes.
  • Limited breathability compared to some competitors.
  • The soft rubber may wear quicker under heavy use.

Best Trail Flat Shoe: Crankbrothers Stamp Boa

Pedal/Clip Compatibility

The Crankbrothers Stamp Boa is designed to work seamlessly with Crankbrothers Stamp pedals but is also compatible with other flat pedal systems. This flexibility makes it an excellent choice for riders who may use different bikes or pedal types.

Best Uses

This shoe excels in trail riding environments, including cross-country, all-mountain, and enduro settings. Its design caters to the needs of trail adventurers seeking a reliable shoe that can handle varied terrains and conditions.

Enclosure

Featuring a BOA Fit System, the Crankbrothers Stamp Boa offers a micro-adjustable fit that is both quick and easy to manage. This system, combined with a Velcro strap at the top, ensures a secure fit that keeps the foot stable and comfortable throughout the ride.

Price

The Crankbrothers Stamp Boa is priced at $153, positioning it as a mid-range option in the market of trail flat shoes. This price reflects its specialized features and compatibility with specific pedal types.

Weight

Weighing in at 390 grams per shoe for a size 42, the Stamp Boa stands out as a lightweight option that doesn’t sacrifice durability or functionality.

Models Available

Available in various colors, the Stamp Boa allows riders to choose a style that best fits their personal preferences and existing gear.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Versatile compatibility with both Crankbrothers Stamp and other flat pedals.
  • Secure fit with the BOA Fit System and additional Velcro strap.
  • Lightweight design enhances comfort without compromising on performance.
  • Effective tread design tailored for trail riding.

Cons:

  • Grip may not match the level of some market leaders when used with non-Crankbrothers pedals.
  • Price point might be a consideration for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Limited breathability compared to some other trail shoe options.

Best Downhill Flat MTB Shoe: Five Ten Freerider Pro

Pedal/Clip Compatibility

The Five Ten Freerider Pro is primarily designed for flat pedals, offering a large, sticky rubber sole made from Five Ten’s proprietary Stealth S1 rubber. This sole provides exceptional grip, making it ideal for downhill and aggressive trail riding.

Best Uses

This shoe excels in downhill, enduro, and trail riding, thanks to its durable construction and excellent pedal feel and control. The reinforced toe box and heel cup add an extra layer of protection and durability, suitable for handling aggressive riding styles.

Enclosure

The Freerider Pro features a lace closure system, ensuring a snug fit that enhances overall foot stability and comfort during rides. The combination of suede and mesh in the upper provides a good balance of breathability and abrasion resistance.

Price

Retailing for around $150, the Five Ten Freerider Pro is a relatively affordable option compared to other premium flat pedal shoes, offering good value for money.

Weight

The shoes are relatively lightweight, weighing approximately 400 grams per shoe, which contributes to their comfort and suitability for long days on the bike.

Models Available

The Freerider Pro is available in various colorways, including black, gray, and blue, allowing riders to choose according to their style preferences.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Excellent grip with Stealth S1 rubber sole.
  • Durable construction with reinforced toe box and heel cup.
  • Comfortable fit with good breathability.
  • Good value for money.

Cons:

  • May not be as breathable as some other options.
  • Not as lightweight as some other flat pedal shoes.

Best Overall Clipless and Cross-Country Shoe: Giro Empire VR90

Pedal/Clip Compatibility

The Giro Empire VR90 is designed to excel with 2-bolt SPD-style cleats, making it highly suitable for mountain biking, gravel, and cross-country riding. This compatibility ensures a secure connection to the pedals, optimizing power transfer and stability.

Best Uses

This shoe shines in cross-country riding and racing due to its exceptional stiffness and lightweight design. It’s also versatile enough for gravel grinding and cyclocross, making it a top choice for riders who demand high performance in various off-road conditions.

Enclosure

The Empire VR90 features a classic lace-up closure system, providing a tailored fit that can be easily adjusted for comfort and security. The laces ensure even pressure distribution across the foot, enhancing comfort during long rides.

Price

Retailing at around $250, the Giro Empire VR90 offers a balance of high-end performance features at a mid-range price point, making it a worthwhile investment for serious riders

Weight

Each shoe weighs approximately 320 grams (size 42.5), which places it among the lighter options in the clipless mountain bike shoe category. This reduced weight contributes to greater riding efficiency and less fatigue.

Models Available

The VR90 is available in multiple color options, allowing riders to choose a style that best fits their personal preferences and existing gear.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Excellent power transfer thanks to the stiff Easton EC90 carbon sole.
  • Comfortable fit with customizable SuperNatural Fit insoles.
  • Durable and grippy Vibram outsole suitable for off-bike traction.
  • Lightweight design enhances riding efficiency.
  • Aesthetic versatility with several color options and classic lace-up design.

Cons:

  • Price may be a consideration for budget-conscious buyers.
  • The lace-up system might require more time for adjustments compared to modern dial systems.
  • Limited walkability on very rugged terrain due to the stiffness of the sole.

Best Clipless Enduro and Downhill Shoe: Giro Chamber II

Pedal/Clip Compatibility

Giro’s Chamber II is engineered with a focus on optimal cleat adjustment, accommodating a 10mm setback that allows for better positioning on technical terrains. This design is compatible with all 2-bolt SPD-style cleat systems, ensuring a secure connection that enhances both comfort and performance during aggressive riding.

Best Uses

The Chamber II is specifically designed for enduro and downhill racing, providing the durability and support needed in these demanding disciplines. Its robust construction and responsive design make it equally suitable for rigorous trail riding, where precision and foot protection are paramount.

Enclosure

Featuring a traditional lace-up closure supplemented with a Velcro strap, the Chamber II ensures a snug, adjustable fit. This combination allows for a secure feel, minimizing slippage while allowing for quick adjustments on the fly, crucial for maintaining comfort and performance during long rides.

Price

Priced at approximately $149, the Giro Chamber II offers a competitive edge in terms of cost-efficiency. It stands as a mid-range option in the market, reflecting its advanced features and specialized design tailored for downhill and enduro enthusiasts.

Weight

Weighing in at about 510 grams (size 43), the Chamber II is built to balance robust protection and performance without excessively adding to the shoe’s weight. This makes it a practical choice for riders who value endurance and comfort on challenging descents.

Models Available

The Chamber II is available in a variety of color options and sizes, allowing riders to choose according to their personal style and fit preferences. Each model maintains the core functionalities expected from a high-performance mountain biking shoe.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Exceptional power transfer due to the stiff internal shank.
  • High durability and protection with water-resistant microfiber upper and Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole.
  • Comfortable fit with adjustable lace and Velcro closure.
  • Good traction and grip, both on and off the bike.
  • Stylish design that suits both competitive and casual settings.

Cons:

  • Heavier than some other models, which might not appeal to those who prefer ultra-lightweight shoes.
  • The snug fit might not suit all riders, especially those with wider feet.
  • Limited breathability compared to more ventilated models.

This detailed breakdown of the Giro Chamber II highlights its suitability for riders who demand a shoe that can withstand the rigors of downhill and enduro riding while offering the comfort and stability needed to tackle challenging terrains.

Best Budget-Friendly MTB Shoe: Giro Berm

Throughout this exploration of the best mountain biking shoes available in 2024, we have covered a broad range of options, each tailored to specific riding styles and preferences. From the versatile dominance of the Five Ten Freerider for flat pedal enthusiasts to the high-performance precision of the Giro Empire VR90 for clipless pedal aficionados, each shoe has its unique strengths. These detailed analyses, focusing on key features such as pedal compatibility, enclosure systems, and the balance between weight and durability, provide a clear insight into what each pair offers, aiding riders in making informed decisions based on their individual needs.

Reflecting on the broader implications, the continuous innovation in mountain biking footwear highlights the industry’s commitment to enhancing rider experience through technology and design. The emphasis on significant attributes—such as grip, comfort, and power transfer—underscores the intricate relationship between rider and bike. As the landscape of mountain biking evolves, so too does the gear, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Riders are encouraged to consider these advancements, weighing the pros and cons detailed herein, to select shoes that not only elevate their performance but also maximize their on-trail enjoyment.

Conclusion

Selecting the right mountain biking shoes is more than just a matter of personal preference—it’s about enhancing your performance, comfort, and safety on the trails. Over the years, we’ve rigorously tested numerous models, assessing them based on crucial performance metrics such as comfort, weight, power transfer, walkability, and durability. Our comprehensive analysis aims to provide you with a clear understanding of how each shoe performs in real-world conditions, helping you make an informed choice that suits your riding style and needs.

Mountain biking shoes have evolved significantly, blurring the lines between specialized designs to offer versatile solutions that cater to various riding disciplines. Whether you’re tackling cross-country trails, engaging in enduro races, or conquering downhill tracks, the importance of a shoe that offers excellent power transfer while ensuring comfort and protection cannot be overstated.

Our top picks for 2024 reflect this diversity, categorized into lightweight designs for non-technical rides, robust trail shoes for rough terrains, and durable downhill models for extreme conditions. Each category is designed to meet specific demands, ensuring that no matter your pedal preference—be it flat or clipless—you have the best possible options at your disposal.

Moreover, the fit of your mountain biking shoes is crucial. It’s worth investing in a pair that not only fits well but also complements your pedaling style. This investment enhances your riding experience, allowing you to perform better and enjoy longer rides without discomfort. Remember, a well-fitted shoe translates directly to improved power transfer and overall cycling efficiency.

In conclusion, as you consider your next pair of mountain biking shoes, think about how each model aligns with your specific needs. Check out our detailed comparison chart and buyer’s guide for more insights into each shoe’s features and benefits. Whether you are a seasoned rider or just starting out, the right shoes can significantly improve your riding experience, making every ride more enjoyable and effective.

FAQs

The best mountain biking shoes for 2024 include various models suitable for both flat and clipless pedals. Notable options are the MTB Mountain Bike Cycling Shoes , Five Ten Trailcross Gore-Tex, Crankbrothers Mallet E BOA, Tommaso Strada, Shimano MW7, and the Scott Shr-alp, which is particularly good for those with wide, flat feet.

With proper care and avoiding excessive riding in the rain, good quality mountain biking shoes can last approximately 10,000 to 15,000 miles. Choosing shoes with replaceable parts can extend their lifespan.

When selecting mountain biking shoes, particularly flat pedal shoes, two important factors are the grip and flexibility of the rubber sole. Shoes with soft, grippy soles, like those made with Five Ten rubber or similar materials, provide better security and comfort on the pedals.

Yes, mountain biking has significantly grown in popularity over the past decade. This increase is attributed to better trail development, advances in bike technology, and the sport’s inclusion in high school athletics, drawing more participants each year.

Disclaimer: The links provided in this article are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

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