We’ve picked out the best mountain bike shoes that will keep you solidly connected to your bike through thick and thin. Be sure to leave your personal picks for what you think should be the top mountain bike shoes of 2019 in the comments!
Best Mountain Bike Shoes
Greg Minaar is one of the biggest names in downhill mountain bike racing. So when he works with a company like FiveTen to design a shoe, you know it’s going to be awesome. Five Ten Mountain Bike Shoes are the shoes pros and just about everyone else turns too these days.
If you’re familiar with Five Ten’s Kestrel, this shoe will look familiar. It has the same lace-up closure combined with a hook-and-loop strap to keep things tight around your ankle. It has the same Stealth rubber sole with room for SPD cleats. So what’s different?
Protection. This is a burly shoe made for downhill and enduro riding. The impact-resistant toe box keeps your toes safe, and the three-quarter-length TPU shank dampens vibrations. If you ride hard, this shoe will be right there with you. [Purchase: $180]
This shoe is almost always on “best mountain bike shoe” lists, and for good reason. Giro calls it an all-mountain/enduro shoe, but it works for everything from spin class to cross-country epics to bikepacking to downhill.
Why is it so versatile? Because Giro Mountain Biking Shoes draws from so many disciplines. It has a cross-country-like stiff sole with a decent amount of arch support. It has toe protection ready for descending. It has enough grippy tread for hiking your bike up whatever you come across.
If you take part in every mountain bike discipline—or at least want shoes that will let you—the Terraduros are perfect. [Purchase: $110]
A mountain bike shoe from adidas? Better get used to it. Since adidas bought Five Ten, they’ve gotten into the MTB game and they’re not messing around.
The adidas Terrex Trail Cross Mountain Bike Shoes are a flat-pedal shoe with a full Stealth rubber sole (if that sounds familiar, it’s because Five Ten has been using Stealth rubber for years). It laces up like a running shoe but has enough protection to keep your feet safe when you’re shredding trails. It even has a lace bungee to keep those laces from getting stuck in your gears.
And don’t forget that they’re really, really good looking. [Purchase: $130]
Scott is known for ultra-lightweight, super-fast bikes. And they make shoes to match. While you can use this just for about any off-r0ad riding, it will excel in cross-country situations.
Why? Mostly because of a stiff composite sole. The power transfer from a sole like that maximizes your power with every pedal stroke. It doesn’t soak up bumps—or protect from impact—like a more aggressive shoe, though. It has enough tread to walk over things, but it won’t be as comfortable doing it.
If you want to go fast and you don’t tend to unclip a lot, a shoe like this will work very well. The Boa closure system keeps you locked in and everything else is about speed. [Purchase: $150]
Specialized has all kinds of trademarked technology in this shoe. “Landing Strip cleat pocket.” “Stiff Lollipop composite plate.” “SlipNot rubber sole.” What does it all mean?
In the end, it means one thing: a bomber all-around MTB shoe. There’s nothing here that stands out as super special. But everything is done well. The dual-Boa closure keeps your foot super secure, the sole is good for both clipped-in riding and clipped-out walking. The extra-long cleat interface gives you more setup options, too.
There’s a whole lot of jargon in this shoe. But underneath all of it you have a shoe that’ll work well for cross-country, trail, enduro, downhill, cruising . . . anything you can do with your mountain bike. [Purchase: $180]
Not many mountain bike shoe manufacturers give a ton of thought to how well the tread works when their shoes are used to hike. But ION is different. You may not have heard of them, but they’re absolutely on their way up.
Built for heavy trail and enduro riding, the Rascal has a serious tread pattern that’ll keep you stable whether you’re on the pedals or off. And it has some really cool technology on top of that tread. For example, ION has minimized longitudinal flex while maximizing lateral flex to make pedaling as efficient and comfortable as possible.
Everything on this shoe is made to put up with some serious abuse (and help you put up with it, too). [Purchase: $150]
If ION kept hiking in mind when they built the Rascal, Sidi went another step with the SD15. They built it to excel on the ground. It seems a little weird for a bike shoe, but it works.
Obviously the big draw to the SD15 is the sole. It’s massive. It has huge lugs for mega traction. The upper is stiff enough to keep your foot in place when you’re slogging up a muddy hill or getting your bike ready in the morning.
If you want a shoe that’s as useful off the bike as it is on, the SD15 can’t be beat. [Purchase: $200]
If there’s a perfect flat-pedal shoe out there, it might be this one. It checks all the boxes: grippy, strong, affordable, and tough enough to put up with several seasons of riding.
Suede and mesh keep the upper breathable, though this will still be a hotter shoe than something like the Terraduro or Trail Cross SL. But if you’re riding downhill, enduro, or freeride, that’s probably not much of a concern.
The Five Ten Freerider is like the entry-level hardtail of the MTB shoe world. It’s solid, affordable, and will do anything you ask of it One of the best mtb shoes for flat pedals. [Purchase: $100]
Yes, you read that right. This is a $340 mountain bike shoe. You could buy a bike for that price. What do you get for $340? Speed.
This is a cross-country race shoe and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It’s ultra-light, ultra-stiff, and has a 4.4mm stack height (so you’re basically putting your foot directly on the pedal). It even has a thermo-moldable chassis for a custom fit. All of that in 385 grams.
So yeah, this is a pro-level race shoe. And if you’re racing cross-country, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option. [Purchase: $340]
Previously Featured Best Mountain Bike Shoes
The Kestrel has been a solid performer in the FiveTen lineup for years. The lace-up version has classic skate-shoe styling and is comfortable both riding and walking (the sole isn’t quite as stiff as the Boa model). FiveTen’s signature Stealth outsole is super grippy and will help keep you on your bike even if you haven’t quite managed to clip in.
The rugged exterior feels absolutely bomb-proof, and venting over the toe helps keep them cool (or at least a little cooler; this style of shoe is always going to be hot). The only count against the Kestrels is that this solid construction, padding, and grippy rubber is really heavy. This isn’t a featherweight cross-country shoe; but if you’re looking for a trail, all-mountain, or downhill shoe, the Kestrel will serve you well.
(Note: there’s also a Boa model that ratchets instead of ties. I opted to include the lace-up model here because it’s what I ride. If you like the idea of a more consistent fit, check it out.) One of the best mtb shoes of 2019 [Purchase: $149.95]
Pearl’s bike-shoe pedigree is undeniable. Their running shoes have earned quite a following as well. And with the X-Alp Seek, they sought to combine the two. Despite the running-shoe look, these kicks pack two-bolt cleat compatibility and nylon plates in the sole for efficient power transfer. They’re just remarkably comfortable off the bike as well.
This is another notably heavy shoe—the average weight is even higher than the Kestrels. But you’re making a great tradeoff; superior comfort and versatility for a bit more weight. It’s a deal that almost every rider will be happy to make. Especially when you can still look pretty stylish hitting the brewery after a ride! [Purchase: $129.95]
Breaking away from the traditional mold, Giro designed something different in the Terraduro. It combines the under-foot stiffness of an XC shoe but includes enough forefoot flex that you don’t feel beat up after a ride. That flex also gives you more grip when you’re hiking rough terrain. The Vibram rubber is designed for maximum traction, and the reinforced toe box capping it off keeps it from getting shredded on the trail.
The highly adjustable micro-buckle and two velcro straps give you easy adjustability without the need for laces or complicated buckle systems. Microfiber, EVA, and Aegis combine for a comfortable fit that fights odors. It looks different from other mountain bike shoes—because it IS different.
This Shimano Mountain Bike shoes not all too versatile. It won’t give you maximal traction for hiking. It won’t protect your feet from rock bashes. But it will help you ride as fast as you possibly can. The XC5 is designed for cross-country, cyclocross, and gravel-road riding. Which means it’s almost a road shoe. But the lugged outsole and a little bit of flex where it’s needed make it very at home on rougher rides.
Synthetic leather and lace closure are all you’ll find on the upper: no bash guards, reinforced sections, or Boa dials. This is a stripped-down shoe made for going fast. And even though it doesn’t have the hiking chops of trail shoes, the Michelin rubber outsole over the carbon-reinforced midsole will give you enough grip to get through those rockier sections of a cross-country ride. [Purchase: $150]
The Dominator has long been a proud shoe; Sidi’s legacy of professional-level footwear is predicated on shoes like this. It’s meant for one thing and one thing only: going fast. The leather-like upper is super light and well-ventilated. The Caliper Buckle system gives you tons of adjustability. The nylon composite sole transfers power like nothing else.
This particular shoe is designed to work well for cyclocross, so the tread compound is a bit softer than most MTB shoes. But it still manages to be super light and ready for the rigors of cross-country rides and races. [Purchase: $249]
If you’re looking for an entry-level shoe that won’t break the bank or let you down on the trail, it’s tough to beat the Carbide RII. The three-strap closure gives you a solid fit without adding the cost of a Boa system. The hybrid nylon-rubber outsole is stiff, but not too stiff, and is cheaper than full nylon. The scuff guard adds durability without the cost of molded toe guards.
I’ll be honest: you’re not getting a pro-level shoe here. It isn’t packed with features. But for $100, it’ll get you riding and you won’t need to replace it within the first year. You’ll probably want to upgrade sooner or later, but you won’t need to. And that’s worth a lot. [Purchase: $99.95]
The Celsius is a specialty shoe: it’s built for really nasty riding. It’s not even really a shoe. It’s more of a cycling boot. It doesn’t pack a ton of insulation, but it does bring Gore-Tex to keep your feet totally dry, no matter how wet or snowy the riding. The high-ankle cuff keeps snow and water from getting inside the boot.
It’s not cheap, but if you’re doing a lot of wet or winter riding, not much can compete with it. NorthWave isn’t a well-known brand, but the Celsius is a respected option for wet-weather riding. [Purchase: $249]
Mountain Bike Shoes Price Comparison
- Five Ten Hellcat Pro – ($180)
- Giro Terraduro – ($110)
- adidas Terrex Trail Cross SL – ($130)
- Scott MTB Team Boa – ($150)
- Specialized 2FO ClipLite – ($180)
- ION Rascal – ($150)
- Sidi SD15 – ($200)
- Five Ten Freerider – ($100)
- Bont Vaypor XC – ($340)
- FiveTen Kestral Lace Up Mountain Bike Shoes – $150
- Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seek V11 Shoes – $129
- Giro Terraduro Shoes – $180
- Shimano XC5 Shoes – $150
- Sidi Dominator Shoes – $249
- Giro Carbide RII Shoes – $99
- NorthWave Celsius Shoes – $249
These eight mountain bike shoes are some of the best out there. And with the variety of terrain types, prices, and styles, you’re sure to find one that fits your budget and riding style.
What are you riding right now? I’m currently rocking the lace-up version of the Kestrel, and I love it. I want to hear what you’re using! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of your current MTB shoes.
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