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15 Best Mountain Bike Shoes

Gain that extra bit of confidence on the trails with a pair of the best mountain bike shoes.

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Mountain bike shoes are specifically designed to help improve your grip on the pedals, and to offer a greater amount of protection from an onslaught of debris (and if you were to ever fall off, of course). The rough terrain and athletic, full-body movements of mountain bike riding demand the kind of shoes that will keep the rider firm on the pedals and absorb any unpredictable bumps along the way.

Like the development of their mountain bikes, brands apply the same amount of resources and attention towards developing the best mountain bike shoes. From performance brands such as Five Ten and Shimano to the casual styles of brands like Ride Concepts and Lake, there are mountain bike shoes for all types of riders.

Flat pedal shoes & clipless mountain bike shoes

The two most common types of mountain bike shoes are flat pedal shoes and clipless. Neither is necessarily better than the other, as both serve a specific function and depending on what kind of rider you are will inform which style of shoe you need to buy.

Flat pedal mountain bike shoes are exactly what the name suggests, positioning your feet flat on the pedals. These are the perfect shoes for beginner riders as the grip of the soles tends to be thicker and is more resistant to any mud or dirt you may pick up along the way. Flat pedal shoes also tend to be more affordable than their clipless counterparts and are styled more like a casual sneaker.

On the other hand, clipless mountain bike shoes use cleats to attach the shoes to the clipless pedals. They are the best option for pedal grip as they literally stick you to the pedal, ensuring a full power transfer to the bike. They should only be used for cross country riding or non-technical rides, and they should not be used on terrain that has verticality.

Understanding the Boa dial

A common feature that is always seen on the best mountain bike shoes, is the Boa dial. They usually appear along the bridge of the shoes, but can also be up near the tongue, and give you the freedom to adjust the fit. By twisting the dial, you either tighten or loosen the laces making for a personalised fit that allows you to go beyond the original construction of the shoes for extra comfort during your rides.

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