Mountain biking is not just about focusing only on the bike you are riding. But you also need to consider the other things that will affect your riding performance, including your components and gears.
One good example of these are your shoes, or flat mountain biking shoes, as they are the most popular cycling shoe type due to their convenience, comfort, and design.
In this article, we will show you the best mountain bike shoes for flat pedal shoes.
We’ll also provide an in-depth discussion on each of their features and their pros and cons, so you’ll have a better understanding of the kind of shoes you’ll get.
Five Ten Freerider
Five Ten is undoubtedly one of the best shoe brands in the market due to its aesthetic appeal, durability, and wide variety of models.
And one of the brand’s most purchased and timeless cycling shoes is the Five Ten Freerider.
If you want flat pedal shoes for trail riding or enduro racing, then this one’s a perfect fit for you.
It comes with the classic Dotty tread sole pattern Five Ten has on its cycling shoe lines.
This comes with its Stealth rubber compound that ensures maximum grip on your pedals. It’s like wearing clipless shoes when you’ve got these Stealth S1 soles.
It features a lace closure that makes it very easy and convenient, apart from the fact that it gives it the versatility it needs to look fine on casual occasions. Meanwhile, its body has a suede fabric, while its upper interiors are made with textile.
- Grippy soles
- Versatile design
- Not water-resistant
Giro is another household name when it comes to mountain bike gears. They’re known for manufacturing quality helmets, shoes, and other bike apparel. This time, it’s all about their shoes, with the very popular Giro Chamber.
This is a gravity-oriented shoe that is specifically designed to tackle technical sections and rock gardens, thanks to the enclosed coverage its structure gives.
This also works great as a casual shoe because it has the design and looks of a regular rubber shoe.
What makes this stand out is that it is water-resistant and has a microfiber material that gives it the breathability it needs. You’ll also find a reinforced toe cap to ensure protection on your foot.
Even the laces provide many adjustability options because of their fit adjustment feature.
Simply hold a knot and adjust accordingly, and it’ll take the shape of your foot. Its grip outsole is made with Vibram rubber, while its midsole is made from EVA to improve cushioning.
- Easy adjustability features
- Comfortable sole
- Dull design
- Not breathable
- Awkward fit
Five Ten Sleuth
Five Ten has another top cycling shoe in store, which they call the Five Ten Sleuth. This shoe differs from the other choices in this review roundup because this doubles down as a casual rubber shoe.
But don’t take this lightly because despite its casual design and build, it still has all the capabilities and features that a proper mountain biking shoe should have.
Take, for example, its Stealth outer sole that Five Ten uses on all of its cycling shoes.
It also has an EVA midsole to ensure utmost comfort without compromising pedaling efficiency, as it can still ensure enough power transfer from your foot to the pedal.
And last but not least is its lace closure system gives it the convenience and versatility needed for an mtb shoe you can wear anywhere and anytime.
- Casual design
- Very versatile use
- Not ideal for aggressive riding
- Not water-resistant
Sandugo is the brand you need when it comes to all things outdoors.
Introducing the Sandugo Cycling, their premium mountain biking shoe that’s great if you’re looking for an affordable but no-nonsense mountain bike shoe you can take out on the trails.
In fact, it’s one of the most stylish choices on this list. Don’t mistake its style for the lack of performance, though, because this one’s built with trail riding in mind.
This mountain bike shoe also is an ideal choice if you want to go gravel riding or if you’d want to take an adventure trip with your buddies on your bike.
Its material is made with a PU-coated mesh, while its high-cut sock cradles are made from knitted fabric. These ensure that your foot stays comfortable throughout your ride.
The outsole has a rugged finish from a full-length and molded rubber compound. This gives it enough traction so your foot won’t slide if ever you send yourself on a huge drop and hit the ground hard.
It even has a hidden inner shank plate to provide maximum protection and structural support on your foot when you’re hitting steep climbs or downhill sections with this.
- Very casual look
- Brand is not globally recognized
Five Ten Trailcross
Five Ten got a lot of candidates for the best flat pedal shoes in this list because of their wide variety of shoes that uphold the highest standards.
This time, we’re talking about the Five Ten Trailcross, their newest addition, and their ever-expanding line of cycling shoes.
The Trailcross is ideal for a flat pedal shoe if you want a mountain biking shoe that can also be used for trekking or hiking. This is made possible because of its very sleek shape and design.
At first glance, you won’t even think that it’s an mtb shoe. That’s how unique this shoe is. Aside from that, this is also an ideal choice if you want to look unique as you’re not wearing a shoe already in the mainstream market.
It’s also very breathable and lightweight but still has the capabilities to provide you with the necessary pedaling efficiency when hitting downhill tracks. It has a breathable upper section as it’s made from premium mesh.
These flat shoes allow air to enter the shoe when you’re riding easily. It also has a thin closure system that makes it easy to wear and remove. You can even wear this for casual occasions because of its casual look and sporty touch.
- Can be used for cycling and trekking
- Very lightweight and breathable
- Supports efficient pedaling
If you want something that’s not yet in the hands of many people or something that is still not that mainstream, then you might want to check out the Dakine Drift.
This flat pedal shoe is made specifically for enduro riding, but this also works well if you’re hitting technical downhill tracks.
This comes with on-the-fly adjustment features that go well alongside its simple tread pattern that provides grip. It also gives you the stability needed to keep your foot in place on your pedals as you ride through huge rocks, roots, and boulders.
You’ll find a toe box matched with anterior padding to keep your feet protected against impacts.
Moreover, it has a perforated foam tongue that improves heat dissipation and makes it easier for air to enter your foot through the vents.
It’s even got a moisture-wicking interior and a reflective collar design if you’re riding in low-light conditions.
But the best thing about this is getting the much-hyped camo colorway. Anyway, that’s also what mountain biking is about, looking cool and hip on the trails.
- Aesthetic and stylish design
- Comfortable on long rides
- Water-resistant fabric
- Bulky shape
- Expensive price
Ride Concepts Livewire
Cycling shoes from Ride Concepts have been riding the waves today due to their increasingly stylish designs built specifically for mountain biking.
A good example of this is the Ride Concepts Livewire, an all-mountain biking flat pedal shoe that comes with a rubber stiff sole with grippy tread patterns, which they call the Kinetics DST6.0.
This ensures your foot is firmly planted on your pedals. The upper material is made with a synthetic leather upper mesh with anti-abrasion properties.
The Ride Concepts Livewire is just what you need to keep your mountain bike shoes still looking fresh even if you’ve already worn them for years. It also has a lace closure system that makes it easy to adjust on the fly.
The footbed of this Ride Concepts shoe is made with a D30 insole with high-impact zone features, which is a good thing if you want a comfortable feel that ensures safety above anything else. You’ll also find their own Livewire custom-molded toe guards.
This mountain bike shoe from Ride Concepts is coupled with heel guards that are coupled with tongue shields to protect your foot in case rocks fly out and hit you, just like many clipless pedals shoes and hiking shoes that have pedal grip out there on the market.
- Low-profile design
- Breathable mesh
- Comfortable inner lining
- Lacks grip during muddy rides
- Limited design options
Five Ten Impact Sam Hill
If you have been into mountain bikes for some time, you might have heard about Sam Hill a couple of times.
Well, that’s because he’s considered one of the best, if not the best, mountain bikers in the world, having won multiple championships both in downhill and enduro racing.
Hence, Five Ten designed a shoe in line with his riding style, which they call the Five Ten Impact Sam Hill.
But to make things even better, even Sam Hill provided direct and personal inputs to the shoe’s overall design. This means that if you buy this, you’ll have the same feel as what Sam Hill gets when racing.
This is an all-out downhill and enduro shoe that can take the roughest of beatings because of its ultra-durable material and huge coverage on your foot.
It features a quick-drying upper material that keeps you dry and comfortable regardless of your weather conditions. It also has a Stealth S1 rubber outsole that comes in standard on all Five Ten mountain bike shoes.
But what makes this different is that its Stealth outsoles go all the way to the sides of the shoe itself, providing even more grip on the pedals and more protection on your foot.
In addition, you’ll also find a lace closure system and a reinforced toe cap to add more protection.
If you’re a serious downhill or enduro racer, and you want to get the best experience possible while feeling like the great Sam Hill, then this one’s what you need.
- Excellent protection
- Unrivalled grip
- Efficient pedaling
- Expensive price
Pearl Izumi X-Alp
The Pearl Izumi X-Alp is another top candidate on the list of best mountain bike shoes because of its design, style, and comfort.
It features a shaft that spans from its lower area to the upper portion, starting from the arch.
What’s great about this is that you’ll have an easier time slipping your foot in and out of the shoe because of its streamlined build. This also makes it a great trail shoe because of its comfort and pedaling efficiency.
The upper section is made from bonded seamless fabric that provides a lightweight feel to your foot. You’ll also find a reinforced toe cap on its edge for improved protection.
It features a classic lacing closure for a more precise fit instead of the standard Velcro straps. Even its shank is made with nylon composite that improves power transfer from your feet to the pedals.
This lightweight flat pedal shoe provides much-needed shock absorption if you go on hard impacts and landings.
The shaped lugs feature a Vibram Megagrip that is coupled with its also Vibram outsole, making it one of the lightest shoes, especially when looking for the flat pedal mtb shoes in this list.
- Stylish design
- Sleek and lightweight build
- Brand is not well known
O’Neal is another renowned mountain bike shoemaker that produces quality and stylish cycling shoes. The O’Neal Pinned is a good example of what flat pedal mountain bike shoes should be.
It’s stylish, versatile, and offers maximum protection and grip on the trails. They make this possible thanks to its Honey Rubber outsole that easily sticks to your pedals’ pins. It’s very tough as it can handle foot dabs on the trails.
But its toughness doesn’t compromise its comfort because it’s still very comfortable to wear throughout the day. You’ll find reinforced toe boxes that protect your feet from crashes and hitting rocks or roots.
Its highlight features are its PU upper material which is both lightweight and durable. You’ll also find its lace-up closure system convenient. It even gives your shoes a casual look, so you can wear them even if you’re not riding your mountain bike.
This feels snug and fits on your feet which helps improve pedaling efficiency. It also has O’Neal’s exclusive Honey Rubber sole compound for maximum grip on pedal pins. The footbed is removable and interchangeable.
- Removable footbed
- Durable construction
Giro Riddance Mid
You might also like the Giro Riddance Mid. This is another best-selling shoe from Giro, a renowned bike gear manufacturer based in Santa Cruz, California. It features a synthetic rubber sole that gives maximum grip for your shoes on your flat pedals.
This is ideal for those who prefer downhills and steep sections because of its secured structure. The shoes’ design is also downhill-oriented, making them very safe and durable. But don’t worry if you think this one’s too heavy because it’s also efficient in pedaling.
It also has a water-resistant design, making this ideal in any weather condition. The mid-top section is made from breathable microfiber that comes with Rock Print.
This makes it resistant to abrasions and scratches. It also has rubber-reinforced protection on the toe and heel sections.
The laces can also be easily adjusted thanks to their fit adjustment design. It also secures knots because a lightweight closure system supports it. This gives the Riddance Mid unrivaled protection and versatility.
This also features Giro’s Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsole. It comes in a full-length measurement and is designed for high-traction usage.
They lug it on its outsole for ideal durability and grip. The footbed is made from molded EVA, which makes this comfortable for all-day riding. You’ll also find its footbed comfortable because it has soft cushioning.
- Secure fit
- Grippy sole
- Bulky design
Vans Old Skool Hightop
Who says you can’t wear skate shoes for biking? That’s not true because there’s Vans.
Introducing the Vans Old Skool Hightop. Many might say this one is a skate shoe. It is! But it’s also the favorite of many downhill and dirt jump mountain bikers.
It’s a splendid choice if you want the cool and casual vibe of skating. This is ideal if you are fond of jumps and drops or doing tricks in mid-air while on your bike.
The Old Skool Hightop is Vans’ legendary lace-up high-top shoe that draws inspiration from the classic Old Skool. They make their upper portion from suede and canvas. It also has a padded and supportive ankle for better protection and security.
It might sound too light for mountain biking. But it isn’t. In fact, they design this skate shoe like a mountain bike shoe because of its signature Waffle outsole.
This exclusive outsole design latches onto your flat pedals’ pins and secures it pretty well. You also don’t have to worry about repositioning it because you can easily adjust your feet.
They make the upper portion from premium suede and canvas just like the Sleuth, adding a stylish and cool vibe. You can even wear this for casual occasions!
- Grippy sole
- Versatile use
- Less protection
- Not specifically designed for cycling
The best mountain bike shoes for flat pedals are:
Concluding all of this, you can see how important it is to choose the best mountain bike shoes for flat pedals.
Not only does this ensure you have the best riding experience possible, but it also helps improve your skills while protecting you from crashes and impacts.
Choose any of the shoes we reviewed in this list, and you’ll guarantee a better time out in the trails with your bike.