Mountain biking is a sport where you can go anywhere you want because these are fully capable two-wheeled vehicles.
They are very handy and can pass through any terrain as long as you have the skills and guts to do so.
However, you don’t just rely on your bike and physical capabilities to do this, but also on the gear, you wear. One of which is your mountain bike shoes
But what’s special about these shoes? Do you need to wear them and not any other ordinary rubber shoes?
In this article, we are going to discuss this question and provide you with in-depth information on the many benefits you can get from mountain biking shoes when you’re out on the trails.
One of the best things you can get from mountain bike shoes is the grip that it provides to your feet. Your feet gain a good grip on your pedals, which makes your ride more enjoyable, fun, and safer.
If you are just using any kind of shoe, there’s a good chance that your feet will slip off the pedals and lead to accidents and injury.
This is one of the most common reasons why beginner mountain bikers get pedal strikes on their shins because the pins from their flat pedals hit their shin area when they slip off it.
Mountain bike shoes ensure that your feet are planted firmly on the pedals, whether it be flat pedals or clipless pedals.
Another nice thing about trail shoes is that they are stiff. This means that they don’t flex too much or bend when your feet move or if the platform your feet have contact with moves.
This is a very important thing because a stiff shoe improves pedaling efficiency. You then find it easier to pedal your bike because you exert less effort due to the smooth pedaling motion common among road cycling shoes.
Aside from that, the stiffness of trail shoes is also nice because this means that your feet are better protected due to the harder shell covering and structure.
Another reason why you need to wear proper mountain bike shoes out on the trails is that they are waterproof.
Although they’re not fully waterproof, they have a nice level of water resistance because they are made to tolerate whatever climate or weather is out there.
More premium shoes have better water-resistance levels, which is a good thing because you can pedal better and have a more comfortable ride knowing that your feet are dry and warm.
Improved power transfer
Cyclists will experience an improved power transfer from wearing proper MTB shoes because they are designed to prevent energy loss.
This is made possible because of their stiff and solid structure, most especially with the way their soles are designed.
An example is basketball shoes which have a cushiony sole that absorbs around 10% to 20% of the energy you exert to make it easier for you to run around the court and jump.
That may be good for basketball, but that design and comfort won’t do you any good in the trails because that translates to a 10% to 20% decrease in power and pedaling efficiency.
This is why MTB-specific shoes are a must-have if you are into trail riding.
Another reason why mountain bike shoes are a must-have for all-mountain bikers is safety. These shoes protect your foot from injuries, especially since the elements out there can easily put you in danger.
Flying rocks from the trails that can hit your toes or sudden dabs on your foot on the ground can easily happen. And you need to protect yourself from all these things. Do not think that any shoe can do this.
Well, they might provide covering on your foot, but they can be too soft and fragile when you accidentally hit a root or rock.
There are even downhill and enduro shoes that have very hard toe soles that protect your foot if ever it comes in hard contact with something when you fall and crash.
What are the advantages of flat pedal shoes?
There are two kinds of shoes for mountain biking. These are the flat pedal shoes and the clipless pedal shoes. Each has its advantages and you just need to know how to assess and weigh them out properly so you can maximize your potential.
Flexibility of movement
One of the biggest reasons why many people are using a flat pedal mountain bike shoe compared to the clipless shoes is because it gives you the flexibility needed for you to easily move your feet without unclipping on the pedals.
You can’t do this with clipless pedal shoes because you have to clip and unclip. You also can’t do this smoothly with ordinary rubber shoes because they can easily slide off or get stuck on your pedal pins, unlike a flat pedal shoe.
Flat mountain bike-specific shoes are special because they are very versatile. This means that they can also be used on different occasions or events other than biking.
Take for example the FiveTen Freerider shoe collection which can be usual for casual wear because of its skate shoe design. This is also considered one of the best mountain bike shoes.
However, they work well as trail shoes because of their sticky soles that are designed specifically to provide maximum grip on the pedal pins.
And the last but certainly not the least reason why flats are great is that beginner mountain bikers don’t have to practice how to clip and unclip their foot from the pedals.
They are just like ordinary rubber shoes or skate shoes and flat shoes for flat pedal riders but have soles designed for maximum grip on flat pedals.
What are the advantages of clipless pedal shoes?
Clipless shoes are also growing in popularity in the cycling community because of their pedaling efficiency. But that’s just one of the many benefits you can get from it. Here are the others.
The best thing about clipless MTB shoes is that they provide excellent stability.
This is because your feet won’t move around the pedals as they are clipped into the cleats found on the surface of the pedals. If you want a smooth and stable ride, then get clipless pedal shoes.
Clipless pedals are the best choice if what you are after is pedaling efficiency. This happens because the motion you do is not just limited to the pushing movement. Instead, you do the push and pull motion using your feet.
This then means your energy exerted is put to better use as it isn’t wasted. The moment you push your pedal down, the same level of effort is also applied when you pull it up.
How does this happen? Well, because your feet are clipped directly on the pedal cleats.
You lower the chances of crashing if you have clipless mountain bike shoes because your feet are firmly planted on the pedals.
You won’t slip or slide off the pedals if ever you pass through a very rough trail with huge rocks and roots, which flat pedal shoes tend to do.
However, you need to make sure that you know how to clip in and unclip fast from your bike. It might be hard at first, but you’ll get the hang of it later on and it’ll be just second nature to you.
Mountain bike shoes are a must-have if you are a mountain biker because they allow you to pedal properly and securely on your bike.
Yes, you can ride your bike using any shoe. But the experience is far better with the best mountain bike shoes.
It’s safer, more comfortable, you can go faster because these shoes are specifically designed to improve your mountain bike rides.