The 8+ Best Mountain Bike Shoes 2020: Top Picks
Nobody prohibits you from wearing a pair of regular to biking, but best mountain bike shoes in 2020 bring in many benefits.
In short, they are meant for the sport with a stable platform to handle your feet on the pedal.
They also play a role in giving power and keep your feet protected on a long trail.
In our list of the top-rated good mountain bike shoes in 2020, Just Not Sports focus on the lightweight designed for cross-country and non-technical rides, the all-terrain for tough roads, and downhill for the jumps and drops.
Just Not Sports will also point out the rundown you need before heading to a local shop. Stay with us until the end and discover the best gem.
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Top 8 Best mountain Bicycle Shoes Reviews of 2020
Gavin VELO Road Bike Cycling Shoe
- Category: All-mountain
- Pedal Compatibility: Clipless
- Cleat Compatibility: Look, SPD, SPD-R & SPD-SL
The shoes will give you a good feeling coming out of the box.
The first impression is the shoes are pretty sturdy and stiff. Check out the sole; it takes you to the standard SPD cleats so using them for the mountain bike or spin bike would be fine.
It comes with the three-bolt pattern for the look style belt cleats and is compatible with the clipless pedal system
The sole makes use of rigid nylon fiberglass while the upper is made of synthetic microfiber leather with mesh promise functional ventilation. It also doesn’t add up to the weight of the shoes making them light and cool.
It’s got some bumps in the bottom to keep the sole breathable.
The loop straps provide more secure as well as fit easy to tune with one hand.
For 55 bucks, you can’t go wrong with these road fellas.
Pay attention to the size chart since it states in the EU standard that runs smaller in the US.
You will need to pick a larger size
- Lightweight shoes
- Suitable for beginners
- Reasonable price
- Secure Velcro straps
- Non-universal size chart
- Need to buy cleats separately
Tommaso Montagna 200 Spin Cycling Shoe
- Category: Off-road
- Pedal Compatibility: Clipless
Shoes made by Tommaso Montagna have incredible quality compares to the affordable price.
Every unnecessary detail is cut off to reduce the cost yet concentrate on the resources only.
You will get the optimal stiffness out of the shoes thanks to the reinforce of fiberglass while keeping the comfort for your feet for maximum pedal power transfer.
The material is moreover durable supporting any harsh race and conquering the mountain.
The upper is the product of synthetic leather, and ventilated mesh reduces the chance of storing unpleasant moisture inside.
The ratcheting buckle system delivers more consolation wearing the shoes by locking the heels firmly to the cup secured with Velcro straps.
Montagna 200 protects your foot against impacts from the terrain and pedal strikes with its reinforced armor toebox, also ensure the safe rides.
You can install two-bolt cleats and pedals to start cycling and reach the next level.
There are not so many things to complain about these shoes except for the confusing size.
The easiest way to deal with it is you can measure your feet in centimeter or inch then compare with the chart to get the precise fitting.
- Budget shoes
- Breathable and durable material
- 2-year manufacturer warranty
- Good choice for beginners
- Can go wrong with the size
- Lac adjustments for cleats
Gavin MTB Mountain Bike Mesh Indoor Fitness
- Category: Cross-country (XR)
- Pedal Compatibility: All mountain bike pedals
- Cleat Compatibility: SPD and Crank Brothers
We suggest this Gavin shoes for basic mountain bike spin or commuting around town.
The shoes feature three adjustable Velcro straps with easy access.
The upper is made of carbon fiber for stiffness and better support. The high-quality material also has respectable durability and mesh structure for airflow keeping you cool during intense workouts, rides, and spin classes.
The shoes can go with SPD cleats compatible with both mountain bike and spin bikes.
What makes the shoes special is the insole that can dry quickly in case you catch any impromptu muddy ride.
Note that the shoes have a double bolt pattern. When making a purchase, make sure you pick a half size up with your actual size.
- Inexpensive shoes
- Have good stability
- Quick-dry perforated insole
- Rigid fiberglass-injected nylon promotes power transfer
- Small toe space
- Need to order up a half size
- Velcro straps go less sticky after a few uses
Gavin Off Road Mountain Cycling Shoes
- Category: Off-road
- Pedal Compatibility: Clipless
- Cleat Compatibility: SPD
This pair of shoes has a slight difference from the Gavin road bike shoes in the lugged sole ready for the SPD cleat-attaching.
Otherwise, it has the exact same design used of nylon fiberglass sole to resist flex for pedal power transfer.
They also apply the microfiber breathable mesh on the upper utilizing Velcro retention system. The air-flow vents along the body assist better air circulation.
The neck has been added more layer to cushion your feet.
You can purchase the cleats to use with the two-bolt style system to bind to the pedals.
- Durable shoes for starters
- Reasonable price tag
- More casual design
- Size goes smaller
- No included cleats
Five Ten Men’s Freerider
- Category: Freeride
- Sole: Rubber
Here are the shoes for flat pedal cyclists.
The model is pretty dominant in the industry with the design similar to skateboarding shoes.
You may think it looks more like a casual pair of shoes, but it is respectably more durable with the use of 100% synthetic leather
The most noticeable thing is the flat rubber sole that has no place for the clip-in mechanism.
The rubber bottom is pretty grippy and stiff; you can try to bend, but it will give a little respond.
For those who may not know, to flat riding, the grip level and stiffness are the keys to keeping your feet planted on the pedals. It further delivers the power you put down to the pedals.
Specific shoes for mountain cycling have cheaper price tags, but they definitely are not waterproof like this one.
Moreover, the shoes are credited for their endurance.
In our test, we had put a lot of tolerance through creeks, rain, mud and ridden about 400 miles on them.
In the end, they have caught some greases and dirt but never lost the elegant appearance. That says they have excellent durability that can leave any athletic shoes behind.
You can feel the shoe strings are heavy and beefy on the canvas body that gives a stunning look.
All the construction is dual stitching all the way around. They use the heavy-cord stitch to connect the sole and upper causing no separation between the two parts.
The other appeal of these shoes is that it can protect your ankles when it meets any of stomp or rocks on the way with the higher cushions similar to mid top shoes.
But you can’t expect them to have all the bright things. These are warm shoes so they may not be ideal for sweating people. You will get stinky shoes due to the lack of ventilation.
The solution suggested is you can soak them in detergent or make use of the odor remover and leave them in a cool dry place.
- High durability
- Flat soles perfect for flat riding
- Grippy rubber bottom
- Have a solid form
- Ankle protective neck
- Bad air circulation
- Not budget
- Not suitable for riding rocky terrain
Mountain Bike Shoe Categories
The first thing to know is to break down the types of shoes available in the market.
As mentioned above, shoes for mountain bike fall into three lines.
This type of shoes put the high priority on easing handling the ground as much as possible.
They are usually light in weight, have a solid sole and will embrace your feet snugly to perform a perfect gripping to the pedals.
Trading off with the exclusive clipless design, the shoes compromise less protection as well as are not comfortable for walking due to the firm construction.
It is designed with a buckle and Velcro straps. Some higher-end shoes even have carbon fiber on the insole making it light and stiff.
Plus, you will get toes spikes to help you dig into the ground better.
These shoes are not specified for walking on regular though they do have traction for the road; it can damage the cleats by walking on them.
If you tend to ride a long trail with lots of maneuvering gripping to the sole of your shoes, the XC shoes will make good companions.
People who are concerned with protection for the feet, the enduro model offers more traction while retaining the stiffness for pedal power.
The shoes look more casual with the regular lace-up similar to walking shoes or hiking shoes.
However, they do have facilities for a clipless pedal.
The sole gives an excellent traction level and additionally includes better shock absorption.
The shoes are more versatile than its cousins with clever designs of option between platform and clipless.
A pair of tennis shoes can happen to become cycling shoes as well.
But one of the main philosophies is that from the ball of the foot to the heal, you want to the stiffness.
The stiffer the shoes, the more power you transfer to the pedals.
Downhill or freeride
The shoes are burlier, more protective and supportive.
They usually have higher top providing more cushion thanks to extra layers on the toebox and collar.
The outsole has a solid design to hit the hardness while being flat to inhibit larger platform of the downhill pedals.
These shoes are made for extreme riding in high degrees of difficulty. But they have something to do with the heavyweight on average.
Mountain Bike Shoes Inside Out
In other words, what should you look for in a pair of mountain cycling shoes?
There are different features make up road bike shoes.
For general off-road use, the shoes should meet the blend of comfort and efficiency.
Let’s break down the elements that decide a quality pair of shoes.
In most entry-level shoes, they use Velcro straps to lock the boots into your feet.
Velcro has the advantage that is lightweight and easy to put on and take off.
However, the more secure straps then Velcro are ratchets. They hold the foot tighter and are easy to tighten whilst you’re on the bike.
Ratchets are often found on mid-priced shoes combining with a Velcro strap or two.
Premium shoes have dials use cables to interlace which allow precise levels of adjustment and fit.
They are also easy to operate or dial in.
The resurgence of laces on mountain bike shoes has been initiated in the last few years.
Laces offer the benefit that you can fine-tune the fit throughout the entire length of the shoes.
But the downside is that you can’t really adjust while riding
Plastic soles are popular in entry-level shoes.
As you raise the price, you get carbon composite soles which are a mixture of carbon and plastic.
At the top of the tree, you have the full-fiber sole.
As for shoe increase in price, the sole gets stiffer and lighter.
Lightweight soles have lower inertia when you pedal while stiffer sole contributes to the power transfer.
The most appreciated detail on the shoes is the replaceable pads.
In particular, the rubber heels are held by two bolts and can be removed once it wears out to attach a new one on prolonging the life of the shoes.
For beginners, plastic sole shoes suffice the need. You don’t want to go for the too stiff soles with carbon fiber can lead to discomfort on long rides.
The cleats are parts of the sole assembled with a bolt system.
We have three-bolt and two-bolt system.
The way you choose the cleat system largely depends on the type of riding.
If you tend to be walking a lot on your shoes or going off-road, the two-bolt system is right for the case.
But for road riding, you have to take account of the three-bolt cleat system. The reason is that they offer a broader platform to enhance the power transfer to the pedals.
That is why most superior road cycling shoes only come with the three-bolt pattern sole.
The part covers the top of the shoes are called the upper.
It is the material of the shoes that add to the value of the shoes.
Lower entries tend to have more meshes and synthetic covers.
Whereas premium shoes use more sophisticated material contributing to the comfortability and breathability.
Believe it or not, the most expensive shoes utilize kangaroo leather to craft making the lightest and the most supple shoes in the world.
The thing to consider about the top is the stiffness. Stiff upper is great for sprinting because when pulling up on the shoes, it doesn’t respond much. Supple upper is more comfortable for long rides but less supportive walking.
Let’s come to the best part where you will meet the tops mountain bike footwear that cracked down in an insightful comparison.
How to choose the right biking shoes?
Investing in cycling shoes even it’s your first pair or sixth pair is never easy.
There are things coming out the path like price, material, fit, look and many other things.
Let’s tackle some big questions and nail down everything you need.
Clipless or Flat shoes
The term means for the pedal to have no clip at the toes in the old design.
That means there is only a bare pedal with special cut-out shapes to bind with the shoe cleat.
The connection thus focuses more on the power pressed when you bike for efficiency which makes the clipless shoes are widely used for XC or long rides.
It takes time to get used to the being clipped and to build familiarity with the pedal. As a result, you will be able to navigate your foot right on the position and memorize how to kick off to disconnect.
This concept aims to power transition from the foot to the pedal to provide more speed and force to conquer the harsh terrain. As such, these shoes are not friendly to beginners unless they have a road riding background.
It is a grippier version of casual shoes but offers more build and protection.
The shoes are particularly designed with sticky rubber to hold on to the pedals and comfortable for riders at any level.
However, flats are less efficient when you put down power than the clipless models are.
Your learning process with the shoes probably will take a few forgiving slipping off before you can get them to settle down.
Five Ten dominates the market of this category; you can try out one of the models to decide if you like their styles.
Common mountain bikes share the two-bolt cleat system that works with most mountain cycling shoes at this style.
Flat pedals and flat-bottomed shoes obviously match each other.
But if you like switching between the footwear, you can always replace the pedals with no hassle.
Power Transfer and Stiffness
Mountain bike shoes are meant to have a stiff build allows you to add force to the pedals.
While dedicated shoes for racing have incredible rigidity, budget trail models focus on the flexibility for daily use.
Rigidity has the direct proportion with price and difficulty. The stiffest shoes are for racers.
Stiffness has a coordinative relation with power transfer.
The use of material contributes to the firm build that maximizes the energy that needs for the harsher race.
The more flexible it goes, the cheaper the shoes get.
Velcro, Laces, Ratchet and Boa
The closure system is one concern for long-term cyclists.
While laces are common on flat shoes, the other system varies on biking shoes depends on your preference.
Velcro suggests a quick locking with sticky and adjustable pads. But for faster and micro closing, the dial system or ratchets are more satisfying.
Numerous benefits lie in the lightweight mountain bike shoes including lessening the fatigue on long rides and allowing more power transfer.
Though weight doesn’t get much attention from riders, it does play a role in optimizing the efficiency for XR racing.
There are also triathlon specific shoes have the conceptually designed for versatility.
You can take them on and off while riding your bike because it makes the transition between the run, the bike, and the swim faster.
They typically have a more simplistic retention system which might not grip your foot well.
On the back attached a big loop assist you in pulling the heel on and off.
The other feature is they often have big holes to circulate water out in winter rides.
Do you need to buy the best MTB shoes?
If you tend to ride casually with flat pedals, it does not necessarily require specific-designed shoes. You can look at the products of Five Ten for they look more like regular shoes but still provide the facilities needed for biking.
On the other hand, if you have mapped out a career path for mountain cycling, a pair of cycling shoes are compatible with the mountainous terrain. You will soon see the benefits they bring.
As you progress, in both cases, it’s likely that you will realize the demand for mountain cycling shoes to upgrade your biking level.
When the time comes, a good pair of shoes will come to your wish right off the bat. Consider our recommendations for the best mountain bike shoes.