Your feet are one of three main contact points you have with your bike so ensuring you have a good pair of shoes that last, feel comfortable and perform well can be quite the Cinderella moment. However, shopping around for a great pair of flats or SPDs can be tricky when you’re on a shoestring.
But worry not. We’ve done all the research for you, meaning all you’ve got to do is choose one of our six picks. So, in no particular order, here are a few of the best mountain bike shoes for the savvy-shopper.
1. O'Neal Pinned
While O’Neal mountain bike shoes may not be at the forefront of your mind when thinking about what brands to look out for, don’t forget, it’s a long-time sponsor of the G.O.A.T, Greg Minnaar.
Unchanged since their launch in 2018, O’Neal’s entry-level shoes are available in either an all-black stealth option and a neon yellow and black colourway. Offering O'Neal's unique Honey Rubber sole, these shoes have a hexagonal tread that has been designed for superior grip with pedals. Along with reinforced toe cap for protection and additional external stitching for improved durability, the O’Neal Pinned shoes are ideal for beginners and those on a shoestring budget.
2. Adidas Five Ten Freerider
Perhaps one of the most recognised brands in mountain biking is Adidas’s Five Ten and its flagship model is the Freeride flats. These are your do-everything shoe, comfortable to wear casually without looking out of place, while equipped with features that’ll keep you connected with the bike. Using a blend of canvas and leather, the outer material is constructed with a one-piece moulded cup sole developed from Stealth S1 rubber with its iconic dotty tread pattern. Available in a variety of colourways, the Freerider shoe comes in such a wide size range that you’ll be able to kit out the whole family in matching pairs.
3. Specialized 2FO 1.0
Designed with all-day riding in mind, the Specialized 2FO Flat 1.0 mountain bike shoes offer comfortability for on and off the bike activities while looking pretty stylish.
Specialized has used its own SlipNot 2.0 rubber compound for the sole of the shoe to enable the best possible connection between rider and bike. Another significant feature of these shoes is the forefoot top foam inserts, which provide additional protection from rocks, roots and other trail debris. By paying particular attention to body geometry, Specialized has constructed ergonomically designed footbeds to help raise efficiency and improve alignment throughout the leg. The internal ankle cuff helps keep unwanted bits of trail out of your shoes, while the Lacelock elastic keeps things neat and tidy on top.
4. Giro Gauge
If you’re looking for something a little slimmer for riding more aggressive cross-country, or perhaps you have your sights set on a bikepacking adventure, then the Giro Gauge mountain bike shoes aren’t to be overlooked – especially if you’re on a budget.
Durable and light, these shoes offer clipless pedal compatibility with a supportive die-cut EVA footbed for a more comfortable fit. Equipped with a Rockprint reinforced toe area, these MTB shoes are designed to feel like a trail running shoe while being capable of handling even the roughest of rides.
5. Scott MTB AR Clip
Wherever you want your bike to take you, the Scott MTB AR Clip mountain bike shoes will be one step ahead.
This lace-up style shoe is packed with features including a composite Sticki Rubber outsole with a stiffness rating of seven, coupled with a microfiber and Nylon airmesh upper. This construction provides excellent support and protection with enough airflow to help circulate air around your foot. Along with reinforced protection around the toe and heel, Scott’s MTB AR Clip shoes will help keep you turning your pedals for miles and adventures to come.
6. Bontrager Foray
If laces aren’t your thing, or perhaps you prefer a shoe that’s more versatile for gravel, cross-country and all-mountain expeditions, the Bontrager Foray mountain bike shoes can do it all without breaking the bank.
For a penny under £120, they offer a Boa IP1 dial for a precise and secure fit around the foot. Constructed with a Tachyon rubber outsole, these shoes have been designed to offer supreme grip in all terrains, while remaining suitable for off-the-bike antics. To seal in all the goodness, Bontrager has finished them in a durable GnarGuard coating, which helps protect the shoes from scuffs and abrasions.
Compatible with 2-bolt cleats, the Bontrager Foray MTB shoes are available in three colourways: stealth black, camo green and neon yellow.