When just starting out, there’s no set manual that anybody gives you detailing the best mountain bike shoes. It’s mostly just a matter of personal preference and opinion. As you may know, there are different mountain biking disciplines, each category benefiting from a shoe built a particular way. The major categories include trail, XC(cross country), enduro, and downhill. Of course, there are a string of niche categories as well. So when looking for the right type of mountain bike shoes, it can be a little confusing at first. In case you haven’t yet, read our guide on how to choose mountain bike shoes to figure out what will suit you best. But, if you have a good idea of what you want, you can continue on ahead. With a proper introduction out of the way, you can find out what we think are the best mountain bike shoes right here.

Best Mountain Bike Shoes (Best On The Mountain)

 

Clipless
Flat Pedal

Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0

Best For: Trail, XC, Cyclocross
Full Review

Five Ten Impact VXi

Best For: Downhill, Enduro, Trail
Full Review

Giro Terraduro

Best For: Trail, Enduro
Full Review

Five Ten Freerider Contact

Best For: Downhill, Enduro, Trail
Full Review

Shimano M200

Best For: XC, Trail, Enduro
Full Review

Five Ten Freerider

Best For: Downhill, Enduro, Trail

Five Ten HellCat

Best For: Downhill, Enduro
Full Review

Specialized 2FO Flat

Best For: Trail, Enduro
Full Review

 

Best Clipless Mountain Bike Shoes

Clipless mountain bike shoes have a two-hole mount on the bottom of the soles that allow you to attach your cleats to them. This gives you more efficiency while pedaling as you can generate power whether pushing down or pulling up. Clipless shoes are best in disciplines where you don’t have to get off of your bike often, such as long distance cycling, trail riding, and cyclocross.

Our top picks include the superb Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0, the reliable Giro Terraduro, the futuristic Shimano M200, and the Five Ten HellCat which is highly praised by DH and enduro cyclists alike.

 

Model:Best for:Pros:Cons:Review:Price:

Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0



  • Trail

  • Cross Country

  • Cyclocross

+ Power transfer is superb
+ BOA lacing for great support
+ Insoles can be changed
+ Great breathability
+ Very lightweight
- Not cheap
- Not much foot protection
- Narrower fit
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Giro Terraduro



  • Trail

  • Enduro

+ Superb for walking
+ Ratchet/velcro for great support
+ 60-day comfort guarantee
+ Comes in high volume versions
- Not great for long distance cycling
- Doesn't dry quickly
- Relatively heavy
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Shimano M200



  • Enduro

  • Cross Country

  • Trail

+ Carbon reinforced sole
+ Torsional flex for comfort walking
+ Speed lacing & single strap buckle
+ Lots of protection
+ Repels water well
- Mixed opinions on durability
- More expensive
- Some say it feels too narrow
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Five Ten HellCat



  • Downhill

  • Enduro

+ Good combination of stiffness/flex
+ Laces allow micro-adjustments in tension
+ Quick to dry; repels water decently
+ Velcro strap keeps laces in place
- Not much cleat adjustment available
- Kind of heavy
- Not as versatile
- Ventilation not as great
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Best Flat Pedal Mountain Bike Shoes

On the other side of mountain biking, you have flat pedal shoes that have a flat outsole with very grippy rubber. This flat outsole allows you to stick to your pedal pins like glue while allowing you to dab and get off your bike with ease. Flat pedal shoes are often used for downhill, enduro, or casual trail riding.

For our top choices in flat pedal shoes, we chose the burly Five Ten Impact VXi, the amazing Five Ten Freerider Contact, the Five Ten Freerider which is extremely similar, and the no-nonsense Specialized 2FO Flat.

 

Model:Best for:Pros:Cons:Review:Price:

Five Ten Impact VXi



  • Downhill

  • Enduro

  • Trail

+ Grippy tread/stiff soles
+ Lightweight
+ Laces for customized fit
+ Fits wide/HV feet
- Doesn't shed mud well
- Thin insoles
- Poor ventilation in warm weather
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Five Ten Freerider Contact



  • Downhill

  • Enduro

  • Trail

+ Smooth rubber on forefoot
+ Extremely grippy Mi6 rubber
+ Laces for even support/fit
+ Vibration dampening
+ Sheds water and dries quickly
- Not great for walking
- Soft rubber wears quickly
- Mixed opinions on durability
- Not waterproof
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Five Ten Freerider



  • Downhill

  • Enduro

  • Trail

+ Super grippy Mi6 rubber
+ Laces for even support/fit
+ Breathable
+ Versatile
+ Sheds water and dries quickly
- Soft rubber wears quickly
- Mixed opinions on durability
- Fits a little narrow
- Not waterproof
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Specialized 2FO Flat



  • Enduro

  • Trail

+ Efficient for long distances
+ Different wedges for arch support
+ Lasts a long time; durable
+ Light and dries quickly
- Stiff soles don't conform to pedals well
- Fits a bit narrow
- Not good for colder weather
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