What are The Best Shoes for Mountain Biking? (5 Best Shoes)

Shoes with flat soles are best for mountain biking. The reason is simple, better grip and friction; we’ll get to the part later.

Mountain biking is a challenging yet fun activity to do. It’s not for everyone; it’s not made for everyone’s comfort. But if you’re planning on taking your beast for a ride, you might consider some trivial things before it.

If you’re interested in what shoes you should wear for mountain biking, what good does it for the activity, and the best mountain biking-friendly shoes available in the market, stick around.

What are The Best Shoes for Mountain Biking?

Below is a list of the best shoes you should wear for mountain biking. The list is made considering everyone’s budget:

Shoe Name Price tag
Vans $70
Shimano AM5 $100
Shimano XC501 $140
Scott MTB Elite BOA $140
Ride Concepts Hellion Elite $140
Fizik Infinito X1 $400

1. Vans

You saw this coming; Vans shoes are essential mountain biking shoes one can get. They are inexpensive, sleek, and have comfortable soft soles. You might already own a pair of vans considering their popularity and style. They also come in different colorways and designs.

Price: $70

2. Shimano AM5

The Shimano AM5 has a firm grip. The sole is made of firm rubber, and the body is made of synthetic material. So if you have water splashed on it, it’ll dry off easily.

Price: $100

3. Shimano XC501

Another one is from Shimano, which is lightweight and comfortable. It allows good adjustability to the rider and more power.

The sole is made of glass fiber which provides a big hold, but you can’t bend your shoe easily; it’s not the best shoe for walking.

Price: $140

4. Scott MTB Elite BOA

This shoe is great for an overall mountain biking experience. It feels excellent while pedaling, has a good hold, and can dry off quickly. It is also great for walking if you want to take a hike during the biking. It has its own BOA adjustment style.

Price: $140

5. Ride Concepts Hellion Elite

It has the old-school hiking shoe vibe to it. The shoe has a good support system called “smart foam,” which allows extra rider comfort during journeys. Sole is made of “Max Grip” rubber, Hellion Elite’s technology.

Price: $140

6. Fizik Infinito X1

This is the last and the most expensive one on the list. It is made out of a carbon fiber sole. This shoe is quite expensive but is excellent for races. A lot of professionals use this, and for a good cause.

If you are looking for something comfortable, has a fantastic grip, and is suitable for races, this is the one.

Price: $400.

We hope you find your favorite shoe from the very niche list we made, trying to fit into everyone’s budget.

What type of shoes is best for Mountain Biking?

You should wear flat sole shoes or skating shoes for mountain biking. If you are a lifter, you can even wear weightlifting shoes. You can also read our article on what shoes should I wear for mountain biking.

Professional mountain bikers wear two types of shoes, both of which include:

  • Flats
  • Clipless Shoes

Flat Shoes

Flat shoes have flat soles in them, made for flexibility. These soles are used in skating shoes to increase friction and improve grip.

Vans and Converse Chuck Taylor are common examples of shoes with flat soles. If you’re going for proper mountain biking-specified shoes, try to go for those with a flat yet soft sole so that you can bend and adjust your feet according to the bike pedals.

Flat shoes are very inexpensive. If you are going for a converse, they cost as little as $35. So, it is very budget-friendly. As skating shoes increase friction, your bike will have less chance of crashing than usual. Converses are minimal in design and have good flexibility.

Pros of flat shoes:

  • Inexpensive
  • Won’t crash easily
  • Minimalistic
  • Adjustment
  • Good for beginners

Cons of flat shoes:

  • Weight
  • Lack of control
  • Not good for advanced riders

Weight is heavier than clipless shoes with flat soles. The rider also has a sharper grip on the pedal. Pros do not use flat soles often because of their lack of power, control, and hold.

Clipless Shoes

The concept of these shoes is having metal attached underneath the sole. Similar to heelys.

The metal cleats attached to the shoe get locked with your pedal as soon as you take your position. We think the term “clipless” is quite condescending as their function is literally the opposite.

Different types of clipless shoes are available, which are specified for each riding type. For example, off-road riding, trail, cross country, etc.

Pros of clipless shoes:

  • Better biking experience
  • Lighter
  • Advanced grip
  • Pulling up

Clipless shoes give a better overall experience for the rider in every aspect. The pedal is much lighter than the weight of the flat soles.

Clipless shoes also give a firm yet comfortable grip for the rider. Another critical point is that you can pull your pedal using this sole, which allows the rider to pedal easily on an elevated surface.

Cons of clipless shoes:

  • Expensive
  • Getting adjusted to it
  • The accident curve

As much as the shoes are doing, it is expensive. We think it’s less appealing than conversations, but there’s a price to pay for everything. Besides, learning and adjusting to basically no pedals will be hard for everyone.

Using clipless shoes means no pedals; if you go too fast and lose focus even for a second, you might cause a significant injury. So, the risk of accidents is also high, considering one of the major pros of these types of shoes going faster.

With all that being said, if you are starting out, we recommend not going for mountain biking-specified shoes immediately. Start with your vans or any skating shoe you have, and then progress forward.

Why Do You Need Specific Shoes for Mountain Biking?

We don’t think you need any specific shoes for mountain biking. Think about it this way, you don’t need running shoes for running, either, right? But it sure does help.

Wearing shoes is fine if you’re going on a quick ride. But for the long-term, regular shoes do more harm than good. Here’s why:


Grip plays a very crucial role when it comes to biking. Your hand and feet fit extremely important. As fun as mountain biking is, it is also very risky. One lack of focus on the road, you’re injured.

If your grip is bad while biking, you will not be able to see your full potential as a rider and eventually cause injuries.


Different forces act upon you and your bike while riding. A few of them are the force of gravity, contact force, pull, etc. All of this together will need assistance so that you don’t hurt yourself, which is why gear is needed.

Therefore, your best bet is to have the solid protective gear to prevent injuries.


Let’s say you are wearing chunky shoes while biking. This means your feet don’t have the best grip on your bike pedals. Now, if you are riding at high speed at an elevated height, you will need your feet to hug your pedals; this won’t be possible in a chunky shoe.

If your feet are not adjusted to your pedals properly, your feet will be hurt from the biking.

All of these problems can be solved with mountain biking shoes. Don’t worry; they won’t hurt your bank, and they are inexpensive.

Final Words

Mountain Biking could be scary or exciting. It depends on your skills and your ability to take risks. The risks can be lessened simply by taking precautions. The precautions being gear. You don’t need any particular shoes, but it always helps. Flat and clipless are the two soles best for mountain biking. If you’re a rookie rider, try with the flat soles first, then clipless, as your pedal will be pretty much gone with those.

Lastly, keep in mind that shoes won’t come off as much help if you are not careful and follow specific rules before riding. Be safe and cautious!

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