Mountain bike shoes: flat pedal and click pedal shoes

Whether you are just starting out with mountain biking or have been mountain biking for years. Good MTB shoes are incredibly important. There are many options available in the field of mountain bike shoes. There are flat pedal shoes and shoes for clipless pedals. To help you make the best choice, I’ve written a complete guide. Discover everything you need to know about MTB shoes!

Which mountain bike shoes are there?

There are different types of mountain bike shoes. The choice for a particular type of shoe also depends on the type of MTB pedals you have. There are shoes for click pedals, but also special shoes for platform pedals.

  • Shoes for flat pedals: equipped with a special sole that accepts the pins of platform pedals.
  • Click pedal shoes: these shoes have cleats that you can click into the click pedals.

Which type of mountain bike shoe you choose is very personal. Shoes with cleats ensure that you can also pull the pedals up. In addition, your shoes are less likely to slip off the pedals on bumps. However, with flat pedal shoes you can get off faster. That type of shoe is often more interesting for the novice mountain biker. Let’s take a closer look at both shoes.

Flat pedal shoes

Flat pedal shoes are suitable for flat pedals. These are flat pedals without a click system. The shoes have a special sole. The pins of platform pedals can easily insert into these soles. This keeps you firmly on the pedal and you slide off it less quickly.

mountain bike shoes
Flat pedal shoes have a special sole. © MTBdex.com

Flat pedal shoes are an interesting choice for beginners because you can get off your bike faster. This also often prevents injuries. However, these shoes are also very popular among freeriders, who have more freedom with this. Also read my Five Ten Freerider review here; a review of the most popular mountain bike shoes right now.

Click pedal shoes

In addition to the flat pedal shoes, there are also MTB click pedal shoes. These shoes have cleats in the sole. These cleats make it possible to click the shoes into the clipless pedals. MTB cleats are slightly different from road bike shoes. For example, mountain bike variants have two screws, while cycling shoes often have three screws.

Click shoes are very interesting among a wide audience. With this type of shoe you will no longer shoot off your pedals so quickly. This is something that can happen quickly on hilly MTB routes.

SPD shoes (Shimano MTB shoes)

In many cases clipless pedal shoes are also referred to as SPD shoes. SPD is the abbreviation for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics, a click system from Shimano. Almost all mountain bike shoes for clipless pedals are made for this system.

Mountain bike shoes for every level, season and gender

If you’re not sure which type of mountain bike shoe you choose, you’re not there yet. There are also shoes for different levels. From beginners to experts. In addition, there are also summer and winter mountain bike shoes. The latter are extra warm and can withstand humidity better. And just like with normal shoes, there are also shoes for men and women.

Summer vs winter mountain bike shoes

There is a big difference between summer and winter mountain bike shoes. Of course, winter shoes keep your feet warm much better than summer variants. They are often made of water-repellent material. Winter MTB shoes are also often a lot higher.

Summer shoes ensure that there is good ventilation. In addition, they are – in contrast to winter models – often a lot lower.

Buying tips for buying new mountain bike shoes

If you are going to buy new mountain bike shoes, there are a number of points that you should pay attention to. This is independent of the fact which type of shoe you choose.

  • Mountain bike shoes are for men and women. Always check if you are looking at the right gender, as the fit and sizes for men and women can differ.
  • Broadly speaking, there are three types of shoe closures: Velcro, a twist closure or just laces. Check what you find most comfortable, but also think about whether you want to be able to tie the shoes easily from the bike.
  • Do you often drive in wet weather? Check carefully what material the shoes are made of. Are they water repellent?
  • The soles are very important in mountain bike shoes. It is of course more common that you have to step off. You don’t want to slip with soles without a profile. Check what kind of sole is under the shoe.
  • Are you going for clipless pedal shoes? Then it is important to check whether the shoes are suitable for SDP cleats. You can recognize this by two screws next to each other. Cleats for the pedals of racing bicycles often have the SDP-SL click system; here are three screws in triangle shape.

And perhaps most importantly: try on the shoes before you just buy them. It is therefore smart to pay a visit to a local bicycle specialist. Here you can try on shoes at your leisure and get better advice.

shoe size mtb shoes
Mountain bike shoes often run slightly smaller than normal shoes. © MTBdex.com

Frequently asked questions about mountain bike shoes

What kind of mountain bike shoes are there?

There are two types of mountain biking shoes: flat pedals and clipless pedal shoes. For clipless pedal shoes you obviously need clipless pedals. Flat pedal shoes have a special sole. These are equipped with pins from the platform pedals for easy insertion.

What are SPD shoes?

SPD is the abbreviation for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. This is a popular click system for mountain bike pedals. Almost all mountain bike shoes for clipless pedals are suitable for this system. Hence the name.

Is there a different fit than normal shoes?

Mountain bike shoes can be very different from normal footwear. It is therefore very important to fit the shoes properly before you buy them. You also have to take into account socks and the fact that your feet can expand a bit during a long mountain bike ride.

What are popular MTB shoe brands?

Shimano, Gaerne, Five Ten (Adidas) and Specialized are popular shoe brands. However, you can also go to stores such as Decathlon that sell brands such as Rockrider.

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