A complete guide on the best mountain bikes shoes that are good for all weather conditions and are affordable, While I was trying to best shoes to go with my mountain bike I decided to write an article to help other people like me who might be searching hours to find the right answer.
I will try Covering all the shoes that are
- Trail suitability
- Long term useable
- seasoning your shoes
- Most popular shoes among mountain bikers
- Difference between clippers and non-clippers
- what should you wear as a beginner
Generally, the biggest mistake beginner or most pro riders end up making is going for the looks or using normal wear later realizing “that was not the best choice”.
Let’s get things straight, getting a pair of shoes that’s only for mountain biking may seem a daunting thought at first but trust me they will be the best decision you will make since I have blown my money on some useless shoes as well.
What kind of shoes you should get as a beginner :
As a beginner, you might be wondering what’s the difference between normal shoes and shoes meant specifically for mountain biking.
For starters, normal shoes do not offer the same grip as normal shoes and toes protection or normal feet protection, Mountain biking-specific shoes are made with a thick stiff sole for better traction both on pedals and ground and not bailing on the riders.
As a beginner starting out FiveTens might be a great starting point they are great they have a thick sole and good wear for almost all weathers they might be a little bit on the expensive side but for the durability and grip you get with them, it might be a one time purchase.
If you had like to do your own research and find something better on your own here’s what to look for in shoes that are mountain biking specific.
- Stiff sole
- Preferably leather cover
- toes protection
- weathers compatibility.
- traction on and off pedals.
- Above all comfortability.
Adjusting footwear according to weather :
Winterising shoes to keep your feet warm :
I will be explaining DIY methods if you have the money to buy new pair of shoes meant for winter all good if not then here are some tips to keep your feet warm in winter. while mountain biking.
Now before I go on and drop some tips know that there are limits to riding in winter do not ride in extreme wethers a day off is better than ending up with frostbite so don’t overdo yourself try working with nature not against it because its a losing game and there are thousands of examples out there for us to know better.
First things first your footwear comes after your core temperature so try dressing properly if your core temp is dropping significantly it’s time to abandon the fun and find a shelter or shipping back home.
Here are things to consider and things to avoid.
- Cotton socks are no good for winter!
- Wool socks are the way to go they keep the temp so try buying wool socks rather than cotton or any other material.
- Closing down the air holes, if you bought shoes in the summer season then most probably they will have little vents close them up if you cannot find a permanent solution then just use duck tape works like a charm.
- Perfect size shoes, if your shoes are a little bit bigger then try using a sock or something to fill in the gap do not wear loose shoes
PRO TIP : Changing the insole of shoes may make them more warmer factory made shoes come with a thinner insole.
- if you are still cold then use a duck tape cover to cover the whole shoe do not cover the bottom of the shoe though you will lose all grip, when you peel off the tape it may shave off some of the upper cloth layers it won’t damage your shoes so much that they become unwearable so it will be alright.
DIYing shoes for the rainy season :
Rainy season is the most disturbing season and wet shoes are the worst water starting to drip the shoes and there’s nothing more irritating than water getting in your shoes and destroying a perfectly planned good ride, so I did my research and I found some of the things that might save you from the trouble as well.
first things first if you are wondering if there are shoes for rainy season specifically for mountain bikes “there are none ” if there are they are not so effective or they are just not suited for mountain bikes unless you don’t mind them wearing but that’s a whole other story but there are ways to waterproof your shoes.
- Shoe covers :
Some of you may know this some of you may not but there are specific waterproof shoe cover that is mostly made up of nylon and some other materials but in most cases they are useless I have heard people saying this over and over again they just don’t do the job but still, they do hold water to some extent but if you are dipped down in water they become useless but there are other ways to compensate them.
There are shoe covers available for both clippers and flats.
- Waterproof socks :
Shoe covers + waterproof socks(sealskinz) are a good pair they mostly keep the water out and are effective for mild riding in rainy season try these and if they are not enough for you and still your feet are getting water then there are more steps further.
PRO TIP : Make sure you get socks with hydrostop if it says something else, most probably not worth the purchase.
- Waterproof Spray :
Another option that you could try if the above methods were not enough to keep the water from entering the shoes try waterproof spray gives your shoes 2 or 3 coats of spray and that might do the trick for you.
- Duck Tape :
Well if everything failed then going good old duck tape might not be bad as well if you are not after the looks then duck tape will do the trick for you for sure it may not look good but if you just want the functionality and something as a quick fix than duck tape is great it will keep your shoes waterproof and seal of little holes on the shoes as well.
Well, this is it guys I tried listing everything that worked for me and most people, I personally hate water entering my shoes and it irritates me a lot if it doesn’t bug you then you are good the way you are.
I didn’t list any shoes here because to my knowledge and my research I didn’t find anything that personally worked for me or others around me and I didn’t recommend any other type of shoes other than shoes specific to mountain biking because they might not have enough grip on the pedals or wet grounds and that may cause more problem than solving them.
Shoes not to wear :
If you had already tried all these methods and they didn’t work for you still I would advise you not to wear slippers or flip flops, Flip flaps may be okay for roads but they will become your nightmare on trails if you were thinking of wearing them in the rain just don’t they are made for floor means zero grips on the muddy floor they will get heavy from all the mud sticking on to them and good luck paddling or even walking with them the least you could use are something with strips but still I would advise against it NOT a bright idea.
Best Shoe Brands :
Instead of a list here are some brands that are great and well known and some good pairs that were recommended by some friends and some from my own personal research.
- Five Tens (Adidas) The Best
- Teva mountain biking shoes
If you ride flat pedals Five tens are better than vans or converse, vans and converse have some good shoes as well but if you are new to mountain biking and don’t know much or you are looking for something durable and with better grip and sole Five Tens are great.
Teva may not be well known but they are a good brand they have produced some quite good shoes for mountain biking over the years.
Vans 112 Pro, vans skate hi pro, Vans style 112 mid pro are some of the good shoes that are quite good.
Clipless/ Clippers Best Brands :
For clipless/clipper shoes for mountain biking, there are a few well-known names.
- Crank brothers
- Five ten
These are all big brands and more than often they have something for everyone, Best among them for clipless shoes would be Shimano Shimano shoes maybe a bit pricy but they are worth the value as well.
Clipless and Flat pedals:
if you are just starting out you might be looking into what kind of shoes to wear and which would be best according to trails you ride or simply what shoes you might get as a beginner and you might actually be stuck between clipless and flat pedals as well.
If you are a beginner and just starting out my advice to you would not fall prey to clipless and flat pedals debate, They are just personal preferences and nothing more, and flat pedals would work great for you if you are concerned about long term commitment or your buddies are riding clipless and you are concerned about that then again that’s just a personal preference and nothing more even at international levels pro mountain bikers still ride flat pedals.
This doesn’t mean clipless pedals are useless here are some advantages and disadvantages for you to better understand the popularity and choice decision of different people for clipless pedals.
- Easier pedaling
- Mostly preferred for uphill
- Better control on the bike
- Better for free riding
- Commitment for a long time
- non-beginner friendly
- Increased crashing risk
- hard to master
Some general questions you might have.
Are there any women-specific shoes :
Yes, there are women-specific shoes Shimano, lake, sidi, specialized, Giro and other big names like five tens and some other good brands do make women-specific shoes.
What’s so special in women-specific shoes :
On average, Women’s feet are less wider the width is the main thing, Also women’s feet palms are usually flat if you ever notice mostly they don’t have that curve in their feet palm or it’s a really small gap and normal men’s shoes are designed considering that curve.
So women-specific shoes come with that specific feature to compensate for that also women’s shoes and feet size tend to be smaller but wider compared to men that’s another reason as well.
I tried covering more on shoe adjustment according to trial and weather conditions and also popular brands rather than dumping a list on you guys hopefully it is enough for you to make the right choice I will write a specific article on the best shoes and other gears after some research I hope this helps you understand and help you choose better.
Let us know if this article was helpful to you and if you have any other recommendations for the readers that would be great as well.