Are Mountain Bike Shoes Worth It?

Mountain biking is one of the greatest recreational activities that you can do. The one setback is that it tends to require an initial investment of at least a few hundred dollars. This leaves some people with not much cash to spare for things like shoes. So, you might be wondering, are mountain bike shoes worth it?

While mountain biking shoes are not necessary especially for beginners, they are absolutely worth it. This is because they come with a wealth of benefits. These benefits include water-resistance, better grip and more efficient power transfer. It all comes together to make your biking session more enjoyable.

In this article, we are going to take things further. I want to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that we get regarding mountain biking equipment. More specifically, we are talking about mountain biking shoes. We are also going to deep dive into why mountain biking shoes are worth it. So, for everything you need to know, keep reading.

Mountain Bike Rider Shoes

Here’s Why Mountain Bike Shoes Are Worth It

  • Mountain bike shoes are safer: I always say that safety comes before anything else. With that being said, mountain biking shoes offer protection. You want something that offers protection against the elements that you will encounter while mountain biking. That is where mountain bike shoes outshine the rest.
  • They are comfortable: When you are doing a 15 to 20-mile long trail, comfort becomes quite an important feature. Because mountain biking shoes are built specifically for the activity, they will offer more comfort than most other shoes. Remember, a 15 to 20-mile long trail can take up to 2 hours. That is a long time to be wearing uncomfortable shoes!
  • They are built specifically for mountain biking: This means that they will take less wear and tear from the bike pedals and even parts of the track.
  • Efficient power transfer: It means less fatigue for you and ultimately you will find riding on longer tracks easier. Also, you will be able to clear steep climbs more efficiently than if you were wearing normal sneakers.

There is so much more that we can say regarding whether or not mountain biking shoes are worth it. At the end of the day, there is a reason why companies develop apparel and equipment for certain activities!

Related article – Is Cycling Good For Achilles Tendonitis?

Are Expensive Mountain Bike Shoes Worth It?

Ok, this can be very subjective. See, you should get shoes that fit into your budget. If you can spend more on your shoes, great. You’ll get better quality materials and generally you get what you pay for.

Expensive mountain biking shoes will amplify the benefits that you get from using any mountain biking shoes. So, they will be more comfortable, have a more efficient power transfer, and so on.

So yes, expensive mountain biking shoes are worth it provided you don’t break the bank getting them!

MTB Racers with clip shoes

What Types Of Mountain Bike Shoes Are There?

First, you get clip-in mountain biking shoes. These can have a two or three-hole cleat attached to them. They then attach directly onto the pedal.

Then you have mountain biking shoes for flat pedals. These are just like your normal pair of shoes except they have a lot more grip so that your feet don’t slip off the pedals easily!

Should I Ride Clipless Or Flats?

When you start out, you actually want to avoid wearing clip-in mountain biking shoes. It is best if we stick to flat for a while. You need to gain some experience and learn how to control your bike using your body weight and learn how to control the bike by shifting your body weight.

When you are on a trail, especially a technical trail, you want to be able to quickly remove your feet from the pedal if you have to. You never know when you are going to need your feet to stabilize yourself.

It could also be a personal opinion, however, it makes much more sense for people to wear flat mountain biking shoes when they are beginners.

How To Make Your Mountain Bike Shoes More Comfortable

If you buy yourself a pair of mountain biking shoes and they are not comfortable, that’s not right. After all, one of the main purposes of a good mountain biking shoe is to add comfort to your sessions.

So, here are a few things that I have learned over the years that you can do to make your riding shoes more comfortable for you.

  • Make sure that your socks are not too tight. This can cause cramps and restrict blood flow.
  • At the same time, don’t wear socks that are too loose as this can cause blisters.
  • Again with the socks but do not use thick socks. This can make the shoe feel tight. (Getting the drift here…? 😂)
  • Use a good insole.
  • Always wash your shoes after a muddy session. Mud can cause the shoe to feel stiff when the mud dries.

If you just follow those tips, I am sure that you will find that your shoes become more comfortable and that means that you can have longer sessions and more enjoyable sessions.

Related article – Can Trail Running Shoes Be Used For Mountain Biking?

Mountain Bike Sneakers

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Clip-in Pedals Better For Mountain Biking?

As we mentioned above, I highly doubt that anyone would advise a beginner to use clip-in pedals. Clip-in shoes are great for professionals who need as much speed and power transfer as they can possibly get.

When you are just a recreational mountain bike enthusiast, you want to make sure that you can quickly react to any situation as fast as possible. Having your feet attached to the pedal might prevent you from reacting to tricky situations fast enough.

Can You Walk In MTB Shoes?

You can walk in any mountain biking shoes however, it becomes very difficult when you wear clip-in mountain bike shoes where the cleats stick out from the sole of the shoe.

If your clip-ins are embedded in the sole of the shoe then walking can be done as if you were wearing normal shoes. 

How Long Do Mountain Bike Shoes Last?

It is important to remember that a more budget-friendly shoe might not last as long as a premium one. Also, it is better to estimate how long your shoes will last depending on how much you ride rather than the length of time you have owned them.

The average pair of mountain biking shoes will last you around 4 years or about 5,000 miles of use. These are just averages. There are a lot of factors that can play a significant role in how long your mountain bike shoes last. Some of these factors include:

  • Your riding style.
  • How frequently you use them
  • The conditions that you use them in
  • How much do you walk in them?
  • How you treat them when you take them off

So, when trying to determine how long your shoes will last, it is important that you ask yourself the questions in that list and that should give you a better idea of how long they will last.

Final Thoughts

Well, that is pretty much it. I think it is safe to say that mountain bike shoes are worth it. If you are just starting out and you don’t want to break the bank or you have already spent a lot of money on a mountain then don’t rush into anything. Take your time and get a good pair of mountain biking shoes when you can!

Stuck on which mountain bike to buy? Find out the differences between Hardtail vs Full Suspension and work out which is best for you!

Hi, I'm Harry, the owner of this site! A 30-something MAMIL - a middle-aged man in lycra. An avid cyclist who is looking to maintain a baseline level of fitness to be able to enjoy the great outdoors on weekend rides with his mates!

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