While most mountain bike enthusiasts pay close attention to their arms and body as they race down a trail, the feet are doing most of the work. They’re are used continuously throughout a ride, regardless of how challenging the trail.
Your feet help to build up power and speed, carve through tight turns, and give you control of the ride. With all that responsibility, riders should treat their feet to a high-quality pair of shoes.
The right pair of shoes can make or break a ride. Manufacturers carefully design mountain biking shoes to fit the particular needs of the rider. Essentially, shoes are built to make every stroke of the pedals an effective one while remaining comfortable and pleasant to wear.
Flat or Clipless?
There are two basic types of shoes for mountain biking. One is designed for flat pedals while the other is for clipless models. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
The market is filled with options for both. Regardless of preference, it’s always a good idea to have a dedicated pair of shoes for riding. The perfect shoes will improve performance while keeping you safe and comfortable no matter where you ride.
Flat Pedal Shoes
Flat pedal shoes are the most basic options available. If you’re just starting out in the sport, you’ll more than likely use these. Flat pedals are made out of a tough metal and are large enough to accommodate your foot.
Some models feature a support strap or cage to keep the foot in position, however, this is typically seen on older models rather than newer bikes.
Shoes made for flat pedals are hard to distinguish from standard shoes. However, they do contain a tough and rigid sole. This helps to keep the foot steady and in prime position for the best transfer of energy. Grippy outsoles are a common feature that will help you keep hold of the pedals as you fly down a trail.
The biggest advantage of flat pedal shoes is that they are very versatile. They can be worn virtually anywhere because they don’t feature any extreme components. Many riders prefer these to clipless shoes because they are easier to control. If you need to bail, it’s only a matter or removing your feet from the pedals.
Unfortunately, these aren’t the best shoes if you partake in downhill riding. While they do have grippy soles, there’s nothing keeping you attached. They don’t provide the best control of the bike when you need it most. Because of this, flat pedal shoes are often regarded as the best choice for casual or cross country riding.