How to Compare Mountain Biking Shoes

How to Compare Mountain Biking Shoes
Shopping for mountain biking shoes can be a confusing endeavor. There are many different kinds of shoes with many varying purposes. From the svelte racing shoe to the burly downhill shoe, there are as many kinds of mountain biking shoes as there are kinds of mountain biking, and then some. To find the right shoe for you, make sure that it fits your riding style as well as your budget.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
When you're comparing mountain bike shoes, make sure that the shoes that you're looking at fit your riding style. If you're a downhill or free-ride mountain biker, choose a chunkier downhill shoe over a slimmer, more lightweight racing shoe. Downhill and free-ride shoes feature either a clipless sole or a sticky rubber sole to maintain traction on wider pedal platforms.

Fiveten's Karver shoe ($115 as of 2009) is a good example of a free-ride shoe that provides both protection and traction.
Step 2
If you're planning on racing your bike uphill as well as downhill, you're probably going to want a more hardcore mountain biking shoe. Racing cleats are usually lightweight with a slimmer profile, pricier materials, and a stiff sole to minimize the shoe's weight and maximize the amount of power generated with each pedal stroke.

Shimano's SH-M230C shoe ($225 as of 2009) is a good option for racers.
Step 3
Compare prices, and find a shoe that's in your price range. Figure out what you can afford to pay, and then shop around for a shoe that will suit your mountain biking needs.
Step 4
Check out sites like, and, and look for a shoe that's within your budget. There are usually deals to be found online, so keep an eye out for models from the previous year or clearance sections on dealer's websites.

Article Written By Billy Brown

Billy Brown is an outdoor sports writer living in Northern California. An avid rock climber and trail runner, he's been writing about outdoor activities, fitness and gear since 2005. He regularly contributes to "The Record Searchlight,", and, as well as other print and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Simpson University and is a NASM-certified personal trainer.

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