Mountain bike cycling shoes feature design innovations that make them advantageous to wear during trail riding. Just as with specialty road bike shoes, mountain bike shoes are designed to help your feet stay in contact with the pedals and provide the support needed to turn out miles of cranking over various terrain. There are many different manufacturers of mountain biking shoes, including Pearl Izumi, Five Ten, Shimano and others. However, most all shoes have some similarities in common that should be looked for and considered when selecting a shoe for mountain biking.
The sole of a good mountain biking shoe should be as well suited to riding as walking. This is due in part to the need for dismounting the bike periodically and carrying the bike to portage it over and around obstacles. Soles should be of a tacky rubber nature to help grip the pedal--especially flat pedals, provide shock absorption and also provide good gripping ability when walking on a variety of trail types.
Mountain biking shoes typically feature an arch support system as well as a heel support working in combination. This support system is highly desirable as, over a long period of riding, it will actually aid in the process of pedaling a bike. Shoes are also available in low and mid heights. This is a personal preference based on your wants and needs. Mountain bike shoes are typically secured by laces that may work in combination with a speed lace system for added security and ease of adjustment.
Materials in mountain bike shoes are usually nylon, which aids greatly in airflow and breathability. In the event a waterproof shoe is required, materials such as Gore Tex offer light weight, good air flow and are completely waterproof up to the top of the shoes. For long rides, durability and easy cleanup, nylon and other man-made fabrics should be considered.