Are Mountain Bike Shoes Worth It?

When you look at what mountain bikers wear, you'll notice that many wear mountain bike shoes. You'll also see that their shoes are from a handful of brands, so you may wonder if mountain bike shoes are just a fashion statement or necessary.

Of course, you can ride a mountain bike with any shoes, but your performance and experience will be limited. So, to really make the most of your time on the bike, a pair of mountain bike shoes are necessary for many reasons. In this article, we'll cover why wearing mountain bike shoes is worth it.

Once you've learned about all the benefits, check out JensonUSA's vast offering of mountain bike shoes.

In this article, we'll teach you about:

Do Mountain Bike Shoes Make a Difference?

Wearing a pair of mountain bike shoes provides you with many benefits, making a difference in your riding experience. However, there are many types of shoes to suit the various cycling disciplines. Here's a rundown of the types of cycling shoes available:

  • Road Bike Shoes - Road bike shoes offer excellent power transfer to your pedals. They use a 3-bolt cleat system to attach to the pedals, allowing for efficient pedaling.
  • Clipless Mountain Bike Shoes - These cycling shoes also clip to the pedals, but they use a 2-bolt system. Clipping into mountain bike pedals can be intimidating but offers several benefits.
  • Flat Pedal Mountain Bike Shoes - These mountain bike shoes are designed for traditional-style platform pedals. This means that you don't clip to the pedals, but you get lots of grip, thanks to the special soles.
  • Cyclocross Shoes - Cyclocross shoes are made for a specific type of racing. Riders have to negotiate tricky courses that require them to climb over obstacles and run. Therefore, cyclocross shoes have spikes that dig into the dirt for traction.
  • Indoor Cycling Shoes - These shoes are designed for spin bikes. This means they have lots of ventilation to keep you cool but are not suitable for outdoor riding, as they have no weatherproofing or protection.

For more information on all the different types of cycling shoes, check out our blog article on How to Buy Cycling Shoes.

How Do Mountain Bike Shoes Work?

Clipless mountain bike shoes have their cleats recessed into their soles. This means that they don't protrude like the 3-bolt systems of road bike shoes, which makes walking tricky. The cleats clip onto the pedals, and you kick your heel outwards to unclip. Clipping to your mountain bike pedals means you have lots of stability, and your feet don't slip off. Also, your pedal stroke is more efficient and you can pull up with one foot while pushing down with the other to get more power to the pedals.

Flat pedal shoes closely resemble tennis shoes or skate shoes but there are some important differences. These shoes are designed for platform pedals and have a grippy and durable rubber outsole which allows the pedal pins on platform pedals to press into the bottom of the shoe without damaging or shredding the rubber.

What are the Benefits of MTB Shoes?

Once a mountain biker has ridden with mountain bike shoes, they never want to wear anything else on the bike. These shoes are specifically designed for the sport, so your performance and experience are enhanced more than you could imagine.

You Have Lots Of Security On The Pedals

Of course, when your feet are clipped in, they cannot slip off the pedals at inopportune moments. But you also get lots of security from flat pedal shoes, thanks to their super sticky soles. The material on the soles, combined with the tread pattern keys into the pins on your pedals. This gives you an almost clipped-in feel, but you can put a foot down or jump off quickly if needed.

Mountain Bike Shoes Give You Better Power Transfer

Mountain bike shoes have stiffer soles than regular shoes, which help you to transfer power to the pedals. Clipless mountain bike shoes are generally stiffer, but flat pedal shoes make a big difference too.

They Are Comfortable

As mountain bike shoes are made for the job, they give you extreme comfort, as long as you get the right size and fit. You can find examples made from quick-drying, breathable, and waterproof materials. They're also well-padded and offer support, which is welcome when the terrain gets rough.

Mountain Bike Shoes Offer Protection

Mountain bike shoes are pretty robust and provide protection where you need it. For example, they often have extra protection around the toes and sides to save you from rock strikes.

They Absorb Shock

The nature of mountain biking means you often jump, drop, and ride uneven trails. All this takes its toll on your feet, making them tired. So mountain bike shoe manufacturers use shock-absorbing materials to lessen the impacts and vibrations, making your ride more pleasant.

Mountain Bike Shoes Are Durable

Due to the punishing nature of mountain biking, manufacturers need to make their shoes durable. If you buy a quality pair of mountain bike shoes, you can be sure they'll last a long time.

How Much Do Mountain Biking Shoes Cost?

Mountain bike shoes vary in cost depending on their features, model, and purpose. For example, you can buy a basic pair of mountain bike shoes for around $60, but you need to be realistic about what you're getting.

At the other end of the scale, you can find examples over $400. However, there are many excellent options, around $100 to $140. Your budget will determine what features you can get, but the fit is more important than anything.

What Kind of Shoes Should You Wear Mountain Biking?

When deciding on the type of mountain bike shoes to buy, it is essential to think about the type of riding you want to do. For example, if you're a cross country rider, clipless mountain bike shoes with stiff soles are a good choice. However, if you prefer trail riding and need to walk around, you'll benefit from flat pedal mountain bike shoes with grippy soles.

You need to think about the conditions you ride in too. If you ride in hot climates, it's best to choose mountain bike shoes made from breathable material with lots of ventilation. On the other hand, if you live in a cold place, you'll be better off with insulated mountain bike shoes with features that seal you from bad weather.

For more information on the makeup, design and benefits of mountain bike shoes and why you should buy them, check out our blog article on How to Choose Mountain Bike Shoes.

Now you have a good picture of how mountain bike shoes make a difference to your riding experience. Why not check out our full selection of mountain bike shoes, so you can take advantage of all these benefits and make your mountain biking even more fun?

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