Whether you ride flat pedals or clipless, you need a good shoe to deliver power through the pedals. Here’s our pick of the best mountain bike shoes for sale today.

You use your feet far more than you realise when riding on your bike. Whether it’s putting down the power, carving up the turns or pushing your bike up to the top, your feet will always be engaged in some way.

>>> The best mountain bike winter boots

A shoe that isn’t fit for purpose could leave you miserable on a ride, we think it’s far better to get a mountain bike specific shoe that you know will work. They’re durable and practical so the investment will pay off in the long run.

What to look for

To get a pair of good-looking trail shoes that offer the right blend of comfort and efficiency for general off-road use, you’ll need to spend around £100.

If you’re looking for a clipless shoe, (where you clip into the pedal via a cleat and ratchet system) you won’t get a carbon sole very cheaply but it’s pretty tough to notice the difference between the shoes tested here and ones that cost twice as much.

In fact, we’ve found nylon-soled shoes are more versatile for regular trail riding, as they offer a bit more give, and they’re more comfortable when you’re off the bike.

If you’re looking for a flat pedal shoe you can also expect to pay around £80. For this you get a tacky sole and a well-built shoe with some decent toe and heel protection. FiveTen has long produced the best sole on the market, but there are some new players producing great shoes than could shake things up.

>>> Click here to find the best flat pedals

How to pick

Choosing clipless spd-style shoes or flat-pedal, there are some important ‘must-haves’. A decent amount of stiffness to make sure your energy goes into the shoe and the trail is key. You should also look for heel and toe protection to defend your feet from rocks and crashes.

Then there’s the retention system, how the shoe is fastened to your foot: it should be reliable and easy to use and crucially, not deliver any painful pressure points to your foot.

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Five Ten Impact VXi

Price: £114.99

Score: 9/10

The Impact VXi is more durable than any other flat shoes. Once fully bedded in, the grip levels, protection and all-day comfort are fantastic. It’s clearly one of the best gravity shoes to date.

Read the full review of the Five Ten Impact VXi shoes

Buy Now: Five Ten Impact VXi shoes at Bike Tart from £98.95

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O’Neal Trigger II

Price: £92.99

Score: 8/10

O’Neal’s Trigger flat pedal shoe has been given a revamp. The half-cab cut with extra ankle protection and Vans-style’ waffle sole tread pattern are the same but overall weight is reduced and the shoe profile is slimmer and more refined.

Read the full review of the O’Neal Trigger II flat pedals shoes

Buy Now: O’Neal Trigger II shoes at Wheelies from £84.99

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Five Ten Freerider Contact shoes

Price: £125.00

Score: 10/10

Grip is everything with flat pedal shoes and, while the Freerider Contact is the best on the market at the moment, it’s also 25 per cent more expensive than most flat shoes. If you want the best, it turns out you will have to pay a bit more for it.

Read the full review of the Five Ten Freerider Contact shoes

Buy Now: Five Ten Freerider Contact shoes at Chain Reaction Cycles from £109.99

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O’Neal Stinger II shoes

Price: £84.99

Score: 7/10

Comfortable, hardwearing and good  value, and if you don’t like the locked-in feel of Five Ten, the O’Neal Stinger II is the one to go for.

Read the full review of the O’Neal Stinger II shoes

Buy Now: O’Neal Stinger II shoes at Merlin Cycles from £76.50

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DZR Sense Black LTD shoes

Price: £99.00

Score: 6/10

At 50A durometer, the DZR SAP rubber sole is surprisingly soft and offered a good balance between grip and foot position adjustability. There’s plenty of traction and the chain-link patterned sole has just the right amount of flex, so you can feel the pedal, but not so much that it causes any discomfort.

Read the full review of the DZR Sense Black LTD shoes

Buy Now: DZR Sense Black LTD shoes at DZR Shoes from $89.00

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Shimano AM41 shoes

Price: £89.99

Score: 6/10

The Vibram sole is one of the hardest here, so it skates around on the pedal, and there’s very little traction when walking. It’s also not particularly durable, and after only half a dozen rides, the sole started to cut up where the pins contacted.

Read the full review of the Shimano AM41 shoes

Buy Now: Shimano AM41 shoes at Wheelies from £62.99

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Specialized 2FO Flat shoes

Price: £90.00

Score: 6/10

The Specialized 2FO Flat is much thicker and stiffer than any other shoe on test, which is good for efficient pedalling, but does reduce sensitivity. It might not be what Specialized intended, but the 2FO Flat really feels like an SPD shoe with a flat sole instead of a cleat on the bottom.

Read the full review of the Specialized 2FO Flat shoes

Buy Now: Specialized 2FO Flat shoes at Cycle Store from £89.99

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Five Ten Sam Hill Impact 3

Price: £110.00

Score: 9/10

Lighter shoes are more suitable for the mellower side of trail riding, since you’ll get a better feel off the bike, and sit lower onto the pedal for more precise control, but if you’re regularly smashing through rocks or braking bumps on an Alpine holiday (or ride DH) the extra cushioning and support of the thick sole is superb.As long as pedalling isn’t your top priority, this Sam Hill Impact 3 is pretty much all you could ask for from a gravity-focused flat pedal shoe.

Read the full review of the Five Ten Sam Hill Impact 3 shoes

Buy Now: Five Ten Sam Hill Impact 3 shoes at Evans Cycles from £99.00

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Shimano AM5 shoes

Price: £69.99

Score: 9/10

Shimano’s AM5 trail shoe shares it’s DNA with the top-end AM9, but instead of a big flap, it uses a single strap to secure the laces and provide stability when pulling hard on the pedals. With just a couple of perforations around the toe, the AM5 still has good water resistance, and with its chunky sole and bumpers on the toe and heel, it’s protective and easily shrugs off minor rock strikes.

Read the full review of the Shimano AM5 shoes

Buy Now: Shimano AM5 shoes at Chain Reaction Cycles from £53.49

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Scott Shr-alp RS shoes

Price: £154.99

Score: 8/10

We like the high inside cuff, which prevented knocks to the anklebone when things got rough, and the tough heel cup and toe protection reinforced the Shr-alp’s mountain credentials. While the tread isn’t very deep, or aggressive, the compound is pretty sticky, and it’s combined with a mid-stiffness sole offering just enough flex to tackle rocky hikes without too many slips and curses. The Scott Shr-alp RS is pretty expensive, but it’s lightweight, tough and a really capable shoe for long days on the hills.

Read the full review of the Scott Shr-alp RS shoes

Buy Now: Scott Shr-alp RS shoes at Tredz from £154.99

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Shimano XC50 shoes

Price: £109.99

Score: 9/10

The dual-position ratcheted buckle and two offset Velcro straps provide a foot-hugging fit with no obvious pressure points. Combined with the minimal weight and impressive sole stiffness, this makes them feel instantly at home in speed-focused scenarios and also suitable for moonlighting on a road bike.

Read the full review of the Shimano XC50 shoes

Buy Now: Shimano XC50 shoes at Tredz from £54.99

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Mavic Alpine XL shoes

Price: £110.00

Score: 9/10

These shoes have weathered the abuse well and continue to be the pair to reach for in everyday riding. Only sub-zero temperatures have defeated them so far.

Read the full review of the Mavic Alpine XL shoes

Buy Now: Mavic Alpine XL shoes at Chain Reaction Cycles from £89.99

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Scott MTB Elite Boa shoes

Price: £99.99

Score: 9/10

Scott is on the verge of making a great shoe with the new Elite BOA: comfortable, lightweight and protective. It just needs to sort that tongue.

Read the full review of the Scott MTB Elite Boa shoes

Buy Now: Scott MTB Elite Boa shoes at Westbrook Cycles from £89.99

Giro-Chamber

Giro Chamber Mid shoes

Price: £124.99

Score: 9/10

Although it commands a fairly hefty premium, the slimmer, lighter, grippier and more comfortable Chamber Mid has usurped Shimano’s similar AM45 to become my favourite shoe for use with DH-style SPDs.

Read the full review of Giro Chamber Mid shoes

Buy Now: Giro Chamber Mid shoes at Freestyle Extreme from £101.99

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Pearl Izumi X-Project 3.0 shoes

Price: £129.99

Score: 9/10

If you’re after a stiff and lightweight clipless shoe that still has a little bit of trail style and is as good off the bike as on, then these come highly recommended.

Read the full review of Pearl Izumi X-Project 3.0 shoes

Buy Now: Pearl Izumi X-Project 3.0 shoes at Cycle Store from £97.49

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Mavic Rush shoes

Price: £99.99

Score: 8/10

Marketed as a “cross country race ready shoe”, the Rushes are effectively a more affordable version of the £240 Furys. We’ve tested the Furys and we’d describe the Rushes, in comparison, as slightly more comfortable for regular riding, but without the same sort of support when rides are longer or more intense.

Read the full review of the Mavic Rush shoes

Buy Now: Mavic Rush shoes at Chain Reaction Cycles from £89.99

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Shimano AM45 shoes

Price: £74.99

Score: 8/10

Living in the UK it’s hard not to love the DXs for their ability to withstand mud and gloop: the top strap/cover that encloses the laces is invaluable. They’re comfy too. The package is marred slightly by the weight though, and a sole that lacks traction.

Read the full review of Shimano AM45 shoes

Buy Now: Shimano AM45 shoes at Cycle Surgery from £59.99

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Shimano ME7 SPD shoes

Price: £159.99

Rating: 10/10

Read the full review of the Shimano ME7 SPD shoes

Buy Now: Shimano ME7 SPD shoes at Leisure Lakes from £127.99

Bontrager Cambion shoes

Price: £209.99

Rating: 8/10

Sharing features with the range topping XXX shoe, the Bontrager Cambion has an incredibly stiff sole for maximum power transfer. This stiffness is fortunately not at the expense of comfort.

Read the full review of the Bontrager Cambion shoes

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Shimano XC7 SPD Shoes

Price: £169.99

Rating: 9/10

The Shimano XC7 manages to balance cross country stiffness with all-day comfort. The styling might be a little racy for some but there’s no denying it is a great looker with its glossy finish.

Read the full review of the Shimano XC7 SPD shoes

Find the shoe for you

So there you have it. Tested and reviewed by mbr’s team of expert testers we’ve recommended the best shoes for your riding style: XC shoes, grippy downhill flats or something in between, hopefully there’s a shoe for you.