Whether in alpine regions, the Cross-country race, at stunts or racy downhills in the bike park: Mountainbike shoes must fulfill various requirements. For this reason, special types of bike shoes have emerged, which can roughly be differentiated between click-pedal shoes and pedal platform shoes. Shimano acts as provider of pedal systems and matching shoes. Other manufacturers are Giro, Pearl Izumi, Sidi, Scott or FiveTen.
Strapped in tight or do you prefer a more loose fit?
Many athletes competing in the Cross-country, Enduro and Downhill MTB competitions nowadays use clip-in systems. Cross-country riders take great value in a direct and smooth power transfer without loss, Downhill riders on the other hand want a good standing position, a secure connection to the bike and possibly a good suspension damping. In the Enduro sport both is of equal importance. Those amateur athletes that are Downhill oriented discipline riders, tend to choose mountainbike shoes for flat pedals. The advantage of these shoes is a good grip on the pedal and the possibility to dismount the bike at any time without catching on the pedal. Thus however comes the disadvantage that the rider cannot pull on the pedal whilst pedaling.
Function and style
Bike shoes for competitions are just like road race shoes designed very stiff and light and have good traction. For tours, the shoes comfort moves into the foreground both when riding and when walking. Special shoes for the classic All-mountain disciplines are equipped with powerful soles, which must cope with pushing and carrying the bike. Many MTB shoes are designed for mud, wet and rough terrain and are water resistant and highly breathable. Fashionable representatives are the flat shoes from the Gravity bikers: Dirt riders, Slopestylers or Downhill riders also wear their bike shoes in everyday life as a fashion statement, as such their design is more casual.
Click-in systems and rubber compound
Widely used amongst mountain bikers are Shimano SPD systems and the Eggbeater pedals from Crankbrothers. Usually all shoes systems with cleats are compatible with both systems. These are reliable and easy to operate even in dirt and wet conditions.
When in a step-in pedal, a click mechanism ensures the perfect connection between rider and bike, the platform pedal gives the perfect combination of sole and pedal. Special rubber compounds and tread outsole such as those of manufacturer FiveTen, provide massive grip which lets the shoes suck firmly to the pins of the pedals.
Different shoe models exist for different terrains. For example lined winter boots exist for extremely cold temperatures, overshoes for driving in the rain and high closing shoes with a good grip for alpine pursuits. The shoes should be chosen with a good idea in mind for what they will be used. Whilst a road race rider values a stiff carbon sole, a bike mountaineer treasures reliable studs and a good lateral support. Since women and men feet differ in shape, all manufacturers offer various models specifically for both sexes.