Indoor cycling shoes are heavier and more rigid than their outdoor or road cycling companions. Since most non-professional mountain bike riders head outdoors to enjoy their hobby, it’s only sensible to upgrade your shoes. What are the best mountain biking shoes for road cycling?
The best mountain bike shoe for road cycling is firm, cleat compatible, with a rugged, durable outsole that can handle any road conditions, and comes from a trusted brand. Reliability and comfort are vital in a road cycling shoe, especially when riding up and down mountains. Plus, a great fit can help keep you on the road and riding longer.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
Table of Contents
Top 3 Best Mountain Bike Shoes For Road Cycling
Whatever your style, you deserve comfortable, high-quality mountain bike shoes for road cycling.
Unfortunately, finding the right pair in a sea of options can be a little bit difficult. That’s why I checked out hundreds of different pairs of MTB shoes to bring you the best around.
The shoes on this list come from well-known companies, and all of them are highly rated and often reviewed by people just like you who use them in real-world situations every day.
Here are the top three best mountain bike shoes for road cycling.
1 – Tommaso Vertice Men’s 100, 200, All-Mountain Mountain Bike Shoes
Number one with a bullet is easily Tommaso Vertice Men’s 100, 200, All-Mountain Mountain Bike Shoes from Amazon.
Not only are these outstanding shoes durable and rugged, but they have excellent traction. Moreover, Tommaso Vertice’s are cost-effective, and the velcro and ratchet closures offer a superb fit right out of the box.
You can fit two-hole cleats on this shoe, and it comes with a reinforced toe box.
Better still, these shoes have outstanding breathable mesh, and the hidden inner shank plate offers optimum power transfer without sacrificing comfort to get it.
Get these exceptional shoes by clicking right here.
- QUALITY CYCLING PRODUCTS SINCE 1985: Our Italian designed cycling shoes, bicycle, and cycling products have made riders look like pros since '85. But we're more than just fancy gear, we're a community. Our cycling-crazed customer service team in Denver can help with any questions or concerns. Plus, our Lifetime Warranty Replacement Promise means you can put our gear to the test with unrelenting confidence. We hope that you will Join The Ride, for fun, fitness, and community.
- DESIGNED FOR OUTDOOR & INDOOR CYCLING: Whether you ride mountain, gravel, commute, or go to a spin studio, these shoes area perfect for your style of riding. Enjoy the performance benefits, like increased stability, improved power transfer, and enhanced comfort wherever you ride. Thanks to a recessed 2-bolt cleat area, you can walk with ease. Plus, you'll be able to transfer power from your legs to the pedals more efficiently, so you can ride harder, faster, and longer, wherever you ride.
- BUILT TO LAST: Looking for mtb shoes that can handle any challenge you throw their way? Then our tough and ultra-durable Vertice cycling shoes are for you. These shoes are built tough, with reinforced soles, shoe armor, and sturdy construction that provide maximum support, stability, and power transfer. Moisture-wicking materials ensure that your feet stay cool and dry during even the most intense rides. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, the shoes can step your game up.
- STAY DRY & COMFORTABLE: We can all agree mtb shoes need to be comfortable and breathable. The challenge is providing both, while also maximizing performance. This intersection is where our mtb shoes excel, offering insane breathability, great padding, and a super stiff carbon fiber infused cleat shank. Perfect for casual rider and mountain junkies alike, because we believe everyone every man deserves high performance cycling shoes that will last a lifetime at a fair price.
- PERFORMANCE MATTERS: Every part of the Vertice 200 Vibram sole was designed with you in mind. The quick and easy 2-strap & buckle design has you secure and comfortable in no time, while locking your heel in and avoiding hotspots and pressure points.Stiff carbon fiber infused sole will protect your feet, while give you better performance, so you can sweat out the troubles of the day, while maximizing engagement of your leg muscles. So trust Tommaso and let us help you crush your cycling goals!
2 – Five Ten Freerider Mountain Bike Shoe
Five Ten is a very well-known MTB shoe company. Their styles are so popular and well-loved that I’ve included two of them on this top-three list.
First is the Five Ten Freerider Mountain Bike Shoe from Amazon.
Freeriders offer a ton of colorways so that you can match any aesthetic. Plus, they use Stealth S1 rubber soles for flexibility and excellent high-friction grip.
Best of all, “This product is made with recycled content as part of our ambition to end plastic waste.” You can score these superb shoes when you click here.
- FREERIDER-BLACK GREY FIVE RED-10
- FREERIDER-BLACK GREY FIVE RED-10
- Adidas Outdoor
- Mens Freerider Mountain Bike Shoe
3 – Five Ten Sleuth Mountain Bike Shoes
My second favorite Five Ten MTB shoes are the Five Ten Sleuth. While most MTB road shoes are strictly imported, these are also made in the USA.
Stealth rubber soles and a unique grip pattern on the soles help these flat pedal shoes hold on even when the terrain is rough.
You will appreciate the durable and flexible Sleuths for their long-lasting wear. Additionally, an EVA midsole offers added comfort for your whole foot.
For those who didn’t know already, Five Ten is a brand under Adidas, so it’s no surprise these are top-quality shoes. Have a pair delivered to your door by clicking here.
- EVA midsole
- Regular fit
- Lace closure
- Leather and canvas upper
Complete Buyers Guide For The Best Mountain Bike Shoes For Road Cycling
Anyone can grab their sneakers and hop on a mountain bike for a ride. Cycling is inclusive like that.
However, upgrading is a natural and sensible step as you get better and more serious about your cycling hobby.
Getting the best mountain bike shoes for road cycling can make a significant difference in how your feet feel, not to mention how well you connect to your pedals.
Below is a complete buyer’s guide to choosing the ideal MTB shoes.
1 – Pedal Connection & Traction
A good mountain bike shoe fits your pedals as well as your feet. Some shoe styles have texture and cutouts in the area where you need substance to connect with a pedal, which is why you shouldn’t grab any old pair of sports shoes for riding.
Once you have a good connection, you only need traction. Most MTB shoes are made with an appropriately textured sole, but you may want to try several options before picking the one you prefer.
2 – Flexibility vs Stiff Sole
How you travel matters. Mountain bike shoes are for riding, but are you going to walk in them too?
Not all bike shoes are suitable for walking, so it’s important to consider the trails or roads you ride.
Are there stretches where you walk your bike due to road conditions or long steep hills, or will you stay on the bike most of the time?
On MTB shoes, you will either have the more rigid plastic or carbon fiber type sole that is durable but not great for walking, or a rubbery sole.
Rubber soles are softer and have a much better grip, especially when you’re going to do a lot of walking around, but they wear out faster.
Choose the style that fits how you ride. In fact, it’s a good idea to have both stiff and softer soled MTB shoes.
3 – Breathability
Your feet are going to sweat. Unless you have a rare genetic mutation that prevents you from perspiring then you are going to need breathable clothing, and that includes your footwear. A shoe that holds everything in and makes you ride in damp socks is not an excellent shoe for mountain biking.
4 – Dry Time
Doubtless, if you ride often, you will eventually pedal in the rain, on wet streets, or somewhere you encounter water.
Having damp feet feels gross. More importantly, it can harm your feet and wreck your shoes, so it is crucial to choose a pair with a quick-drying time.
5 – Durability
When it comes to durability there are several parts of a shoe that can have trouble. First, take a look at the soles.
These tend to bend in the center, and below the ball of the foot so that’s where they’re most likely to fail.
Other spots of interest are the closures and around the top. Reading the reviews will typically tell you if these common failure points are a significant concern.
6 – Toe Box Space & Heel Padding
You do not want your feet slipping around inside your shoes. Blisters are bad enough when you don’t get them halfway up a mountain.
To avoid this, you need a good, firm fit and heel padding. However, you want a little space in the toe box so you can still wiggle your toes because as the day wears on, your feet will expand slightly from the pressure on them.
This is normal and happens to everyone, but you need shoes to accommodate it even more when pedaling up and down mountains.
7 – Arch Support
Regardless of how high your arches are, you will need proper support. After all, no one wants to be in pain.
Sometimes you can find a shoe brand that is your perfect match, and when you do, I recommend getting multiple pairs of that type.
However, you can also adjust the arch support by adding shoe inserts since feet are more individual than companies can reasonably accommodate.
8- What’s Your Pedal Style (Clippies vs Flat Pedal)
If your pedals have clips then you need clippies. Shoes with integrated clips attach to the pedals preventing slippage and keeping your foot in the ideal pedaling position.
However, flat pedal bikes have no clip function and there’s no reason to wear clippies with them. Instead, opt for a clip-free shoe.
9 – Weather Appropriate
Breathability is great, but sometimes you will need a less ventilated style. Fall and springtime rides are often best served by choosing a waterproof shoe for the rain.
These are usually taller shoes like a high-top or boot. Keeping your feet from getting soaked in the rain will help you stay comfortable as you ride.
In summer you need shoes with more air holes. Heat is going to cause sweat, and an oxygen exchange will keep your feet cooler and less sweaty.
Moreover, sweat feeds bacteria which leads to stinky shoes. Having a couple of pairs to rotate between if you ride regularly can help you air out your shoes allowing bacteria to die off and reducing any issues with stinky feet and nasty shoes.
10 – Closure Style
The closure style on your shoes is often related to the soles. Ratchet style closures tend to come with a firmer sole and it is typical for clippies.
The advantage of this closure is that it’s quick and easy to adjust on the fly, but it is also slightly less common, and you may not find it on your favorite non-clip styles.
There are velcro-only (no ratchet) cycling shoes which are great for quick opening and closing.
Moreover, velcro shoes help increase accessibility to the sport for those who cannot handle laces or ratchets easily but can still ride. There are also velcro and ratchet shoes and full ratchet options.
Meanwhile, laced shoes are still prevalent in non-clippie cycling shoes. You can even find laces on clippies as well if you prefer them. It will just take a little more searching.
11 – Top Height & Ankle Support
Waterproof mountain bike shoes aren’t the only ones with a higher ankle option. Depending on your personal preferences and needs, you can get high and low-top shoes.
If you want extra support around your ankle, then you’ll be happy to learn that it’s easy to find in MTB road cycling shoes.
12 – Quick Double-Check
Mountain bike shoes come in the road and indoor styles.
As Girl Bike Love explains, “…indoor cycling shoes are equipped with a hard, smooth bottom. The firmness of the indoor cycling shoe’s sole provides increased comfort compared to shoes that do not include a stiff sole. Outdoor cycling shoes usually have a semi-flexible sole that can make the flat pedal of an indoor cycling bike less comfortable as the pedal base will be felt across the arch of a softer soled shoe.”
There are other differences as well, but firmness is one of the most instantly noticeable concerns.
The point is that you should always double-check the description and ensure that you are getting road cycling shoes. Otherwise, you will be uncomfortable, and you might ruin your shoes.