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The 5 Best Flat Pedal Mountain Bike Shoes of 2020

Folks who prefer to ride flat pedals with sticky-soled bike shoes have long bemoaned the lack of options. For years they’ve been limited to repurposed skate shoes and ill-conceived, clunky boots. Luckily, bike shoe brands have responded to riders’ demand for high-performance flat pedal mtb shoes, with all the features that clipless riders get.

However, as the range of flat pedal shoe options has grown, it’s become more challenging to figure out what models make the most sense for you personally. We’ve ridden in the whole range of modern flat pedal shoes, and a few models have really stood out as superior in terms of grip, durability, and overall performance. So we’ve highlighted those shoes here, with breakdowns of their particular strengths and weaknesses, as well as comparisons, and handy data tables to help make you choose the best flat pedal mountain bike shoes.


Five Ten Freerider

Best flat pedal mountain bike shoes of 2020
 
 

The Five Ten Freerider is the original flat pedal mtb shoe. While other brands were still trying to figure out what a flat pedal shoe should even look like, Five Ten had perfected the formula with the Freerider. Now, the original Freerider has gotten subtle updates, and still ranks among the best flat pedal bike shoes. The key to all Five Ten shoes is their rubber soles. The Freerider’s Stealth rubber is the grippiest we’ve ever used - there’s a reason that it’s the standard that other shoes are judged by.

These aren’t the stiffest shoes on this list, so they’re easy to walk in, and they have a comfortable wider fit. The biggest downside to the Freerider is that they don’t have any weatherproofing features or materials, so they wet out easily, and stay wet. So if you ride in the rain often, you may want to consider a different option. Five Ten also options women’s versions of the Freerider with different colors and a tweaked fit. Five Ten bike shoes tend to run quite large, so consider sizing down a full size.

SoleWaterproofing Original Price
Stealth S1™ RubberNone$100

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Giro Riddance - Women's

Best flat pedal mountain bike shoes of 2020
 

Giro has one of the most extensive and well thought out lines of bike clothing and accessories around, and the Riddance is no exception. The Riddance is designed for female riders who are looking for a versatile women’s flat pedal bike shoe that won’t break the bank.

While the Riddance doesn’t have quite the traction of Five Tens, it’s close enough for most riders, and has a slightly narrower fit, shock-absorbing midsole, and stiff sole for great protection and power transfer. It also features a lace keeper to help avoid laces tangled in vegetation or your drivetrain. If you ride a little bit of everything and need a shoe that can keep up, try the Riddance. This shoe also comes in a men's version, and a mid-height version as well. 

SoleWaterproofing Original Price
Vibram Megragrip ISR RubberWater-resistant$120

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Shimano GR5

Best flat pedal mountain bike shoes of 2020
 
 

Shimano might be better known for their drivetrains and brakes than their bike shoes, but their GR5’s are right up there as some of our favorite flat pedal shoes. The GR5 is Shimano’s entry-level flat shoe, it’s affordable, but still has the necessary features to win over diehard riders, like a grippy rubber sole and two-year warranty.

While the GR5 is not as grippy as the Five Ten Freerider, it’s close enough for many riders, and features a slightly stiffer sole and narrower fit. So if you’re ready to trade just a little traction for more performance under power, the GR5 is a great option.

SoleWaterproofing Original Price
Gravity Specific RubberNone$100

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Ride Concepts Powerline

Best flat pedal mountain bike shoes of 2020
 
 

Ride Concepts might be the new kids on the block, but they’re completely dedicated to making flat pedal shoes that stand out. Their rubber is close to as sticky as Five Ten’s, their fit is tailored for comfort and good heel hold, and most importantly, they’re focused on impact protection.

Gravity riders sending big jumps and drops put a lot of force on their feet. Ride Concepts uses D30 foam to absorb those impacts, without affecting how precise the shoes feel on the pedals. The foam stays soft and pliable under normal use, but hardens under impact to protect your feet. If you’ve been experiencing foot pain after long descents, or are just looking for the ultimate in comfort and foot protection, the Powerline is your ticket.

SoleWaterproofing Original Price
DST 4.0 MAX GRIP RubberNone$150

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Five Ten Freerider Pro

Best flat pedal mountain bike shoes of 2020
 

Five Ten wasn’t content to rest on its laurels with the Freerider though, so they created the Freerider Pro for riders looking for a slightly higher performance shoe. The Freerider Pro has the same Stealth rubber outsole as the original Freerider for incredible traction, and also features a comfortable wider fit, but the rest of its construction is drastically different.

The Freerider Pro uses a stiffer sole, for more efficient power transfer to the pedal, and a completely different upper construction that ditches the Freerider’s leather panels for lighter, more waterproof, and more breathable materials. That means that the Freerider Pro does a better job of keeping water out, and when they do get wet, from sweat, or rain, they dry much faster. If you love Five Ten’s fit and grip, but want a slightly higher-performance shoe, the Freerider Pro is perfect. Like the Freerider, Five Ten also offers a female-specific version of the Freerider Pro.

SoleWaterproofing Original Price
Stealth S1™ RubberWater-Resistant$150

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