For years, the market for mountain bike gear was geared towards men. Women who were MTB enthusiasts or professionals were faced with slim pickings when shopping for gear, especially shoes.
They were usually forced to opt for one of the unisex models who were often a bit uncomfortable due to women having narrower and smaller feet than men.
In addition, ladies usually prefer more stylish and lightweight footwear. Fortunately, things have changed lately and now there’s a wide range available, although still nowhere near the assortment offered to men, especially in the high-end category. The explosion of the popularity of mountain biking among women in recent years will certainly drive manufacturers to expand this women’s MTB shoes portfolio even further.
The investment in quality shoes is essential for an enjoyable and comfortable ride. They are even more important for ladies who are into more extreme or professional riding, enabling them to take their driving to the next level. Wearing proper footwear while cycling provides more power to every pedal stroke and makes long riding routes bearable.
All of this makes selecting the suitable MTB shoes one of the most important decisions you’ll make while gearing up for the upcoming season. Of course, the best footwear for one woman is not necessarily best for the other. the built, foot shape and size, preferred riding style, and available budget all play a role in picking the perfect shoe. We’ll take a closer look at, for our money, the best women’s mountain bike shoes available. You’ll hardly go wrong with any of them, and one of these will certainly suit your needs.
The Best Women’s Mountain Bike Shoes:
The Five Ten has been a leader in the flat MTB shoe market for a while. No wonder that the German giants Adidas decided to acquire them 9 years ago. And Freerider is their prize possessions and the most popular shoe. This shoe is characterized by its unmatched versatility. It’s a first and foremost a mountain bike shoe, inspired by the design and simplicity of old BMX footwear, and Freerider is a preferred choice of gravity riders. But, due to its slick and simple design and comfortability, it can be used for a number of other outdoor activities as well as for simply going for a walk. With its low-profile look, you won’t seem out of place if you go for a during at a local pub after a long ride.
Freerider’s stealth rubber sole provides exceptional grip, a key feature for more challenging rides. The leather and textile upper is weather resistant which makes this she season-proof and is very useful when riding a trail with a lot of creek crossings. The cushy interior provides superior comfort, even for those women with wider feet. The Freerider is also very durable, and it may serve moderate riders for several seasons.
- versatile and suitable for multiple purposes
- great for hike-a-bike
- reasonable price
- wether resistant
- satisfyingly stiff for a ride, but also flexible enough for a walk
- only two color combinations available
- limited sizing
Another shoe that provides high efficiency while cycling and superb comfort while walking. Synthetic suede and mesh upper with non-slip laces provide great breathability and perfectly adjustable fit. The upper is water-resistant and together with breathable mesh keeps your feet cool and dry. Outsole made from Vibram rubber will make sure you get solid traction, Rubber sole is also flexible enough, so the shoe can also be used when you’re off the bicycle and for hike-a-bike.
Adjustable upper combined with molded EVA footbed and midsole will make sure that you feel comfortable at all times and provide arch support. Giro provided this shoe in various fits, including women’s performance fit, which is perfect for ladies with narrower forefoot and cup heel. Petr VR comes in numerous color patterns and designed with an eye for modern footwear trends.
- also works well for hiking
- comfortable and great arch support
- 6 color options
- sizing differs from regular shoes, sizes run small
- mesh top makes it unsuitable for colder weather
Designed for high-performance flat pedals Specialized’s 2F0 2.0 shoe provides excellent traction and grip even during the most challenging rides over tough terrains. It’s a redesigned and improved version of 2F0 1.0 and is a bit more expensive, but offers more comfort and cushion for your feet. This is mainly due to the softer and thicker midsole. Extra protection is provided by the foam layer in the upper that goes all the way to the toes.
Although they may appear robust and heavy 2F0 is actually very light and flexible. Hex-shaped lugs at the heel and toes help improve the grip and absorb the shock. The outsole is made of SlipNot 2.0 rubber compound which is developed to give the best possible connection between the shoe and the pedal. Better connection to the pedal is also made possible with dual-density midsole. The shoe features some interesting and practical details, such as pull tabs at the front and the rear which makes for easy putting on and taking off.
- provides fantastic grip
- useful extras
- some women would prefer a slicker design
- a bit more expensive compared to other shoes in the class
This is probably the best shoe Pearl Izumi has developed in its MTB specialized X-Alp series. Elevate is very light at around 350 grams and comfortable, but still more than a match for any rough terrain and bumpy rides. It features the Boa for easy adjusting dial which is uncommonly placed at the top of the foot, but added padding beneath the tongue makes sure that there is no extra pressure.
Breathability and water-resistance provided by 3-Layer Seamless Composite upper make this shoe a perfect selection for any weather or season. It’ rare that the shoe manages to keep the water out while retaining the high level of breathability. Nylon and composite 3/shank, together with EVA midsole and insole excel in absorbing vibrations. The inside of the shoe provides a cushy feel and there is minimal foot movement which leads to better power transfer. Vibram outsole, besides providing a good grip and foot-pedal connection, is excellent on rocky surfaces which makes Elevate a superior hike-a-bike shoe. While the toe area is perfectly protected, sides and upper part of foot lack reinforcements leaving those parts exposed to impact and wear and tear.
- excellent all-weather shoe
- extra padding under the tongue
- good grip
- great power transfer
- extra comfortable
- lack of a side and top protection
- a tad expensive
Although it some at more than a fair price Scott’s women’s version of Elite Boa mountain bike shoe, doesn’t lag in terms of quality behind its more expensive competitors. Boa IP-1 adjustment system, adjustable footbed, and Ergologic insole are usually the features you find on the footwear in a higher price range.
Elite Boa is probably one of the most adjustable shoes you’ll find out there, making a great choice for newbies and first-time buyers still unsure of what shoe is right for them. Besides Boa adjustment, Ergologic insole allows you to customize arch and metatarsal support with the help of small Velcro-inserts. 3D Airmesh weave on the perforated upper is woven tightly enough to provide satisfactory protection from water.
This shoe also provides a great amount of control and stiffness resulting in better power transfer. Nylon and composite sole also adds to this, while also providing much better hiking properties than the shoes with the full-composite sole. Scott’s patented Sticky rubber ensures that you will have a great grip while giving over rocky trails. The forefoot features an extra layer of protection that helps with kicks of rock and debris while riding. Side protection, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired.
- very adjustable
- excellent arch and metatarsal support
- great value for money
- good grip
- comfortable, even on the long rides
- superior power transfer
- tongue sometimes annoyingly slips to the side
- weaker side protection
Even though not perfect for racing professionals, Shimano XC-5 Women’s shoe is an excellent choice for ladies who would rather just enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable ride rather than scale the rough terrain at the breakneck speed. It’ also perfect for touring and backpack riding. It’s another shoe that features a Boa adjusting system that tightens both the upper and the tongue which are constructed from one-piece of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane).
The sole is made of Michelin rubber and has a deep thread and a spikey mount. This provides a great grip and prevents slipping out of the pedal. these reinforcements in no way affect the cushy feeling and comfortability of the shoe. Cup heel is adjusted to women’s needs and is smaller and lower to decrease the pressure on ankles,
Low stacked midsole ensures better power transfer and makes your riding more efficient. The composite of mesh, leather, and synthetic that makes the upper allows your foot to breathe and fit comfortably.
- reinforced spike provides extra protection
- great for longer rides
- great grip
- smaller and lower cup heel designed especially for women
- reasonably priced
- soft and comfortable
- sole could use a bit more stiffness
The only clipless shoe in Ride Concepts’ portfolio, Travers is intended for all-around purposes but excels in technical and endurance riding. This means that the protection, support, and shock absorption are at the highest level. Whether you are on a steep technical descent or on a demanding rocky terrain this shoe will not let you down. Even on the toughest terrain, Traverse provides comfort and soaks up the vibrations. This is made possible by the use of D3o technology at the insole’s impact areas and asymmetrical collars.
EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) midsole is there to provide state of the art arch and metatarsal support. Large clip opening area makes getting on and off the bite an easy job, which is extremely valuable in hike-a-bike situations. Sole is as it should be – stiff while riding, but more flexible during hiking. It has a provides great pedal connection, and a good grip when hiking over rocky trails, It’s made of Ride concepts’ patented DST 8.0MID GRIP Rubber.
- stable and supportive
- excellent shock absorption
- easy clipping
- good grip and power transfer
- perfect hike-a-bike shoe
- is not water-resistant
- the heaviest shoe in its class
- sizes run small
A Buyers Guide: What to Look for When Shopping for Mountain Bike Shoes for Women
Mountain biking often simply technical and fast riding over some of the toughest terrains and trails. this form of cycling requires special attention to the issues of safety, performance, and comfort. The long or extremely difficult rides can have a damaging impact on your body, especially joints and muscles. And MTB gear plays a crucial part in avoiding these issues.
Finding the best women’s mountain bike shoes plays a particularly important part in ensuring that your ride is safe and enjoyable. The technology of producing these shoes has become very advance over the years and various shoes bring different features, each more suitable for any individual rider. This is especially true for women riders due to the differences in body shape and feet size. Also, most of the ladies prefer shoes, that, besides providing protection, also look good. So, what factors should you take into consideration when purchasing footwear for your mountain bike riding?
Clipless vs Flat Shoes
If you are the kind of driver that is more printed towards enduro and trail riding, or simply enjoy long backpacking trips than flat shoes are the right choice for you. They are designed for platform pedals that require nos special shoes. Basically, you can earn any kind of footwear for bikes that have these kinds of pedals. Still, if you care about riding efficiency, comfort, and security, then go for one of the specialized MTB flat shoes, such as Five Ten Freerider. The advantage of these shoes is that you can get off of a bike in critical situations with no problems, but on the downside, your foot might slip during the ride on uneven terrain which can lead to an accident.
Clipless shoes have cleats on the bottom of the sole through which they are attached to the pedals. It prevents slippage and your foot is securely connected to the pedal, Generally stiffer than their flat counterparts, clipless shoes provide better traction, grip, and power transfer. If you are into challenging rides are easier with this kind than you should probably go with a clipless shoe, such as Ride Concepts Women’s Traverse.
Whichever shoes you choose, make sure that they fit you and that you feel comfortable wearing them. Unfortunately, you can’t always tell this in the store, because the lack of comfort often appears only once you get out on a longer ride. Finding a shoe that fits is especially tricky since the manufacturers use various features on their shoes. what you can do is always check that there is enough toe wiggle room and that shoe as solid hold and grip on your heel.
Unlike the regular shoes or sneakers, with mountain bike shoes the general rule is the stiffer the better. If you are shopping for a specialized shoe that you will only use for mountain biking make sure it feels as stiff as possible. This will help you pedal more efficiently and tenure better power transfer to your bike’s wheels.
Mountain biking is a very demanding and physical activity. When you ride your whole body runs hot, including your feet. make sure you choose the shoes that will allow your feet to breathe and get enough air circulation. Most manufactures are heavily investing in the development of materials that will improve this exact feature.
When riding, the last thing you need to think about is your shoes properly tightened. Different models feature different fastening systems, but most common are laces, Velcro-style hook and loop, and dial closure systems.
Laces are mostly found on flat shoes and they are a simple and effective tightening system. the pressure is spread across the whole foot and, of course, they are the cheapest to replace. The drawback is that you can’t adjust them on-the-fly when needed.
The system with sticky Velcro closure is very popular among both manufacturers and riders. It gives you perfect control over the degree of tightening and pressure. The only problem is that ten to get clogged in muddy conditions, losing a big part of their functionality. they also add the most to the overall weight of the shoe.
The dial systems are usually employed in a bit more expensive shoes. The most commonly used system is Boa, which you may have noticed in the reviews above. This way of fastening provides the most force and the pressure and enables you to tighten your shoes as much as possible. Also, Boa and similar systems will not let you down in any weather or terrain condition. Adjusting them during your ride is fairly easy and simple.
Finding the shoes of the right weight can be a bit tricky. Both heavy and light shoes have their advantages. If the shoes are too heavy they can make spinning, and also walking, more difficult, and put additional strain on your body. On the other hand, too light and you lose a good quality grip.