Are Mountain Bike Shoes Necessary?

Home D3O News > Are Mountain Bike Shoes Necessary?

The type of shoes you wear to hit the trails might seem like the last thing on your mind - after all, you’re pedaling or cruising downhill, not walking or running. However, the right type of shoe can make a big difference to your riding experience, making it more comfortable, secure and enjoyable. Finding the right pair of mountain bike shoes with appropriate impact protection is a great way to step up your rides and get more from your adventures. 

As your feet keep you stable when riding, keeping secure on the pedals is key to a safe and fun ride. You don’t want your feet slipping around or your ankles taking unnecessary strain as you’re trying to enjoy a new trail. Nor do you want to be distracted by cold, wet or hot feet. Proper mountain bike shoes will help combat these issues and more. 


Mountain bike shoes with impact protection

Foot and ankle injuries can really set a rider back, so protecting yourself with D3O® impact protection and the added stability of mountain bike shoes is the best way of making sure you can ride for longer without strain.

Mountain bike shoes that feature D3O® impact protection are a fantastic investment, as your feet will benefit from the additional cushioning and safety in the event of a crash or fall. It also helps reduce trail chatter and limb fatigue, so you can ride harder for longer. 

D3O® impact protection is ideal for mountain bike shoes as it offers a high level of protection without being bulky or stiff. It can be included in the sole for cushioning, or for ankle protection to help keep this vulnerable joint protected in the event of accidents. World-leading mountain bike brands integrate D3O® for its advanced impact protection products.


Differences between normal shoes and mountain bike shoes

If you want to get the most from your ride, investing in mountain bike shoes is worth the money. When you’re just starting out, the cost of a separate pair of shoes which, on the surface, look like a standard pair of walking or running shoes, can be off-putting. However, it’s important to remember mountain biking involves riding faster and faster bikes over rough terrain, so protecting yourself from head to toe is essential.

The best mountain bike shoes come with impact protection and are built for the tests of mountain biking. D3O® impact protection keeps the ankle joints safe from strikes, while padding in the sole of the shoe reduces trail chatter and limb fatigue. 

The toe box of mountain bike shoes is much stiffer than ordinary shoes. This is important as it helps protect your toes from strikes or in the event of a crash, without restricting your range of movement while riding. 

Unlike normal trainers, mountain bike shoes have tough, high-grip rubber outsoles to help you stay steady on the pedals while riding or when hiking the bike to the top of hills. Waterproof and sweat-wicking materials ensure your feet stay dry and comfortable. No one wants to be riding with wet feet - it’s not just unpleasant, it can be a dangerous distraction. 

While normal trainers might have laces which get soggy on rides, or worse, come undone, mountain bike shoes are securely fastened with twist dials and velcro lace closures. These closures also help promote ventilation and add extra waterproofing. Never worry about a trailing lace getting caught in your pedal! 

There’s no rule to say you can’t ride in ordinary shoes or trainers, especially if you’re just starting out and riding relatively easy trails in safe weather conditions. However, mountain bike shoes are definitely worth the investment if you’re planning on riding more regularly or want to improve your gear set up. 


What to look for when buying mountain bike shoes

Depending on what kind of mountain biking you do and how experienced you are, there are a few different options of mountain bike shoe to choose from. There are also a number of optional features and technical add-ons that you can consider, including some of the below:

  • Clipless or flat. There are two main types of mountain biking shoes available. Flat shoes are easy to walk in if you’re hopping on and off your bike. They offer a strong grip on the outer sole and are made from tough, stiff outer materials. You can also bail out quickly as the rider’s feet are not attached to the pedal. Clipless shoes have an attachment on them which allows you to “clip” your shoes into the pedal holding them securely in place. This stops slippage for more efficient pedaling. 
  • Weather and terrain. If you ride in hot, wet, muddy or sandy environments, the type of shoe you need will vary. For wet conditions, choose mountain bike shoes with waterproof materials and ankle gaiters, and a firm closure such as dial twist or a lace flap to keep water out. If you ride in hot weather, look for mountain bike shoes that feature ventilation around the toes to improve airflow or have perforations around the ankle. Choose the right type of waterproofing and insulation for your riding style so you can ride comfortably in all conditions. 
  • Comfort and support. Staying comfortable while out riding is key to having fun all day. Tackle chafing, trail chatter and limb fatigue where possible. Proper fitting shoes with the right amount of cushioning and joint support help alleviate these issues. Shoes that feature D3O® padding in the sole or ball of the foot are designed to create a more comfortable ride in the long run. 
  • Safety and impact protection. Choosing mountain bike shoes with D3O® impact protection is the best way to keep your feet and ankles safe while riding. Whether the D3O® material is integrated into the shoe via the sole, or added in the ankle area, impact protection helps reduce the severity of injury in the event of a fall or wipeout. 


D3O® Protected Mountain Bike Shoes

Ride Concepts

Ride Concepts have delivered excellence in mountain biking shoes with the Women’s Flow Traverse and the Men’s TNT High Performance shoes. Both feature D3O® impact protection on the medial collar, protecting this vulnerable point from frame strikes and knocks should your feet slip off the pedals. A thick sturdy sole with plenty of grip, the Women’s Flow Traverse is clipless while the Men’s TNT is a flat shoe. A shock-absorbing D3O® insole helps keep your feet comfortable, reducing fatigue and keeping you going for longer. With abrasion and weather-resistant materials, Ride Concepts shoes bring you an unparalleled mountain biking experience that embraces safety and comfort. 

Adidas Five Ten Trail Cross Pro

For casual mountain bike shoes that still deliver on the technical features, Adidas Five Ten Trail Cross Pro are a great choice. With a sturdy rubber high-grip sole, these shoes can be used on and off the bike for hiking. D3O® impact protection reinforces the ankle, protecting against knocks and bumps, as well as supporting the joint against excessive strain. A secure lace closure and reinforced toe box add an extra level of protection. 

Choose D3O® protected mountain bike shoes to get the best ride on the trails. Explore a range of D3O partner brands offering the best safety gear out there.