Whether you are new to mountain biking or a veteran rider, pedaling on flats is great for improving your riding skills. It is one of the three main contact points you have on the bike. Whether you are climbing or descending, riding on flat pedals can help improve your ability to maneuver the bike, without having to rely on being clipped into the pedals. our pedal stroke will also get smoother and more fluid, helping you to position your legs and ankles to the pedals where they are most comfortable, which can be beneficial for people who have knee, hip, and ankle pain.

Plus, it is just plain old fashion fun sometimes. That said, there's a lot of tech that goes into the best flat pedal shoes. Much like how clipless pedals and shoes are an integrated system, the same applies to flat pedals. A flat pedal is only as good as the shoe and vice versa. If you're a new mountain biker and decide to mountain bike on platform pedals, ditch your sneakers and invest in some flat pedal-specific shoes.

Related: The Best Flat Pedals for Mountain Biking

Luckily, more and more brands are offering awesome shoes specifically meant for landing on platform pedals. These shoes are designed to cover all types of riding styles including trail riding, all-mountain, enduro, downhill, and fat biking. Whatever type of mountain biking you're into, there is most likely a shoe out there that fits the bill. Because why not try flat pedals?

Related: Best Mountain Bike Clipless Pedals

There are a few things to be conscious of when deciding between flat and clipless pedals. Yes, we have more options than ever. That said, expect prices for good flat pedals and shoes to set you back $150-$300.

There are a couple of key things I like to look for in flat pedal shoes, regardless of what type of riding I may be doing. The first and most important feature a flat pedal shoe has to have is a stiff sole to prevent foot fatigue and improve power transfer. Pedal grip is super important, but if your shoe sole is too soft and flexy, you are putting a lot more stress on your feet and legs to keep you on top of the pedals. The stiffer the sole, the better the shoe is going to transfer your power into the pedal. For descending, the stiffer sole will also provide more damping for your feet. Allowing your feet and legs to ride stronger, longer.

A close second to shoe stiffness is clearly grip, truly the “soul” of the shoe. We’ll just cut right to it and tell you that Five Ten shoes are still king when it comes to grip. Their dotted rubber sole design is the benchmark for flat pedal design in regards to grip. A flat, stiff shoe sole, with the tread a few millimeters tall and spaced a couple of millimeters apart is ideal for matching up to your pedal.

The third key ingredient to flat pedal shoes is matching the shoe with the trail experience—what type of riding will you be doing? Sticking to trail riding and long days on the saddle? Heavy-duty downhill shoe meant for a long summer of bike park laps? A shoe with a high cuff providing ankle support for hiking, that can also handle wet and cold rides? Or a pair of shoes that could potentially cover all those aspects? The majority of the cycling brands making flat pedal shoes have a pair to suit where and what you may be riding.

The last, but not least, thing to consider is the fit of the shoe. Are you looking for ankle support? Do you have wide or narrow feet? Please keep in mind that despite what most brands will say and promote about their insole/footbed in their shoe. They are all, unfortunately, sup-par. We always recommend getting a custom footbed if you are in need of extra support for your foot.

The Best Flat Pedal Shoes for Cross-Country, Trail and All-Mountain Riding
Starting first, we’ll dive into flat pedal shoes for XC, trail and all-mountain riding. These shoes need to be comfortable and light enough to be comfortable for long rides. Key features for shoes in this category: they need to have a stiff sole without being too heavy, provide good grip on and off the bike, well ventilated and able to dry out relatively quickly. Bonus points for weather resistance and a reinforced toe box.

Ride Concepts Livewire
Taking the throne in the trail category comes from the relatively new brand, Ride Concepts out of Truckee, California. These guys came in with the goal to make flat pedal shoes that look good while still being functional and durable. Simply put, they succeeded. In the years since their debut, their catalog of shoes has tripled.

The Livewire has become my main shoe for all my trail rides. Which let’s be honest, is what the majority of us like to do on our bike, right? Comfort is what really makes this shoe stand out for me. Stiff and grippy sole? You betcha. Is it as grippy as the Five Ten Freerider Pro? No. But it’s close, and wow is it cozy. The comfort comes at no expense of durability, either. My pair of Livewire’s are closing in on three seasons old. They are still in one piece with the tread still holding strong. The reinforced toe box and heel definitely add to their dependability.

They aren’t the lightest shoe of the bunch, 450g/each. Luckily, the long-lasting riding comfort provided by this shoe still gives it top honors. The bonus point is that it is also tied for the cheapest shoe on this list, at $100. If you are looking for a flat pedal shoe for trail riding that is well priced, comfortable, and with plenty of grip to last at least a couple of seasons. Ride Concepts has your back with the Livewire shoe.

  • Comfortable and durable
  • One of the cheapest shoes on the list at $100
  • Good looks
  • Reinforced toe and heel box
  • Available in Men's, Women's and Kid's versions
  • Not as grippy as Fiveten, but pretty close
  • Lighter trail shoes out there
Men's Ride Concepts Livewire
Price: $100

Women's Ride Concepts Livewire
Price: $100

Kid's Ride Concepts Livewire
Price: $100

Five Ten Freerider Pro
Coming in at a close second is the Freerider Pro from Five Ten and Adidas. Five Ten is almost synonymous with flat pedal riding. It should come as no surprise to have at least a couple of their shoes on this list. But why always Five Ten? The rubber they use on their soles is still the grippiest compound out there. This shoe goes back to their Stealth S1 rubber, which brings more durability to what plagued Five Ten a couple of years ago.

Five Ten hit the refresh button to the look of the shoe along with the reinforcement of the heel and toe box, the addition of weather-resistant materials, all while shedding some weight. These are all reasons why Five Ten is still at the top of their game. The Freerider Pro has also proven to bring back some credit to the brand’s durability. Yes, the tread is showing some wear but it still grips the pedal great. My biggest complaint on these shoes after riding these for a season is that the sole is starting to lose its stiffness. Which can cause the foot to cramp after long descents. Other than that, it has broken in nicely and is another great mountain bike shoe from Five Ten.

If what you want is a flat pedal shoe from the most trusted brand out there—that is still the king when it comes to grip—you can never go wrong with Five Ten and the Freerider Pro for your trail-riding needs.

  • Still the grippiest flat pedal shoes out there
  • Stealth S1 rubber, stitched reinforced toe and heel box. Addresses some of the durability issues that plagued Five Ten a couple of years ago.
  • Not too hot—breathes and wicks moisture pretty well
  • Sole stiffness is starting to breakdown after a year of riding.
  • Five Ten's traction doesn't come cheap
Price: $150

Bontrager Flatline
The Flatline from Bontrager is a great option from a brand that you may not know makes really quality flat pedal shoes. I reviewed these a couple of years ago here and the same runs true now as it did then. The Flatline is a light, comfortable trail shoe that is extremely durable with a good amount of traction. No joke, I still have these shoes from that review and they still look and work great.

They’ve lost a bit of sole stiffness since 2018, but you wouldn’t think these shoes are going on four-seasons-old from the way they look. They still clean up nicely, and the Vibram sole shows little slowing down. Two things I have found with these shoes is that they aren’t the best shoes to hike-a-bike with. They can also be a little toasty when the heat turns up. That all said, if you are looking for the most durable shoe that still throws down on pedal grip, Bontrager’s Flatline shoe is a tough choice to beat.

  • Long-lasting durability
  • Pretty lightweight shoe at 370g/each
  • Nice touches such as lace keeper, and ergonomic tongue
  • Not the most comfortable shoe for extended hiking sessions
  • Can be a little toasty in warmer weather
Price: $129.99

Specialized 2FO Flat 2.0
Specialized has been making proper mountain bike shoes for decades. Taking the time and research to see what people want, their flat pedal shoes can sometimes go under the radar. The 2FO Flat 2.0 is a welcome addition to the market and has some seriously good things going for it.

For one, it is the lightest shoe on this list at 335g/each. Probably a big reason why this shoe breathes so nicely and dries out fast. Another welcome feature, especially on a shoe this light, is it also has some extra protection on the medial ankle bone. This raised portion of protection in the shoe adds a welcome degree of comfort and stability to it on and off the bike. Nevertheless, the sole has started to show some wear and lose its stiffness after one season of riding.

The 2FO Flat 2.0 shoe is a very comfortable shoe that is also the lightest on this list. You can find grippier options, but this is a high-end flat pedal shoe delivering high-end qualities.

  • Lightest shoe on the list at 335g/each
  • Medial ankle protection adds a nice level of comfort
  • Well ventilated
  • Good shoe for hike-a-bike sections
  • Sole showing wear and losing stiffness after a season
  • One of the more expensive shoes at $160
Price: $160 (Some colors on sale)

Scott Sport Volt
A little wild card thrown into the mix for good measure—the Scott Sport Volt comes in with some really cool features. Talking to other flat pedal enthusiasts. There was a desire for a nice flat pedal trail shoe that is lightweight and uses the Boa fit system instead of traditional laces. Scott Sports was one of the first brands to listen to what people were asking for. Delivering a great shoe at an awesome price point of $100, this shoe is tied for the most affordable on our list.

Other highlights: it’s very well ventilated, probably the fastest drying shoe here. Coming in at 365g/each, it is also pretty lightweight. The lack of heft and deep tread on the sole makes it a comfortable shoe while off the bike. The sole is not the stiffest (on par with the Specialized 2FO), but at $100 it is packed with some cool new features to make it worth your consideration.

Been searching for a different lightweight flat pedal shoe for trail riding that uses BOA instead of laces? Scott hears ya, and they will provide.

  • Very cool and different flat pedal shoe that uses the BOA fit system over traditional laces.
  • One of the cheapest shoes on this list at $100
  • Lightweight and breathable. Dries out quickly
  • Not the stiffest shoe sole
  • People with wide feet may find these a hair narrow
Price: $100 (On sale for $89.99)

The Best Flat Pedal Shoes for Enduro, DH and Sloppy Weather Riding

Up on deck are flat pedal shoes designed with gravity in mind, these shoes ideal for taking on the longest and roughest descents multiple times a day. All this with zero regards for the elements. Key features for shoes in this category are a stiff, grippy and robust shoe sole, made of durable weather-resistant materials and a reinforced heel and toe box. Bonus points: ample ankle support and coverage.

Five Ten Impact Pro
Still the top dog once gravity takes over, the Impact Pro is a welcome update to the original flat pedal shoe that got Five Ten to where it is today. It features a thick stiff sole, updated cuff design, better weather-resistant materials, and a ridiculous amount of grip. These are just a few of the reasons why this is the best flat pedal shoe for enduro and downhill riding.

It’s not the lightest shoe at 600g/each. This said, all the improvements to the build quality and materials make up for its weight. Really, my main qualm with this shoe is it could use more support and coverage for the ankle for those hike-a-bike moments. Despite its extra weight and lack of ankle coverage, they still perform really well. Once the shoes break-in they are quite comfortable on and off the bike.

Looking for one shoe to rule it all? Or just a dependable shoe for a long season at the bike park? The Impact Pro is probably the best flat pedal shoe on this list. Updates to materials, build quality, and durability all add to what was already a solid shoe platform from Five Ten. Tack on Five Ten’s ridiculously sticky Stealth S1 rubber to the sole, and you have the best flat pedal shoe for getting you to the bottom.

  • Stiff, durable and sticky shoe sole
  • Much more weather resistant and durable than past versions
  • Great for the bike park or out at your local trail network
  • Reinforced toe and heel box
  • Could benefit from more ankle support and coverage
  • Not the lightest nor cheapest pair of shoes at 600g/each and $160 for the pair
Price: $160

Five Ten Impact Sam Hill
If it wasn’t for all the updates to the Impact Pro, the Impact Sam Hill flat pedal shoe from Five Ten would be at the top of this list. This flat pedal shoe is by far the most dedicated shoe for pure gravity riding. The sole is immensely thick, making it the stiffest shoe on this list. Combine that with Five Ten’s Stealth S1 rubber to the sole and the only thing you need to focus on is the trail ahead.

Receiving similar updates as the Impact Pro. the build quality has increased tremendously from the original Impact. Weather-resistant materials are used throughout. The only thing to be concerned about with this shoe is that it’s almost too burly and stiffy to walk in regularly. It took my pair a couple of months of regular use to really “break-in.”

The Impact Sam Hill is the best shoe for when gravity hits and we all could use a little more Sam Hill inspiration in our lives.

  • Has the stiffest, thickest and stickiest sole of any shoe on this list
  • Durable design made from weather-resistant materials
  • Reinforced toe and heel box
  • Best shoe for shuttle and bike park laps
  • Heaviest pair of shoes on this list at 615g/each
  • Almost too stiff for trail riding and regular use
Price: $150

Ride Concepts Powerline
Rounding out the top three in the gravity class is the Powerline from Ride Concepts. Balanced is the best way to describe this shoe. Similar to their Livewire shoe it’s not as stiff and grippy as the offerings from Five Ten, but it is oh so darn close. Made of weather-resistant materials, with reinforced toe and heel box, it features an asymmetric design with more ankle support and protection than the Livewire. Ride Concepts' Powerline has checked off everything we look for in a flat pedal shoe for enduro and gravity riding.

I am a big fan of flat pedal shoes with medial ankle support and coverage. For those days at the bike park, it tacks on another degree of comfort and stability to the shoe, allowing you to descend longer in more comfort. Ride Concepts has also achieved this while not making this shoe not too bulky, coming in at 435g/each. The Powerline is a great option for someone wanting one pair of shoes to rule every trail.

  • Most balanced shoe of the bunch
  • Blends great grip and sole stiffness to a comfortable shoe with ankle support
  • Weather-resistant materials and a reinforced toe and heel box
  • Lightest flat pedal shoe in the enduro/gravity class. 435g/each
  • Not as stiff and grippy as the Five Ten Impacts
  • If the soles were a little thicker and stiffer it would be absolutely stellar for long days at the bike park.
Price: $150

Giro Riddance Mid
Giro has been making the Riddance shoe series for a couple of years now. running on their success of making simple and reliable mountain bike products. The Riddance Mid makes this list for its durability, comfort, and resistance to wet, cold conditions.

Similar to the Powerline from Ride Concepts, the added ankle support and coverage make this the most comfortable shoe in the enduro and gravity class. Sole material is made from Vibram rubber, which is not the grippiest or stiffest option on the pedals, but is a great compound if you find yourself doing any prolong hike-a-bike sections. I have found that this shoe is one of the warmest in the bunch, not my favorite shoe for those hot summer days, but great for fall and early spring riding.

Looking for a flat pedal shoe with generous ankle support combined with weather-resistant materials for wet days at the bike park? Or maybe a shoe that leans on the warmer side that could also be used for fat biking? The Giro Riddance Mid will keep your feet dry and comfy.

  • Most comfortable and lightest shoe (445g/each) in the enduro/gravity class from a trusted cycling brand
  • Durable: made with weather-resistant materials and a Vibram sole
  • It’s a great flat pedal shoe for when conditions get wet, cold and snowy
  • Cheapest shoe in this category at $140
  • Not the stiffest and grippiest sole compound
  • Little toasty on those hot summer days
Price: $140 (On sale for $112)

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch Mid WRX
The other brand to ditch the laces and bring the BOA fit system to flat pedal shoes is Pearl Izumi. Their first dive into the flat pedal shoe game was a bit conservative and underperformed when actually on the pedals. The second iteration of the X-Alp model though is much better. The MID WRX model really caught my eyes with the extended ankle cuff, while being fully constructed with weather-resistant materials.

Pearl Izumi also updated the sole design and stiffness, improving traction dramatically on the pedals with the use of Goodyear rubber. It’s still a little flexy compared to Five Ten and Ride Concepts, but I don’t think Pearl Izumi was focusing on making this shoe to compete with the likes of them. Instead, they thought of unique and new features to make a flat pedal shoe that not only fits and looks great, but comfortable going to the bike park, dirt jumps or fat bike track. Despite the conditions outside.

Keen on the BOA retention system for your new pair of shoes? Give Pearl Izumi’s new lineup of flat pedal shoes a second look. The X-Alp Launch MID WRX has been my go-to shoe for those colder days when I’m not sure what type of riding I may be getting into.

  • Unique and different approach to a flat pedal shoe that includes the BOA fit system, extended ankle cuff and weather-resistant materials
  • Updated sole design using Goodyear rubber
  • Comfortable shoe when out in adverse weather conditions, on or off the bike. Been a great shoe for fat biking
  • Most expensive shoe on this list at $175
  • Stiffer and grippier flat pedal shoes out there
Price: $175

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