Best Mountain Bike Shoes Under $100 [Buying Guide]

clipless bike shoes on a bike rider

Mountain bike shoes are an important part of your overall biking gear and the only thing keeping your feet on your pedals and your pedals moving your bike.  The shoes are indeed one of the more unappreciated pieces of gear that is really very important.

There are several mountain bike shoes under $100 that are the best I highly recommend such as the Five Ten Freerider shoes and Giro Rumble Shoes.  There are two main types of shoes: flat pedal shoes and clipless shoes.  These shoes have a variety of closures such as laces, dials, and hook-and-loop so there are great choices for everyone.  Today I will give you my top recommendations.

If you’re in a hurry, here are my top recommendations for mountain bike shoes under $100:

My Recommendations for the Best Mountain Bike Shoes Under $100

Five Ten Men’s Freerider MTB Bike Shoes

Five Ten is my absolute favorite brand of bike shoes because they are very well made and extremely durable and I haven’t found better quality anywhere.  They look great whether on a bike or just walking around.  You’ll see this often at competitions as well as they are a major sponsor of events.

Construction

Five Ten Freerider shoes are two-part construction with a leather upper and a medium flex midsole.  This keeps them durable while allowing the flexibility that you will absolutely need on the trails.  The cupsole is molded as one piece which you expect from a quality sneaker.  The real advantage comes with the rubber outsole which is what grips the pedals.  It is made of Stealth S1 rubber with the dotty tread on the bottom to grip any pedal pattern.

I don’t know precisely what’s in the Steal S1 rubber that is listed.  All I know is that these shoes grip like there’s no tomorrow regardless of things like water splashing up.  Just like a top-notch MTB shoe should do.

Fit

These shoes fit just like my normal shoes so I just get my normal shoe size or a half size up for more wiggle room.  They feel like a normal shoe which is why I quite often just wear this around to stores and such as well.  They have regular lace closure as well.

Type of Shoe

These are flat pedal shoes so the bottom of the shoe is all rubber.  The bottom of the shoe has a lot of round rubber treads so they will work fine on flat pedals, but they also work quite well on flat pedals that have either the little plastic nubs on the edge or even the ones with metal.  Both of these fall between the circles on the bottom of the tread and grip really well.

Performance

By every review I’ve seen, bike riders always say when you put down your weight and pedal with these shoes on, they grip like clipless shoes. And that’s saying something.

These things just have a special combination between the tread pattern and the type of rubber that they grip like your shoes are glued to the pedals so these are the best flat pedal shoes I’ve ever seen hands down.

Who Are They For

These are for riders that ride with flat pedals that want the best shoes to keep a firm grip on the pedals.


Five Ten Mens’s Kestrel Lace Mountain Bike Shoes (Clipless)

Construction

These solid clipless are made with a polyester upper and a Stealth rubber sole.  The upper is weather resistant so it tends to repel water a bit easier to stay more dry, and it also has micro perforations which helps air to circulate through the shoe and keep your feet cooler.

Like other Five Ten shoes, these have Stealth rubber bottoms which provides the same amazing grip that the flat pedal shoes have.

Where the shoes clip into pedals is a carbon-infused nylon shank that is both lightweight but at the same time extremely strong.

Fit

With Five Ten shoes they tend to run a little tighter than normal sneakers so either buy the normal size or maybe 1/2 a size higher for some wiggle room in the front.

Type of Shoe

These are clipless shoes and are meant to clip into pedals for a positive lock with zero slip.

Performance

These shoes stay put and stay tight on your feet.  It’s in part due to the clipless nature, but even if they weren’t, the rubber sole on these shoes stays put so you could probably even use these for flat pedals and make out great.

Who Are They For

These are clipless shoes so these are meant for riders that want to clip right into the pedals.  Typically, when the shoes are locked into the pedals they allow the rider to put full force into the pedals knowing their shoes won’t slip.  At the same time, these shoes are normal enough you can wear them to walk around and they look and work that way.


Giro Jacket Mens Cycling Shoes

Construction

These Giro shoes have a weather-resistant microfiber upper that can handle all of those nasty rainy conditions you will come across on the trail.  Giro went the extra mile and put in a reinforced toe cap and heel to shore up those high use areas on shoes that normally wear out first.

The bottom rubber on these shoes are Vibram that is one molded piece.  The tread pattern on the bottom is interesting.  The front and the rear 1/3 have the rounder dots like the Five Ten shoes do, but the middle is actually half circles.  These will give a little more grip but may wear out a little faster than the Five Ten’s.

These Giro Jacket shoes feature laces so they tie up like most other shoes do.  Laces are the lightest closures you can get and they’re tried-and-true.

Fit

These bike shoes fit about the same as a normal shoe so it’s best to order your usual shoe size.  These shoes also have medium arch support so they do a good job of supporting the foot while you’re cranking on the pedals.

Type of Shoe

These are flat pedal shoes.  They are meant for flat pedals that have either the plastic nubs or the metal nubs or even none at all.  These will not work on the clipless pedals.

Performance

These shoes do a great job of keeping your feet on the pedals during either wet or dry.  If you’ve ever had a foot slip off the pedal and hit your shin on on it, you’ll know just important grip is and these shoes do it well.

Who Are They For

These shoes are for anyone riding flat pedals.  Anyone who is a fan of wearing the same shoes on the bike as well as walking around will love these shoes.


Giro Rumble VR Men’s Cycling Shoes

Construction

The Giro Rumble shoes have an upper made of synthetic suede and mesh which breathes well yet is very durable.  This is not the usual combination for bike shoes but a little more of a premium option.  The clipless part of the shoe is an injected nylon plate with stainless steel hardware.  These things are durable in every way.

The shoes also have laces which is what nearly all of the top-notch shoes use because they are lightweight and they allow for better shoe adjustment.

Fit

These shoes fit a little tighter than you’d expect, so I always buy bike shoes 1/2 size higher than normal and it works well in this case as well.

Type of Shoe

These are clipless bike shoes.  They are made for clipless pedals where they hook in, and they also work well for just walking around as the clip is recessed.

Performance

These shoes are durable and they feature steel where they clip into the pedals.  Because of that, these shoes won’t slip and they’ll hug your feet tight.

Who Are They For

These shoes are for anyone that is using clipless pedals on their bike and they want a high-performance shoe that can keep up with their demands.


Ride Concepts Men’s Livewire Flat Pedal Mountain Bike Shoe

Construction

These shoes are made by Ride Concepts.  Ride Concept is newer to the market than Five Ten and Giro, but they have really brought the extra mile to these shoes and have earned a spot in my top recommended list.

These flat pedal shoes have a synthetic suede upper paired with anti-abrasion mesh.  Both of those together mean these are durable and won’t just fall apart from coming in contact with things on the trail that easily.

The sole is high-impact, high-grip rubber, and between those are EVA foam to absorb some of the impact you experience when biking.  The pattern on the bottom of the shoe has octagons so they are very similar to the tread pattern seen on many shoes but with a little twist.

These shoes also use the standard laces as they are lightweight and they really allow for a lot of adjustment to get the shoes to fit just right.

Fit

While these are listed true to size, I always recommend buying 1/2 size higher so you have some wiggle room for your toes.

Type of Shoe

These bike shoes are Flat Pedal MTB shoes so they are meant for flat pedals.  Whether they are truly flat or they have the plastic or metal nubs, these will work on all of those.

Performance

The Kinetics rubber on the bottom of these shoes grip like there’s no tomorrow.  They are comfortable enough that you don’t get much foot fatigue and they stay put on the pedals and inspire confidence.

Who Are They For

These shoes are for anyone riding flat pedals and wanting a solid set of biking shoes.  These are comfortable and so far seem to be very durable as you’d expect with suede uppers.


Conclusion

So there are lots of great bike shoes for under $100 for both flat pedal and clipless.  While they are all great shoes, I favor the Five Ten Freerider shoes personally although all of these shoes are great for me to put them in the list.

If you pick any of these, you can’t go wrong.  All of these are quality shoes as you can see from the construction and reputation.

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