Women's MTB Flat Pedal Shoe Group Review



Review by Marissa Krawczak

If you have been looking for a new pair of women’s mountain bike shoes, specifically for flat pedal applications, then you may know there is not a ton of comparative information out there. We had our resident She Wolf, Marissa Krawczak do some testing on three pairs of shoes to see how they held up to her rock-filled rides and long days in the dirt. During the course of the testing period Marissa wore all of these mountain bike specific shoes on her usual trail rides, bike park days, trail building and pumping in her backyard pump track.

While some “Women’s specific” product is little more than a feminized version of the male’s product, some brands take the extra effort to create completely specific product intended to better fit female mountain bikers. Admittedly I am probably a bit taller than most females at 5’10” and with a size 10 women’s foot, some of those benefits may not be as important to me, but I appreciate the effort and notice the difference, nonetheless. Ride Concepts shoes are the only true women’s specific shoes that feature unique construction while the Leatt shoes and Bontrager shoes are more of a color-changed adaptation, which does not necessarily mean they will not work as well if you are looking for women’s mountain bike shoes, as you will see below.

Women's MTB Flat Pedal Shoe Group Review - Leatt 2.0 Flat Pedal Shoe

Leatt 2.0 Flat Pedal Shoe

MSRP: $90
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Website: Leatt.com

It’s worth noting that the shoes tested here aren’t part of Leatt’s “Women’s” shoe line as they didn’t have inventory available at the time, however the women’s shoes are just different colors and graphics, so we’re pretty confident our review will  still carry over. The Leatt 2.0 shoes are the medium-soft flex option shoe in Leatt’s line of flat mountain bike shoes. The sole is made from Leatt’s own “Ride Grip” rubber compound that is the hardest of the shoes tested and did not show any signs of wear after months of abuse. The grip is provided mainly by the pedal pins sitting in the waffle pattern recesses, as opposed to driving into a softer rubber sole like some other shoes. Foot adjustment was easy because of this, and made frequent movements needed for biking around in traffic and lapping the pump track smooth and effortless.

I really like the Leatt 2.0 shoes for commuting because they pair easily with casual clothes and the synthetic uppers are easy to just wipe off and clean. Even though they do not offer a women’s specific 2.0 model, (Instead the women’s colors come in 3.0 and 5.0 models) they are simple and have a slim profile so I did not feel like I was wearing goofy mountain bike shoes while I was running errands. On the trails the 2.0’s rode great, but the material on the toe cap scuffed easily so I favored them more for the urban setting where they would stay fresher looking longer.

The overall fit of the 2.0’s was a little bit narrower than other bike shoes, but the snug fit prevented any heel lifting and added a sense of security and performance while pedaling. I was also impressed with the construction of the laces – I never had any problems with them coming loose and did not even require a double knot to stay tied out on the mountain.

The Leatt 2.0’s are comfortable for day-to-day use, but sturdy enough to feel like a bike shoe. They actually felt the stiffest of the shoes tested and had a good feeling of protection in the toe box. They come in four different colors and are an affordable option for women looking at mountain bike flat pedal shoes. Overall, I highly recommend the Leatt 2.0’s for versatile day-to-day biking. I love the comfort casual styling and performance.

Women's MTB Flat Pedal Shoe Group Review - Bontrager Women's Flat Pedal Shoe


MSRP: $130
Overall Rating: ★★★ ½

Website: Trek.com

The feel of the Bontrager Flatlines stands out against the rigidity of other flat shoes tested, although the “Women’s” in the title only changes the colors available so they were a bit wide for my feet. The sole is more flexible than the Leatt and Ride Concept shoes and makes not only pedal feel more pronounced but also the ease of hiking. Although they are on the more flexible end of the scale, the Vibram soles are tough, grippy and super durable. The midsoles also have a noticeably softer feel and a little bit more arch support than other shoes tested, which makes the Flatlines comfortable on the bike yet supportive for walking or hiking. While the pedal feel and walking performance is best with the Bontrager’s, I found my feet got a bit tired during long days in the bike park while bouncing over lava rocks run after run.

The Bontrager Flatlines are great for trail building days, working in the dirt and for frequent hike-a-bikes. They’re also a great shoe for jumping, and stylish riders who want lots of pedal feel. The synthetic leather offers great protection in wetter weather and holds up to some serious bashing on rocks or shrubs thanks to the aggressive treatment on the toe and heal. For the more aggressive rides I would appreciate a taller ankle and a more protective toe box, but for an all-around women’s flat mountain bike shoe, the Flatlines are an excellent option.


Women's MTB Flat Pedal Shoe Group Review - Ride Concepts Livewire Flat Pedal Shoe


MSRP: $100
Overall Rating: ★★★★

Website: Rideconcepts.com

The Ride Concepts Livewire’s were the only true women’s specific mountain bike shoe that I tested. Without riding the men’s version, I am not sure how they differ in fit and feel, but they were true to size and performed as the all-terrain riding shoe they were made to be. They feature a D3O insole, which is a highly impact absorbing layer that combines with the shock absorbing EVA midsole to take the sting out of the trail. These anti-shock features make the Livewire’s feel thicker in the sole and more protected underfoot compared to other shoes tested, performing particularly well for aggressive riding and my days in the bike park.

The Livewire’s had a pretty good pedal feel under all those layers of protective soles but are on the stiffer side without being too much while walking around. The highly tacky rubber soles were the grippiest of the shoes tested but do show more signs of wear than the other pairs I rode, although I probably rode in these shoes the most so that may have something to do with it. The soft side of one midsole has a permanent “dent” in it from hitting a sharp edge, which I found interesting as the shoes are pretty durable otherwise. Since these shoes were the most protective and grippiest, I spent the most days in the bike park in Livewires, so I’m sure the lava rock and expose stumps at Mt. Bachelor accelerated my wear. Despite my outsole issue, the synthetic and mesh uppers withstood abrasion super well and still look brand new after extensive testing.

I really enjoyed the benefits of the Livewire’s for bike park riding, e-biking and when I wanted more support underfoot for the high impact landings of drops and jumps on a typical mountain bike trail. Overall, I would recommend the Ride Concepts Livewire’s for staying gripped to your pedals on steep, challenging descents and lapping lifts at the bike park.

Women's MTB Flat Pedal Shoe Group Review

LEATT 2.0 ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★
BONTRAGER FLATLINE ★★★★½ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ½ ★★
RIDE CONCEPTS LIVEWIRE ★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★½


The Leatt 2.0 shoes are my new favorite pair of flat pedal mountain bike shoes. They have been my go-to shoes for everyday riding, commuting and for pumptrack laps. When I hit the bike park lift or am out for some e-bike DH laps I prefer the Ride Concept Livewires since they stick to the pedals so well and provide awesome shock resistance thanks to the D3O insoles. I like the Bontrager Flatlines for hiking, frequent hike-a-bike trails and for working on trails in between riding. They are comfortable, offer a casual fit and are very durable but I do not love the way they look, which is totally subjective.


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