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Over the last few months we’ve been testing more and more clipless mountain bike shoes and converting flat pedal riders left and right. It’s been a lot of fun, not only because we get to watch good riders tip over on the trail, but because we can see the light click on when they clean a climb or pick up speed through a super technical rock garden that had their feet bouncing around on flats. Not all clipless shoes are the same however and depending on your needs you may love these shoes or need to keep hunting for something a little better for you. These shoes are geared more towards the aggressive trail, enduro, eMTB and DH riding that we focus on. We prioritize comfort, protection and yes, fashion, so we much prefer a more casual style shoe that still blends some techy features. If you’d like to check out a ton more options and more XC-focused footwear, our retail partner Competitive Cyclist has just released their 2021 Shoe Guide which you can check here.

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2FO Roost Clip Mountain Bike Shoe

MSRP: $130

Blending rugged on-trail performance with sleek, unassuming style, the Specialized 2FO Roost takes party laps with your crew to a whole new level. These casually-styled clip shoes pack all the right features for getting sendy on the bike, yet remain comfortable and stylish when you’re chilling at the trailhead or grabbing some post-ride snacks and brews. Things like durable synthetic uppers and a cushioned EVA midsole ensure these kicks stand up to the rigors of daily trail use, but the real superstar is the new SlipNot rubber outsole that provides confident grip in any conditions—regardless of whether you’re on the pedals or on your feet. We’re also glad to see Specialized’s signature Body Geometry technology makes the cut, aligning your knees, hips, and feet for optimal pedaling efficiency and comfort when you’re spending hours at a time on the bike.

Our Impression: While we like a lot of Specialized shoes and products, these shoes aren’t high on most of our rider’s list. Our resident XC expert loves them, but our tenderfoot DHers feel the insole is a bit too stiff for our liking as it resulted in some achy arches and borderline foot cramps. Also they aren’t great for walking or hiking on off-camber terrain, which riders who session or repeat features will often find themselves doing. We like the easy to put on aspect, comfortable feel in the shoe and the performance while putting power down on the cranks, but just felt they weren’t right for our feet. We do know lots of riders who do enjoy them, they’re just not us.


Upper Material: Synthetic Leather
Closure System: Lace
Footbed: Body Geometry
Midsole: Cushioned EVA
Sole: Lollipop nylon composite plate
Outsole: SlipNot FG Rubber
Cleat Compatibility: 2-Bolt
Recommended Use: Enduro, Trail
Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years

Ride Concepts Transition Clipless Mountain Bike Shoe

MSRP: $160

If you’re looking for a clipless shoe that’s tough enough for gravity trails and bike park laps, yet remains lightweight and breathable on adventurous trail rides, look no further than the Transition Cycling Shoe from Ride Concepts. The toe guard, heel guard, and shock-absorbing D30 ankle pads give you comprehensive protection against rocks and other trail furniture, with some additional D3O in the insoles to cushion the blow from bigger drops and hard landings. Another nice touch is the oversized cleat box, which provides quick transitions in and out of the pedals when you’re dragging a foot through corners or dropping in on a technical chute after scoping out your line.

Our Impression: These shoes are definitely heavy, a bit hot and far from a svelte XC slipper. That being said, they are the most comfortable, protective and long lasting clipless mountain bike shoe we’ve ridden. While some testers believe they’re too bulky and heavy for long pedals, other testers will gladly sacrifice airflow and weight for the comfort, looks and D3O protection. These shoes were ridden for months during our Bike Park Review tour and never let us down. Definitely our top recommendation for riders looking for a skate-style clipless mountain bike shoe that aren’t afraid of a bit of heft.


Upper Material: Welded Microfiber / Molded Rubber Toe & Heel Guards
Closure System: Lace + Hook-and-Loop Power Strap
Footbed: D3O High Impact Zone Insole
Midsole: Medial High-Rise EVA
Sole: RC PowerDrive Nylon Shank
Outsole: Rubber Kinetics DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber
Cleat Compatibility: 2-Bolt
Recommended Use: Downhill, Enduro
Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch SPD Clipless Mountain Bike Shoe

MSRP: $160

The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch wrap you up with a bonded, seamless upper to keep your foot hugged into place, so you can book it up the trail, on bike or on foot, for next level exploration. The X-Alp Launch clipless mountain bike shoes combine the best of both worlds, with a stiff enough sole, thanks to a nylon composite shank, and serious grip that locks into the trail when you’re off the bike. It’s built with an EVA midsole that cushions blows from sharp rocks, and a Vibram Megagrip outsole that holds true to the dirt under foot. The lugs are designed with open an chevron shaped pattern, directionally placed to give you braking power in the heel, and propelling power in the toe while maintaining surefooted grip. Even the pedal zone features Vibram Megagrip with siping to keep mud away, so engaging is quick and snappy when you clip in.

Our Impression: Some of the best looking clipless mountain bike shoes we’ve had, but sadly some major issues keep them off our must have list. The single BOA closure system makes it hard for riders with thinner to medium-sized feet to secure the shoe from top to bottom. We found that we had to overtighten the BOA at the top but still had a looser feel down near the toes. Also the tongue regularly slid to the outside of the shoe which resulted in some comfort issues and lots of debris getting into the shoe. If you’ve got a thicker foot, you may love these shoes as the comfort, Vibram sole and breathability are all very impressive. We really like these shoes and just wish there was an additional closure system near the bottom to get us a bit more snugness. Hopefully next year’s version will have an update. Until then, we suggest trying them on or ensuring you keep the receipt for a return should you find them too loose around the toe.


Upper Material: Recycled Cordura
Closure System: BOA Fit System
Midsole: EVA Foam
Sole: Vibram MegaGrip
Outsole: Vibram ECOSTEP
Cleat Compatibility: 2-Bolt
Recommended Use: Trail
Manufacturer Warranty: Lifetime