How We Tested Mountain Bike Shoes

By:
Curtis Smith
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday

Some times you just have to change shoes every lap to feel out the subtle differences.
Some times you just have to change shoes every lap to feel out the subtle differences.
When we test products, we put them through the wringer. We insist on testing and pushing products far beyond an initial impression, in search of their limits following long periods of continuous use and abuse. All of the shoes we tested were used for a wide range of riding, including downhill, enduro, cross-country racing, and cyclocross. We drug these shoes along for months of adventures from our backyard trails to the bike park. Sometimes it takes periods of extended use to sort out the strengths and weaknesses of a product. Many shoes we tested provided great traction on dry surfaces, but became quite slippery when things got wet. By testing in a range of weather conditions we are able to make accurate recommendations to meet your needs.

Shimano XC31 out on the trail.
Shimano XC31 out on the trail.

We also had the advantage of being able to test our shoes with a variety of different pedals by working in conjunction with Mountain Bike Pedal Review team. This is important and provides us with unique insight into pedal and shoe interface. We also had the unique opportunity to test the shoes while riding a variety of different bikes, including cyclocross, XC race bikes, and a slew of enduro bikes being tested for our upcoming Enduro Bike Review. Our testers ride a lot, and mix it up in a variety of disciplines to give you a fair and honest assessment of performance for a wide range of disciplines. This is the most comprehensive review of mountain bike shoes available, and you can rest assured that we did the heavy lifting so you don't have to. Read our full Mountain Bike Shoe review to find out how all of the competitors stacked up in the OutdoorGearLab head-to-head comparison.

Curtis Smith testing the Shimano M520 with the Giro Terraduro shoe at the Northstar Bike Park in California. This pedal has a common cleat  is extremely durable and versatile  and is also very affordable.
Curtis Smith testing the Shimano M520 with the Giro Terraduro shoe at the Northstar Bike Park in California. This pedal has a common cleat, is extremely durable and versatile, and is also very affordable.
 

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    Unbiased.