Best Overall Mountain Bike Flat Shoes
Five Ten Freerider Contact
The Five Ten Freerider Contact is the winner of our Editors' Choice Award
. This is a shoe that has continued the Five Ten tradition of utilizing sticky rubber, commonly found on climbing shoes, to create a clipped-in feeling with a flat shoe. The Contact is also a bit unique in that designers chose to forego the standard continuous tread pattern across the entire sole, instead using a smooth climbing shoe-like patch of rubber at the ball of the foot. The upper of the shoe is a tough synthetic mesh material with great breathability for long hot rides. The mesh is in less vulnerable zones and an even tougher synthetic leather material for trim in the areas of the shoe that are most likely to take a beating. The Five Ten Freerider Contact is a shoe that should appeal to a good portion of the mountain bike community, with its solid performance in every riding style; cross country, enduro, light downhill, grinder climbs, it does it all.
Best Bang for the Buck
Five Ten Freerider
The Five Ten Freerider
has several similarities with the more aggressive Freerider Contact, our Editors' Choice Award winner. Durable construction with synthetic mesh and leather, soles with classic Five Ten Stealth rubber, and the ability to hold its own in almost any riding arena make this a worthy shoe. Add bike comfort and street friendly style with a multitude of color combinations, and a price that won't break the bank, and this is a shoe that appeals to riders from beginner to expert. While cheaper shoes can be found, they likely don't have the high performance capabilities of the Five Ten Freerider. We definitely found why this shoe is a staple of Five Ten's mountain bike shoe line.
Top Pick for Enduro Riding and Racing
The Shimano AM7
is billed by Shimano as an "all mountain and downhill shoe for optimum pedal connectivity, comfort, and protection" and we agree. This is a mountain bike flat shoe that will perform well for all mountain, enduro, cross country, and downhill riders. The shoes were comfortable right after putting them on and lacing them. The AM7 is lower profile than the offerings from Five Ten and also fits lower volume feet a little more securely. The synthetic uppers performed well once the rain and snow flew here in the Sierra, keeping our feet protected from moisture and colder temperatures. The armored lace shield kept laces protected and out of our way when riding and helped shed moisture better than any other shoe in our test stable. A padded asymmetrical ankle pad is a nice touch, providing ankle protection on the inboard side of mountain bike riders' ankles without turning the shoe into an actual hightop. The exclusive Vibram sole provided adequate grip overall, but between the tread pattern and the rubber compound, it couldn't quite compete with the Five Ten Stealth S1 or Mi6 compounds. A great all-around shoe for enduro, long rides and light downhill, this is a jack of all trades shoe sure to please a large population of mountain riders.