The Best Women’s Mountain Bike Shoes For 2022 [Flats + Clipless]

Becky sitting on mountain bike with foot on the ground and smiling at camera on dirt hill in California

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If you’re like most women mountain bikers, then you’re always on the lookout for the best gear. So when it comes to choosing shoes, you want something that’s not only comfortable and durable but also provides good traction and stability on the trail.

In this blog post, I take a look at some of the best women’s mountain bike shoes for 2022. I’ll start my personal favorites followed by other great flats and clipless options. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to upgrade your current setup, read on for some shoe shopping inspiration!

Ready to get ripping? Here are the best women’s mountain bike shoes for every type of lady shredder.

Two Wheeled Wanderer’s Top Picks

After years of riding and an ever-evolving closet of shoes, here are my top picks for the best women’s mountain bike shoes:

Ride Concepts Livewire Shoes

Black and orange women's Ride Concepts livewire mountain bike shoe
  • Great for: All-around riding
  • Platform: Flats
  • Pros: Grippy soles, durable outer
  • Cons: Laces get ‘chewed’ by eyelets and need to be replaced after a season or two of riding, not the lightest shoe out there
  • MSRP: $110

Check price: REIBackcountry / Competitive Cyclist

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After many seasons of riding with Five Ten shoes, I made the switch over to Ride Concepts and I’m super happy that I did! Five Ten’s are still a great choice, but I feel like Ride Concepts has surpassed them in quality, design, and durability. It’s also a rider-owned brand, so you can be assured that they strive to make the best shoes possible!

The Ride Concepts Livewire women’s mountain bike shoes are currently my favorites because they’re super grippy on the pedals and they’re comfortable to ride in no matter the length of ride or type of terrain.

The only drawback that I’ve found is that the laces tend to get ‘chewed’ up by the metal eyelets after a season or two of riding, so they need to be replaced before the shoe actually wears out. Laces are cheap, though :).

And can I just say how happy I am to not have to choose between a set of ‘women’s’ colors!?

Ride Concepts Hellion Elite

Black Ride Concepts Hellion Elite women's mountain bike shoe
  • Great for: More agressive all-around riding
  • Platform: Flats
  • Pros: Grippy soles, cushioned insole to absorb greater impacts, lightweight
  • Cons: Laces get ‘chewed’ by eyelets and need to be replaced after a season or two of riding, a white mountain bike shoe???
  • MSRP: $150

Check price: Ride Concepts

If you’re looking for a more durable women’s mountain bike shoe that you can take to the bike park or out on gnarlier terrain, the Ride Concepts Hellion Elite is the answer. This shoe got a big upgrade from last year’s model and it’s now Ride Concepts’ lightest weight shoe that still performs optimally in all riding conditions, but has a cushier insole for rougher terrain and it’s partially made with recycled materials.

Best Women’s Mountain Bike Shoes For Flat Pedals

Five Ten Freerider Canvas Shoe

Red women's Five Ten Freerider canvas mountain bike shoe
  • Great for: Entry-level shoe, casual fit
  • Platform: Flats
  • Pros: Proprietary Stealth rubber soles that are super grippy, made from recycled materials
  • Cons: Not as durable as Five Tens used to be
  • MSRP: $100

Check price: REI / Backcountry

Five Tens used to be my go-to mountain bike shoe brand, but since they sold to Adidas, I do feel like they’ve changed a lot. This doesn’t mean that they’re not good anymore, they’re just different and I personally prefer Ride Concepts now.

That being said, the Five Ten Freerider women’s mountain bike shoe is a great entry-level shoe for newer riders or those switching to flats. I started out on these shoes!

Five Ten uses a proprietary Stealth rubber sole that is super grippy on the pedals and great for everyday pedaling on a variety of terrain. I also love that Adidas has started to incorporated recycled materials and has teamed up with Parley Ocean Plastic to phase out single-use plastics and microbeads and use recycled ocean plastics in their designs.

If you’re looking for something that is a bit stiffer and has a sleeker, more form-fitting look check out the Five Ten Freerider Pros.

Shimano GR5

Black Shimano GR5 women's mountain bike shoes
  • Great for: All mountain riding with a downhill focus
  • Platform: Flats
  • Pros: Great for wide feet
  • Cons: Don’t come in half sizes
  • MSRP: $115

Check price: REI Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist

Shimano is my boyfriend’s mountain bike shoe brand of choice and the Shimano GR5 is the women’s version of his favorite platform shoe. Designed for the gravity-seeker in mind, this shoe can still be worn for all-mountain rides, but it shines on rough and rugged descents.

It features Shimano’s proprietary rubber outsole and has reinforced toe and ankle protection to protect your feet from wayward rocks and obstacles. It’s also a great choice for women with wide feet because the toe box is extra roomy.

Bontrager Flatlines

Gray women's Bontrager mountain bike shoes with teal laces
  • Great for: Cross-country riding
  • Platform: Flats
  • Pros: Great entry-level mountain bike shoe that you can grow with, grippy and comfortable soles
  • Cons: Only one color choice
  • MSRP: $130

Check price: Trek Bikes

Vibram soles are known for their superior grip and comfort, which is why (assumingly) Bontrager chose them for their Women’s Flatline platform mountain bike shoes. They’re not as stiff as other options listed here, but if you’re a cross-country rider who prefers a flat pedal, those shoes are a great option.

Made with a shock-absorbing midsole and a durable synthetic upper, they will help you progress onto bigger and more rugged terrain if that’s your goal!

Best women’s mountain bike shoes for clipless pedals

Ride Concepts Hellion Clip

Gray Ride Concepts Women's Hellion Clipless mountain bike shoe
  • Great for: All-around riding for riders who prefer clipless
  • Platform: Clipless
  • Pros: Large cleat platform for generous amount of adustability, hook and loop strap for extra stability
  • Cons: Only comes in one color option
  • MSRP: $150

Check price: Ride Concepts

New for the 2022 season, the Ride Concepts Hellion Clip has all the great features of the Hellion Elite shoe on a clipless platform. It’s designed with a generous 40mm cleat window, which allows you to set your cleats in the perfect position for your geometry.

It’s made with a grippy rubber outsole so you can make the most of your platform clipless pedals and it has a clever hook and loop strap to ensure your feet stay locked in place as you’re descending rowdy trails or bounding up tough climbs.

Five Ten Kestrels

Gray and blue women's five ten mountain bike shoe
  • Great for: All-around riding for experience clipless riders
  • Platform: Clipless
  • Pros: Stiff upper and take time to break in, made with Five Ten’s proprietary Stealth rubber outsole for maximum grip
  • Cons: Only one color choice
  • MSRP: $150

Check price: REI / Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist

For an all-around clipless women’s mountain bike shoe, the Five Ten Kestrel is one of the most popular options, although they do take some time to break in. The sole is made with Five Ten’s famous Stealth rubber and the exterior is a perfect blend of breathable mesh and durable synthetic that will withstand daily use and abuse. These are definitely on the stiff side, so they’re a better choice for riders already comfortable and familiar with riding on a clipless platform.

I also appreciate that the cleat platform has a wide interface so that’s there’s plenty of room for quickly snapping in and out.

Pearl Izumi X-ALP Summit

Black women's Pearl Izumi Alp X mountain bike shoe for rugged terrain
  • Great for: Bikepacking or long, rugged mountain bike rides
  • Platform: Clipless
  • Pros: Wide toe box
  • Cons: Expensive, run small, not a great all-around shoe
  • MSRP: $150

Check price: REI / Backcountry / Pearl Izumi

If your idea of mountain biking is going on long, rugged rides or overnight bikepacking trips through varied terrain, the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Summit Mountain Bike Shoe was made for you. These high-quality and durable shoes have beefy lugs on the bottom for hike-a-bike sections and a wide toe box so your feet can stay comfortable on long rides.

The synthetic leather upper is studded with a ton of small holes to maximize ventilation and allow your feet to dry out after river crossings.

Shimano XC1

Black Shimano women's cross-country mountain bike shoe
  • Great for: Cross-country riders
  • Platform: Clipless
  • Pros: Great breatability, lightweight
  • Cons: Only one color option
  • MSRP: $100

Check price: REI / Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist

For the XC enthusiasts out there, the Shimano XC1 is a really popular choice for its lightness, breathability, and contoured fit. The recessed cleat area allows you to walk in easily and the burly lugs around the outsole help with traction on and off the bike.

Bontrager Evoke

  • Great for: Cross-country riders tackling a variety of terrain
  • Platform: Clipless
  • Pros: Large lugs on bottom for traction
  • Cons: Onely tightens with the boa
  • MSRP: $125

Check price: Trek Bikes / REI

The Bontrager Evoke mountain bike shoes are a durable and versatile unisex option. They’re not a women’s-specific shoe, but their roomy fit and boa dial allows you to adjust them to your comfort and preference. A Tachyon rubber outsole ensures grip on any surface and is durable enough for everyday use and abuse on a variety of cross-country terrain.

I do wish they had a second closure option to ensure a snug fit.

I hope this guide helps you find the perfect shoe for your riding needs! Do you already have a women’s mountain bike shoe that you love? What is it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Discover the best women's mountain bike shoes for every rider including clipless cross-country shoes and flat pedal all-mountain options.
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