How Should Mountain Bike Shoes Fit

Mountain bikes are fun to ride or use. They always give the best experience when you use them. However, there are specific shoe types for these machines. Most people do not know how to fit mountain bike shoes, ending up getting them wrong altogether.

Mountain bike shoes are designed specifically for these types of bicycles, and there is a way you can fit them.

In this article, we shall see how mountain bike shoes fit and how they work. The document will also mention the factors to consider when selecting them to understand better when shopping for a pair.

Read through it to get first-hand information on these types of footwear.

What are mountain bike shoes?

They are special shoes for handling rough and rugged terrain and physical strain during mountain biking.

Mountain bike shoes are of two types. They include:

  • The flat pedal and clipless pedal.
  • The second one is also known as cleated shoes.

The flat pedal ones usually have a flat sole and provide a large surface area for steadiness when cycling.

The clipless or cleated shoes have a cleat at the bottom for attaching the clip to the pedal.

How should mountain bike shoes fit?

Mountain bike shoes should fit well if you need a smooth ride. Here are some of the things to consider when trying them out.

  • The shoe length.

The length of the shoe should match that of your leg. Unlike training or running shoes that provide extra space at the front, the mountain bike one is a no.

The feet are not subject to the rolling motion, and there is no need for extra space in front of the shoe. However, a little room for breathing and relaxation should be left to provide comfort when cycling or spinning.

Choose a shoe that leaves a few millimeters from your big toe to the end of the insole.

While fitting the shoe, remove the insole and place it below your foot on a clean surface. It helps determine the size to buy.

Put back the insole and wear the shoe. Push back the foot until the heel is in contact with the shoe end. See how much room is between the foot and the front end of the toe.

You can always refer to the size chart if you are unsure how to fit the shoe.

  • The shoe width.

The feet are the widest along the balls of the foot, and this width varies from one person to another. Some people have splayed toes making the widest part at the front.

The ball of the foot is where it is in contact with the pedal when cycling. It is also the point where pressure is when powering the pedals.

Test the shoe first by cycling before buying it. If you feel unpleasant pressure in this region, do not buy, but continue searching for a suitable one.

Ensure there is minimum or no space on the sides because sideway movements can lead to injury and the development of blisters.

  • The hold.

A shoe can either hold loosely or firm. A loose one won’t be comfortable to use as the chance of coming off is high. To feel if the shoe hold firm, two things can reveal. First, it should not pinch or cause any form of discomfort. Secondly, it should not slip off when you walk in them.

Choose a shoe that allows for correct seating without the movement of the heel. The upper part that encloses the toe should also firmly and comfortably hold.

  • The soles and the upper material

A stiff sole is better than a light one as it brings more comfort and performance. The foot becomes stable and safe from tiring.

The upper material should not be stiffer than the sole but to hold strong power transmission points.

  • The heel support.

The heel should also be firm and without pinching the user. It is at the back end of the shoe and must fully support it.

The heel prevents injuries when cycling or in motion.

  • The recommended closure.

The locking system of the shoe should be in excellent condition. It should also provide much-needed support.

Cycling shoes have buckles and Velcro that should not press the foot of the user in any way. The reason is that it may bring a lot of discomfort and injuries when you cycle for a long.

In the case of twist fasteners, always position the deflection points for optimal stability. If wrinkles or blisters develop, the shoe is closed or fastened, and the shoe is not fit for you.

  • The quality of the insole.

All new cycling shoes come from the factory fitted with an insole. Its core function is to cushion the feet from the hard surface of the sole.

In many cases, factory-fitted insoles are thin and do not provide much-needed protection to the feet. It is advisable to change it for the tailor-made ones. They are usually fabricated to your liking and made specifically for the specific needs of your toes.

There are some specialists out there who know all the things about insoles. You can always contact them for an excellent experience with your cycling shoes.

Tips for trying out mountain bike shoes

When you go to buy some cycling shoes, it is prudent to try them out first. Here are some of the tips.

  • Carry your cycling socks to the shop, especially for those wearing orthotics. It keeps you safe from bacteria because of the many feet that try out the same shoes. Again, it helps you choose the shoe of the right size when wearing the socks.
  • Buy them towards the end of the day. Science has proven over time that our feet enlarge during the day and the evening. It is advisable to buy a pair slightly larger than the one which pinches a lot. Do not confuse this for crowd-avoiding tips!
  • Exercise patience. Do not settle for the first shoe that you come across. Sample as much as until you find one that satisfies your desires. Some of the best brands that fit your feet can be hard to come by. Take your time until you find the best mountain bike shoe.
  • Try them at different positions. Put them on and do some exercises such as standing up, walking, sitting down, and jumping. It helps you understand how it will feel when you are riding.

Quick tips on how you should feel when in mountain bike shoes

  • They should not be too tight. You won’t enjoy the ride for long.
  • The snug fit should be felt at least on the heel but not toward the front.
  • The shoes should have enough room to wiggle your toes.
  • The ball of your foot should sit on the widest part of the shoe to provide an excellent cleat position when riding.
  • Consider the width and length of the shoe when fitting or buying one. These have a direct impact on how you will feel when in action.


If you have to wonder how should mountain bike shoes fit, hopefully, this guide has answered all your questions. The shoe is not similar to any other, even the sporting one, hence the need to make an accurate selection.

The guide has all the information you need when buying mountain bike shoes. There are also quick tips to further your understanding of what to look for when purchasing.

You can always share this information with your friends and family to help them select the best mountain bike shoes.

Now that you know what to look for, it is high time to grab the first pair of mountain bike shoes!

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