6 Women’s Flat Pedal Mountain Bike Shoes, Tested

Flat pedal mountain bike shoes aren’t just for beginners anymore. They vary in stiffness, grip, material, and comfort. Of course there’s nothing wrong with your classic Five Ten Freerider, but if you’re in the market for a new mountain bike shoe, check out one of the following flat pedal mountain bike shoes for women.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Flow

Best for: Gravel and flow trails

Pearl Izumi X Alp Womens MTB Shoe
Pearl Izumi X Alp Womens MTB Shoe
pearl-izumi-xalp-womens-mtb-shoe-3

Pearl Izumi Women’s X-Alp Flow Shoe (men’s style also available) with Darn Tough Ultra Light Socks

The women’s X-Alp Flow is a lightweight, minimalist flat pedal shoe. The suede-like synthetic material is flexible and the subdued Pearl Izumi logo is barely visible. The sole has two different rubber materials and patterns. A dense black rubber is positioned at the ball of the foot in the pedal contact area while the blue rubber has a more open tread design for hiking or walking. The soft midsole and slight metatarsal cushioning in the insole add to the X-Alp’s overall comfort. On the pedals, however, the shoe has a lot of flex and is lacking stiffness for more aggressive trail riding.

  • Upper Material: Synthetic
  • Sole Material: Dual rubber compound
  • Weight: 17.4 oz (size 37, pair)
  • Price: $100, available at REI

Ride Concepts Livewire

Best for: Everyday riding

Ride Concepts Livewire
Ride Concepts Livewire
Ride Concepts Livewire D30
Ride Concepts Livewire

Ride Concepts Livewire Women’s Shoe (men’s style also available) and Darn Tough 1/4 Ultra Light Socks

The Ride Concepts Livewire is a refreshing change from your average mountain bike shoe. The lower profile, colors, and tubular laces are all giveaways that this shoe is different. But the key differentiator of the Livewire is actually hidden inside.

The shoe’s insole has D3O in the heel and footbed to provide cushion for everyday wear plus added protection and stiffness when the material hardens on impact. It’s this insole that truly makes the Livewire a shoe that you can wear on and off the bike, because cushion = comfort. Also, it doesn’t look like a bulky, tough mountain shoe but its durable, anti-abrasion mesh toe and heel guards fends off rocks and roots just fine. The sole’s grip is reliable on climbs, bumps, and descents.

Giro Riddance

Best for: All day adventure

Womens MTB Shoe Giro Riddance
Womens MTB Shoe Giro Riddance
Womens MTB Shoe Giro Riddance

Women’s Giro Riddance MTB Shoe (men’s style also available) with Darn Tough Ultra Light Socks

The women’s Giro Riddance is a rugged flat pedal shoe equipped to handle any trail. The microfiber upper has proven extremely durable and has more than adequate venting at the toe, sides, and even the heel. The thick padding around the ankle and heel give a feeling of extra support and protection. Inside the Riddance is a thin, yet comfortable insole with arch support. While riding, the Riddance grips exceptionally well through rocks and technical terrain. I’ve felt very stable and connected to the pedals since the first ride on these shoes.

  • Upper Material: Water-resistant Microfiber
  • Sole Material: Vibram Megagrip ISR Rubber
  • Weight: 25.4 oz (size 37, pair)
  • Price: $120, available at JensonUSA

Specialized 2FO Flat 2.0

Best for: Playing all day

Womens MTB Shoe Specialized 2FO Flat 2.0
Womens MTB Shoe Specialized 2FO Flat 2.0
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Specialized 2F0 Flat 2.0 shoe after enduring Little Bellas Color Day

The women’s 2FO Flat 2.0 is a do-it-all mountain bike shoe. At first glance the shoes look heavy and bulky, but they are surprisingly light on the feet. Compared to my old 2FOs the midsole is thicker and softer, making it a more cushioned fit yielding to full stiffness. The insole adds support while the flexible upper has a foam layer that extends over the toes plus there is extra padding on the tongue for additional protection.

The sole of the 2FO Flat 2.0 has a lot going on. The heel and toe have deep hex-shaped lugs to absorb shock and provide hike-a-bike grip. The midfoot lugs are more shallow and almost trapezoidal in shape to maximize pedal friction.

Liv Shuttle Flat

Best for: Die-hard Liv fans

Womens MTB Shoe Liv Shuttle Flat
Womens MTB Shoe Liv Shuttle Flat
Womens MTB Shoe Liv Shuttle Flat

Liv Shuttle Flat shoe (Giant Shuttle Flat for men also available)

The Shuttle Flat is the first flat pedal mountain bike shoe from Liv, a brand with a mission of getting more women on bikes. These shoes are very stiff, making them ideal for beginners and all-mountain riders alike. Beginners can relax knowing their grip is secure on the pedals through bumpy terrain, and more adventurous riders will appreciate the dense insole that provides firm support and enhanced shock absorption in the heel and forefoot.

The faux leather upper and punch of color in the laces (which can be neatly tucked away in their own garage) really dresses up the shoe, however, the thin material on the uppers left me feeling like protection and durability may be lacking.

Five Ten Sleuth DLX

Best for: Laid back style

Five Ten Sleuth DLX

The Five Ten Sleuth DLX is a more casual women’s mountain bike shoe and features Five Ten’s famous Stealth rubber sole. Honestly, I don’t wear these riding trail often but they’re comfortable enough to wear walking around town and riding my townie bike. The stiffness and Stealth grip provide an upgrade from wearing a running or other athletic shoe on the trail, plus these shoes offer bonus style points. The Sleuth DLX offers the perfect blend of a modern, colorful Adidas Samba Classic design with the reliable grip Five Ten is known for.

I’m loving the growing variety of women’s flat pedal mountain bike shoes. Performance and fit will always be the guiding factors in choosing mountain bike shoes, but it’s refreshing to see new styles and colors at a reasonable price point.

Thank you to all the brands that provided shoes for this round-up!

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