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Eight of the best 2021 mountain bike shoes for summer

From high tech race shoes to trail casual flats

There is a huge range of shoes for mountain biking, from flat pedal casual to high-tech race gear. There’s also a huge range of prices, from first shoes to boutique Italian footwear.

Here are eight of the best 2021 mountain bike shoes for this summer, from entry level XC cleats to adventure ready flats.

2021 mountain bike shoes

Bontrager Foray – $215.00

Bontrager mixes performance design with everyday use durability for the Foray. The shoes use a new Boa closure system plus improved rubberized protection for the heels and toe box. Better tread design and medium stiffness sole make walking in the Foray solid not sketchy. Bontrager’s trail shoe is great for a first performance shoe or for a budget friendly option that can pull double duty as a ‘cross shoe. Review.

photo Matt Stetson

Giant Charge Elite  – $340

We reviewed the Giant Charge Pro shoe last year. Now Giant has updated the Charge Elite using many of the same features. There’s a Boa dial closure and water-resistant synthetic upper as well as enough toe and heel protection to make these shoes last seasons, not months. And, at $340.00, they are an easier entry into performance footwear than the top-end Charge Pros.

Q36.5 Unique Adventure Shoe – $590.00

Q36.5 brings fit and design to the next level with the Unique Adventure Shoe. The Italian brand is focused on quality over all other concerns, aiming at making the best fitting and riding shoe it could imagine. Craftsmanship meets comfort in a lightweight shoe that will work for cross country mountain biking or your next gravel adventure. More info.

photo Matt Stetson

Giro Sector – $350.00

Giro brings high performance function to trails near and far with the Sector. A carbon composite plate keeps power transfer efficient for hours of riding. This adventure-ready shoes add enough tread to walk when necessary. Breathable uppers made of Synchwire material regulate heat on the hottest days and hardest efforts, while two Boa closures adjust fit to the millimeter.

photo Matt Stetson

Pearl Izumi Women’s X-Alp Flow Pop – $175.00

Pearl Izumi brings performance fit to flat pedal riding. A Boa closure makes the X-Alp Flow Pop fit perfectly, while PinLoc tread pattern keeps your footing solid, on and off the pedals. With the X-Alp Flow Pop, you get flat pedal fun and functional fit together in one shoe.

Etnies Brandon Semenuk Jameson mid crank 1
etnies Jameson Mid Crank Brandon Semenuk

etnies – Jameson Mid Crank Brandon Semenuk – $118.00

Two big names work together to make one very good, nicely understated shoe. Brandon Semenuk brings his otherworldly bike skills to elevate etnies venerable Jameson skate shoe into an excellent flat pedal mountain bike option. There is ankle protection, a supportive sole and weather-resistant fabric. All this without losing the style etnies is known for. Review.

Specialized Rime Flat – $190.00

Specialized takes the standard trail flat and makes it adventure ready. Heel and toe treads are designed for grip off the bike while a honeycomb tread mid-sole gives all the traction of the Big Red S’ race flats. Water resistant and quick drying uppers mix with a design that is comfortable to walk in, Whether walk to a patio post-ride or up an hours-long alpine hike-a-bike in the Rime is up to you. Review

2021 Shimano GR5
The olive colour carries over from the ME line

Shimano GR5  – $150.00

When Shimano overhauled its shoe line last summer, it didn’t forget about flats. While the XC shoes borrowed from the ritzy Sphyre race boots, the GR5 quietly improved its function. Better rubber for the soles, weather-proof materials on the uppers and casual-looking laces make the GR5 a solid option for a wide range of riding. Info.