[Updated January 21, 2021]
We have tried and tested a lot of clipless shoes here on off-road.cc, both for summer and winter cycling. Here, we round up the best you can buy. These shoes have all been reviewed by us and received a score of over four out of five so you can rest assured these are pairs that will be good at their job, comfy and reliable too.
Scroll down for all the shoes, you'll find a link to the review under each one, and the headline links to a dealer who has that model in stock at the listed price. If there is a shoe you want to know more about, just hit the link in the lists below to jump straight to that shoe on this page.
The best gravel shoes you can buy
The Bont Riot MTB+ is a very stiff, competition orientated shoe that's light and comes with custom moulding options, although the Boa is a bit basic for the price. They might carry the mountain bike tag, but they're great for gravel bikes. The stiff platform really suits fast riding, and anyone coming over from road will find the feel comfortingly familiar.
Read our review of the Bont Riot MTB+
Find a Bont dealer
The updated Shimano ME5 trail shoes effectively balance walking efficiency with power transfer. The sole is good for hard surfaces and wet grip is good, though it lacks real bite in mud. They're secure and comfortable, too, but ours are showing signs of early wear due to an odd material choice.
Read our review of the Shimano ME5
Find a Shimano dealer
The Giro Ventana Fastlace is a clipless offroad shoe that works excellently whether you're a gravel rider or a light trail smasher. While it makes for a comfortable, cool summer choice that’s easy to get on and off, the tread isn’t grippy enough for the mixed conditions of the equally mixed UK weather – this really is a summer-only shoe.
The Specialized Recon 1.0 clipless mountain bike shoe is a versatile and lightweight trail shoe that happily takes on gravel riding too. It's comfortable, stiff and easy to walk in, and well-priced as well. Other than the flimsy-feeling Velcro straps, there’s not much wrong with them at all.
Following on from the release of its GRX groupset, Shimano has continued down the gravel route with these new RX8 SPD shoes. A stiff, lightweight yet rugged shoe perfect for performance riding away from the road, or on it for that matter – especially for those who like to be able to walk off the bike. They are a fair old chunk of cash though.
The Scott MTB Comp Boa Reflective shoes are a new version of Scott’s well-priced MTB Comp Boa shoes, helping you be seen in the dark whilst not looking out of place on daytime rides. At £99.99 (for both men's and women's), the shoes are good value and have proved to be a hardy gravel and cross-country shoe.
Quoc’s Gran Tourer is a unique looking lace-up gravel, touring and adventure shoe. It’s a stylish design, there's a slight pattern to the dark grey upper that contrasts nicely with the traditional rubber-coloured sole and the protective black bumper. While not cheap, they do repay with superb comfort mile after mile.
The Specialized S-Works Recon shoes provide stunning performance and first-class fit, which makes them ideally suited to fast-paced and demanding mountain bike, gravel and adventure cyclists. They don’t come cheap mind, but if you can afford them, they are probably one of the best top-end shoes available right now.
Fizik's X5 Terra is a stylish, sleek and comfortable shoe with a sole that is stiff enough for big power efforts yet still comfortable on long rides. They’re slightly narrow, but the upper forms to the foot while being durable too. I’m a big fan of these shoes.
Incredibly comfortable and supportive, stiff enough for efficient pedalling without killing your feet, breathable in warm weather and durable in horrid conditions, all wrapped up with some pretty unique styling, there’s a lot to like here.
The Fizik Infinito X1 shoes are incredibly stiff for maximum power transfer, ideal for racers and pedal thrashers that don't want to give away precious power to a flexy sole, and the highly adjustable Boa dial arrangement and fit provides great comfort. Not so impressive is the high price, but if you can afford them they are a good choice.
The Shimano XC7’s prove to be a sleek, comfortable and stiff SPD cross-country race shoe for both gravel and mountain bike use. These stiff shoes will see you efficiently through a race whilst also being a good partner for cross-country pedalling or training.
The Bont Riot MTB+ is a very stiff, competition orientated shoe that's light and comes with custom moulding options, although the Boa is a bit basic for the price.
If you’re looking for shoes to protect your feet from cold, grotty weather then Bontrager's JFW Winter shoes will protect well. They’re very well made, offering loads of toe wiggle room, secure foothold and a sole that is balanced between pedalling stiffness and walkability. I just wish that they were totally waterproof.
The Fizik Artica X5 mountain bike SPD shoes are a relatively stiff shoe that is built to keep racers and long distance cyclist riding through the winter. They are warm, waterproof and easy to clean off in the aftermath. These would be great shoes for gravel riders too where the sleek profile suits the genre of riding.
Keeping dry and warm is a challenge during winter, but Fizik's Terra Artica X2 shoe does an excellent job of keeping your feet protected, with a toasty warmness that lasts long into the ride. The tread is rugged and easy to walk in with an agreeable level of flex, but at £280 they're a serious investment.
We'll be adding more shoes to this list as we test them so make sure you check back regularly for updates.
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