Gravel Bike Shoes

Gravel riding is still growing in popularity. Of course, also the manufacturers are seeing this trend. They produce more and more gravel-specific equipment. In this post, I’ll give you an overview of gravel bike shoes.
Usually, you can choose any MTB shoe. They’re all suited pretty well for riding gravel. I wouldn’t choose a road shoe because you’ll destroy the cleats when walking. In gravel, you can always expect passages to walk and push the bike. That’s why recessed cleats make a lot of sense. You will also need a bit more protection for your feet. That’s usually not what road bike shoes are made for.
Gravel-specific shoes are somewhere in the middle. They don’t offer the same protection that MTB cross country shoes do, but more than a road bike shoe. That makes them lighter than an MTB shoe while still protecting you enough. They also tend to have a bit more casual design.
Specialized, Fizik and of course Shimano are offering these gravel-specific shoes.
Here you will find some commonly asked questions and answers about gravel bike shoes.

What shoes should you use for gravel?

You can use any MTB shoe that fits your pedaling system. MTB shoes offer enough protection for gravel riding. But there are now also gravel-specific shoes. The Shimano RX8 and the Fizik Terra X5 are some examples. They’re lighter than MTB shoes and styled a bit more casual.

What is a gravel cycling shoe?

A gravel cycling shoe is usually built for the SPD system. That means it’s a clipless shoe with a cleat mounted at the sole. That cleat will click into the pedal. A gravel shoe is a bit lighter than an MTB shoe, because it doesn’t need to offer as much protection. It usually is also styled a bit more casual.

Can you use road shoes on a gravel bike?

You can use road shoes on a gravel bike, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Road bike shoes usually offer not enough protection for your feet. Also they expose the cleat to much. If you need to get off your bike in gravel you might hurt yourself or damage the cleats.

Can you wear cleats on gravel?

You can wear cleats on gravel and that’s also what most riders do. Wearing cleats gives you the best connection to the pedal. That way you can not easily slip off. Most riders use SPD cleats and pedals.

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