Best gravel bike shoes | Gravel-friendly footwear for adventure riding

Home » Cycling-bikes » Best gravel bike shoes | Gravel-friendly footwear for adventure riding
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<p>These are the best gravel bike shoes of 2020, as rated by our expert testers.</p>
<p>As gravel bikes and gravel riding grow in popularity, so too has the amount of gravel-specific kit marketed at those who want to get off the beaten track.</p>
<p>Over the past year, we’ve seen many big manufacturers turn their attention to producing gravel-specific footwear, but we aren’t yet at a point where gravel-specific footwear is the norm.</p>
<h2>Gravel-specific shoes, are they really necessary?</h2>
<p>The natural crossover between the riding conditions and <a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/buyers-guides/best-mountain-bike-pedals-13-of-our-favourites/">pedal systems</a> used in cross-country mountain biking and gravel riding mean that a lot of <a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/features/best-shoes-for-mountain-bikers/">mountain bike footwear</a> is already well suited to gravel.</p>
<p>For that reason, you’ll find some of the shoes in this list were originally designed for mountain biking.</p>
<p>However, the likes of Specialized, Shimano and Fizik are all now producing gravel-specific footwear.</p>
<p>This new generation of discipline-specific footwear tends to go without the considerable sole, heel and toe protection more commonplace on cross-country shoes, naturally making them lighter. The styling is often — but not always — more casual, too.</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/buyers-guides/best-gravel-bikes/">These are the best gravel bikes you can buy right now</a></li>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/buyers-guides/best-gravel-tyres/">The best gravel bike tyres on sale</a></li>
</ul>
<h2>The best gravel bike shoes, in order of score</h2>
<ul>
<li>
<strong>Fizik X5 Terra</strong>: £150 / €159 / $150</li>
<li>
<strong>Giro Privateer Lace</strong>: £124.99 / $140</li>
<li>
<strong>Mavic Crossmax Elite CM</strong>: £160 / €179.95</li>
<li>
<strong>Shimano RX8</strong>: £219.99 / $250</li>
<li>
<strong>Quoc Gran Tourer</strong>:  £219 / $275</li>
<li>
<strong>Shimano XC5</strong>: £120 / $150</li>
<li>
<strong>Specialized S-Works Recon</strong>: £340 / $425</li>
<li>
<strong>Triban RC 520</strong>: £70</li>
</ul>
<h2>Fizik X5 Terra</h2>
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Terra"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
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<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Fizik’s X5 Terra gravel shoe.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>David Caudery/Immediate Media</i></span>
</div>
<ul>
<li>£150 / €159 / $150</li>
<li>Gravel-specific</li>
<li>Proven upper design</li>
<li>Unique looks</li>
</ul>
<p>The X5 Terra is a truly gravel-specific option from Fizik and it’s one we are really fond of.</p>
<p>We particularly like the uppers on these, which are based on the single BOA design of Fizik’s R1 road shoe. The sole is efficient when it comes to putting down power but has enough flex to make shouldering, walking or running with the bike relatively comfortable.</p>
<p>The unusual suede look might seem like a strange choice for a shoe that is designed to get mucky, but we’ve been pleased with the way they’ve worn.</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/mountain-bike-shoes/fizik-x5-terra-review/">Read our full review of the Fizik X5 Terra shoes</a></li>
</ul>
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<h2>Giro Privateer Lace</h2>
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<span class="sr-only">4.5 out of 5 star rating</span>
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Lace"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
</div>
<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Giro’s Privateer Lace.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>David Caudery/Immediate Media</i></span>
</div>
<ul>
<li>£124.99 / $140</li>
<li>Comfortable yet efficient</li>
<li>Generous sizing</li>
<li>Great looking shoes</li>
</ul>
<p>Originally designed for mountain biking but also great for gravel riding are the Privateer Lace shoes from Giro.</p>
<p>They’re comfortable with a sole that provides a good compromise of efficiency and comfort. We found the sizing on these to be rather generous, so be sure to try before you buy.</p>
<p>We also think they look the part, and the Privateers are some of the cheapest shoes in this list.</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/road-bike-shoes/giro-privateer-lace-all-road-shoe-review/">Read our full review of the Giro Privateer Lace shoes</a></li>
</ul>
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<h2>Mavic Crossmax Elite CM</h2>
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data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/03/mavic-crossmax-elite-cm-01-1532871828212-1dhunlrdqz0l0-48e5625-e1570534766154.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=556%2C370, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/03/mavic-crossmax-elite-cm-01-1532871828212-1dhunlrdqz0l0-48e5625-e1570534766154.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1112%2C740 2x" type="image/jpeg"><img class="wp-image-14204 align size-landscape_thumbnail image-handler__image image-handler__image–full no-wrap js-lazyload" data-src="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/03/mavic-crossmax-elite-cm-01-1532871828212-1dhunlrdqz0l0-48e5625-e1570534766154.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=620%2C413" width="620" height="413" alt="Mavic Crossmax Elite CM shoes" title="Mavic Crossmax Elite CM shoes"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
</div>
<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Mavic’s Crossmax Elite CM.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>Immediate Media</i></span>
</div>
<ul>
<li>£160 / €179.95</li>
<li>Truly weatherproof</li>
<li>Stiff soles</li>
<li>Not too weighty</li>
</ul>
<p>The Crossmax Elite CM shoes are a favourite among mountain bikers who brave wet and wintry conditions and so naturally work well for those who gravel grind through the colder months.</p>
<p>Unlike most weatherproof winter boots, these have a  stiff sole and, at under 900g for a size 44, aren’t too heavy either.</p>
<p>The solid toe and tongue sections make a real difference in cold conditions and the neoprene collar keeps ankles warm even when it’s wet.</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/mountain-bike-shoes/mavic-crossmax-elite-cm-shoes-review/">Read our full review of the Mavic Crossmax Elite CM shoes</a></li>
</ul>
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<h2>Shimano RX8</h2>
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<span class="ratings-stars__value">
<span class="sr-only">4.5 out of 5 star rating</span>
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https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/05/SHIMANO-SS-2020-43-fdea334.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1667%2C1111 3x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/05/SHIMANO-SS-2020-43-fdea334.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=2222%2C1481 4x" type="image/jpeg"><img class="wp-image-382793 align size-landscape_thumbnail image-handler__image image-handler__image–aspect no-wrap js-lazyload" data-src="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/05/SHIMANO-SS-2020-43-fdea334.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=620%2C413" width="620" height="413" alt="Shimano RX8" title="Shimano RX8"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
</div>
<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Shimano’s RX8 gravel shoe.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>Shimano</i></span>
</div>
<ul>
<li>£219.99 / $250</li>
<li>Gravel-specific</li>
<li>Impressively light</li>
<li>Superb ride quality</li>
</ul>
<p>The RX8 is Shimano’s dedicated gravel shoe and it’s currently one of our favourite choices. The RX8 is a close relative of Shimano’s excellent <a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/mountain-bike-shoes/shimano-s-phyre-xc9-review/">S-Phyre XC9 mountain bike shoe</a> but manages to save over 100g (in a size 45) from the aforementioned despite a lower retail price.</p>
<p>Once clipped in the RX8s are superb and manage to combine the qualities of the best road and mountain bike shoes.</p>
<p>Rubber grip sections at the sole allow you to dab your feet without damaging the shoes and provide plenty of grip, even in muddy conditions.</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/road-bike-shoes/shimano-rx8-shoes-review/">Read our full review of the Shimano RX8 shoes</a></li>
</ul>
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<h2>Quoc Gran Tourer</h2>
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<span class="sr-only">4.0 out of 5 star rating</span>
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data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/03/quoc-gran-tourer-01-1547392811068-1obkbnpnurx6q-1000-100-e1f8aed-e1571302434259.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=90&amp;resize=556%2C370" type="image/webp"><source media="(min-width: 590px)" data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/03/quoc-gran-tourer-01-1547392811068-1obkbnpnurx6q-1000-100-e1f8aed-e1571302434259.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=556%2C370" type="image/jpeg"><img class="wp-image-13339 align size-landscape_thumbnail image-handler__image image-handler__image–full no-wrap js-lazyload" data-src="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/03/quoc-gran-tourer-01-1547392811068-1obkbnpnurx6q-1000-100-e1f8aed-e1571302434259.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=620%2C412" width="620" height="413" alt="Quoc Gran Tourer" title="Quoc Gran Tourer"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
</div>
<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Quoc’s Gran Tourer gravel shoes.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>Immediate Media</i></span>
</div>
<ul>
<li>£219 / $275</li>
<li>Gravel-specific</li>
<li>Water-resistant</li>
<li>Stylish design</li>
</ul>
<p>These stylish shoes from Quoc are designed specifically for gravel riding.</p>
<p>The lace-up uppers are manufactured without stitching, making them superbly comfortable but also usefully water-resistant.</p>
<p>The SPD compatible soles are another highlight thanks to a stiff carbon-composite midsole and grippy rubber outsole that’s been designed to protect your cleats while walking.</p>
<p>Although not the lightest, they’re a comparable weight to many cross-country mountain bike shoes.</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/mountain-bike-shoes/quoc-gran-tourer-gravel-shoes-review/">Read our full review of the Quoc Gran Tourer shoes</a></li>
</ul>
<h2>Shimano XC5</h2>
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XC5"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
</div>
<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Shimano’s XC5 lace-up MTB shoes are good for gravel too.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>Josh Patterson / Immediate Media</i></span>
</div>
<ul>
<li>£120 / $150</li>
<li>Michelin rubber outsoles</li>
<li>Lace-up closure</li>
<li>Carbon-reinforced mid-sole</li>
</ul>
<p>Not strictly a gravel shoe but one that remains very capable is the Shimano XC5.</p>
<p>They’re well priced with a grippy sole and soft, supple uppers that allow for plenty of comfort.</p>
<p>The carbon-reinforced sole is coated in Michelin rubber, providing useful midsole grip if you miss your pedal, while raised toe, heel and forefoot tread blocks make for secure walking.</p>
<p>The lace-up nature of these — as with the other lace-ups on this list — does mean they take a little longer to put on and aren’t adjustable on the fly.</p>
<ul>
<li>
<a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/road-bike-shoes/shimano-xc5-shoes-review/">Read our</a><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/road-bike-shoes/shimano-xc5-shoes-review/"> full review of the Shimano XC5 shoes</a>
</li>
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<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Specialized’s S-Works Recon is another MTB shoe that’s good for gravel duties.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>David Caudery/Immediate Media</i></span>
</div>
<ul>
<li>£340 / $425</li>
<li>Twin alloy BOA dials</li>
<li>Seriously lightweight</li>
<li>Premium price tag</li>
</ul>
<p>The S-Works Recon is a fantastic mountain bike shoe that’s very much suitable for gravel duties.</p>
<p>Aside from the eye-watering price tag, these shoes are very difficult to criticise.</p>
<p>The twin alloy BOA dials mean you can cinch the uppers to your preference while a Velcro strap over the toes further refines the fit. The carbon sole is the stiffest Specialized makes and features a bonded dual-density grip section.</p>
<p>At 665g (for a pair of EU46), they’re also seriously light.</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/mountain-bike-shoes/specialized-s-works-recon-shoe-review/">Read our full review of the Specialized S-Works Recon shoes</a></li>
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type="image/webp"><source media="(max-width: 589px)" data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Triban-RC-520-Gravel-shoes-01-117f59b.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=553%2C369, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Triban-RC-520-Gravel-shoes-01-117f59b.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1107%2C738 2x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Triban-RC-520-Gravel-shoes-01-117f59b.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1600%2C1067 3x" type="image/jpeg"><source media="(min-width: 992px)" data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Triban-RC-520-Gravel-shoes-01-117f59b.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=90&amp;resize=619%2C413, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Triban-RC-520-Gravel-shoes-01-117f59b.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=45&amp;resize=1239%2C826 2x, 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https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Triban-RC-520-Gravel-shoes-01-117f59b.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1110%2C740 2x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Triban-RC-520-Gravel-shoes-01-117f59b.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1600%2C1067 3x" type="image/jpeg"><img class="wp-image-417150 align size-landscape_thumbnail image-handler__image image-handler__image–aspect no-wrap js-lazyload" data-src="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Triban-RC-520-Gravel-shoes-01-117f59b.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=619%2C413" width="620" height="413" alt="Triban RC 520 Gravel cycling shoes" title=""></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
</div>
<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> They aren’t fancy, but the RC 520s are a tough pair of road shoes.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>David Caudery/Immediate Media</i></span>
</div>
<ul>
<li>£70</li>
<li>Excellent value</li>
<li>Very comfortable</li>
<li>Decent adjustability</li>
</ul>
<p>The design team at Decathlon have kept things simple with these shoes and they’re all the better for it.</p>
<p>Available at less than half of the next cheapest shoe on this list, the RC 520 shoes from Triban are a true bargain.</p>
<p>These are not equipped to have you walking on treacherous terrain or thick mud though, and at 798g for a pair of size EU42s, they’re a little porky.</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/shoes/road-bike-shoes/triban-rc-520-road-and-gravel-shoes-review/">Read our full review of the Triban RC 520 shoes</a></li>
</ul>
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