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Best flat pedal shoes 2024 — kicks for commuting, leisure and urban cycling

Not just for off-road riders, the best flat pedal shoes can make cycling life easier for commuters, leisure riders and urban pedallers too

The best flat pedal shoes combine off-bike convenience and comfort with on-bike power transfer. We've thrashed round town, sessioned the singletrack and generally strolled about to find out which flat pedal shoes work best on and off the bike. These are our favourites.

High performing flatties for commuting, leisure and urban cycling start from around £55.

Decide how much non-cycling time you’ll be spending in your shoes – stiffer flatties are great for power transfer but might not have enough give for comfortable day-to-day life.

Sticky rubber soles and clever tread design can offer excellent grip on and off the bike.

Combine these shoes with with flat pedals that have steel grip pins for ultimate performance.

The best cycling shoes for flat pedals

Best overall: Five Ten Impact Pro — Buy Now for £112.00 - £133.00 from Wiggle


Five Ten are the veritable kings of the castle when it comes to flatties, with a wide range of SPD-free shoes to suit any requirement. The Impact Pros show off all of Five Ten’s knowledge and expertise with class-leading flat pedal grip, comfy fit and a sole that manages to balance, traction, stiffness and comfort. The big variable-sized, dot-shaped tread engages with pedal pins super well. In fact, the only thing we can really find to criticise is the cheap-feeling laces – and that’s an easy problem to remedy.

Read our review of the Five Ten Impact Pro
Find a Five Ten dealer

Best women's: Ride Concepts Women's Livewire — Buy Now for £84.96-£99.95 from Winstanleys Bikes

Ride Concepts women's Livewire flat shoes-11

For female riders, there are a few women-specific flatties on the market that feature more female-friendly styling and design. Ride Concepts’ Livewires are excellent all-day shoes that are comfortable, well-made, sturdy and even offer enhanced performance with a stiffer sole for pedalling. They’re not super grippy, and sizing comes up a little small, but for a flattie you can live with day-to-day, they’re a great option.

Read our review of the Ride Concepts Women's Livewire
Find a Ride Concepts dealer

Best for pedal grip: Specialized 2FO Flat 2.0 — Buy Now for £145.00 from Specialized Concept Store


If grip is your bugbear, Specialized’s 2FO Flat 2.0s is the answer to your dreams. Although the sole features an adjusted, deeper tread at the heel and toe for better on-foot performance, it’s on the pedals where these really shine. The soft and hugely grippy rubber in the pedal contact area makes for an assured connection, and there is excellent feel for better control. Specialized’s Body Geometry footbeds offer added comfort and noticeable cushioning. At £140, though, these are a pricey option.

Read our review of the Specialized 2FO Flat 2.0
Find a Specialized dealer

Best flat-ish: Giro Gauge — Buy Now for £63.00 from Sigma Sports | £76.99 from Bikester | £68.00 from Evans Cycles

Giro Gauge MTB Cycling Shoes.jpg

There is a middle way between flat and cleated shoes. Some options, such as these Gauges from Giro, are supplied with cleat mount covers that you bolt into place should you want to stay resolutely unclipped. These are stiff, comfortable and supply excellent off-bike grip with only weather protection being a let down. And if for any reason you decide at a later date that clipped-in is the way to go, well, you don’t need new shoes – just remove the covers and fit some cleats.

Read our review of the Giro Gauge
Find a Giro dealer

Best on a budget: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Flow — Buy Now for £54.99 from High on Bikes

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Flow Mountain shoe.jpg

For people who want flat shoes that they can wear all day, even if they’re standing on their feet, but which offer more than just trainer-level performance on the bike, Pearl Izumi’s X-Alp Flows are the perfect answer. There aren’t super-plush levels of padding compared to some rivals, and the bit of give in the sole means pedalling rigidity isn’t as rock hard as others, but as an all-round daily shoe with added grippy rubber tread for bike-friendly ability, they’re hard to beat.

Read our review of the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Flow
Find a Pearl Izumi dealer

Best for versatility: Specialized Rime — Buy Now for £104.00 from Cycle Store

2021 specialized rime flat sole

The Specialized Rime Flat shoes aim to be as good for hiking as for biking, and they’re exactly that. They’re grippy on and off of the pedals, comfy, and impressively weather resistant. However, the lace tidy isn't the most secure, and they're pricey at the £130 RRP.

Tester Liam writes: “I've walked in the Rime over wet, soft mud right through to dry dust, and grip has been impressive at both ends of the spectrum. I've been particularly impressed by its wet weather grip as I've rarely slipped unless trudging through serious slop. They offer a level of purchase that's yet to be seen from a flat pedal shoe.

“On-bike performance is where I've really been impressed by the Rime. Although its tread is pretty aggressive for a flat pedal shoe, it positively engages with pedal pins, resulting in a super confident grip. It offers a locked-in feel, much like the Leatt DBX 4.0 Flat shoe, because of the tread's channels that provide heaps of on-bike confidence.”

Read our review of the Specialized Rime
Find a Specialized dealer

Giro Latch — Buy Now for £90.00 - £103.00 from Sigma Sports

Giro Latch mountain bike shoes 001

The Giro Latch mountain bike shoe is a well balanced flat shoe offering a good level of comfort and grip in all conditions. The idyllic marriage of technology and style results in a capable shoe that also looks good off the bike. With little to find fault with, the Latch shoes are a decent contender in the market.

Tester Jessica writes: “The Latch provides a good level of support from the sole, with a tough build that still offers enough flexibility to deform with your foot's movement. This is especially noticeable when walking. Unlike the crankbrothers Stamp shoes, which I find very stiff and a little unforgiving, the Latch is far more supple. Moreover, that suppleness hasn't given way to a collapse in support or diminished build integrity. Some shoes feel pliable at the start before progressively giving way, causing you to apply increased tension through the laces to keep the shoe feeling secure. That's not been the case here, however.   

“Even after testing and subsequently moving on to other shoe reviews, I've found myself reaching for the Giro Latch shoes for my leisurely non-work-related rides. These shoes are comfortable to wear on and off the bike, providing fantastic pedal adhesion in all conditions. Despite showing some slight signs of wear on the sole, they've retained their build integrity quite well.”

Read our review of the Giro Latch
Find a Giro dealer

Leatt DBX 2.0 — Buy Now for £55.99 - £79.99 from Chain Reaction Cycles

2021 leatt DBX 2.0 flat pedal shoe hero

Leatt’s DBX 2.0 Flat Pedal Shoe combines a casual look with serious performance that any non-clipped rider will appreciate. It's comfy and reasonably priced too.

Tester Liam writes: “The sole's waffle-like tread is very reminiscent of that on a certain other brand’s range of shoes (the one rhyming with… cans). At first look this design absolutely makes sense, and turns out to in practice too – at least for the most part. Possibly due to a mix of the DBX 2.0’s medium/stiff sole and that well-designed tread, it’s a really nice shoe to walk in. I’ve probably walked in these shoes as often as I’ve ridden in them, and they're pleasant and predictably grippy.”

“The Leatt DBX 2.0 Flat Pedal Shoe is great if you like to chop and change from flats to clips. It provides a very usable level of grip and that ‘locked in’ feel, while not costing an awful lot. It's also super comfy and surprisingly weather resistant.”

Read our review of the Leatt DBX 2.0
Find a Leatt dealer

Giant Shuttle — Buy Now for £79.99 from H2 Gear (limited sizes)

2020 Giant Shuttle Flat Off Road Shoes.jpg

Giant’s Shuttle flatty majors on all-out pedalling performance. The dual-compound sole might not quite match a rigid carbon alternative, but it’s still supremely impressive in terms of power transfer. Add in Giant's proprietary GRIPR rubber pedal contact patch and good on-bike comfort, and you’ve got a flatty that out-performs expectations. Not great for spending all day in, though, and any walk longer than a hop from bike to bar or checkout can get a bit tiresome.

Read our review of the Giant Shuttle
Find a Giant dealer

Bontrager Flatline — Buy Now for £144.99 from Cycles UK

Bontrager Flatline shoes

A bit of a shift up in budget brings Bontrager’s Flatline flatties into range. When he tested them, Jon at thought they were fab in a number of ways, not least fit, comfort, stiffness and feel. However, they did have one notable downside: “The Vibram Megagrip soles just aren't as grippy as the benchmark Five Tens despite costing roughly the same,” Jon said. So, great shoes if you’re not focused on absolute traction and they're well made, with the upside of the harder rubber being that they're also longer lasting than stickier rivals too.

Read our review of the Bontrager Flatline
Find a Bontrager dealer

Everything you need to know about flat shoes

There are a few reasons why you might decide you’d rather use flat shoes instead of cleated cycling shoes. The most obvious is that you either don’t like the idea of clipping in and out, or you find the whole cleated shoe and clipless pedal business a bit of a faff. If you’re hopping on and off your bike all day, especially in an urban environment, that’s a perfectly valid point of view.

Giro Jacket II Flat MTB Shoe - sole.jpg

Add to that the often significant comfort of flat shoes – it’s not always the case, but there are certainly some flat shoes that offer fantastic plushness compared to more sports-orientated shoes – and the convenience of being able to ride and go about daily life without too much of a compromise, and you’ll find that flat shoes and flat pedals might just have something going for them.

“When cycling journalists write about flat shoes and pedals versus clipless pedals, the accepted wisdom is that clipless pedals are more efficient. It gets repeated so often, but is it true?” says tech editor Mat Brett, who has looked in some depth at the differences between pedal and shoe choices.

“For example, people will say that you can put in power on the upstroke with clipless pedals when sprinting, for example. But efficiency is a measure of work performed compared with the energy you’ve put it. If you’re pulling up on the pedal, there’s a physiological cost to that. It’s not free power. So my point would be that we might say we’re better connected to a bike with clipless pedals - your foot won’t slip off - but I don’t think we can say that clipless pedals are more efficient.”

As Mat points out, there is a directness about cleated shoes that makes the pedalling motion feel particularly secure. However, choose wisely and you’ll find that the right flat shoe and flat pedal needn’t be a huge disadvantage when it comes to power delivery or even surety in connection. It's also worth remembering: switching to flats is about making your bike work better for you, not just about making you work better on your bike.

So here we’ll examine some of the most important factors you need to consider when choosing your flat shoe, and then we’ll look at some of the best examples on the market.

Daily life

Let’s start with the requirements of daily life. Although many flat shoes are designed for specific purposes such as downhill mountain biking, the big benefit they have for the rest of us who aren’t planning on taking on North Shore challenges is that you can walk about in them off the bike without the slip-sliding and clippety-clop of rigid sole, cleated cycling shoes.

As we’ll see when we look in more depth at comfort, power delivery and grip in a moment, that doesn’t mean all flat sole shoes are fab for spending the day on your feet. These are still cycling shoes, after all. However, some flatties absolutely could become your daily shoes. As a trade-off, that might mean that they’re not quite as effective in the saddle, but that’s where your own personal preferences and requirements come into play, and they'll still be better than a pair of trainers.


If you’re coming from performance-focused carbon road shoes, the amount of cushioning and general all-round plushness found in some flat shoes might just leave you speechless. There’s no way these could be ‘cycling shoes’, you’ll think, as you study the box looking for an Airwalk logo or similar.

Giro Jacket II Flat MTB Shoe - heels.jpg

From the cushioned sides, tongue and in-sole, some flat shoes take cycling away from the realms of self-flagellation and towards a luxurious experience. And as flat shoes often feature reinforced toe boxes and heel guards, this isn’t just blind comfort – there’s a helpful dose of cycling-specific protection there too. We should also point out that some more performance-led flat shoes, which seem a little underwhelming in terms of relative comfort when standing and walking, can be fantastically comfortable on the pedals.

Power delivery

As we mentioned earlier, off-bike comfort can come at a small cost: namely efficiency or power transfer. The flat shoe sole is often made up of three separate layers: the inner sole immediately underneath your feet; the mid-sole; and the outer sole. If all of these three elements are too forgiving, your pedalling performance will be compromised. If all three of these elements are supremely stiff, then on-your-feet comfort might take a hit.

Ideally, the obvious answer is to start with a relatively stiff outer sole. The good news is, with stiffness optimised, flat shoes can feel almost as effective at power delivery as cleated shoes. Yes, stiff soles can make walking and prolonged standing a bit of a chore, so decide what you need. But if it’s all-out power in the saddle that you’re after, there are flat shoes that can supply that more effectively than you might imagine.


Of course, power is nothing without a decent contact patch. Part of the attraction of flat shoes is that you don’t need to slip and slide when you’re on your feet and some flats have specific tread at toe ad heel to help walking traction. But they don't all feature the sort of grip you’d expect from a pair of chunky trainers – the soles of flat cycling shoes are often designed more specifically to be used with pinned or studded flat pedals. To augment this, manufacturers even use dedicated sections of particularly grippy rubber in the outer sole.

2020 Giant Shuttle Flat Off Road Shoes - sole toe.jpg

So, as has become something of a theme here, weigh up how much grip you’ll want off the bike and how much you’d like on the bike. Again, though, the good news is that with the right sole tread design and the right pedals, your contact patch might be more secure than you’d expect. OK, you won’t be able to pull up on the pedals, but there should be no reason for pedal slippage.


One word of warning though. Be aware of your flat shoes’ limits when it comes to other daily activities - in particular, driving. Assuming you drive a motor vehicle at least some of the time, understand that flat cycling shoes which offer great grip on pinned bicycle pedals are not always quite so reassuring on the relatively smooth brake, throttle and clutch pedals. So don’t drive in flat cycling shoes unless you’re totally happy they provide the right levels of grip.

Final ingredient – pedals

As we’ve mentioned already, to really get the most out of a pair of flat shoes, you’re going to want to team them with an equally awesome pair of pinned flat pedals. Thankfully, there’s a huge range out there, with products that will do the trick starting at pocket money prices. To find out more, read our flat pedal guide.

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The aim of buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

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andystow | 2 years ago

I've worn Five Tens for years to do almost everything: ride my bike, walk the dog, wear them all day at work, even some light rock climbing (I change to climbing shoes for, ironically, climbing 5.10 routes.) The only thing they're no good for is hiking on wet dirt/mud, where the tread pattern is useless.

ktache replied to andystow | 2 years ago
1 like

My 5 10 spitfires lasted many years and when they finally died I got myself some Freeriders with the water resistant leather, for the mud, but then we had the lockdown drought and so I got a pair of the standard Freeriders, for the hot and dry weather and then when winter hit I got the waterproof set, with the thermal toe box. Very impressed at them all, which work particularly well on my new style dmr v12s, and we'll on my wellgo mg1s.

Owd Big 'Ead | 2 years ago

Gotta be Doc Martens.

Great for kicking door mirrors off from unobservant motorists.

In all seriousness, where whatever you want, all of the above options are no better than anything else out there, but more likely cost far more due to being made by cycling brands.

brooksby replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 2 years ago
Owd Big 'Ead wrote:

Gotta be Doc Martens.

Great for kicking door mirrors off from unobservant motorists.

In all seriousness, where whatever you want, all of the above options are no better than anything else out there, but more likely cost far more due to being made by cycling brands.

I really don't get on with DMs.  The 'air filled sole' collapses, usually within 5-6 months.  Which makes them VERY expensive.

I usually ride in Converse.

Owd Big 'Ead replied to brooksby | 2 years ago

Doc Martens are utter crap these days, now they are made to as low a price as possible in Vietnam  to maximise profits for their investment owners Permira. However, the original contractors who made their boots here in the UK are called Solovair and still own all the lasts, so it is possible to buy the real deal still, just without the Doc Martens name. They cost a bob or two, but are properly crafted British boots, perfect for winter commuting.

Awavey replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 2 years ago

Were they always expensive and I just ignored it as a student as it was the fashion pair to have,or have they really ramped their prices up ?

markieteeee replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like

I think at some point, what was kind of an alternative-to-fashion - worn by workers, students, with a small but loyal cult following as they were hardwearing and affordable to the low-incomed and working classes - became ultra-fashionable.  My guess is that this is when the prices started to rise and they've been rising at what seems like an accelerated rate ever since.

hawkinspeter replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 2 years ago
Owd Big 'Ead wrote:

Doc Martens are utter crap these days, now they are made to as low a price as possible in Vietnam  to maximise profits for their investment owners Permira. However, the original contractors who made their boots here in the UK are called Solovair and still own all the lasts, so it is possible to buy the real deal still, just without the Doc Martens name. They cost a bob or two, but are properly crafted British boots, perfect for winter commuting.

That's capitalism for you

markieteeee replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 2 years ago
1 like

I still have a pair of DMs For Life bought in 2010. At the time you paid more but they were higher quality upper and soles and they would replace them forever if they ever wore out. I remember feeling ridiculous paying £90+ for DMs as I'd always paid £20 as a student but went for it as they felt amazing and the guarantee made it worthwhile.  The  price of the general pairs soon overtook the For Life ones anyway, making them a bargain... but they've still not completely worn out. They look battered but they're amazingly comfortable - the tread is mostly smooth now and the last three winters I've hoped to go through them to get a new pair but they're still hanging in there.

The scheme has been discontinued but they will still honour the guarantee to people who registered their pairs, so I should get a free pair worth nearly £200 when it happens (which in turn should be guaranteed).  I'd been advised about the quality reduction, like you mention, and told to insist on specific pairs when getting a replacement rather than accepting what they might try to hand over.

ejocs | 2 years ago

The correct answer: Wear whatever you were going to wear anyway. 

I'm not above spending too much time and money accumulating cycling accoutrement, but leave that nonsense to us idiots who have made this a main hobby and already committed to obsessing over it way too much.

For everyone else, leave cycling simple, as it should be, and stop putting up obstacles to their participation. Recommending special flat shoes for commuting, leisure, and urban cycling is not only absurd but contributes to the notion that cycling is a specialized, inaccessible, necessarily expensive activity, and risks putting folks off rather than welcoming them in.

I mean, really, a section on "power delivery" in an article about casual cycling? What a load of bollocks. 


IanGlasgow | 2 years ago

I've been commuting in Goretex trainers for a few years. This winter I treated myself to a pair of Chrome Industries Storm 415 workboots. They took a few days to break in but now they're incredibly comfortable and did a great job of keeping my feet warm and dry (admittedly with a pair of Sealskinz socks when it was pouring, but if it started raining while I was out I just carried on without stopping to put on Sealskinz or overshoes as I would in the past).

Unfortunately Chrome shoes aren't easy to get hold of in the UK. I'm now looking for a lighter pair for the summer.

Still love the 415s but winter commuting in Glasgow has been transformed by a pair of Five Ten Trailcross Goretex (RRP £150 but you can usually get a discount code to buy them direct from Adidas - I got 30% of via the app).

I also have a pair of Chrome Southsides for the summer - really like the Kursk but the chances of getting caught in a shower in Glasgow put me off low shoes with ventilation holes in them, maybe if I lived somewhere warmer and dryer.

BlindFreddy | 3 years ago
1 like

Had two pairs of the Five Tens and both came unglued. Kept the second pair functional with superglue after each use. According to the internet this was a well known type fault. Bought a pair of the Specialized 2FO. Lighter, cooler, dry much quicker, wear well, good grip and most importantly, have stayed in one piece. Might get a bootmaker to glue the Five Ten  soles on to the 2FOs when they wear out sometime in the distant future.



bikercat replied to BlindFreddy | 2 years ago

I’ve had success using Gorilla glue when the soles came off my favourite cycling shoes. Used G-clamps to hold them overnight and have got another 3 winters out of them with no further repair needed.

IanGlasgow | 3 years ago
1 like

Commuting every day in Glasgow I won't even look at any shoe that isn't Goretex lined. That includes work shoes and casual shoes.
A pair of flat cycling shoes to replace the Goretex trainers I currently commute in would be great. Any recommendations?

zero_trooper replied to IanGlasgow | 3 years ago

Clarks do some 'urban' leather boots which are gore-tex lined. Not cycling specific, but very comfortable and dry.

I got mine from their outlet store in Livingston and they were cheaper than any of the above.

Jem PT replied to zero_trooper | 3 years ago
1 like

Ive got some Ecco boots which I wear for commuting - again not cycling specific - which are GoreTex and are smart enough to wear when I'm at work.

I've got some 5-10s for casual use which are comfortable but the tongues are wonky so that after a short while they are at an angle to your foot.

beryl666 | 3 years ago

Like my Giro Riddence, little warm in summer. What you think fo these? 

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