Oakley’s versatile Drift RC MTB shoes are made for flat pedals and combine durability, grip and good looks for use on and off the bike, says cycling expert Mark Bailey…

Oakley Drift RC MTB Shoes

$145 / £126, oakley.com 

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Pros:

  • Durable fully-welded seamless upper
  • Mesh provides good breathability
  • Excellent SUP Traction sole

Cons:

  • Stiffness may hamper off-bike comfort
  • Some might find the lace fit too loose

Comfort: 4
Durability: 4.5
Stability: 4
OVERALL: 4

Oakley’s Drift RC MTB shoe is an impressively durable and reliable flat-pedal mountain bike or commuter shoe from an established brand – although it’s pricey compared to competitor products. See how they compare to the rest of the best cycling shoes.

Versatility is this shoe’s primary appeal. Thanks to the flat-soled, cross-shoe design, you can pump out power on your flat pedals on most kinds of terrain. But those flat soles mean you can also dismount easily, which can be handy when riding along unknown trails, or when you need to put your foot down at traffic lights during a commute to work.

Oakley Drift RC MTB Shoes features

When I first picked one up, I immediately noticed it has a robust, durable quality, but also an understated aesthetic. Available in ‘Blackout’ black and ‘New Dark Brush’ green, these are MTB shoes that would also look good when worn inside an office or café. With cycling a sport but also a lifestyle pursuit, off-bike style is important to many riders.

Product shot of Oakley Drift shoe

These Drift RC shoes are made with a mix of on- and off-bike use in mind

I find laces like those on the Drift RC MTB a little too loose, but that’s a personal thing. Other riders prefer the comfort and flex of laces. The tongues on many MTB shoes can be a let-down, but the Drift RC MTB has an impressively stiff and ergonomic tongue which enhances foot grip and minimises wobbling. The EVA midsole adds cushioning, although these shoes do have a wide fit so go slightly smaller than you normally would.

Oakley Drift RC MTB Shoes performance

Out on the trails, I felt these provided a good, solid ride over mixed terrain. I’m no downhill racer, but these were fine for the accessible terrain I usually explore. They felt good on the road too, mainly because of the impressive bubble-style outsoles from SUP Traction which provided good grip on my pedals and when walking around.

Perhaps the main weakness here is that relatively high price, although Oakley is a kudos-raising designer brand and the shoe feels premium and durable, if a little stiff. These may get uncomfortable if you’re mixing biking with lots of walking. But there’s a reassuring solidity to these shoes, with their fully-welded seamless upper standing up to wear and tear, and their protective rubber toe caps offering good scuff resistance. With some of the polyester made from recycled plastic bottles, you’re doing your bit to help save the planet too.

Fans of the Oakley brand and style-conscious riders probably won’t mind the price, though there are more affordable and similar performing options elsewhere. But this is a smart, solid and reliable MTB shoe which is likely to last a long time.

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