Dakine Drift Mountain Bike Shoes

Names: Gerard Lagana | Photos: Hayden Wright

There are plenty of shoes to choose from on the shelf these days. From your typical skate style shoe to light and supportive shoes and flats for gravity use. There's a world of choice and that's a good thing, as your feet are one of the 5 places you connect to your bike, and certainly the place where you can put the most power over how your bike will ride. Dakine has stepped up to the plate to deliver the Dakine Drift Flat shoe. With a lot of features and technology in their flat shoe it is definitely a dark horse among many options.

A closer look

Dakine is known for many products in the mountain bike space from shuttle pads to backpacks, protection, the list goes on. The Dakine Drift mountain bike shoe has a lot of technology and functionality in this shoe that brings a lot of features to a classic look. The Dakine has a supportive midsole for durability, but runs to the forefoot to allow more toe flexibility on the bike. There is a reinforced EVA midsole and another layer of EVA foam under the footbed to provide extra comfort. On the pedals the DK Ultra Grip Rubber outsole is said to be able to grip the pedals or the surface.

I've been riding flats since the dot of the day and like all low pedal riders I've done my time in 5.10 shoes and it's been a real challenge to find that perfect connection between pedal and shoe. There are many nice touches with the Dakine Drift shoes. I love having structured laces and this is my first encounter with Dakine's Tuckable Lace pack. As the name suggests you can put the laces up the tongue of the shoe to keep them secure to give your shoe a clean laceless look. Riding in wet and dirty conditions I found this to be a great feature without being fancy.

Dakine uses a perforated tongue to help with breathability, like a stiff upper shoe, there is not much air flow or ventilation in the upper part of the shoe. However, for those riding in wet weather a hard surface can be great for keeping your feet dry.

Dakine uses a wide toe box, so it's ideal for people with wide feet who may suffer from bunions. The toe box has some stiffness to protect it from impact. It's not the stiffness I've felt in years but it's better than nothing in the hope of a rare low impact toe.

On the road

Thanks to the shoe's onion-shaped sole with its layered construction for support and comfort, I found the Drift to be very comfortable no matter how long I walk. Whether it's an hour of quick energy or big days from breakfast to dinner, there's something to be said about wearing good shoes. Not only should your shoe give you grip and confidence on the road but for me I spend a lot of time walking and standing in my shoes with camera gear and that's where a Dakine shoe comes to life. The thicker-than-usual footbed innersole really helped provide more cushioning. The in-house DK Flex Tech Shank core has provided the shoe with maximum rigidity, helping to provide support throughout the day. I think Dakine has found that fine line, soft enough to be comfortable when walking or off the bike but firm enough to be able to land firmly on the pedals so you don't feel your foot curling around your pedal. I've had really stiff shoes I thought would be good for stability and pedal support but I ended up with constant sore feet.

On the pedals, the DK Ultra Grip rubber proved to play the right role as the key connection between the rider and the bike. This has a larger tread than what you usually see in shoes but I think that's where most of the impact absorption happens. I've had good grip in the past on the pedals but as soon as I ride on the brake bumps and potholes, that force causes my foot to bounce off the pedal. I'm happy to say that I didn't have any bouncing feet on these parts of the trail. Confidence is a big part of being able to ride without hesitation on rough sections and focus on the trail, and the Dakine Drifts meant I could do just that, without having to think about what my feet were doing.

The decision

The Dakine Drift is a flat-looking mountain bike shoe that hides a lot of great features. They match comfort and stability for use when walking or off the bike, and have excellent pedal retention. The firm upper has a perforated tongue for ventilation, but some may feel a little warm in hot weather. If that sounds like you, Dakine also sells a Drift Vent shoe that fits men and women.

RRP: $99.99



  • Great support and comfort
  • Excellent catch
  • Remove the wires

You miss:

  • May be warm in some climates

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