Can You Use Hiking Shoes For Mountain Biking? (Pros & Cons)

Hiking and mountain biking are fun and relaxing outdoor activities that oftentimes share the same trails, many hikers are also interested in mountain biking, and combining the two outdoor activities is a great way to stay in shape and enjoy nature. But if you already have hiking shoes can you use them for mountain biking as well?

Hiking shoes are designed to be tough and withstand rough weather conditions, they will offer your feed good protection and can easily handle the challenges that come with mountain biking, while they aren’t as efficient as MTB shoes when it comes to peddling, the most surely are good enough.

You need to understand that both mountain biking and hiking are similar in terms of their demands, that’s why hiking shoes are good enough for the novice and intermediate mountain bikers, then again, performance-wise, mountain bike shoes are still better.

Can You Use Hiking Shoes for Mountain Biking?

Hiking shoes

The good news is that you can use your hiking shoes for mountain biking. Of course, you also need to consider the fact that hiking and mountain biking are very similar in terms of their demands, this is why, even though hiking shoes were specifically made for hiking, they can still be used for mountain biking.

Both hiking and mountain biking require tough soles, hiking shoes are meant to be used to traverse rough terrains which can be very taxing on your feet if the sole of your shoes is too soft. Still, MTB shoes have tougher soles (they are even hard to walk in because of this) because they are designed to offer maximum power transmission from your feet to the bike’s pedals.

Because they are meant for walking over rough terrain filled with slippery rocks and lose gravel, hiking shoes are designed with grip in mind and this is a big plus when it comes to mountain biking, of course, MTB shoes offer you a better grip on the bike’s pedals but still hiking shoes will get the job done and will not expose you to unnecessary risks (your foot slipping from the pedal).


Of course, the conditions outdoors are tough and rough. That means that you need to use shoes that are capable of withstanding the toughness and roughness of the outdoors. For example, hiking and biking require you to use shoes that are durable and capable of withstanding rain and other similar weather conditions.

All that said, hiking shoes can indeed be good substitutes for mountain biking shoes if you don’t have mountain biking shoes. Still, these shoes are better off for beginner and intermediate hikers as the more advanced mountain bikers that take on tough trails require specialized mountain biking shoes.

But, if you are someone who doesn’t want to spend money on mountain bike shoes especially if you already have hiking shoes, you can still use your hiking shoes without losing a lot of the advantages that mountain bike shoes come with. Just make sure you have hiking shoes that are very versatile.

Pros and Cons of Using Hiking Shoes for Mountain Biking


  • Hiking shoes are some of the most versatile outdoor shoes you can have.
  • Because most people who love the outdoors already own hiking shoes, you are basically saving a lot of money if you use hiking shoes instead of buying mountain bike shoes.
  • Most hiking shoes are more rigid and tough than other shoes and this makes them better for pedaling
  • Hiking shoes are designed to give you a great grip on all sorts of terrain, this gives them an advantage when used for mountain biking, the grip on your pedals is very important if you ride technical trails
  • They are durable enough to withstand the rough conditions of mountain biking.
  • When it comes to weather conditions hiking shoes are designed to withstand rough weather, they are very similar to mountain biking shoes in this regard.
  • Most people find hiking shoes to be much more accessible compared to biking shoes.


  • Hiking shoes are most likely to be more expensive than mountain bike shoes. So, if you only had one choice, mountain bike shoes should be more practical.
  • While most hiking shoes tend to have rigid soles, there are some hiking shoes that are still pretty much flexible. The flexibility of these shoes can be detrimental to your pedaling if you use them for mountain biking.
  • Some hiking shoes tend to be a bit too large. As such, they might not fit the pedals of some mountain bikes.
  • Hiking shoes were made with soles that are capable of gripping rough outdoor terrain conditions. While that can be useful for mountain biking, some hiking sole shoes aren’t the best when gripping bike pedals.
Hiking Shoes

Advantages of MTB Shoes Over Hiking Shoes

So, while we do know that hiking shoes can work as good substitutes for mountain bike shoes, let’s look at the advantages that mountain bike shoes have over hiking shoes:

  • MTB shoes aren’t as flexible as hiking shoes and this makes them more efficient at pedaling better power transmission,
  • You can use clipless pedals if you have MTb shoes that are designed to work with them,
  • Even if hiking shoes will give you great grip, flat pedal MTb shoes will grip the pedal a bit better and so you will have a lower risk of your foot slipping off the pedal on rough sections of the trail.


Hiking shoes are indeed very versatile and because of that, they can be used for other outdoor activities, even mountain biking if you have flat pedals. They will offer you great grip but will not be as efficient for power transfer as dedicated MTB shoes are, but if you have hiking shoes and want to start mountain biking, yes you can definitely use them.

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I started mountain biking many years ago to improve my overall health state. After my first ride, I fell in love with the sport. Now I spend dozens of hours a week researching and training to compete in local XC and Enduro events.