Are Skate Shoes Good for Mountain Biking?

In any outdoor activity, shoes play an important role because they not only protect your feet but also provide them with the mobility, performance, and comfort needed. That said, in mountain biking, shoes are just as important. But, in case you don’t have mountain biking shoes, are skate shoes good enough?

You can use skate shoes for mountain biking but these shoes won’t give you the extra grip you need if you are already an advanced mountain biker. Skate shoes can be used at the beginning, but once you’ve already become comfortable with the trail, it is best to go with mountain bike shoes.

Just like how there is specific equipment that’s used for certain sports and activities, the same can be said about shoes and mountain biking. The truth is that you can use skate shoes for mountain biking but that doesn’t exactly mean that they are the best especially when you have been cycling for a long time.

Can You Use Skate Shoes for Mountain Biking?

Skateboarding shoes

Mountain biking is like any other outdoor activity in the sense that you should use specific equipment when you are cycling. This concept applies to the shoes you need to use whenever you are mountain biking as there are different mountain biking shoes that were specifically made for that purpose.

However, what if you don’t have mountain biking shoes? It is easy to understand why beginner mountain bikers don’t have mountain biking shoes because they aren’t that invested in the sport and MTB shoes can be expensive.

In that regard, mountain biking shoes are not like skate shoes because the latter are stylish and comfortable enough to be used for everyday purposes. Plenty of people own skate shoes even if they are not skaters precisely because they are stylish and comfortable.

So, if you don’t have mountain biking shoes, can you use your skate shoes for mountain biking?

Technically, yes, you can use skate shoes for mountain biking if you are still a beginner. In fact, any kind of everyday sneaker can work with mountain biking if you are still just starting out.

That means that there are plenty of people who use regular skate shoes, trainers, sneakers, and running shoes for mountain biking especially if they are not yet that invested in mountain biking. In most cases, only those who are invested enough in mountain biking care to buy mountain biking shoes.

Still, when you are but a beginner, the trails you will be biking on and the movements involved aren’t really that demanding to the point that you will see any noticeable downsides of using skate shoes.

However, as you begin to progress as a mountain biker while taking on more difficult trails, performance now becomes an important factor that can make or break your biking experience. This is why skate shoes are only good for starters and are not the best to use for those who are already advanced-level mountain bikers.

Pros and Cons of Using Skate Shoes for Mountain Biking

As mentioned, skate shoes can be useful for beginner mountain bikers but are not the best for those who have been biking for a long time. However, it is best to look at the pros and cons of using skate shoes for mountain biking to understand why you shouldn’t stick with skate shoes for a long time.


  • Skate shoes are much more commonly owned by people regardless of whether they skate or not. That’s because skate shoes have become a fashion statement as they go well with different everyday clothes.
  • It is easier to adjust to the level of comfort that skate shoes have because you basically wear them on a regular basis.
  • You can basically use skate shoes for everyday purposes because they are comfortable, stylish, and very accessible to different types of people.
  • While very expensive, skate shoes give you more bang for your buck because they are so versatile to the point that you can use them for different purposes.
  • Skate shoes are good for everyday casual biking because how this activity isn’t as demanding as mountain biking out on the trail.


  • Skate shoes have soles that are very soft to the point that they will easily bend. This means that the power you transfer to your pedaling will be minimized.
  • When it comes to grips, skate shoes don’t have soles that are made to grip the pedals. This means that your feet are more likely to slip off the pedals.
  • The soles of skate shoes are not sturdy enough to stop your foot from wrapping around the pedal during rough terrain.
  • Skate shoes are not the best for rough landings or drops in case you do find yourself biking on tough and rough trails.
  • Whenever the weather gets tough, skate shoes are not designed for rough outdoor weather conditions such as rain. Most skate shoes are not water or rain-proof.
  • Durability can also be an issue in relation to skate shoes because they are not exactly made for tough outdoor conditions. This means that they are more likely to get damaged during a rough ride.
  • Skate shoes are usually more expensive than mountain bike shoes especially when you are talking about the more popular brands.

Advantages of MTB Shoes Over Skate Shoes

So, now that you understand that skate shoes are good for beginners but are the best choice for experienced to veteran mountain bikers, let’s look at the advantages that mountain bike shoes have over skate shoes:

  • Mountain bike shoes have stiff soles, mostly unbendable to maximize the transfer of power from your legs while you are pedaling.
  • To minimize the risk of your feet slipping from the pedals, mountain biking shoes are designed to offer maximum grip, specially designed patterns that are well-tested will improve the grip between your feet and pedals (this applies to flat pedals).
  • Mountain bike shoes are designed for rough outdoor weather conditions and will provide some degree of waterproofing and windproofing, when you are skating you move at a much slower speed than when you ride downhill on a mountain bike, so these extra protections make no sense for skating shoes.
  • Durability is also one factor to look at when it comes to mountain bike shoes, skating you don’t hit branches and you don’t expose your shoes to the same level of stress such as when you ride your mountain bike on the roughest of terrains.
  • Mountain bike shoes are usually more rigid than skate shoes because they are made to protect your feet against impact and drops.
  • A lot of mountain bike shoes are cheaper than your regular skate shoes. So, while your bike shoes are supposed to only be used for biking, the fact that they are not too expensive shouldn’t be a problem.


Skate shoes can be a good starting point for beginner and casual riders who don’t need shoes that are made for the demands of technical trail riding and aren’t willing to spend extra money for shoes designed with a singular purpose in mind.

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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.