Are Vans Shoes Good For Mountain Biking? (Pros & Cons)

When you are planning to go out for a mountain bike ride, the first thing you might think of doing is grabbing the most comfortable shoes you can think of—a pair of Vans. After all, you might think that skateboarding and mountain biking are pretty much similar. So, are Vans shoes good for mountain biking?

For beginners, a pair of Vans skate shoes might be good enough, especially because of how the flexibility of these shoes allows you to have greater control. However, in the more advanced trials and when it comes to power and performance, Vans might not be the best choice for you.

In mountain biking, there really are no particular shoes that you need if you are simply a novice or intermediate mountain biker. However, the more advanced a biker you become, the more important it is for you to invest in good mountain biking shoes, which are specifically made for biking.

Are Vans Shoes Usable for Mountain Biking?

Vans Shoes

Vans are indeed amazing when it comes to outdoor activities such as skateboarding. As such, these primarily skate shoes are comfortable enough to wear and are great at gripping the surface of skateboards.

Yes, Vans shoes can be used for mountain biking, they are comfortable enough for you to actually have a good ride when you are out mountain biking as Vans shoes are quite sturdy and flexible.

Vans shoes are made with soles that are supposed to be effective at gripping the surface of skateboards, this means that they may also be good for mountain biking such that they have enough grip on them to keep your feet from slipping off.

However, while Vans shoes can indeed be used for mountain biking, it is recommended that you only use them if you are simply starting out or if you are yet to reach the more advanced trails that require you to perform at your best.

As such, you can use Vans shoes for mountain biking but that doesn’t mean that they are the best. They can be good for beginners but they aren’t exactly the best when you are already invested enough in mountain biking to try out tougher trails.

In mountain biking, you need shoes that are stiff enough because how stiffer shoes will allow you to transfer more power from your legs to the pedals. Softer soles will cushion the transfer of power from your legs and won’t be able to maximize your pedaling power.

Vans tend to have softer soles because these are primarily designed for skating. While cushioned soles do have their uses in mountain biking, they aren’t really the best.

Moreover, when it comes to mountain biking, you need to make sure that you have shoes that are capable of protecting your feet from impacts and drops. You also need to wear shoes that are made to be rugged and durable enough to handle the tough conditions of the outdoors.

All that said, Vans shoes are not the best for mountain biking. Still, you can use them if you are starting out and you are not yet ready to invest in mountain biking shoes.

Pros and Cons of Using Vans Shoes for Mountain Biking

So, while Vans shoes are not the best for mountain biking, there are still some pros and cons you need to know about.


  • Vans shoes are also a fashion statement as there are plenty of non-skaters who own these shoes precisely because they look good.
  • You probably already own a pair of Vans shoes because, as mentioned, they are stylish and comfortable enough to wear.
  • Vans shoes are good for everyday purposes other than for skateboarding or mountain biking because they are comfortable, stylish, and soft.
  • The fact that Vans shoes are cushioned well enough at the soles will reduce the impact on your feet and knees in case you find yourself jumping off your bike.
  • Vans shoes have the flexibility that will allow you to have greater control over your feet when you are out there mountain biking.
  • Most Vans shoes are made to be light enough that you will hardly feel them while you are mountain biking.


  • Vans shoes are not exactly affordable. They can be quite expensive as some of them can be more expensive than regular mountain bike shoes.
  • While Vans shoes have softer soles, the fact that they are not rigid enough will make it more difficult for you to maximize the transfer of power from your legs when you are pedaling.
  • As skate shoes, Vans are more likely to be effective at gripping skateboard surfaces and not pedal surfaces.
  • Vans shoes are not made for the rougher and tougher conditions outdoors. You might end up seeing your Vans shoes getting ripped open when they get snagged on a twig on a tough trail.
  • Most Vans shoes are not made to protect your feet from the conditions of tougher mountain biking trails. The fact that the soles on Vans shoes are quite soft will not be enough to protect your feet.
  • Vans shoes are not made to withstand the weather conditions of the outdoors. You will end up with soggy shoes if you somehow end up biking under wet conditions.

Advantages of MTB Shoes Over Vans Shoes

Now, in relation to mountain bike shoes, here are the reasons why they are better than Vans shoes:

  • Mountain bike shoes are made with tough and rigid soles that aren’t that flexible and are not as comfortable as Vans shoes, but they maximize your pedaling power.
  • Mountain bike shoes are made to handle the rough conditions of trail riding, so they will last you longer. Using your expensive Van shoes for mountain biking will highly reduce their lifespan.
  • Mountain bike shoes are usually resistant to weather conditions outdoors. Riding with speed in rough weather conditions without the proper gear is not fun. Believe me, I learned this the hard way.
  • Mountain bike shoes have a build quality that is made to protect your feet from impact while you are biking.


Yes, Vans shoes can be used for mountain biking especially if you are still starting out. But they are never the best shoes to wear for mountain biking especially if you are ready to take on tougher trails. That’s why mountain bike shoes are still the best choice for trail bikers out there.

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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.