When mountain biking, you’ll want to have shoes that interact well with your bike while still being able to tread on off-road surfaces when you get off.
This means they need to have more grip and be stiffer than leisure shoes so that they can take some punishment.
As always, the exact shoes that’ll be best for you will depend on where and how you’re riding and your tolerance for certain footwear.
For grip, you need to look at the sole patterning. Normal shoes have a subpar grip, particularly if you’re riding far off the beaten path. You want shoes that have a lot of traction that’ll grip off-road terrain and dig into soft mud.
The shoes should also be comfortable, which is easiest achieved when the shoe is flexible to accommodate foot movements and even slight foot swelling during longer journeys.
However, too much flexibility will be a problem harming the durability of the shoes, so it’s a balancing act.
Skate shoes are a great combination of these features while still looking visually appealing.
Stay away from the ones with a lot of canvas, that’s fragile and it’ll get wet and muddy. Suede is a better material, though may demand a higher price point.
Go for other skate shoe models with vulcanized rubber soles, which are durable while maximizing the friction of the soles when they contact a surface, generating traction.
They should also be water-resistant. Most mountain biking shoes aren’t fully waterproof but that’s usually not needed, you just need extra protection from the elements when riding into areas where there’s a lot of mud and moisture.
Keeping your feet dry is also important for staving off the cold.
Are DC Shoes Good For Mountain Biking?
As skate shoes tend to be a popular choice for the durability and agility that mountain biking shoes require, you still need to decide on a brand.
DC is a popular brand that offers many skate shoes. The best ones are where they’re made of durable, waterproof material (suede is better than canvas), have high traction, and a flat sole.
Of course, they should be comfortable to wear. Being comfortable to wear also means they should stay comfortable when going through the punishment that comes with physical activity and harsh outdoor environments.
The best DC shoes are the ones that have a rubber sole that sticks to surfaces. These are common with skate shoes, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding DC shoes that offer that kind of grip.
The soles should be flat because they fit better onto the pedals of your mountain bike. Flat soles aren’t great for long walks, however, so if you’re going to do a lot of walking then DC shoes won’t be a great choice.
DC Shoes, and other skate shoes that are often worn casually, are great for breathability.
They can be waterproof while keeping your feet dry on the insides of the shoes. If that’s a priority, DC shoes can be great for mountain biking in areas where moisture is an issue.
That said, they’ll only afford so much protection so you should still try to keep them dry out there.
Are Vans Good For Cycling?
When many think about skate shoes, Vans are one of the first brands that come to mind. Fortunately, all of the great features that make a Vans shoe ideal for skateboarding also make them good for cycling.
The main benefit is that waffle tread pattern on the soles of most Vans shoes. They maximize traction, to keep your feet on skateboards, but that same ability makes them ideal for holding onto the pedals of a cycle too!
The soles are also flat, which will fit well on flat pedals, but they also make them challenging to walk in for long distances.
That’s something to keep in mind when choosing Vans shoes, hi-top models provide better ankle support and may be better for walking and cycling during the same journey.
If you are going to use Vans, we’d also advise that you avoid slip-on shoes that can come off.
There are many different types of cycling and Vans shoes are better for certain riding styles than others.
When riding along flats, the shoes’ flat soles should provide all the grip you need. The soles can get slippery when wet, so they should be kept as dry as possible.
For mountain biking, Vans should last you about a year and give you some solid performance.
If the canvas used to make the shoe is flimsy, this can be a problem if they face a lot of punishment out on the trail. They’re great if used sparingly but they’ll degrade quickly if you use them as dedicated shoes.
For general BMXing, you can also expect Vans shoes to last about a year if you’re aggressively riding often. BMX biking is deceptively aggressive on the shoes and so, while the grip of Vans is great, they’ll suffer from poor durability.
Low-top, lace-up Vans are a must so that the shoes don’t fly off. Hi-tops can get in the way when doing tricks that require complex footwork.
Do You Really Need Mountain Bike Shoes?
Well, you need shoes. What constitutes a mountain bike shoe can be a pretty loose definition.
Some shoes are sold as mountain bike shoes, combining durability with traction and waterproof qualities but they’re also heavier.
Not to mention that outdoor, MTB shoes are also expensive. You can’t cycle around in hiking boots, after all.
That’s why many people reach for skate shoes or alternate shoes that are just durable, waterproof, and have high traction while remaining comfortable to wear.
As long as those requirements are met, you don’t need to use MTB shoes.
Many people get away with using normal shoes for shorter and less frequent mountain biking.
Standard running shoes with flatter soles (to interface with the pedals) should be fine for mountain biking.
Sneakers can even suffice for a time but you should upgrade for traction and durability when you can.