Are Skateboard Shoes Good for Mountain Biking?

Mountain biking requires a lot more than just getting a good bike, having the skills, and maintaining the passion to go further than ever before.

You also need to have access to the right gears and equipment. One of the most important ones is the shoes.

In line with this, there is a growing number of bikers who are using skateboard shoes for mountain biking. The main reason for this is that they still work a bit similar to mountain bike-specific shoes thanks to their grippy soles and low-profile body.

They can also be used for many different situations because they have a casual design and structure.

But is it a good idea to wear skateboard shoes for mountain biking? Or does this pose hidden dangers and disadvantages for bikers?

Read on to know more about these things as this article will dive more into the issue of wearing skateboard shoes for mountain biking.

Knowing More About Skateboard Shoes

Skateboard shoes are also known as skate shoes. These have come a long way since they first came out in the early ‘60s. These were designed by skateboarders to help them have a better grip on traction on their skateboards because grip tape wasn’t yet invented during that time.

This high demand ushered in new growth for a new kind of shoes. Many brands started early on this, but it was Vans that was one of the frontrunners of this new niche.

Skate shoes now aren’t just mainly used for skateboarding. Instead, they’re used for different purposes, most notably being casual shoes for any occasion.

It also has a very trendy design that sits well on whatever occasion you’re wearing them, making them a good alternative for newbie bikers to choose for their first mountain bike rides.

What are the benefits of using skateboard shoes when mountain biking?

Versatility

The best thing about skateboard shoes is that they are very versatile. This means that they can be used for different purposes, other than just mountain biking alone, which is what happens with MTB shoes.

This is the reason why many bikers choose to buy a skate shoe instead of a proper mountain bike shoe because they can use it more often on different activities. They also don’t look weird and awkward if even you want to use them when shopping for groceries or going to offices.

Affordable price tag

Although this doesn’t apply to all skate shoes, most of them are generally cheaper than MTB shoes, which makes them an ideal first choice for beginners or those who are short on budget.

Add in the fact that you can use this for different situations, which makes it even more ideal because you don’t need to buy another kind of shoe for casual wear, or maybe for skateboarding if you happen to be a fan of both sports.

Design

The designs of skateboard shoes are on point because they are sleek, low-profile, and trendy. They appeal to the youth and to middle-aged adults because of their simplicity and practicality.

They are also designed in a way that can be used on rugged terrain because of their level of flexibility. You won’t even have to regularly clean them because they can do well even if they’re dirty or covered with mud.

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Disadvantages of Skate Shoes on Mountain Biking

Comfort

Skate shoes are comfortable to wear if you’re skating. But they’re not the best if you’re going to use them for mountain biking.

They can leave your feet soles sore and you’re going to have cramps because their structure flexes along with your feet.

This is also what happens if you wear normal shoes, such as running shoes or hiking shoes. Running shoes work just like normal shoes, which is why they don’t do well when used for biking.

Running shoes are great for running, while proper mountain biking shoes are great for mountain biking. It’s as simple as that. Never wear normal shoes for biking because this sport is an outdoor activity that involved rugged activities.

Although they can do well on short leisure trips around your neighborhood, we don’t recommend using them if you’re in for the long haul or if you’ll go on an enduro ride on your local trail.

Shorter shoe lifespan

You risk damaging your skate shoes if you are always going to wear them for mountain biking. This happens because your pedals have sharp pins that keep your shoes in place.

Although skate shoes are known to have good grip, their soles are not made to tolerate sharp pointed objects, in this case, that of the pins on your pedal. Wearing proper mountain bike shoes, however, help you avoid all these.

Vans gum soles can easily get damaged if they’re pushed too hard on the pins. What also usually happens is that their sole separates from the inner interior, resulting in floppy sides. You don’t have to worry about any of these, though, if you have proper mountain bike shoes.

Mountain biking shoes are built for very rugged situations and it doesn’t matter if you have the sharpest mountain bike pedals, because the overall structure will still be intact.

Pedaling efficiency

You can pedal your bike even if you wear skate shoes. But this will just reduce the pedaling efficiency.

This means that the amount of force you exert won’t convert fully to pedaling power because the energy transition is lost to the awkward form and position of your foot on the pedals. If you are in for long cross-country rides, then skate shoes aren’t the best choice for you. Get MTB shoes instead.

Safety

Skate shoes can serve as decent mountain biking shoes. But that’s if you’re just going on a ride around light trails or if you are just on a short trip around your neighborhood.

However, they’re not safe if you’re into enduro or downhill riding because their sole can slide on your flat pedals. Skateboard shoes usually have gum soles that are very sticky on skateboards. They still stick well on flat pedals, but there is a good tendency for them to slide.

And when this happens, then expect to have serious injuries. Pedal strikes are very common, especially with flat pedal skate shoes.

This happens when your foot slides and the sharp pins on the pedals scrape off through your shin legs. You can avoid this, though, if you wear proper MTB shoes.

Clipless mountain bike shoes pedals are the best as these provide zero chances of a pedal strike because the pedal is clipped directly to the shoes.

Clipless pedals don’t have any pins, so you’re safe. Just be sure that you know how to unclip from your clipless pedals, especially if you’re used to riding flat pedals.

Conclusion

Skateboard shoes work well for mountain biking. But it’s not recommended if you’re always going to use them.

They can easily get damaged, they provide safety hazards, and they will just lessen your pedaling efficiency. Why? Well, because in the first place, they’re not specifically made for mountain biking.

Better get a shoe that’s specifically designed and manufactured for mountain biking if you want to maximize utility, ensure safety, and get the best possible biking experience there is.

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.