Can You Mountain Bike in Hiking Shoes?

Last Updated on March 9, 2022

Mountain biking is not just about your bike and your skills or stamina. It’s also about the gears that you wear along your ride that help you reach your destination in one piece.

There are many ways to do this such as getting the right gloves, knee pads, tops, and shorts. But nothing beats the fact that shoes play a huge role in your mountain biking experience.

More often than not, many new mountain bikers prefer to wear these whenever they ride their bikes.

Although this isn’t ideal or that highly recommended if you were to ask professional bikers. Wearing hiking shoes still works. That’s if you don’t ride aggressive trails and go on technical downhills or long-distance rides.

This article will dive more into this topic so you can have a better understanding of how hiking shoes work. We are also going to show you if they are really a good fit for mountain biking and if they’re really safe to wear all day long on your journey.

What are hiking shoes?

Hiking shoes are shoes that are specifically designed for hiking or jogging. They are usually very light and have thin fabric and soles as these features make it easier for you to walk.

These shoes also have a very simple sole tread pattern because walking doesn’t need complicated patterns to aid fast movement and high speeds.

They also come in two main types. The first is the strap-on shoes, while the second one is those that have lace. They have become a popular alternative for mountain bikers because they are generally more affordable compared to mountain bike shoes.

What are mountain biking shoes?

Mountain biking shoes, as the name suggests, are shoes that are made specifically for mountain biking. There are different types of mtb shoes out in the market today, depending on the discipline you choose.

You can either go for the stiffer cross-country shoes that usually have a clipless-pedal platform sole.

There are also trail shoes that can come in clipless pedals or flat pedal configurations that work great on enduro and downhill settings. Whichever it is that you choose, make sure that you opt for the shoes that fit your preferred discipline to make the most out of it, whether it be clipless shoes or normal shoes.

Flat pedal shoes

Flat pedals shoes are like regular rubber shoes that have a flat sole with varying tread patterns. These kinds of MTB shoes are the most popular type for mountain biking because they don’t have a steep learning curve.

You just wear flat pedals MTB shoes like any regular shoe or skate shoes, hop on your bike, and you’re good to go.

What’s also great about flat pedals shoes is that you can wear them anywhere you like even if you’re not riding your bike because they look like average skate shoes and normal shoes, but one that you can use on a mountain bike. This makes them very versatile shoes you can wear in any casual setting.

There are even trail running shoes now that have ride flat pedals design with toe protection, that you can’t find in regular flat shoes or in a normal shoe.

Clipless pedal shoes

Clipless pedal shoes are the choice of hardcore and professional mountain bikers because these MTB shoes provide better stability and balance, especially on technical trails.

Although you need to get really used to them to avoid crashing with your feet stuck on the pedals. The steep learning curve is very much worth it because of the heightened pedaling efficiency that you get compared to normal shoes.

Advantages of Using Proper Mountain Bike Shoes


The best thing about wearing proper mountain bike shoes is that you are safer, both in terms of avoiding crashes, as well as in lowering the chances of foot injuries.

Mtb shoes that are specifically made for biking protect your feet with the help of the thick fabric material on the sides and the sole. You are also less likely to get a foot sprain because they usually come in mid-heel to high-heel configurations.


Another nice thing about mountain bike shoes is that they make it easier for you to balance on your bike.

You can easily maneuver your handlebar by moving your feet and swaying your body. Having a good grip on your foot also helps a lot, and you can achieve that with the help of sticky soles that are only found on a mountain bike shoe.

Pedaling efficiency

You can pedal faster and experience less exhaustion if you are wearing the right mountain bike shoes, as opposed to other kinds of shoes such as hiking shoes.

Although the latter is lighter, they make it harder for you to pedal at extended periods of time because they don’t work well with the hard metal surface of pedals.

They can just cause blisters on your foot and can even lead to severe injuries if ever the soles rip off and the sharp pedal pins scrape your foot’s soles.

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Disadvantages of Using Hiking Shoes for Mountain Biking

Hiking shoes

Awkward fit

Hiking shoes might seem nice at first for biking because they’re light and are very breathable. However, they have an awkward fit on your feet because they take their shape too much.

It doesn’t provide enough gap or an additional layer of support around the foot’s sides and soles unlike MTB shoes, which makes it a bit uncomfortable to wear on serious trail rides or long-distance epics.


Hiking shoes have very thin soles that are slippery. This means that they don’t provide much grip. This poses a huge risk factor because your foot can slip off the pedals and its pins can scrape your legs or foot.

Shorter lifespan

Hiking shoes will have a very short lifespan if you regularly use them for mountain biking. They won’t last a month or two if you use them at least two or three times a week.

The sharp pedal pins, the constant pedaling motion, and all the other factors found in the trails are just too much for a regular hiking shoe to tolerate.

Can you wear hiking shoes for mountain biking?

Yes, of course. But the experience you’ll get is not as good compared to wearing mountain bike-specific shoes.

If possible, wear shoes that are specifically made for biking so you can stay safe, enjoy more, and be more competitive. You can also have many shoes that have a light shoe feature so you’ll have a lot of options to choose from.


Hiking shoes work well for mountain biking. But that’s if you’re just biking for leisure.

If you want to get the best mountain biking experience possible, then get rid of the hiking shoes and get good shoes for mountain bikes such as FiveTen and Crankbrothers, which are considered the best shoes with flexible soles and toe clips. You’ll see a whole world of difference out there.