Should You Use a Vans MTB Shoe for Mountain Biking?

Last Updated on December 20, 2022

When you’re getting ready for mountain biking, the last thing you want to worry about is what shoes to wear. For starters, you want something that’s going to be comfortable and give you the protection and performance you need on the trail. 

Mountain biking is a physically demanding sport. Therefore, you need to have the right gear to be able to handle the off-road terrain, as well as the potential for crashes. 

That’s why having a good pair of MTB shoes is important. With that said, should you use Vans shoes for mountain biking?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at whether or not Vans shoes are good for MTB riding.

A Brief Overview of Vans Shoes

Vans is a popular shoe company that’s known for its skateboarding shoes. The company was founded in 1966 and has since become one of the most popular skateboarding brands in the world. Vans shoes are known for their durability, comfort, and style. The company offers a wide range of shoes for different activities, including mountain biking. 

Vans Shoes for MTB Activities

When it comes to Vans shoes for mountain biking, there are a few things you need to know:

First, Vans shoes are not specifically designed for mountain biking. Instead, they’re skate shoes adapted for use in different sports, including MTB. 

Second, Vans shoes are generally more flexible than other types of shoes for mountain biking. Again, this can be a good or bad thing, depending on your needs. 

Third, Vans shoes don’t offer as much power and performance as other mountain bike shoes. They’re not as stiff and don’t provide as much support. 

In general, Vans shoes are okay for mountain biking. They’re flexible and provide good control for beginner riders.

However, if you’re looking for more power and performance on the trail, it might not be the best choice, even if you’re wearing the best Vans shoes available. 

Are Vans Shoes Okay for Mountain Biking?

Yes, Vans Shoes are okay for mountain biking. These shoes offer comfort in your rides and are durable for long-term use. However, Vans Skate Shoes should only be for casual downhill or general MTB.

The reason is that Vans shoes are not designed for MTB and don’t offer the same level of power, performance, and support necessary when engaging in this sport. In addition, the materials of Vans shoes are not as breathable as those of other mountain biking shoes, which could cause your feet to overheat during long rides. 

Male Riding Mountain Bike

If you want to get serious with Enduro racing or mountain biking, it’s best to invest in proper shoes designed specifically for mountain biking. However, if you’re starting out or want a casual shoe for general MTB, Vans shoes are a perfectly acceptable option. 

What Shoes Do You Need for Mountain Biking?

While Vans are completely fine for casual mountain biking, you will eventually transition to proper mountain bike shoes if you ever get serious with mountain biking. At this point, the question would be, what shoes do you need for mountain biking? 

In mountain biking, you’ll need stiff shoes because it allows you to transfer more power from your legs to the flat pedals. In contrast, shoes with softer soles will cushion the energy transfer, which will affect the power you exert and compromise your overall pedaling power.

You also need to choose shoes that give optimum feet protection from drops and impacts. These shoes should also be durable and rugged enough for the tough conditions of the outdoors and off-road terrain. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Vans Shoes for Mountain Biking

While Vans are still a viable option for MTB, they also have pros and cons. If you’re considering Vans shoes for mountain biking, it’s important to be aware of their upsides and downsides so that you can make a better and more informed decision regarding whether or not they’re the right shoes for you. 


  • They look good:  Vans has always been a fashion brand, and their shoes boast a trendy and stylish look. Vans can boost your overall appearance if you also care about how you look while on your mountain bike.
  • They’re comfortable: Vans shoes are designed for skateboarding, a demanding activity requiring a lot of foot movement. This means that Vans shoes are designed to be extremely comfortable, which is one reason why they’re also popular among mountain bikers.
  • They offer good grip:  Vans shoes have a good grip thanks to their lightweight gum rubber outsole, which is essential for MTB since you need to maintain control of your bike at all times, especially when going down steep slopes.
  • Great for everyday use: Vans shoes can also be used for everyday activities such as walking or light hiking. This makes them a very versatile shoe that can be used for different purposes.
  • Flexible: Vans shoes are also known for their flexibility, which gives you greater control over your feet while riding your mountain bike.
  • Lightweight:  Vans shoes are generally lightweight, which is an advantage since you don’t want your shoes to weigh you down while mountain biking.


  • Vans are quite expensive: an often overlooked downside of Vans shoes is that they can be quite expensive, especially compared to other bike shoes for mountain biking.
  • They’re not as stiff as other Mountain bike shoes:  While the flexibility of Vans shoes can be seen as an advantage, it’s also a disadvantage because it means that they’re not as stiff as other mountain bike TB shoes. This lack of stiffness can affect your pedaling power and performance.
  • Can’t grip pedals well: While it does offer decent grip thanks to the rubber sole, the truth is that Vans shoes are more effective at gripping skateboard surfaces—after all, it is a skate shoe, first and foremost. So, Vans might not be the ideal choice if you’re looking for shoes that can give you the best grip possible on your mountain bike’s flat pedals.
  • Not made for rough conditions: Vans shoes are not designed to withstand the tough and rough conditions often associated with MTB. So, if you’re planning to do a lot of off-roading, it’s best to invest in shoes specifically designed for this type of terrain.
  • Not meant to protect your feet: Since Vans shoes are not made for mountain biking, they also don’t offer the same level of protection you’ll find in shoes for mountain biking. This means that your feet are more vulnerable to injury if you happen to take a fall while wearing Vans shoes.
  • Not great for wet conditions: the materials used to make Vans shoes cannot withstand the extreme weather conditions of the outdoors. That means your Vans will get soggy the moment you end up under wet conditions while mountain biking.

Best Vans Shoes for Mountain Biking

Vans Shoes

There are some Vans shoes that are better suited for mountain biking than others. If you’re set on using Vans shoes for mountain biking, here are some of the best options that will get you through technical terrain:

Vans Bearcat

The Vans Bearcat is a low-cut shoe that’s great for casual wear and mountain biking. It features the Vans Performance Range, double-stitched toe cap, reinforced blucher eyerow, a Die-cut EVA sockliner midsole, and gum rubber outsole.

Overall, this shoe delivers performance and range and will serve as a great shoe for mountain biking.

Vans Ward Sneakers

Inspired by the Vans Classic Old Skool, the Vans Ward is a low top that provides both comfort and style. It features a vulcanized lace-up with a round toe.

The Vans Ward Sneaker also features a padded collar for extra comfort, a soft cushioning insole smooth lining. If you want total comfort while mountain biking, this is the shoe for you.

Vans U Authentic Sneakers

The Vans U is one of the classics and is a great shoe for mountain biking. It’s a lace-up with metal eyelets, has a vulcanized construction, and features the Vans signature waffle outsole.

The Vans U is a great shoe for those who want style, range, and comfort while mountain biking.

Vans Unisex Adult Sk8-Hi Reissue Shoes

The Vans Sk-Hi Reissue is a high-top shoe that’s great for mountain biking. It’s a pair of high-cut sneakers that protects your entire foot from toe to ankle.

With leather and synthetic upper, the Vans Sk-Hi Reissue also features a padded collar for extra comfort. The Vans signature waffle outsole provides great grip and is perfect for those who want a high-top shoe for mountain biking.

Vans Trainer Sneakers

Finally, the Vans Trainer Sneakers are perfect for those who want a versatile shoe that can be used for mountain biking and other activities. The Vans trainer sneakers are low-top shoes with a lace-up design.

They’re made with a leather and synthetic upper and feature the Vans signature waffle outsole. The Vans trainer sneakers are a great all-around shoe that can be used for mountain biking and other activities.

Advantages of Mountain Bike Shoes Over Vans Shoes

Now that we know why Vans can and can’t be used to mountain biking, let’s now look at why standard mountain bike shoes are the better option than Vans when it comes to MTB:

Made Specifically for MTB

Mountain bike shoes are meant for one thing only—mountain biking. The stiffer sole, solid construction, and ankle protection mean they are designed to provide the best possible grip, comfort, support, and protection while you’re out on the trails.

More Durable Option

Mountain bike shoes are also much more durable than Vans shoes and can withstand the tough conditions often associated with mountain biking.

Better protection

Cycling shoes offer better protection for your feet and are often equipped with toe protection and reinforced heels to protect your feet from rocks, roots, and other obstacles.

Better support and stability

MTB shoes also offer better support and stability than Vans shoes, which are essential when riding over rough and uneven terrain.


Mountain bike shoes are made of weather-resistant synthetic leathers, which means they’ll keep your feet dry even if you end up riding through puddles or stream crossings. MTB shoes are made to withstand the extreme weather conditions outdoors, which means they won’t get soggy or damaged when exposed to rain or mud.

Whether you’re using an old pair of mountain biking shoes, you’ll still get the same quality as a new one when riding flats or rough terrains.

More Affordable

One of the most significant advantages of mountain bike shoes over Vans shoes is that they are more affordable. You can find a good pair of mountain bike shoes for less than $100, whereas a pair of Vans can easily cost double that.


So, should you wear Vans for mountain biking? While Vans skate shoes have some advantages, the truth is that they’re not the best choice for mountain biking. 

Road Cyclist

If you’re looking for a shoe that will provide the best grip, comfort, support, and protection, then you’re better off investing in a pair of mountain biking shoes.

Mountain bike shoes are made specifically for mountain biking and offer several advantages over Vans shoes, such as being more durable, better at protecting your feet, and more affordable.

So, if you’re a casual rider, Vans are completely fine, and you should wear them on your rides if you want to. But if you ever get serious about mountain biking, ditch the Vans and invest in a good pair of shoes for mountain biking. Your feet will thank you for it.