Are Vans Good for Mountain Biking?

When it comes to mountain biking, your choice of footwear matters a lot.

Mountain bikers like to grab their most comfortable pair of shoes, which is why Vans are their first choice. Now the question is, are Vans good for mountain biking? Let’s find out the answer in detail.

Can You Use Vans for Mountain Biking?

Vans are specifically designed for skateboarders. Since skateboarding and mountain biking are similar, mountain bikers also use their vans for adventure.

While Vans provide the same level of comfort, support, and flexibility to the biker, they are not a great choice for advanced biking trails.

Vans are an excellent choice if you are a beginner mountain biker. The flexibility of the shoes provides greater control for the newbie biker. 

With advanced mountain biking, the rider requires more power in addition to more control. Vans might not serve them the best.

As long as you are a beginner or intermediate mountain biker, your choice of footwear doesn’t matter. Investing in mountain biking shoes is best when you move to advanced mountain biking.

Checkered vans shoes beside skateboard
Vans were specifically designed for skateboarders, but you can use them for MTB

Are Vans Good Mountain Biking Shoes?

Yes, Vans grippy soles make them good for mountain biking.

On flat pedals, you’ll feel like your vans are glued. Unlike running or tennis shoes, they do not produce blisters. They are comparatively cheap, and the only drawback is that Vans shoes are less supportive on muddy rides.

Specialized shoes perform well for mountain biking when your shoes get wet. If you can afford them, get a pair of good mountain biking shoes because your safety should be your priority.

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Pros Of Vans Shoes for Mountain Biking

Heat Protection

It’s normal for your feet to get hot while mountain biking and the thick soles of Vans are enough to protect you from the scorching heat.

Casual And Durable

Vans are a good option for casual riding. They will protect your feet from sticks and rocks. You don’t need to worry about pebbles and sharp rocks because Vans are durable. Dirt and mud can wear down, but if you clean them regularly, you will keep them in optimum shape. 

Ankle Protection

The sturdy soles protect your ankles and feet from debris and help you have more solid footing on the path. Vans shoe soles are also helpful when you need to stop or need more traction to make abrupt turns.

Unboxed low cut vans shoes with labels showing

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Cons Of Vans Shoes for Mountain Biking

Less Versatility Than Biking Shoes

Biking shoes are specifically built to provide a strong grip, so they stay on the pedals when riding. Vans are not as good an alternative because they provide cross-platform functionality and not dedicated mountain biking functionality. 

Lack Of Water Resistance

Although Vans provide better protection than normal shoes, they are not water resistant and will not be 100% effective in wet weather or on muddy trails.

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What Is the Difference Between MTB Shoes And Vans?

MTB Shoes

MTB shoes are specifically designed for biking. They have stiffer soles that can help you transfer more power to the pedals, and they also have treads on the bottom that provide a better grip when you’re cycling over rough terrain.

So, if you’re seeking a bike-specific shoe, MTB shoes are the way to go.


Vans, on the other hand, is a more versatile option. You can wear them for cycling, but they’re also great for everyday use. They have softer soles and a more casual look, which makes them perfect for everyday wear.

Choosing Vans is a great idea if you want a shoe suitable for riding and regular use.

Vans shoes have a high-top style, providing additional ankle support—a definite benefit for mountain biking and some joint support. 

They also have comfortable, well-cushioned soles and a perforated upper, which promotes breathability. Most Vans mountain biking shoes also include lugged outsoles for increased trail traction.

Every Vans style is gender-neutral, so anyone can wear them. The sizing is neutral for the main styles, although other types, such as platform shoes, might indicate a gender because the sizing will fit smaller or not run specific sizes.

woman wearing vans shoes at skatepark

The waffle pattern sole on every pair of Vans shoes is one feature that never changes. Vans’ signature waffle design provides dependable traction for both skating and cycling.

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Should You Use MTB Shoes Or Vans for Biking?

So, should you use MTB shoes or Vans for biking? The answer to that question depends on what you’re looking for in a pair of shoes or what kind of riding you want. 

MTB shoes are specifically designed for biking and have a stiffer sole that gives you better power transfer when you pedal. They also have a tread pattern optimized for cycling, which helps you keep your footing on tricky terrain.

two crosslegged feet wearing vans shoes

Vans are versatile and can be used for various outdoor activities, including biking. But they’re not as specialized as MTB shoes, so they won’t perform as well in cycling.

The waffle design sole of vans provides excellent traction, keeping your foot in place—maintaining your position on the pedals. Smooth pedals fit well against the sole’s flat surface.

If you’re just starting and you’re not sure what type of riding you’ll be doing, then it is a good idea to go with Vans. But if you’re serious about mountain biking, it’s worth investing in a pair of MTB shoes. 

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Final Thoughts

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the best shoes for mountain biking. Some people prefer to wear MTB shoes, and others find Vans more comfortable.

The bottom line is that trying on different shoes and seeing which ones feel best for your feet is important. That way, you can be sure you’re getting the most out of your mountain biking experience.

You can’t go wrong with a pair of Vans if you need more comfort. MTB shoes will give you a more powerful and controlled ride if you need something more tailored to the trails.