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Is it Worth it to Buy Kids Mountain Biking Shoes?

A cyclist with mountain bike shoes.

Mountain Bike Shoes are a vital part of your child’s riding gear. The fact that you’ve considered mountain bike shoes suggests your kid rides pretty often and maybe even over rough terrain at times. 

That means mountain bike shoes are not just a want but a need. Even if your child rides occasionally, it’s best to have a pair of shoes made for safety and durability, which is the purpose that mountain bike shoes serve.

Let’s look at why mountain bike shoes are important and how your kids should wear them.

Can You Wear Other Shoes When Mountain Biking?

A white mountain bike shoes and a mountain bike.

The short answer is yes. We could also ask, can I wear winter mittens when cooking? Yes, but would it offer the level of safety needed? No! Regular shoes are not made for that specific type of activity and will therefore not give the grip or pedal push that your child needs when riding. Some may also be too heavy or too light, therefore not giving your kids the balance they need when riding. 

It’s not worth it to take a chance with a random shoe made for another type of activity when you have something designed for all the intricacies of mountain biking. 

You go all out to get the right bike and safety gear or overall riding kit. Therefore, why wouldn’t you get the best shoes for mountain biking instead of a regular pair or one designed for something else? As a mother who loves the outdoors and knows all the fun yet sometimes the dangers it poses, I highly recommend sticking to mountain bike shoes.

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Why Should You Only Wear Mountain Bike Shoes When Biking?

A family biking in a the forest.

Whether your kid owns a mountain bike with flat or clipless pedals, most experts suggest that you wear mountain biking shoes. Regardless of the bike’s type of pedal, mountain biking shoes can improve their all-around adventure by delivering better assistance, traction, and safety.

Some parents let their children use a current pair of tennis, hiking, or skating shoes for mountain biking. However, they’re certainly shortchanging the kids from the fundamental advantages that mountain biking shoes have.

What are the Main Benefits of Mountain Biking Shoes for Kids?

Think about the reason we chose to wear mountain shoes and the same stands for our kids. 

Good Grip

The clearest advantage of mountain riding shoes is their improved grip.

Muddyfox Kids MTB100 Junior Cycling Shoes Footwear Hook Loop Black/Grey 3.5 US

An increase in the amount of energy loss occurs as your foot slips around the pedal. To get a good grip on your pedals, mountain bike shoes have been specifically created. A pair of everyday sneakers has no chance against these.

It’s not uncommon for individuals to assume that a hiking or skating shoe will have the same level of traction. For the unlucky ones, they’re incorrect.

There are some similarities between mountain biking shoes and these shoes, although the tread patterns are not. Shoes for mountain biking are specifically constructed so that they may be attached to your pedals’ metal posts.

A failure to keep your footing can also pose a danger. Descending or around the curve, you don’t want your foot to go off the pedal!


Tennis shoes are great for jogging around town, but they’re not particularly protective while you’re out mountain riding.

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You don’t want anything frail guarding your foot in the case that it gets bashed into a rock while mountain riding. The toe box, as well as ankle protection provided by some shoes, allow you to enjoy the terrain for longer.

Some shoes have neoprene sleeves across the ankle to keep soil and rock fragments out of your low-cut footwear. The discomfort of blisters might diminish the enjoyment of cycling, but they aren’t life-threatening.

In addition, they are far better at resisting water and mud than normal shoes, which would soon ruin your ride!


A person riding a mountain bike fixing his shoes.

Rigidity is the primary difference between mountain biking footwear and skate shoes. However, it’s not obvious until you put them on your feet.

Rigid shoes reduce foot stress since they don’t make the foot achieve as much work. For lengthy rides or steep descents, this can be useful.

The insoles of mountain biking shoes provide excellent cushioning and support for the feet. Your feet will thank you for the added support, whether you’re soaring into the air or simply enjoying the trails.

More Efficient Transport of Energy

A pedal of a mountain bike with mud.

Mountains are great for exercise, but don’t make yourself work harder than required! When you’re pedaling hard, any flex in the sole of your shoe reduces the amount of power you can transfer.

What if your padded tennis shoe is absorbing a tenth of the force you’re exerting, and then transmitting that power via your foot? Almost ten percent of your total energy output has been lost in the process. In other words, you will be doing additional labor for the same ride.

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The rigidity of mountain biking shoes prevents this waste of power. In addition, clipless pedals allow riders to both pulls and push the pedals, which increases overall energy.


A family on a mountain bike hiking in a rocky mountain.

Whenever it pertains to investing in new equipment, price is always a consideration. Buying mountain bike shoes might end up saving you money down the road, though.

For example, let’s assume you intend to bike in your walking shoes. Even though you’ll probably be able to bike, your shoes are going to take a beating from it.

Regular footwear west meant to deal with all the debris, soil, and fatigue from the pedals. Your $120 jogging sneakers, which were supposed to last a year, are now worn out after only a month!

You’d be better off investing in a pair of mountain bike-specific footwear rather than a new pair of shoes that you’ll only wear for a few rides.