Are Vans Shoes Good For Cycling – Bicycles In Motion

Are Vans Shoes Good For Cycling

Are Vans Shoes Good For Cycling

The signature waffle pattern on the soles of Vans is a highly recognizable pattern, but are vans shoes good for cycling? Keep reading to find out if fashion pairs with functionality for these trendy shoes.

Vans are good for cycling because they have a superior waffle pattern grip that offers great traction and a flat sole that is ideal for bike pedals. Avoid using slip-on Vans as these can come off your feet easily while riding. Use the lace-up version if you want more protection around your ankles.

Vans are commonly known as skater shoes. The reason being that skateboarding is where they first hit the scene. Since then they have taken over and people wear Vans in many situations today. There are a few features that make them good for cycling but also some that may not be safe.

This guide breaks down the good and bad of Vans shoes for cycling. Many styles within the brand have been marketed for cycling, so there are clearly benefits to riding a bike with Vans.

As with any sport, not every available option for footwear is the best, so you need to know the pros and cons of wearing Vans when riding. Looking good is one thing, but you need shoes you can rely on too.

Recommended Gear

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Vans Cycle Shoes

Shoe TypeNameAverage PriceFeatures
Vans SPD Cycling ShoesVans BMX Shoes Warner DH Black$901) Lightweight gum rubber “Off the Wall” tread pattern
2) SPD compatible plate
3) Weather resistant synthetic leathers
4) Molded EVA foam sock liner
Vans BMX ShoesVans Mens Old Skool Pro BMX$70- $1001) Sturdy suede and canvas uppers
2) PopCush footbeds
3) DURACAP reinforcement rubber underlays
4) Vans Waffle BMX construction soles
Vans Gravel ShoesVans Gravel Bike Shoes$501) Perfect for flats
2) TRAX rubber outsole Waffle Grip tread pattern
3) ImpactSorb heel insert
4) Water repellent synthetic materials
5) Reflective sidestripe
Vans Clipless ShoesVans Warner Clipless Shoes$851) Laces with Velcro closures
2) Sticky gum rubber tread
3) Good grip
4) Ideal cleat position for uphill biking

Do Vans Shoes Have A Good Grip

Vans are some of the most famous shoes out there. Their styles and pattern choices change all the time to fit everyone’s favorite trends. One thing that never changes is the waffle pattern sole that you find on every pair of Vans shoes. This waffle pattern gives Vans the grip you can rely on for skateboarding and as it happens, for cycling too.

Grip matters in cycling, because it contributes to pedal power which is the only way to create momentum and move forward. Without a good grip, your feet will constantly slide off the pedals. This not only risks injury but will slow down any momentum you are trying to create.

The waffle pattern sole offers great traction, so your feet stay in place. This includes staying put on the pedals. Beyond the grip, Vans have one feature that makes them great for cycling. The flat sole is perfect for fitting against flat pedals.

The lack of arch with Vans shoes makes them questionable for long walks, but with cycling, they fit well against pedals. Combined with the grip, Vans will keep your feet in place as you pedal.

Are Vans Shoes Comfortable To Cycle With

Vans are generally considered to be comfortable. The shoes feature flat soles which means there is no supporting arch. A lack of arch support means they are not going to be comfortable for long walks.

However, a long bike ride is not the same. The flat sole is great for gripping flat pedals, so your feet stay in place as you ride. There is not as much need for arch support when you are cycling, making Vans comfortable for daily rides around town.

Should you venture off road or into different terrain, they may become more uncomfortable. As you bounce around and have to apply more force to accelerate up hills or over bumps, the lack of ankle support with Vans can become uncomfortable.

If riding off road or for a long time, it may be better to leave the Vans at home and get more supportive footwear for the ride. You also want to make sure you avoid slip-on Vans as these can come off your feet too easily.

Do Vans Shoes Protect Your Feet While Riding

There is no denying that Vans look good and have good grip. These are the reasons many wear them for cycling. But do they protect your feet? You don’t have to be off-road cycling or performing jumps and tricks to need protection. Your feet can easily be injured when riding down the street. Vans are typically made from canvas which is durable.

They will last a long time and protect your feet outside of any serious damage or wear and tear. The toe is reinforced with rubber which gives additional protection for those that ride a little more aggressively.

The only downside to Vans is that they are flat which means they will not fit your feet ideally. There are hi-top versions that have ankle support, so these are recommended for better foot protection.

Are Vans Good For Riding Flats

Vans are a good fit for riding flats. This is because of the flat soles on all Vans shoes. The waffle rubber grip on Vans adds to the benefits by ensuring that your shoes stay in place on the pedals. The sole can be a little soft though, and when wet they get slippery. Depending on the conditions you are riding in, Vans can work well for flats.

You will also want to make sure you have solid footing anytime you catch air, because Vans are known to lift a little. With Vans for flats, I would also recommend adding an insole to give you additional rigidity.

Are Vans Good For Mountain Biking

Vans will be durable enough to give you a solid season of mountain biking. By this I mean, they should last about 10 months. The good aspects of Vans for mountain biking are their durable canvas uppers and their revolutionary rubber grip. That being said, mountain bike riding can be hard on your feet and Vans do not always last as long as they would for street riding.

Other mountain biking shoes are better in terms of ankle support and toe protection. Riders I know have complained that Vans fit loosely and do not always feel like they are protecting the foot.

It is also worth noting that skate shoes like Vans will bend more which means you do not get as much energy transferred to the pedals. While they can be suitable for mountain biking, I would recommend that you limit the number of times you throw the Vans on for an off-road trip.

Are Vans Good For BMX Biking

Just as with mountain biking, Vans will last between 6 and 10 months for BMX biking. This more aggressive wear can take its toll on the durability of Vans quickly. Your Vans will provide the superior grip you want to keep your feet stuck to the pedals and will protect your feet for the most part.

Serious crashes can tear the shoes up, but that can be said about any biking shoe. You will definitely want to go with a lace-up pair of Vans for BMX biking and a low top style.

The hi-top versions can get in the way of performing tricks, they will provide more ankle support. My experiences have shown that BMX riders prefer the low top Vans and are happy to replace them every season as needed.

Vans vs 510 Freerider Pro

As popular as Vans are, the 510 Freerider Pro has quickly gained notoriety in the bike riding world. I have seen numerous forums filled with questions about which of these shoes is better for bike riding.

It seems that the 510 Freerider Pro is the biggest competition for Vans, so a comparison would be appropriate for anyone wondering if Vans shoes are good for bike riding.

Mountain bikers and BMX riders agree that 510 Freerider Pros offer superior grip and durability. Riders have testified to the Freeriders lasting for several seasons, where Vans typically only get through one.

But before you run out and get the Freerider Pro, you should know they are more expensive than Vans. You can find Vans for between $50 and $80 but the 510 Freeriders will cost you upward of $150.


Rubber waffle pattern sole for gripDesigned originally to be skate shoes
Flat sole which is good for pedalsRubber toe cap is not very protective
Made from lightweight canvasNot long lasting with mountain biking
Popular brand and style 

510 Freerider Pros

Better performanceExpensive
Designed for mountain bikingNot as stylish
Reinforced toe box 
Longer lasting 
Superior grip and flat sole for pedals 

Final Thoughts

Vans is a name you know and there is always a style perfect for you, but are Vans shoes good for cycling? The answer is yes. So long as you stick with a lace-up version.

Vans offer superior grip and a flat sole that is ideal for bike pedals. This means you can ride on the streets, hills, or nail those trick jumps you have been working on. Vans are durable and will take care of your feet.

You just need to make sure you get a pair that fits properly, are not too loose and come with ankle protection. Lace up your Vans and jump on your bike. Adventure awaits!

Brian Smith

Brian is the founder of Bicycles In Motion and an avid cyclist for 17 years. On the weekends, he enjoys exploring new bike trails and countryside roads to enjoy the outdoors.

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Are Vans Shoes Good For Cycling