WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOUNTAIN BIKE FOOTWEAR!
Mountain biking is great for kids of all ages. It provides strength, fitness, courage and insight, whether you are 9 or 90. Anyone can ride a mountain bike, and kids excel at leaning how to track on trails, take small jumps, and move through challenging terrain.
And, contrary to what you might imagine, it isn’t all about the bike. If fact, a good pair of mountain bike shoes do more for your riding ability, safely and fun factor than any other piece of equipment.
Mountain bike footwear has gotten much better in past years. It used to be a choice between hard-plastic “clipless” shoes or sneakers. But now, the flat pedal revolution (in pedals and footwear) let mountain bikers of all ages to get excellent pedal power without the constraints of “clipping in.” Flat pedal bike shoes are designed to work with “flat pedals.” They rely on sticky (high friction) rubber soles that cling to pedals like duct tape, but also allow the rider to quickly adjust or regain foot position. Basically, flat pedal mountain bike shoes help you pedal better, but allow you to quickly move your feet from the pedals to the ground, a big plus when mountain biking. And, in contrast to s molded hard-plastic clip in soles, flat pedal shoes are ideal for walking on trails or even around town.
In order for your kids to get the most out of their bike experience, they need good footwear. They need a shoe that will interface well with the pedals. That means a shoe with a sticky rubber sole. Kid’s should have a shoe with a sole that is stiff enough for pedal power (and stiff enough so their feet don’t get cramped and exhausted after the first mile) with a rubber sole designed to work with the pedals. You don’t want too much tread, just like you don’t want treadles shoes. Flat Pedal mountain bike shoes have tread that is ideal for biking and hiking.
Pick a shoe that is either low or mid ankle height, with a velcro or lace closure (or both). Skate shoes like Vans will work, but aren’t ideal. Some running shoes will work, but they generally have soft uppers and soft-flexible soles, so they slip around and don’t have toe protection.