5 Tips for Finding the Best Bicycle-Friendly Shoes You Can Wear Everywhere

On a visit to Denmark over a decade ago, I was surprised by the number of bikers in Copenhagen. According to tourist website Visitcopenhagen.com, in 1995, it was one of the first cities in the world to launch free city bikes for its citizens and visitors.

The biking trend is catching on in cities across the U.S., thanks to companies such as Lime, a rental service providing pedal bikes, electric scooters and electric bikes. The system offers dockless vehicles that riders can find and unlock using a mobile app. Basically, you just grab and go.

There are lots of reasons to consider bicycles as a means of transportation today. They’re cheaper than owning a car, provide a source of exercise and help protect the environment.

Although these bikes are meant for short-distance travel around the city to and from school or work, safety rules still apply, especially when it comes to wearing protective gear such as helmets and shoes that cover the feet.

While you may not need performance biking shoes that feature fastening systems, there are some guidelines to consider when selecting a pair of everyday shoes for biking around town.

Here are five tips for finding the proper everyday shoe for safe biking.

Avoid Open-Toed Styles

Exposed feet can easily scrape on a bike pedal. Added to this, the sole of sandal or flip-flop can get stuck on the pedal, taking foot control away. Fisherman-style sandals are an exception, since they provide toe coverage. The Keen Newport Hydro ($100) is a great pick, as it also offers enhanced toe protection.

Opt for Flat Shoes

Flat shoes are always the preferred option, since higher heels — especially narrower shapes — can minimize surface contact of the shoe with the pedal and even get hooked on to the back of a pedal. For extra security and flexibility, try a pair of flats with an elastic front strap like the Camper Right Nina ($145).

Camper Right Nina shoes, red
Camper Right Nina
CREDIT: Zappos

Choose Styles With Traction

Look for underfoot traction. Slick leather soles can slip off bike pedals, while more tactile surfaces such as those found on sneakers offer more gripping power so feet don’t slide. Vans shoes feature the brand’s signature waffle sole for superior traction, while Chrome creates classic sneaker styles specifically made for biking, making them another great option. These offer vulcanized rubber soles to enhance grip, as well as a rigid nylon shank for optimal comfort and pedal power.

Vans Classic Slip-On Core Classics
Vans Classic Slip-On Core Classics
CREDIT: Zappos

Look for Adjustment Features

Shoes that tie offer more security than slip-ons since they can be customized for an enhanced fit. However, avoid longer-than-necessary shoelaces since they can easily get caught in bike chains and gears. Shoes with elastic lacing systems provide a safety measure since they naturally readjust as the foot moves with the pedal. We recommend Skechers Empire D’Lux, which is detailed with a lightweight knit upper and closes with adjustable bungee lacing for a personal fit.

Sketchers Empire D'Lux
Sketchers Empire D’Lux
CREDIT: Zappos

… And Lightweight Constructions

Even when biking in colder weather, keep shoes light. Heavier boots can minimize the feeling between the foot and pedal, taking away control.

All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through the links included on our site, FN may earn a commission.

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