Can You Ride A Bike In Sandals? When It Makes Sense

Whether you’ve been biking for a while or just got your first bike as an adult, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to put on your cycling shoes. So can you ride a bike in sandals and is it frowned upon?

Can I Wear Sandals While Riding A Bike?

Yes, you can but it should only be done when it can be done safely. Flip flops, heels, or open-toed shoes expose your toes and feet to dangers such as cuts, and road rashes if you fall.

Many bicyclists do it, especially on the beach. It may look cool, and refreshing, but you need to fully grasp the pros and cons of riding in sandals.

We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of it as well as how to protect yourself. But first, let’s take a look at whether you should wear sandals on your bike.

Should You Wear Sandals While Riding Your Bike?

Before you jump on your bike with your favorite flip flops, here’s what you need to take into consideration.

Skill Level

Your skill level should be the first thing you take into consideration when riding in flip flops. If you’re an avid biker that has never had issues with your feet slipping off the pedals and you can touch the floor in case of an emergency, you should be fine. You don’t have to touch the floor completely, but the balls of your feet should be touching the ground.

Ask yourself, have you fallen off your bike in the last six months? Do you have trouble with your feet slipping off the pedal?

If you have had the following issues in the past six months, then you shouldn’t wear open-toed shoes while riding.


How long you’re planning on going should be one a top consideration before riding in flip flops. If you’re planning on taking a long strenuous ride, you should avoid wearing sandals. You’ll be more prone to injuries or foot pain if you’re having to put a lot of effort into pedaling.

If you’re just going down the street or taking a leisurely stroll on the beach, there’s nothing wrong with slipping on some sandals.

Experiencing Pain

It’s not uncommon for cyclists to feel pain, numbness, and or tingling in the forefoot area. Foot pain while cycling can be due to wearing the wrong type of shoes and can be triggered by biking or exercise.

If you have any type of foot pain, including plantar fascitis you should always wear a good pair of cycling shoes to protect your feet.

Can You Ride A Bike In Sandals

As mentioned above, there are many pros and cons to it, so let’s take a look at both.



Sandals and flip flops are extremely popular in the summer months because they look good and easy to take on/put on. You get to show off your newly polished toenails and when you stop to take a break, you can take your feet off to relax.


The summer months can get hot and riding in open-toed shoes helps keep your feet cool with the summer breeze. If you’ve ever worn biking shoes you know it can be uncomfortable, especially, when your feet start to sweat and smell. This is one of the main reasons many recreational riders prefer wearing sandals while bicycling.

Freeing Feeling

Many cyclists hate riding in shoes because they prefer feeling the air through their toes. Similar to why some motorcyclists prefer riding without helmets.

There’s no better feeling than riding your bike while having a cool summer breeze blowing through your toes. You don’t have to worry about your feet smelling from being closed in shoes.


Prone to Injuries

This is the biggest reason you shouldn’t ride with sandals. Sandals don’t protect your feet the same way that closed-toed shoes do. Not to mention, your cute sandals don’t have the same traction on the soles as your cycling shoes.

If you fall or need to put your feet down in a hurry to catch yourself, you’re exposing your feet to injuries. There could be glass, rocks, stones, insects, and other things on the ground that can be painful. There are many cycling forums online that discuss the dangers of riding barefooted or with sandals.

If you’re riding with sandals, or barefooted you should avoid riding on roads where there is a lot of traffic.


The weather can change quickly when you’re on a bike ride. Never ride with flip flops in the rain as it will make the pedals slippery and cause your feet to slip off.

If you’ve feet have ever slipped, you know that it can be painful when the pedal smacks the back of your leg. Now imagine not having shoes on and your foot slipping and possibly coming into contact with the road, or your spokes.


Smooth pavement and roads are virtually nonexistent in most cities and towns in the United States. Many roads have potholes, and cracks that can be dangerous for riding in sandals.

If you’re going to ride in sandals, stick to roads you’re familiar with. Better yet, ride on the sand or grass as you’ll be less likely to get hurt.

Ruining Your Sandals

Another downside to wearing sandals, is they can get ruined. Bikes have oily parts that can splatter up and cause your favorite sandals to become ruined.

If you are going to ride with sandals, make sure you leave your expensive dressy sandals at home.

How To Stay Safe In Sandals

Riding a bike can be dangerous whether you’re riding in shoes or sandals. Follow these tips to stay safe while riding in sandals.

  • Know your skill level.
  • Monitor the weather before you leave.
  • Check your air pressure before you ride.
  • Stick with roads you’re familiar with but have a backup route just in case.
  • Don’t give anyone a ride with sandals.
  • Be prepared for anything!

Can You Buy Biking Sandals?

Yes, you can, and they are safer than biking with flip flops. There are many brands available on the market from Keen, Shimano, Nashbar, just to name a few.

You can find them in both women’s and men’s sizes, and they don’t cost as much as you would think.

What Kind Of Sandals Should You Wear?

The answer will vary from person to person. I’d recommend getting a pair that is comfortable for you.

If you’re going on a short spin down the road, you can wear your favorite summer flip flops. For those longer bike rides that require more foot protection, I’d something like the Keen Commuter Bike Sandals. I had a pair in the past and they were extremely comfortable.

They look like a normal sandal, and the flexible sole makes it easy to pedal.

Should You Let Children Ride With Sandals?

No, children should always wear closed-toed shoes to prevent the risk of losing a toe and long-sleeved shirts to protect against road rashes, in case a child falls off their bikes.

Adults and children should always ride the right size bike and a helmet every time they ride.

Final Word

There’s nothing wrong with riding with flip flops, but you’re exposing yourself to unnecessary injuries.

If you wear sandals year-round, because you can’t stand shoes, then consider buying a good pair of cycling sandals. They’ll protect your feet better and you will be less prone to injuries.