The Art of Riding a Bike in Sandals

Whether you’re an avid rider, or new to riding bikes overall – sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth the effort to get prepped for riding. For a quick spin, or a ride on the beach, going through the effort to put on shoes almost seems wildly unnecessary.

Can I ride a bicycle in sandals? Of course, you can ride your bicycle in sandals, there is no reason this wouldn’t be allowed. There are, of course, cons and horror stories that go along with this, but there are also a fair share of advocates and great reasons to consider it as well.

Before running off to ride away in sandals, however, you should make sure to consider both sides of the argument. While it is not always a bad idea, it definitely should be done only where appropriate.

The Pros of Wearing Sandals on a Bicycle

There are a lot of pros about tossing on your sandals and taking out the bike. While it is not always the best way to go, sometimes it is the right decision for you.

Skill level

Your skill level is the first consideration before hopping on a bike in flops. If you are an avid biker you may be just fine. What you want to look for is not having slipped off the pedals, ideally ever but at least within the last year. If you know you are skilled enough to ride with sandals, this can be a freeing feeling for you. Be honest with yourself, you don’t want to injure yourself over an ego.

Weather

In hot weather, being able to wear sandals is a huge positive. If you have ever tried biking in tight shoes that don’t breathe during the summer months, you know that this is far from fun. And then upon arriving at your destination, you end up not wanting to remove your shoes so others don’t have to smell your feet. When all the necessary variables are in line, this can be one of the best parts of wearing sandals while riding.

Duration

Of course, this should be a top consideration of yours. Long rides leave more room for accidents and more factors to consider. If you are only going down the street, it could definitely be beneficial for you to be able to just slide on some sandals.

Location

Although everything is important to think through, this is probably going to be the largest factor outside of weather that determines your decision. If you are going somewhere flat and paved, this can be a perfect little joy ride in the sandals. If you are heading down to the beach (given that it’s close), flip-flop it up! Make sure you know the entire route, but as long as you do, it can be a great time to wear the sandals!

The Cons of Wearing Sandals While Riding

Injuries, injuries, injuries

Of course, this is going to be the biggest con to riding with sandals. Using sandals adds less traction and less protection overall. All you have to do is a simple Google search to see that there are countless forums where people share injuries. Of course, an official stance by any biking tips will always be to wear safety gear – which included closed-toed shoes. Safety should absolutely take priority, so be aware of all factors, particularly the following. Riding in sandals increases the risk of a foot injury.

Weather

One of the most dangerous things to look out for is the weather. Of course, if it is cold, this would be a big turnoff to wanting to ride in sandals already.

If you are taking your bike to the local coffee shop, the beach, or even on errands, it may seem like a nice time to wear sandals, but the weather may turn sour quickly. Make sure to look at the hourly forecast and know exactly what to expect. Rain would increase pedal slips and decrease overall control and vision – never wear sandals to ride your bicycle when it’s raining.

Location

Anytime your route would involve going off well-paved and safe paths, I would suggest not wearing sandals. Of course, I would never suggest sandals for any sort of mountain bike or even trail riding. The risk definitely outweighs comfort. Even knowing the hills on your location is important, putting your foot out to readjust is a simple maneuver, but if your speed is up and/or the hill is steep, you could end up causing lots of damage to yourself and others.

Conclusion

As a skilled biker, you may be able to enjoy cooling the feet off on a well-controlled, flat route that you know well. This can be a freeing, comfortable, and casual way to ride. Although this is more than possible, make sure you have taken into consideration all the factors ahead of time, not being overly confident in your abilities based on the weather, location, and skill level.

Preparing for the worst: 

Of course, you never want to go out and have unexpected situations arise. Make sure ahead of time you already have an alternate route, in case something changes and you have to go another away. Prepare to bring sneakers in your backpack or bag as well, if it rains unexpectedly, or something happens to your sandals, you won’t want to get caught being barefoot with a bike.

I wanted to put together a quick list of tips to ride in sandals that you can run through whenever you are unsure – or just as a reminder. 

  • Know your skill level ahead of time
  • Know the route, and have a backup route
  • Check the hourly weather report
  • Prepare for the worst
  • Have fun feeling free while riding!

Related Questions:

Are there sandals made for biking? Absolutely there are! Multiple brands currently have sandals on the market that are safer for the avid cycler. These have many of the same features as riding shoes, in terms of durability and soles. They also include the ability to put clips in.

Is it safe to ride a bike in the rain? Rain is going to happen, especially if you are a regular bicycle rider, you are going to need to learn to ride in the rain. It can be perfectly safe as long as you stay alert and acquire the proper gear. Don’t let a little rain stop you from going for your routine ride!

Is it safe to listen to headphones while biking? 45 States (at the time of this article) do not prohibit riding with headphones in. 3 of those 5 (Maryland, Delaware, and California) still allow it to be done with only one headphone. So unless you live in Florida or Rhode Island – go for it and listen to your tunes! In the interest of safety, it is helpful to listen at a low volume or to use only one ear. This will help protect you and those around you.

My Personal Experience

I love sandals and wear them nearly year round. Until it gets to the dead of winter you can find me wearing sandals every single day. Fortunately, even my work allows for me to wear sandals.

While I don’t ride sandals all of the time I ride my bike, and most bike commutes I choose to wear regular shoes I have had times where I ride with my beloved sandals.

In 2011 I rode a steel framed road bike from Salinas, California to San Luis Obispo. I took highway 1 along the Big Sur coast, and it took me 2 days of riding. There were incredible downhills and spectacular climbs that gave me excellent ocean views. One of the best parts is that I wore sandals for the entire ride.

So can you ride a bike in sandals? Absolutely. What kind of sandals should you wear? My opinion is that if you’re going to wear sandals on a bike you should wear the kind that are most comfortable for you. I wore my beloved Rainbows (see on Amazon) to San Luis Obispo.

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