Barefoot Cycling: Why Is It Good For You?

You’ve likely heard of barefoot running, but what about barefoot cycling?

While the act (and hobby) of running without shoes on seems like a natural thing to do if you’re able to learn how to do it properly, riding a bike without shoes on can seem a little problematic.

Here’s the thing though; most of us have done it at some point, most likely as a kid. Those days of running around without shoes on often included hopping on the bike at some point.

But what about as an adult? Are there any benefits? This is debatable, but it’s easy to see why some may choose to do so, even if in limited situations and scenarios.


So, we’ll go over why one might consider cycling barefoot, and some tips for doing so if you’re going to give it a shot.


The reasons that some choose to ride without anything on their feet all tend to revolve around retaining a more natural pedal motion.

Most riders, whether it’s road or mountain biking, tend to use clipless pedals. With these pedals, your feet are not only inside of a shoe, but actually attached to the pedals. While this does help in many areas, it also creates what barefoot cycling exhausts describe as an inefficient pedaling motion that can also have an affect on your lower body.

They argue that pedaling without anything on your feet causes you to both proactively and passively alter your pedaling motion to a more natural type.

Riding on tandem bike

Also, some just like to do it for the heck of it. And that’s fine. Regardless of your reasons, 99% of these riders will advise you to not barefoot cycle on mountain bike trails, or during serious road biking excursions. Leisurely rides are most suitable for obvious reasons.


You certainly have some options when it comes to finding a comfortable way to ride barefoot.


Probably the easiest way of them all, fitting your bike of choice with flat pedals will make things way more comfortable. Flat pedals are any pedals that don’t have small spikes or any surfaces that are designed to improve grip on a shoe. Rubber and wood pedals are solid options.


Pedal blocks are often used for those who can't’ reach pedals on either an exercise bike, or on a child’s bike, but they can be used to cover up spiked petals, making them more comfortable.


If you really want a challenge, and don’t have any replacement pedals, you can simply use the pedal rods connected to the cranks instead. Remove the pedals to reveal the rods.


For the more resourceful riders, you can affix some sort of soft padding to the pedal to make things more comfortable. A popular way to do this is to take a kitchen sponge and use rubber bands to attach it to the tops of each pedal.

Sponge on a bike pedal.


If you want to get a more natural pedal motion in a safer format, you can opt to use a stationary bike without any shoes on. You'll get most of the same benefits, and zero of the danger.


Barefoot cycling is certainly not for everyone, although it’s worth giving it a shot if you’re available. You may even enjoy it more in some ways along with getting some benefits from it.

Have any of you ever tried barefoot cycling? If so, feel free to tell us about it below.

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2 thoughts on “Barefoot Cycling: Why Is It Good For You?”

  1. I have many times ridden barefoot my bicycle metal pedals with teeth with no problem had very good grip on the pedals being able to pedal a bike with metal teeth depends alot on the skin of ones soles that is my opinion though.

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