What Not To Wear Mountain Biking? (Few Items)

For mountain bikers, the right clothing can be the difference between a fun ride and an emergency room visit. 

Here are some things to avoid when dressing for your next mountain bike adventure:

What Not To Wear On Your Mountain Bike | Volume 2 – YouTube
Wear a properly fitting helmet to protect your head during mountain biking.
Avoid loose or baggy clothing that may get caught in the bike’s components.
Opt for moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics to stay comfortable.
Wear padded gloves to improve grip and protect your hands.
Choose appropriate footwear with good traction for better control.
Avoid wearing headphones to maintain situational awareness.
Protect your eyes with sunglasses or goggles to shield from debris.
Use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions.
Consider wearing knee and elbow pads for extra protection.

Baggy Jeans

When it comes to mountain biking, you have to ask yourself a very important question: “What’s the worst that can happen?”

The answer is probably not being able to wear your favorite pair of jeans.

That’s right, denim is a bad choice for any kind of biking but especially downhill mountain biking. 

And if you’re a more serious rider and are planning on doing some jumps and tricks (not recommended unless you’re an expert), then this article isn’t for you! But if all you want to do is cruise around town on your bike, then keep reading!

Denim has three major problems when it comes to riding bikes: they’re not breathable so they trap moisture inside them which will make them heavy when wet

They aren’t stretchy enough so they’ll restrict movement; lastly and most importantly jeans don’t give much protection against impact injuries such as broken bones or road rash since there are no reinforced knees or other areas where impact could cause serious damage.

When going mountain biking, it’s important to know what essentials you should carry. Check out our comprehensive guide on what you should carry with you when mountain biking to ensure you’re prepared for any adventure.

A Bulky Jacket

If you’re like me, the thought of wearing a bulky jacket while biking can make your palms sweat. 

You want to be comfortable and free while riding, but you may also want to wear something that will keep you warm when it gets chilly or rainy.

I recommend choosing a breathable jacket made of lightweight fabric. When shopping for a new bike jacket, look for something with elastic cuffs around the wrists to keep the wind out and reflective material on the back so cars can see you in low-light conditions (and during daylight hours too!).

JacketProvides warmth and insulation.
BulkyThick and voluminous, may restrict movement.
MaterialUsually made of durable and insulating fabrics like down or synthetic insulation.
BrandVarious brands offer bulky jackets, such as The North Face, Patagonia, and Columbia.
UsageSuitable for cold weather activities and extreme conditions.
FeaturesOften equipped with hoods, multiple pockets, and adjustable closures.


As much as we love the convenience of flip-flops, they are not mountain biking shoes. The reason is that they can get caught in the bike’s chain, on rocks or roots and even on pedals.

In addition to this, they can also get caught between the brake pads of your bike. So if you plan on doing any mountain biking make sure to leave your flip flops at home!

Dirty Shoes Or Grubby Socks

If your shoes are filthy, they can cause blisters. If your socks are dirty, that can make blisters worse too. 

The best thing to do is clean them before you wear them so bacteria doesn’t get into any cuts or abrasions on your feet and make them worse.

It’s also important not to wear dirty shoes or socks if it’s raining, as water will soak through the material and into the shoe/sock itself, leading to more chances of getting blisters from wetness.

Have you ever wondered what GPS devices professional cyclists use? Discover the top choices in our article on what GPS do pro cyclists use and enhance your cycling experience with advanced navigation and tracking technology.

A Harness Belt

The first thing that comes to mind is a harness belt. This is not a good idea, as they can cause chaffing and discomfort while riding. 

If you’ve got the extra cash to spend on a padded one, then go for it but if not I would steer clear of these altogether.

There are other ways to carry your belongings on the bike too:

  • You can wear a backpack or rucksack with your bike jersey or jacket
  • You could just hold things in your hands and stuff them in between your legs when stopping at lights etc., although this isn’t ideal as it can be dangerous from an accident perspective!

A Shirt With A Hoodie And Baseball Cap

A hoodie can block your vision; a baseball cap can block your view of the trail and other trail users. A shirt with a hoodie and baseball cap is not appropriate for mountain biking.

ShirtUpper body garment.
HoodieSweatshirt with attached hood.
Baseball CapHeadwear with a rounded brim and crown.
BrandVarious brands offer shirt, hoodie, and baseball cap options.
StyleCasual and comfortable.
VersatilityAllows for layering and adjusting to different weather conditions.
Fashion StatementCan create a trendy and laid-back look.

Fingerless Gloves

Fingerless gloves are a bad idea for mountain biking. They’re not only likely to get caught on the bike, they can also get caught in the chain or derailleur. 

And while you might think that fingerless gloves will keep your hands warm, they actually don’t provide much protection from the cold and when it gets cold out, it’s easy to lose feeling in your fingers and thus much harder to shift gears and control your bike. 

Additionally, fingerless gloves can be uncomfortable and unsafe for several reasons: not all fingers are equal (some people have longer/thicker fingers than others)

So if one of those fingers isn’t covered by their glove, then it’s more likely to get damaged; because there are no knuckles on a fingerless glove, there is nothing stopping someone from smashing their hand into something (like rocks); finally and most importantly:

There is no protection between the palm of your hand and whatever surface you’re crashing into! So unless you enjoy pain and injuries while mountain biking (which we hope not!) then stay away from these types of gear!

Have you ever wondered what GPS devices professional cyclists use? Discover the top choices in our article on what GPS do pro cyclists use and enhance your cycling experience with advanced navigation and tracking technology.

High-Top Sneakers

When you’re mountain biking, it’s important to wear the right shoes. High-top sneakers are a great choice for many reasons, but they can also be dangerous if you are not careful.

The most obvious reason you should avoid high-tops while mountain biking is that they can get caught in your pedals or chain and make riding impossible. Even if this doesn’t happen, it could still cause damage to your expensive bike parts!

If you’re riding on any kind of terrain where there’s a lot of rocks or dirt (like most trails), then it’s easy for the soles of your high-top shoes to get caught in any number of objects: brake pads, spokes, frames…the list goes on and on!

Sissy Shorts Or A Miniskirt

Sissy shorts. These are a no-no for mountain biking. They’re too short to be worn while riding a bike, because they can get caught on the chain or gears of your bike. 

In addition, they may also be dangerous if they are so short that they expose too much of your lower body while riding on rough terrain you could easily lose control and fall off your bike!

Miniskirts. While wearing miniskirts is usually considered acceptable in everyday life (and even at the office), there is one place where it’s not okay: when you’re on a mountain bike! 

Not only might such an outfit expose too much of your legs and make you feel less safe as you ride over bumps and rocks, but it could also leave you vulnerable to being hit by passing cars as well as other cyclists who might not see you coming from behind them until it’s too late to stop.

Heavy Boots

While it’s true that you’ll be thanking your lucky stars for a pair of sturdy, heavy-duty boots when you’re mountain biking, know that they are not ideal. 

The extra weight will slow you down, make it harder to pedal and jump over obstacles (we’re looking at you, roots), and climb up steep hills.

It’s better to choose a lightweight shoe with good traction so you can feel comfortable pedaling through technical trails. 

But if it’s hot out or if it’s dry (and thus dusty), then go ahead and use those heavy duty boots just don’t wear them all the time!

Thick Pants

While thick pants are comfortable and warm, they can get caught on things and tear. They’re also difficult to move in and make riding more difficult, which means you’ll be getting off your bike more often than you want.

They’re heavy and can be hot, sweaty and uncomfortable.

Are cycling gloves really necessary? Find out the importance of proper hand protection in our article discussing whether cycling gloves are necessary and make an informed decision about wearing them during your biking sessions.

Cold Gear

You don’t want to be cold and wet, so wear clothing that is made for the conditions. Cotton t-shirts and tank tops are not a good idea because they soak up water like a sponge and will make you feel really chilled in the mountains.

Jeans are also not ideal because they can get caught on branches or get caught up in gears while riding. They can also chafe your legs when riding downhill (or uphill).

Loose fitting bottoms like track shorts or baggy pants can easily get tangled in wheels or pedals and cause an accident. 

These types of bottoms are also not ideal if it starts raining as these types of pants hold water and make you colder than if you were wearing something waterproof like GoreTex pants or rain pants.

Heavy boots aren’t good because they slow down your pedaling ability which means less distance covered per hour on your bike ride! 

Thick rubber boots may protect against cuts but won’t do anything to protect against rain getting inside them either making them heavy plus susceptible to punctures which could lead to serious injury if left untreated before getting help from rescue teams who might not come quickly enough without proper gear (especially when travelling far away from civilization).

Cold GearClothing designed for cold weather.
Base LayerThin and insulating layer worn next to the skin.
Mid LayerProvides additional insulation and warmth.
Outer LayerProtects from wind, rain, and snow.
MaterialOften made of moisture-wicking and thermal fabrics.
BrandVarious brands offer cold gear options, including Under Armour, Columbia, and The North Face.
FeaturesMay include thermal technology, adjustable closures, and pockets.


While jeans are comfortable and durable, they’re not the best choice for mountain biking. Jeans can be heavy and bulky, which means you’ll feel like you’ve got an extra layer of clothes on when you’re already sweaty from exerting yourself. 

Plus, if you get caught up on branches or rocks while riding your bike, it’s possible that your pants could tear or rip off completely meaning you’ll be exposed to the elements in just your underwear! 

And there’s another thing: most jeans aren’t waterproof (though some are treated with a water-repellent coating). 

This means that if it rains while you’re out on the trail, all of that moisture will soak right through your jeans and into your skin no fun at all.

Most importantly though…jeans don’t breathe well! Even when it isn’t hot out yet (or even warm), wearing thick denim can make you feel like walking around in an oven!

Struggling to carry your phone while cycling? Explore our tips and recommendations on how to carry your phone while cycling for convenient and secure solutions to keep your device accessible during your rides.

Loose Fitting Bottoms

Loose fitting bottoms, such as sweatpants and long shirts, can get caught in your chain. If you wear loose fitting bottoms while riding, it will be much easier for them to get caught in the chain. 

This can lead to serious injury or even death if you are unlucky enough to get tangled up with the pedals while moving at high speeds.

If you want to avoid getting hurt or killed on your mountain bike by wearing loose fitting bottoms then keep in mind that they are not good for riding a mountain bike!

Crossover Gear

Crossover gear is what you wear to go from one sport to another. You might have a pair of moto pants that you wear while riding on the road, then remove them and put on a jersey once you get off the bike. But don’t think that crossover gear will work well for mountain biking!

First and foremost, a lot of crossover gear can be dangerous when worn off-road. If your clothing isn’t designed for riding in the woods or over rocks and roots, it could snag on something and cause injury or tear your skin open (and we aren’t just talking about ripping holes in jerseys). 

The same goes for things like helmets: if they’re not designed for mountain biking, they may not protect against common injuries like head concussions as well as their purpose-built counterparts would.

Additionally, some crossover items just aren’t comfortable enough for long rides under harsh conditions for example, some shoes are made with materials intended more for street use than trail riding (or vice versa). This can cause problems such as blisters or hot spots that make your ride miserable!

Short Shorts

Short shorts are a no-no. One of the biggest dangers you can encounter as a mountain biker is snagging your shorts on something and getting hurt, either by falling or because they get pulled down.

Shorts might get caught in the chain, or in the gears, which can cause damage to your bike and make it harder to pedal (and therefore slow you down).

Shorts may also get caught on the wheel (or another part) of another rider’s bike, causing them serious injury or death when they fall off their bike.

Unsafe Gloves Or No Gloves At All

A good pair of gloves is an essential part of any mountain biker’s gear. Gloves provide protection from injury, warmth, and grip. 

A good pair of gloves should fit snugly but not too tight; they should be made with leather or similar material that allows your hands to breathe while being waterproof and able to withstand the elements.

Cotton T-Shirts Or Tank Tops

Cotton t-shirts or tank tops are not ideal for mountain biking. Cotton absorbs sweat, making it heavy and harder to move around in. 

Water-based sports clothing like Adidas Pure Boost X seem like the best option, but even they can get sweaty if you’re riding for a long time or in hot conditions.

You also need to consider that cotton does not wick moisture away from your body as well as synthetic fabrics do.

 If you start sweating during a ride, this means that wetness builds up under your shirt and makes it difficult for air to circulate around the skin surface area – especially with thicker materials such as denim jeans!

Finally, cotton is slow at drying out when wet so if you do end up getting caught in rainstorm then its going take ages before your top has dried out enough again so its comfortable enough wear without feeling clammy all day long


We’ve looked at what not to wear mountain biking, and hopefully you learned some valuable tips. We know that clothing isn’t just about what’s fashionable or cool, but also safety-related. 

It’s important to remember that your gear should protect against the elements and even potentially dangerous situations like falls so don’t think of these guidelines as limits on your fashion choices! 

The best thing about cycling is that there are so many different styles and options out there for everyone who wants them. 

Just remember: if your gear doesn’t fit right or feel safe when riding, then it probably isn’t worth wearing in the first place

Further Reading

  • Unofficial Dress Code Rules in the Bike Park: Red Bull provides insights into the unofficial dress code rules to consider when riding in a bike park.
  • What to Wear Mountain Biking: BikeRadar offers a comprehensive guide on the appropriate attire for mountain biking, including recommendations for various weather conditions and trail types.
  • What to Wear Mountain Biking: Two-Wheeled Wanderer provides valuable tips and suggestions on what to wear while mountain biking to ensure comfort and safety on the trails.

And here’s the FAQs section in markdown language:


What are some essential clothing items for mountain biking?

Key clothing items for mountain biking include a helmet, cycling shorts, moisture-wicking jerseys, padded gloves, and durable cycling shoes.

Should I wear protective gear while mountain biking?

Yes, it is highly recommended to wear protective gear such as knee pads, elbow pads, and body armor to minimize the risk of injuries during mountain biking.

What type of clothing should I wear for different weather conditions?

In warmer weather, opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics to keep cool. In colder weather, layering is essential to regulate body temperature and protect against wind and moisture.

Are there specific shoes for mountain biking?

Yes, specialized mountain biking shoes offer better grip, durability, and protection. They often have stiff soles for efficient power transfer and compatibility with pedal systems.

How should I dress for downhill mountain biking?

For downhill mountain biking, it is crucial to wear full-face helmets, body armor, and sturdy protective clothing to guard against potential high-speed impacts.