Condensed answer: It’s possible to ride a bike in a pair of Crocs if the bike has flat pedals. For greater stability, it’s recommended to stick with Crocs that have an additional retention mechanism at the back. Standard slippers may ironically slip and throw the rider off balance.
The Downsides of Riding a Bike in Crocs
- Incompatibility with Clipless Systems
Basic Crocs are not designed for cycling and therefore do not have cleats. This could be a deal-breaker for cyclists used to relying on a foot retention system. That said, the company Valcko Studios makes a Crocs model designed for clipless pedals.
Another option that DIY-ers might consider is repurposing an old pair of Crocs as shown in the video below:
That said, such projects often end up costing a lot of time, and the results are not always satisfying and functional.
- Soft Soles
Before all, Crocs are designed for comfort and efficiency while walking in your garden, for example. Meanwhile, cycling footwear has firmer and thicker soles increasing power transfer and protecting the rider’s foot from the pedals.
Shoes with soft soles, on the other hand, decrease efficiency and could result in tension spots because the foot is allowed to grab the pedals. (Riding with toes grabbing the pedals for long becomes uncomfortable.)
Another problem would be faster wear when the shoes are combined with aggressive pedals with sharp pins. The pins will dig into the soles and ruin them quickly.
- Lack of Security
Crocs are designed for comfort and ease of use when walking. Thus, some models come without a retention system at the back and operate like slippers. Those models are not recommended for cycling because they move around and in some cases, the rider may slip out of them.
When that happens, the pedal may slap the shins of the rider. Those hits are usually quite painful and could result in a fall too.
- Front Wheel Toe Overlap
When maneuvering and pedaling at slow speeds, the foot of the rider could come in contact with the front wheel. That’s called front-wheel-toe-overlap (FWTO).
Normally, the overlap is not a huge issue because it occurs only at slow speeds and can be prevented either by not pedaling or by making partial crank revolutions when maneuvering slowly.
Crocs type shoes increase the chances of front wheel toe overlap because the front of the shoe is quite bulky.
- Loss of Style Points
Truth be told, cyclists are fashion snobs. If you show up to a serious group ride, you can lose points simply for wearing ankle socks. If you come with a set of Crocs, the laughter will never end.
Of course, one shouldn’t be too concerned with other people’s opinions. However, it’s still safe to admit that most cyclists will find a set of Crocs weird when combined with a standard cycling outfit.
- Incompatible With Toe Cages
The wide profile of Crocs makes them hard to use with toe cages. Toe cages are designed for much slimmer shoes. As a result, it will be quite difficult to get in and out of the cage when wearing Crocs.
The Advantages Of Riding a Bike In Crocs
- Simplicity and Ease of Use
Let’s say that you are working in your garden and suddenly decide to do some shopping in the nearest store. If you’re in Crocs that have a retention loop at the back, and your bike is equipped with flat pedals, you can do the commute without changing shoes.
Crocs are made to be comfortable rather than aristocratic. If you are not particularly concern about the reduced pedaling efficiency due to the soft sole, you may find Crocs beneficial in terms of comfort.
If you go for a model that doesn’t have vent holes, the shoes will keep your feet dry even when it’s rainy.
However, if it’s raining heavily, water will get into the shoes from above. Hence why some people recommend combining Crocs with waterproof socks. The Crocs protect the feet whereas the socks shield the ankle and the shins.
Ultimately, however, if you plan on riding in extremely wet conditions, it will be wiser to go for dedicated waterproof cycling shoes (an expensive option) or to get a pair of rain boots (a cheaper option but less comfortable and incompatible with clipless pedals).
Summary: What You Need To Know
It’s fine to ride a bike in Crocs if they have a retention strap at the back, and the bike has flat pedals. That said, Crocs aren’t designed for cycling and underperform when it comes to pedaling efficiency and stability.
If you intend to perform tricks (e.g., bunny hops) or want the best performance, it’s recommended to get another shoe for cycling.