Specialized Rime 2.0 Shoe

Specialized Rime 2.0 Shoe Review

Words & Photos by Nic Hall

Just in time for winter, Specialized sent us their new Rime 2.0 shoes for some proper winter-weather testing. I just got back from a cold, wet, and snowy Trans-Cascadia bike race serving as a race medic. It was a brave move taking brand new shoes on such a big trip, but after two years of loving my Specialized 2FO ClipLite shoes, I had faith. Luckily I trusted my instinct because this year’s Trans-Cascadia was the perfect test of the Rime 2.0’s capabilities.

THE LAB

The Rime 2.0 was created to fill the gap between an aggressive trail-oriented shoe like the 2FO and a full-blown hiking shoe, but for riders who ride in areas with cooler and wetter winter weather. Many riders who’ve ridden Specialized’s 2FO shoes have grown to love their Body Geometry design and BOA closure system, which offer tons of comfort on the trail. Comfort, however, doesn’t come easy when your toes are frozen black, and Specialized sought to keep their fans’ toes happy and warm while still making a comfortable performance-oriented shoe.

Specialized Rime 2.0 Shoe

The 2.0’s are a redesign of the original Rime but see many improvements. The sole is made with Vibram rubber and features deep lugs. A small “lollipop” nylon-composite shank allows for good flexibility while still maintaining some semblance of pedaling efficiency. Almost the entire upper is made from a new hydrophobic mesh-like fabric called XPEL. The material minimizes water ingress while drying rapidly and allowing good airflow. A BOA L6 snap dial is used to secure the top of the shoe with traditional laces underneath.

Many of Specialized’s design features carry over in the Rime 2.0. The “landing strip” is a cutaway around the cleat that allows for easy interfacing to the pedal. Body Geometry sole construction moves the entire foot just a few degrees externally, allowing for better hip/knee/ankle alignment. As we all know, the best product in the world isn’t going to sell well if it doesn’t look good so, Specialized offers’ the Rime 2.0 in grey, red or blue.

Specialized Rime 2.0 Shoe

THE DIRT

After slogging up some serious moto ruts with a Specialized Levo Turbo (see review here) in the Gifford Pinchot, I immediately saw the need for more aggressive footwear. I didn’t want to compromise pedal performance with a flexible insole, but I had to find a way to get around in the backcountry more comfortable and efficiently than my current shoes. After reading the information packet from Specialized, I was excited to see that this is exactly what the Rime 2.0 was made for. This shoe ticks all the boxes. It hikes well, is supportive, water-resistant, and still retains good pedaling performance.

Starting from the bottom, the sole is what shines the brightest in the Rime 2.0. The Vibram sole is low profile enough to not look like a hiking shoe while still having enough grip to get up the steepest, wettest chutes the Gifford had to offer. Of course, when hiking through mud, snow, and duff, the cleats got a bit packed up, but one good slap of the foot and all was remedied. When jumping between test bikes, I found the sole grippy enough to ride flats if needed but not ideal as the tread does not make complete contact with all pins.

Specialized Rime 2.0 Shoe

I was very skeptical of the XPEL mesh. It seemed very light and breathable and did not look up to the task. But after a very early winter during the Trans-Cascadia that involved freezing rain, standing water, 6 inches of snow, and sub-zero temps, I am more than impressed with the performance of the material. While it is not completely waterproof, I never felt water coming through the mesh even when ripping through some deep stream crossings. The best part is the shoes dry out ultra-fast. I pulled the footbeds and put the shoes next to the fire for a few hours each night, and they were good to go the next day. Nothing is worse than putting dry socks into wet shoes to start a day, and this is really the first time I have been able to go on a multi-day ride without that happening.

The only thing I would change about the shoe is the lacing under the BOA system. After riding the 2FO Cliplite for a few seasons, I have come to really like BOA lacing and don’t see why this shoe couldn’t have the same 2 BOA system. It is not like the laces do not work in combination with the BOA, I just see the full BOA system as a more elegant solution that provides quicker on/off sequences and is easy to operate with frozen hands.

Specialized Rime 2.0 Shoe

The Wolf’s Last Word

If you are looking for a comfortable and rugged clipless shoe that does it all, I would highly recommend the Specialized Rime 2.0 mtb shoes. You can get away with some serious hike a bike sections while not looking like you’re going mountaineering. The sole is more flexible than a dedicated XC shoe, but let’s face it, none of us are going to miss those few watts anyways. What impressed me most was the XPEL meshs material to keep my feet dry and warm in cold temps and wet trails. These are designed to be proper all-mountain riding shoes, and that is exactly what they are. We’d like to see them ditch the laces and go full BOA for Rime 3.0, but we’ll still be putting plenty of soggy miles in them this winter just the same.

Price: $160.00
Website: Specialized.com

We Dig

Weather Resistance
Quick Drying
Flexible Sole That Pedals Well
Comes in Black/Grey

We Don’t

Euro Flavor Colorways

Laces Under the BOA System

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