The first thing I noticed when lacing up the Sombrio Sender shoes was just how comfortable they were. The fit and sizing of the Senders is perfect for me. I’d say the shoes have a wider toe box area, offering plenty of space for those with wider feet. The insole is soft, making them easy to wear and ride in all day. The upper isn’t the stiffest compared to some of the other offerings on the market from brands like Ride Concepts. There is quite a bit of flex in the shoes, which may play into the freeride type of riding they are aimed at, but every ride has their preference when it comes to shoe stiffness.
The shoelaces work quite well on the Senders. They’re easy to pull, even after months of getting them wet, muddy and dusty. The top portion closes up very snug, offering a secure fit, and I have yet to have the laces come undone, even without using the optional snap-on lace-lock.
Protection on the Senders is fairly standard compared to other offerings in the semi-casual-meets-performance world. The toe box and heel area have a GnarGuard layer, similar to what’s found on Bontrager’s Rally and Flatline shoes. The toe box cap is solid and does a great job protecting against impacts and abrasions. Being that it is a low-top shoe, ankle support is almost non-existent. The collar on the Senders actually sits down much lower, or at least it feels like it does, than some of the competition. The result is a very free, breathable and unrestricted shoe, however it does leave those knobby ankles exposed. Depending on your terrain and riding style, this may or may not be an issue.
I had some concerns of on-pedal performance with the unorthodox, split pill-shaped pattern on the outsole, but those concerns were resolved after the first ride. As soon as I found my happy spot on the pedals, the shoes stayed put. Whether I was jumping, pressing into berms or bouncing through rock gardens, my feet stayed in place very well. Though it may not look like it, the Sombrio Senders breathe quite well, on and off the bike. Given how big the ventilation holes are on the toe area, there is a good chance that water will seep in if riding in the rain, something we haven’t tested out just yet.
At $90, the Sombrio Sender shoes are one of the cheapest flat pedal mountain bike shoes on the market. The Senders are extremely comfortable shoes that have a great fit and offer excellent traction on the pedals. Some areas of concern however are the low ankle collar. They don’t offer a lot of ankle support or protection, which may be a bigger issue for some than others. The benefit is a comfy shoe that is fairly flexible and allows for great range of motion and movement.
Ultimately Sombrio’s Sender shoes are better than most of the cheaper, traditional skate style shoes but don’t have the performance of more expensive mountain bike specific shoes. They have a nice casual look and grip on the pedals very well. If you’re looking for a shoe that you can wear when going out on the town or hitting the trail, the Senders are not a bad option. If you want a high-performance, dedicated riding shoe that offers superb trail performance and protection, you may want to check some of our other shoe reviews out first.
Sizes: 38 – 48