Leatt introduced four new shoes to their ever-evolving lineup this year. Now offering protection and clothing products to cover riders from head to toe, Leatt is relentless in their pursuit to continue evolving their brand. Bold moves into new product categories can pay off, but they can also bite back if the product isn’t as good as other offerings in their lineup. Despite their success in creating tons of really awesome protective and clothing items, and even a solid flat pedal shoe that we recently reviewed here, the DBX 5.0 clipless shoes just haven’t won us over. Read on to find out why.
The DBX 5.0 Clip is Leatt’s weather resistant shoe that packs some great features for inclement weather. It has several well thought out features including a highly abrasion and water- resistant outsole, walk compatible shank, and a unique Speed Lace lacing system as well as their Cross Strap system to cinch down the shoes.
At first look, the DBX 5.0 appears large for the size, with a very wide toe box, boxy appearance with a fair amount of padding and protection. Lacing is handled by a quick lace string system with redundant Velcro strapping over the entire lace area. We like the added security of the Velcro system and it works very well, but the placement of the last Velcro loop is problematic for us. Especially on bikes equipped with Race Face cranks as the plastic keeper loop hits the crank arms.
The upper also uses a three-layer waterproof breathable 10k/10k material and an Active Carbon moisture wicking, quick-dry, anti-bacterial lining. Like the rest of Leatt’s shoes, Heel Grip technology keeps the foot in place thanks to achilleas tendon relief cuts and a grip panel.
The DBX 5.0 features a 25mm long cleat channel for clip compatibility and mud shedding surrounded by Leatt’s propriety sticky rubber blend called RideGrip. Lateral, toe, and heel protection is molded into the outsole with minimal protrusion and creates a really solid looking shoe.
Leatt claims to use a medium-stiff sole and specially developed shank to blend power transfer with walkable flexibility. This was one of our biggest critiques of the shoe however as we’ll address below.
We started to notice some issues immediately after putting the shoes on. The Velcro lacing system rubs on almost all crank arms but is especially noticeable on Race Face cranks as they’ve got a sharp edge. While we like the security and comfort of the Velcro system, it needs to be revisited in our opinion. This may be exacerbated by our cleat position and each rider’s foot position and angle, but we had two testers with Shimano and Crank Brothers pedals both report similar feedback, most notably on Race Face cranks.
The sole is very stiff, even after a month of testing and breaking in. While this did provide very good power transfer, we found our feet, especially the arches, cramping or getting fatigued on longer rides and extended descents. Walking does provide some relief, as the flex is fairly good off the bike, but vibration and impact damping properties while standing on long descents are a weakness of the shoe for our tenderfoot testers.
Leatt has done some great things with their flat pedal shoes and they are on the right track with the clipless models too, but for our testers, we’d need to see some key changes to make them comfortable for us to ride or recommend. The RideGrip compound is solid and we love it on the Clip and Flat shoes. We also liked the tear, puncture and abrasion resistance on the shoes. Throw in the fact that they’re waterproof yet fairly breathable and comfortable to walk in and the makings are there. There’s no doubt that Leatt has packed a lot of good tech and well-thought out features into the DBX 5.0 shoes, but a couple key things are holding it back.
With so many well thought out products and some solid flat pedal shoes, we’re honestly bummed to see Leatt miss the mark with the DBX 5.0 Clip. The issues with foot pain and crank contact keep this shoe off our recommended list. With a few tweaks, it could be a very solid contender for an awesome all mountain category clipless shoe and we’re excited to see if Leatt makes any modifications to future generations. If however, you’ve got a strong foot, are seeking a water-resistant clipless mountain bike shoe and don’t run Race Face cranks, these shoes could be worth a look.
Sizes: US 6 – US 12