Over the years we’ve put a lot of time in various Ride Concepts shoes, but there was one shoe we felt was missing from their lineup, a thinner, more sensitive shoe for riders looking to get more pedal feedback and input. After a lot of work and input from designers and sponsored athletes, namely Kyle Strait, the Ride Concepts Vice mountain bike shoe was released a few months back. It is a shoe we’ve been waiting on for quite some time and are happy to report on the performance after lots of miles and days spent digging in the dirt.
Ride Concepts BMX, dirt jump and freeride athletes and customers were looking for a shoe that boasted the durability and traction that RC is known for but in a package that offered more pedal feel and flexibility. The Vice is geared to be a lifestyle-inspired shoe with technical capabilities. Starting with the suede upper, the Vice has a very casual and different look compared to the rest of the Ride Concepts lineup. The upper suede is perforated to increase ventilation to the shoe, which is a bit warmer than some of their more performance-oriented shoes.
Like the rest of the Ride Concepts lineup, a Rubber Kinetics outsole is used with their DST 6.0 High Grip rubber. The RC Fuzion outsole features a sloped-angle inverse pattern in varying sizes from 9mm at the toe and heel to 7mm wide hexagons in the pedal contact area. Ride Concepts continues the theme of protecting the rider with a 3mm EVA padded outsole for when you send something just a little too deep or have to hit the eject button. D3O is also used in high impact zones to absorb vibration and impacts on the bike. The damping properties also help reduce fatigue so you can ride more and longer, making RC’s slogan, “Ride everyday” a reality.
We’ve been fans of Ride Concepts shoes since they first came on the scene, and while we liked some shoes more than others, we felt that each of their products had a place for certain riders. One of our common issues however was with the stiffness of the soles. Some of the earlier models were a bit too stiff and made hiking up or down loose dirt and rocks a challenge. We also didn’t get a lot of input from the pedals and wished for something a little softer. The Vice has addressed all of those concerns and now is the offering for riders who want a shoe that performs and still offers a skate shoe-like feel.
One of our testers felt the shoes were instantly comfortable and required no break-in time while another one of our testers with a slightly wider foot had some initial tightness on longer days at the flexion point where the metatarsals meet the phalanges. After loosening the laces up quite a bit, some pressure was relieved at the joint where the foot flexes at the toes, but they still felt a bit tight with thicker socks. Both testers enjoyed how easy they are to get in and out of and the lacing is a breeze, something not all riding shoes can claim. In my opinion, as a rider with a nagging ankle injury from decades ago, that easy in and out also means there isn’t a lot of ankle support, like none. The shoes have a pretty low cut around the ankle and Achilles Tendon, for youngsters it offers insane mobility, airflow and comfort. However, for crusty old gimps, it means you might have to dig out the ankle brace or pray for a high top version to come out soon. What you think ’bout that Ride Concepts?
Being a die-hard hightop fan, I was a bit bummed the Vice doesn’t have a taller sibling but I’ll admit, after the first ride I was pretty stoked on how free my ankles felt. Luckily, during the test period I kept my bike and body vertical without any major hucks to flat or ejections. Sourpatch Sean is younger and still has healthy ankles so he’s been really stoked on how good the shoes feel. Although he felt guilty getting such nice “casual-looking” shoes dirty.
The traction, pedal feel and input these shoes offer is really awesome. They’re an awesome pump track shoe, dirt jumper, casual cruiser or performance riding shoe for those who want that casual skate shoe look. The D3O and EVA foam help ensure that if you do need to step off you’ll have some padding under those feet. The Rubber Kinetics High Grip outsole keeps your feet on the pedals so you won’t have to worry about accidentally slipping a pedal and needing to test that D3O’s impact absorbing capabilities. If you live in a super dusty area the Suede does collect dust, but a simple blow off with a compressor will get ‘em back to looking fresh ride after ride. Overall this is a solid shoe and will certainly make a lot of riders happy.
Price: $100 ;