RIDE CONCEPTS FLUME WOMEN’S
FLAT PEDAL SHOES REVIEW
Words by Marissa Krawczak | Photos by Sourpatch
First of all, I’d like to extend an appreciative nod to Ride Concepts for not just making a women’s shoe, but actually constructing the shoes to be specifically tailored for a women’s fit instead of giving them a “feminine” colorway. They are squashing the ‘shrink it and pink it’ mentality and I couldn’t be happier to be wearing the Ride Concepts brand when I am out on my bike. When I heard they were sending me the new for 2022, high performance flat shoe – the Flume – I was excited to put them to the test on my less-than-ideal but very memorable backcountry bike adventures.
To give Woman shredders the chance to choose their ideal shoe, Ride Concepts offer the Flume shoe range in both clipless and flat versions, both with a choice of standard laces (tested) or a BOA fastening system. The women’s-specific fit in the Flume shoes begins with the tailored heel cup, to provide a better fit on the back of the foot with less slipping compared to oversized menswear. This more fitted design is also featured in the optimized toe and collar padding, providing an overall low volume design to the Flume. Luckily the snug fitting design also includes a heel pull tab for easy entry for your foot on those early mornings. The shoe overall has a softer flex, providing better response and comfort for ladies that don’t have the mass to wring out stiffer men’s soles.
New for 2022, the Flume’s feature a Cordura fabric upper that is intended to be breathable and lightweight, but still tough and protective. The Cordura is bonded to a protective TPU toecap and heel, and there’s a ‘mudguard’ that runs around the entire sidewall for additional mud and abrasion protection. Another new and unique feature included in the Flume is the reverse hex pattern in the toes and heels of the outsoles, providing ultimate traction when hiking. The outsoles are still made from RC’s MAX GRIP rubber, so you will still find the same soft and super grippy performance in the traditional RC deep lug hex pattern. Tried and true, the Flume’s include the D30 impact absorbing insoles that are standard in RC’s line of performance bike shoes. The women’s Flume flat shoes come in Black/Tahoe blue and Rose color ways and are available in women’s sizes 5 to 10 (EU 35-41.5) for $160.
The Flume’s look aggressive and remind me of a hiking shoe with the volume on high, especially with the reverse hex pattern on the toe and heel. The shoes were comfortable, and I felt very supported and protected from rogue rocks and sticks when wearing them. I actually wore them for a 20-mile hike-a-bike through snow (don’t ask) and they performed just as good, if not better, than any other hiking shoe I have ever worn. I did notice the MAX GRIP outsoles are thicker on the Flumes than the other RC shoe models I have tried, adding to the durability and longevity of the outsoles but reducing a touch of pedal feel. The soles overall are on the stiffer side, but appropriately so, as they are made for long trail days as opposed to bike park or pump track sessions. One thing that could be improved on the Flumes is the soft white strip that makes the top of the midsole. It scuffed more easily than the rest of the super durable shoe materials and made the shoes look more worn than they actually were. The collars of the Flumes are actually a little thinner than the RC Hellion’s or Vice’s which made them more pedal friendly around the ankles on long trail rides with a touch less protection. I found the fitted collar and heel cup very comfortable, and snug compared to other shoes, and utilized the heel pull tab to aid pulling the shoes on, which was something I didn’t pay attention to much in the past. Overall, I really liked the low volume, and snug fit that reduced the infiltration of pebbles and sand into my shoes compared to other flat pedal shoes. All the technology aside, I really liked the flat textured laces of the Flume. They were the perfect length and the weave of the laces held together nicely- it’s the little things, especially when you are out in the woods for hours on end.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Ride Concepts continues to produce footwear that makes us stoked, and the Flume is no exception. With dependable grip, great build quality and well thought out features, they’re truly a pleasure to ride in. If you are like me and like long days on the trail and “middle of nowhere” adventures where gear performance is critical, then these are the shoes for you.
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount (exclusions apply) on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.