LEATT CLIPLESS SHOES REVIEWED & COMPARED
LEATT 4.0, 5.0 & 6.0 CLIPLESS SHOES
Review by Robert Johnston
Leatt has been developing and adding to their shoe range for the last few years, and now sports a full range of flat and clipless offerings to cater to a variety of riding styles and budgets. Intrigued by the differences between the different shoes in their range, we persuaded Leatt to give us the full range of clipless shoes to put head-to-head in a bid to figure out the right shoe for ourselves and you readers.
Leatt 4.0 Clipless Shoe | The 4.0 clipless shoe is the gravity specialist in the Leatt range, offering the most protection to keep riders safe when charging hard. The shoe features a gravity fit, with generous internal volume to cater to the needs of aggressive descenders. A 25mm deep ClipGrip SPD channel with 15mm extended travel towards the rear offers a true gravity cleat positioning option, and this channel is promised to be compatible with all clipless pedals when combined with the cleat shims. Surrounding the cleat channel is a sole utilizing their RideGrip rubber compound, claimed to offer good pedal grip and feel. On the heel and toe areas are specially designed mud channels to aid in clearing mud to maximize grip on both the pedals and when walking on the ground. Between the foot and sole is their Semi-rigid control flex shank, with an anti-compression midsole featuring active carbon for quick drying and anti-bacterial and anti odor properties.
The liner features the same active carbon as the midsole to ensure it dries quickly, and there’s a synthetic leather and suede outer skin to improve durability against tearing and abrasion as well as keeping the water out. Ventilation holes are present above the toes, with a waterproof and breathable membrane to allow for airflow without water ingestion. At the toe and heel are molded reinforcements to offer impact protection, and there’s a raised inner ankle to protect against impacts with the crankarms. The 4.0 clipless shoe is secured with compression laces, further boosted by their molded cross-tension straps to keep things snug when pulling up on the pedal and with a heel grip portion to prevent heel lift. The Leatt 4.0 shoe is available only in the Navy/Orange “Rust” colorway tested for 2022, in sizes US 6-12 (EU 38.5-47). They tip the scales at 1178g (pair, EU45.5/US11), with a retail price of $129.99/£110.
Leatt 5.0 Clipless Shoe | The 5.0 Clipless shoe shares a lot of similarities with the 4.0, but offers a slimmer, more weatherproof and slightly lighter weight option to cater better to the needs of enduro racers and aggressive trail riders. Shared with the 4.0 is the 25mm deep ClipGrip SPD channel with 15mm rear extension that offers compatibility with all clipless pedals. Surrounding the cleat channel is the same RideGrip rubber sole with toe and heel mud channels to maximize grip in muddy conditions. And there’s the same Semi-rigid control flex shank, active carbon anti-compression midsole and linings and molded heel and toe reinforcements.
The overall cut is lower on the 5.0 to minimize weight at the sacrifice of some inner ankle protection, and the compression laces of the 4.0 are replaced with a speedlace system that’s bolstered by the same cross-tension velcro straps. Adding all-weather capabilities to the 5.0 shoe is the 3-layer 10k waterproof and 10k breathable upper material, keeping all but the worst weather out without creating an uncomfortable environment for the warmer days. PU reinforcements are added in key wear areas to fend off abrasions in the grimiest conditions without adding bulk. The Leatt 5.0 clipless shoes weigh in at 1138g (pair, EU45.5/US11), are available in Black or Ivy colors in sizes US 6-12 (EU 38.5-47), and retail for $129.99/£120.
Leatt 6.0 Clipless Shoe | The 6.0 clipless shoe is Leatt’s answer to the ultimate trail riding clipless shoe, designed to offer comfortable riding in a lightweight package. The 6.0 features a slimmer “trail fit” to better handle the demands of the trail rider, the 6.0 shoe features a BOA-like ATOP reel knob that tightens down thin plastic-coated Kevlar wires to quickly cinch down the shoe with well distributed pressure. A pull tab is added to aid in pulling the wires, making for a quicker release and allowing the pressure to be distributed more evenly from the get-go. The cleat channel on the bottom is more trail-oriented than the 4.0 and 5.0 models, with similarly long travel but lacking the rearward extension of the gravity-focused models. Surrounding the cleat area is a RideGrip sole with Wafflegrip pattern, with large lugs to give more comfortable walking and increased grip in loose terrain.
Under the foot is the same semi-rigid control flex shank to transfer the power from foot to pedal, with anti-compression EVA foam in the midsole and insole to take the sting out the trail. The insole and liner are given the same Active Carbon treatment to promote moisture wicking and quick drying, with anti-bacterial and anti-odor properties. The outer is made with a breathable membrane that promotes temperature regulation and quick drying for Spring through to Fall conditions, but lacks weatherproofing for the wetter rides. Protection is provided by a molded heel cup and strategically placed PU inserts to fend off impacts to the toe, heel and perimeter of the foot. The Leatt 6.0 clipless shoes weigh in at 1040g (pair, EU45.5/US11), are available in Black, Malbec or Desert colors in sizes US 6-12 (EU 38.5-47), and retail for $149.99/£130.
In the usual Leatt fashion, all three shoe models look great and are neatly finished. Across the board Leatt has been putting out high quality items with neatly thought-out details, and their clipless shoes are no exception. It’s likely that most riders will be satisfied with the performance of all three models, but they all have different characters that should be considered by each rider to ensure they choose the best model for their particular needs. Let me walk you through each model’s trail performance and try to aid you in selecting the best model for you.
4.0: THE GRAVITY SPECIALIST
It’s clear that the 4.0 has one thing on its mind – aggressive riding. The laces raised and padded instep and overall look of the shoe combines to offer a true “gravity” feel. There’s a generous volume inside the toe box to cater to the burliest of downhiller’s feet, which led me to cinching down the front portion of the laces tight and deforming the shoe slightly. Aside from the look of this deformation, there was no issue with comfort, and the 4.0 proved to be the comfiest and cushiest shoe of the bunch. The elastic tab to capture the laces is simple but effective, holding them solidly in place throughout the test and free from any snagging, but they certainly pick up more moisture and mud than the other systems on test. The strap is very long, and the Velcro stops before the end, meaning there was some free length of strap left to flap around. It didn’t cause any issues but was unsightly all the same.
The gravity cleat track is an absolute treat for flat pedal riders or those simply looking for the most aggressive feeling gravity position, letting you position the cleat way back compared with most shoes on the market in a position that feels fantastic when pushing hard on the way down. I actually ended up shifting my cleats forward off the standard “slammed back” I default to on most other brands to improve the pedaling performance but having the option to go full gravity is much appreciated. The depth is notable and will require the included cleat spacer to be used for most clipless pedals with a platform and pins, or sometimes doubling up to prevent the release from being impeded. The RideGrip compound provides good grip on the pedal to allow for sections to be ridden unclipped and does a reasonable job of gripping onto the terrain when walking up the trail. Under the foot, the stiffness is relatively high but didn’t pose any issues for me at 95kg. That said, for riders on the lighter end of the spectrum I could foresee some wishes for a little more “give”.
The 4.0 proved to be relatively weatherproof for light showers and puddle splashes but walking through wet mud or heavier rain penetrated the shoe and began to add to the weight, feeling quite heavy on the foot. Drying out following these wet rides was average, usually ready to go again after a night on the radiator. Over the testing period they’ve seen a lot of abuse through a variety of conditions, and thanks to the resilient materials used on the outer have shrugged it all off without issue. Pedal pins have made their mark in the sole, but there’s no damage or wear to risk an early demise – the 4.0 shoe is clearly in it for the long haul. The 4.0 provides the ultimate in protection and comfort for days in the bike park or the less pedal-oriented rides with gnarly descents thrown in the mix.
5.0: ENDURO EXCELLENCE
The 5.0’s feel like a more refined version of the 4.0 to me, with the speedlace system and general weatherproof outer giving a more performance-oriented feel. The inside of the 5.0 has a very similar feel to the 4.0, with slightly less cushion and perhaps a few percent lower volume, but chances are you’ll fit both of them comfortably unless your feet are particularly funky. Underfoot, the sole and cleat setup is all the same as the 4.0, so the 5.0 feels identical as you may expect. To address the critiques of compadre Nick from his individual 5.0 review, I didn’t suffer from the same issues, however that’s not to say he’s the outlier. The sole stiffness is quite high, however it’s less of an issue for riders in the heavier weight brackets like myself, but may be excessive for lighter riders. And thanks to my slightly wider stance preference and more heels-out stance, the strap rubbing issue didn’t present itself either.
The initial pair of 5.0 shoes I was provided to test ripped at the Speedlace connection on one foot after roughly 15 rides. I may have been a little heavy handed, but I certainly wasn’t ragging on the laces excessively – perhaps I was unlucky. The replacement set have seen roughly the same amount of riding without any issues, and I’ve been sure to give them a good tug to ensure customers aren’t likely to suffer from the same issues. The system is easier to manipulate than the standard compression laces of the 4.0 shoes, especially when gloved, though tucking them into the stash pocket on the tongue can be tricky as it’s tight, which helps to keep them in place once in. Contrasting the somewhat problematic strap of the 4.0 shoe, the strap on the 5.0 proved to be an appropriate length, allowing it to be cranked down tight without flapping and with perfect Velcro overlap.
The 5.0 shoe feels lighter on the foot than the 4.0 even though the difference in grams is minimal, though the protection doesn’t feel any less aside from the increased exposure of the ankles to the crankarm. The 5.0 shoe is still a shoe I’d happily wear in the park or in aggressive enduro terrain. The waterproof and breathable membrane offers a good amount of weather resistance without being sweltering, fending off puddle splashes and walking through wet grass without issue so long as it didn’t enter over the top of the shoe. Unsurprisingly the thinner inside seems to dry out faster than the 4.0 after a wet ride (likely because it doesn’t get as wet in the first place), meaning they’re a pleasure to put on for consecutive wet rides. Aside from one patch of the material that sits close to the crankarm, the 5.0’s have fended off abrasions effectively thanks to their selectively chosen protection, and the one area that’s showing some signs of rubbing is not a cause for concern above a minor aesthetic flaw. The 5.0 shoe would be my go-to for an enduro race or rainy-day pedal, ticking all my boxes for days outside of the gnarliest bike park bashing.
6.0: THE TRAIL TAMER
Contrasting the burly gravity-focused nature of the 4.0 and 5.0 shoe, the 6.0 is a very different offering in the Leatt range. The overall profile – both inside and outside – is much slimmer than the others, so my relatively high-volume feet were certainly on the upper limit of acceptable to sit within the thin and highly breathable outer. The ATOP dial works well, with good fine tuning in the closely spaced detents. I found that every time the shoe was put on, you would have to go through multiple tightening stages as everything bedded in and the laces shifted about. This wasn’t exactly the end of the world as the dial makes it easy to adjust but was a little annoying for rides that featured some hard pedaling or gnarly descending out the gate. The pull tab allows you to assist this bed-in process, pulling the laces tight lower down in stages until it’s all cinched down suitably tight. I did find that there were occasions when I’d feel a pressure point across the top of the foot as the pressure didn’t totally equalize across the system, but this would typically settle down after a little bit of trail time.
The cleat position is much more conventional on the 6.0 than the other Leatt clipless shoes, with even the slammed-back position sitting much closer towards the front end of the shoe. For me, this position did feel rather “on my toes” and slightly uncomfortable to begin with but wasn’t too far forward to the point of being unrideable. The stiffness under the foot is similar to the other shoes, but the positioning of the cleat makes things feel slightly stiffer as your foot can’t naturally bend around the further forward cleat point. It fatigued my foot more on longer and rougher descents compared with the 4.0 and 5.0 shoes, but I don’t imagine it would be an issue for riders using the 6.0 shoe for the intended trail riding purposes.
The outer material is thin and breathable, but certainly lacks the reassuring protection of the other models, while not feeling quite as featherweight as the looks may suggest. That said, they’re no XC disco slipper, and the selective protection around the shoe means they’re considerably safer for trail to light enduro riding than some. The outer material allows for a refreshing amount of air to pass through compared with the other models, meaning they’re a pleasure to wear in the warmer climates. This comes at the expense of weather resistance – they’re not weather resistant – but they don’t soak up water like the other models, so never felt as heavy and dried quickly.
Walking in the 6.0 is very different to the flatter soled siblings, with a more natural feeling on flatter terrain and slightly increased purchase in the wettest mud. The shallow cleat recess can leave them exposed to the classic “clip clop” clipless noises, but that’s only an embarrassment for gravity die-hards like myself. Overall, it’s clear that the 6.0 is targeted at a different clique than the other models, and it does a stellar job at providing a lighter weight shoe for epic pedal missions that those riders are likely to desire.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Leatt clipless shoe range is full of well performing shoes, absent of any major flaws but with their own individual characters. The soles all fall on the stiffer end of the spectrum, the materials used are durable and the shoes are well made all round. Hopefully this has served as a bit of a guide to help you select the right model in their range to suit your typical riding.
Leatt 4.0: $129.99/£110
Leatt 5.0: $129.99/£120
Leatt 6.0: $149.99/£130
Leatt 4.0: 1,178g
Leatt 5.0: 1,138g
Leatt 6.0: 1,040g
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.