RIDE CONCEPTS TALLAC BOA FLAT PEDAL SHOE REVIEW
A NEW FAVORITE?
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Ian Linton
Ride Concepts has been steadily increasing their prevalence as a leading mountain bike shoe manufacturer, building on the quality and variety of their footwear collection year-on-year. Their most recent wave of new products included a new model designed for Trail riding – the Tallac. Robert was very intrigued by their Tallac BOA flat pedal model, and it turns out his intrigue has led him to finding his new favorite flat pedal shoes. Read on to find out why.
The Ride Concepts Tallac BOA is a flat pedal shoe designed to offer the ultimate performance for trail riding, from short blasts at trail centers through to backcountry epics. A MAX GRIP rubber outsole with hexagon pattern aims to provide a confident connection with the pedals, and features a reverse hex traction zone on the toe and heel areas to improve walking traction. In between this sole and the foot is an EVA midsole to offer some cushion, and an insole featuring D3O High Impact Zone Technology, to further absorb impact energy with the aim of reducing fatigue.
The lightweight upper of the Ride Concepts Tallac BOA is bonded rather than stitched for durability and utilizes Cordura mesh to allow for airflow without sacrificing protection. The protection is boosted in key areas by TPU mud guards and a toe and heel protector, keeping them looking and working good for longer. Cinching this upper to the foot is a BOA Fit System, giving a micro-adjustable precision fit to dial in the comfort using the TX4 low friction textile laces. The fit is further tailored by a hook-and-loop strap over the top of the metatarsal area, letting you get things dialed in at the rear of the toe box. There’s an anti-bacterial liner inside to reduce odor, helping to fend off any stench. The tongue is fully gusseted to prevent the ingress of mud, and there’s a heel pull tab to aid in entering and removing the shoes.
The Ride Concepts Tallac BOA is available in one color in sizes US 7-13 including half sizes, and there’s a womens-specific model (the Flume), which is available in sizes 5-10. Both of these retail for $190, or there’s a lace-up model available for $160 in a choice of three colors if you’re not a BOA fan.
As my first pair of Ride Concepts mountain bike shoes, I was expecting some surprise with their fit, but it turns out they sit quite averagely on the size and shape scale, with my typical EU45 feeling spot-on. There is a medium level of roominess, falling short of the large volume of the likes of 510 Impacts, but giving ample room for all but the chunkiest of feet to squeeze in a relatively thick or waterproof sock without being totally squashed.
The BOA system gives a wide range of adjustment across the arch and made for a very easy shoe to get the fit dialed in time after time. Occasionally the foot would bed into the shoe in use and require a quick re-tension, but the BOA system makes this so easy that it’s far from a problem compared to retying two sets of laces. Also notable with the BOA system is how much better it deals with highly muddy conditions, letting the mud release considerably easier than any standard lace or speedlace system – important for riders in climates like the Scottish winter slop.
The feel underfoot of the Tallac is exceptional. Class leading dare I say. Combining excellent comfort and pedal feel, they’re at the very top of my rankings after trying most options on the market, letting you know what’s happening underfoot without transmitting uncomfortable and fatiguing impacts. They’re fairly stiff in the flat pedal world, but not to the point of creating any hint of discomfort for me at 96kg. Lighter riders may find them a little too stiff if the preference is for a fairly soft shoe, but they’re certainly not extreme. The grip levels are very good too, both on the pedal and when walking on muddy or slippery terrain. They don’t give the sensation of being absolutely stuckfast on the pedals like a Stealth rubber sole, but they kept my feet firmly in place on countless different pedals without any reason to complain. I’ve spent a serious amount of trail time in the Tallacs, and though the sole is absolutely showing signs of wear, it’s well within acceptable amounts, which I’m thankful for as I’ve been enjoying them so much. The rest of the shoe is handling the abuse without flinching too, especially impressive considering I’m technically using them a pay grade or two above their intentions.
The weatherproofing is surprisingly good, resisting small to medium puddle splashes but letting any rain from above or bigger splashes through the top opening and through the body when severe enough. Thankfully this water resistance comes without the detriment of warmer weather comfort, and although they’re not the absolute airiest shoes out there, they gave my warm feet limited reason to complain in some sweltering conditions. Similarly, they dry fairly quickly, but weren’t able to avoid the typical swamp smell from going multiple rides in a row without fully drying – no others have either, so I can’t hold this against them. The protection on offer is sufficient for me to feel comfortable and safe on my typical hard charging enduro rides, with a sturdy toe box and generally low profile but effective protection around the shoe to fend off all but the biggest impacts without too much pain, and it comes without adding excessive weight to the shoes that would lead to giving a second thought about using them for lighter duty riding.
Overall, I think the Ride Concepts Tallac BOA are an absolutely top-tier option that’ll serve trail through to enduro riders very well. Aside from the relatively high price, I can’t complain about these. At all.
The Wolf’s Last Word
As a trail to enduro flat pedal shoe, the Ride Concepts Tallac BOA are top notch in my books. A fantastic combination of high grip and comfort without losing pedal feel, durable yet light and breathable materials, and a great fit system. They’re not cheap, but at a similar price to the competition they seem like a great buy.
Price: $190 / £179.95
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