LEATT’S NEW MTB SHOE FAMILY
NEW COMPOUND, FEATURES & BETTER PERFORMANCE
Riders looking for the best mountain bike shoe have another contender to consider. For 2023, Leatt placed a big focus on increasing the performance of their footwear range, especially their flat pedal mountain bike shoes. With some mixed reviews across the shoe line, many riders sought extra pedal grip and a more tactile feel than Leatt’s first round of shoes offered. So, for their new lineup, Leatt dove in deep with a commitment to improve grip, and figured they would improve other elements while they were at it. Leatt developed a new rubber compound; designed a new tread pattern, and analyzed the performance of each and every detail of their shoes to seek extra traction, comfort and feel. Further proving they listened to the public, Leatt are offering flat pedal shoes with a MOZ cable lacing (BOA-style) retention system. The overall result is an updated footwear range that’s worth checking out.
A revamp doesn’t come easy and there’s no way Leatt could make the big claims they’re making by just changing compound, or sole tread pattern. Instead the shoes achieve big differences in feel by a number of smaller changes to fine tune performance gains and goals. Let’s get into each of the elements that make up the new Leatt mountain bike shoe line.
New Rubber Compound | RideGrip PRO
For flat pedal riders, we’d argue there probably isn’t much that’s more important than pedal grip and feel. There are a number of factors working to keep your feet on flat pedals but the one thing that really makes the pedals stick in place is the rubber compound. Leatt took a step back to re-examine what materials stick really well? Adhesives, especially the industrial kind.
For their new flat pedal shoes, Leatt added an elastomer that’s typically found in industrial adhesives to their new RideGrip PRO rubber compound, making it 20% softer in the process. This allows pedal pins to dig deep into the rubber and latch on. They’ll also stick better to the ground when walking but thanks to the compounds used, Leatt is still confident the shoes will last more than one season, which was another goal of theirs.
New Sole Tread Pattern | WaffleGrip PRO
The tread pattern of a sole takes the rubber compound and makes it interface with the pedals and ground in a way that enhances the grip. For the new WaffleGrip PRO sole tread, Leatt inverted the design of their existing WaffleGrip pattern, yielding a number of benefits both on and off the pedals. WaffleGrip PRO has a shape that provides a more locked-in feel for pedals with shorter pins, without sacrificing the ability of longer pins to bury themselves deep. The increased size of the raised tread segments allows the rubber to conform to the pedal below, reducing the likelihood of slipping. These raised lugs, when combined with the mud flow channels in between, allow for significantly improved penetration into the ground when walking, regardless of the surface.
It’s easy to assume that the rubber on the outside of the shoe is the only contributor to the grip and feel, but the mechanics of how the shoe sits on top of the pedal and how your foot applies force through the shoe into the pedal also greatly affect the end result. Leatt sought to improve the interface within the midsole, removing the stiffening Nylon shank and replacing it with a new EVA foam and rubber blend compound.
This doesn’t just decrease the stiffness of the shoe, but instead changes the way that it reacts to forces when riding, allowing for some deformation of the shoe below the foot to increase control while improving energy dissipation to reduce foot fatigue. This should all add up to increased traction on the pedals, improved confidence in your foot placement, and less chance of foot pain on hard impacts and long descents.
Lighter, More Breathable Uppers
Leatt tweaked the upper parts of their shoes to reduce their bulk, improving comfort and breathability. They employed new upper materials that are lighter and more flexible but added extra structure and stiffness to the most vulnerable areas – the heel, toe and instep – to keep your feet protected and retain the structure of the shoe. Additional perforations to the top of the toes and the upper increase ventilation, further aiding in the comfort during long rides.
Leatt is also using lots of quick drying, sythetic leather and weather resistant treatments on various shoes in the lineup, so no matter if you’re a desert rat or spend your time splashing through puddles, Leatt will have a shoe that fits your needs.
MODEL UPDATES AND ADDITIONS
Leatt applied their new PRO rubber and tread pattern, midsole and lightweight upper to most of their flat pedal shoes, boosting the performance of the Leatt footwear range to new levels. All of these shoes feature the Active Carbon moisture wicking liner, ensuring they dry quickly and resist bacteria and odor buildup.
1.0 FLAT SHOE
The Vans replacement? Just might be the case for these synthetic suede sneakers. We’ve been rocking these casual shoes for a while and are digging them a lot. These could be the option for riders looking for a new daily shoe that you can still hit the pumptrack in.
2.0 FLAT SHOE
In addition to the increased grip and comfort delivered by the WaffleGrip PRO tread, RideGrip PRO rubber and EVA-rubber midsole, the casual looking synthetic suede MTB 2.0 flat pedal shoes dropped their weight considerably. The sole is soft to give great pedal feel and walking comfort, but the increased damping in the midsole should retain comfort in hard impacts and long descents. They are secured by anti-compression laces, with an anti-lift heel, and protection is provided by a stealth heel guard and external TPU toe bumper.
3.0 AND 3.0 PRO SHOES
The lace-up Leatt MTB 3.0 shoes receive the same RideGrip PRO treatment to the sole, as well as a new 3.0 PRO model being added with a MOZ cable fit adjustment system. Both of these models are targeted at the aggressive enduro and downhill crowd, with a medium-stiff sole to offer the protection and comfort required. The lightweight synthetic leather upper is given a molded heel and a rigid reinforced toe area for increased stability and protection. Ventilation is added to the toe box and sides to keep the feet breathing, and there’s a neoprene ankle collar in place to increase the fit stability and reduce mud and debris ingress to the sock. The MOZ fit system on the 3.0 PRO is complimented by a Velcro tension strap at the top of the foot to further dial in the fit. We’ve seen a ton of comments from people looking for a BOA-style equipped flat pedal shoe, and Leatt’s new 3.0 Pro could be the one.
4.0 CLIP PRO SHOES
The 4.0 Clip PRO retains the same RideGrip rubber and WaffleGrip sole as in previous years, to allow for easier entry and exit from clipless pedals. The upper is much the same as the 3.0 PRO shoes, with a synthetic leather material with generous ventilation: a MOZ fit system with Velcro tension strap, and Neoprene ankle collar. The Control Flex semi-rigid Nylon shank delivers the pedal feel and power transfer required for aggressive riding. Leatt’s SPD Channel extends 15mm rearward of conventional cleat channels to offer a gravity-focused position that reduces Achilles strain, with the cleat sitting in a 25mm deep recess for all-pedal compatibility.
5.0 AND 6.0 CLIP SHOES
Leatt’s 5.0 and 6.0 shoes are more focused at the speed-focused riders who enjoy high tech features, want 10K water resistant treatments and a performance-minded clipless shoe. The 5.0 features a speed lace compression system and cross-tension straps to secure the fit while the 6.0 has an ATOP cable lace system and is designed as a lightweight trail shoe.
7.0 HYDRADRI FLAT SHOE
The Leatt MTB 7.0 HydraDri Flat pedal shoes, recently reviewed here, are designed to tackle the worst weather conditions, while still offering their PRO performance to deliver the grip and feel desired for aggressive riding. The RideGrip PRO rubber compound and WaffleGrip PRO tread pattern will be most appreciated in the 7.0 shoe, which encourages riding in the wettest and muddiest conditions. The upper of the shoe is a weather resistant bootie, which extends high up the ankle and secures with a zipper and elasticated cuff with pop fastener. Inside is a HydraDri membrane offering 10k/10k waterproof and breathability ratings to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The shoe is secured by a speed lace system that is fully concealed to prevent mud ingress.
THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSIONS
We’ve had extensive time in Leatt’s new 7.0 HydraDri shoes, which have been keeping Robert’s feet dry and comfortable over the Scottish winter – you can check out the long term review here. We haven’t managed to get a great deal of time in the other models and haven’t yet received the 2.0 to test, so we’ll briefly touch on each model that we have ridden, and compare their fit, feel and features. As with all of our Dissected features, these impressions are not intended to be a long-term review, but if the durability of the 7.0 HydraDri and their previous shoes is anything to go by, the rest of the new Leatt footwear range should hold up to multiple seasons of aggressive riding.
As we discussed in the long term review of the Leatt 7.0 HydraDri, it’s safe to say that the new RideGrip PRO and WaffleGrip PRO in the new Leatt flat pedal shoes combine to give very good pedal grip, but it still doesn’t quite hit the level of the most stuckfast soles on the market. The walking traction on the new Leatt PRO soles is excellent, pedal feel is great and they’ve been holding up to a lot of abuse with some downright violent pedal pins with only some small signs of wear.
Our time in the 3.0 and 4.0 Pro Clip shoes we received hasn’t been extensive enough to share a final verdict, but first impressions are promising. Both feel comfortable and have a true-to-size fit, and in the time we’ve spent riding them so far they’ve avoided being overly stiff or harsh on the longer rough descents. The ease of fitting and removing the 4.0 Pro shoes is particularly easy and effective, even with frozen hands in gloves, with the MOZ spreading pressure evenly across the front of the foot and the Velcro strap effectively cinching them down at the top.
The crew has spent good time in the 5.0 and 6.0 clip shoes, which get new colorways but remain the same in terms of function. The 5.0 shoes are some of Robert’s favorites for aggressive riding, with the rearward cleat track extension giving a very comfortable position and the general construction and fit feeling great. Drew is a fan of the 6.0 trail shoe, thanks to the breathability and light weight while avoiding being overly drafty for cooler days. These have a nice fit thanks to the MOZ dial, with a well considered sole stiffness to transfer power without being too harsh.
The weatherproofing in the 7.0 HydraDri shoes is very effective, with only a couple of occasions in the worst of the Scottish Winter riding conditions where Robert’s feet got wet inside. The bootie does a good job at keeping the mud out and making them easier to clean, and manages to shake off the worst of the weather without creating an overly hot environment for your feet to live in while riding. Overall the 7.0 HydraDri shoes are an excellent adverse weather conditions shoe that we’d happily recommend.