First Look: Ride Concepts Livewire Flat Pedal Mountain Bike Shoe

photo: Jeff Barber

Ride Concepts is officially out of stealth mode.

The company is launching a full line of mountain bike footwear in an attempt to shake up the category, with a focus on using technology to build a better shoe. I got an early look at the Livewire, a flat pedal shoe designed for everyday riding, and here’s what I’ve learned so far.

The Ride Concepts Livewire

The Livewire is part of Ride Concepts’ Session series of flat pedal shoes, and is billed as a “daily-driver, wear-everywhere, tough-as-nails, do-it-all, ninja-approved, high-performance flat-pedal shoe.” That’s a lot of hyphens to basically say it’s designed to handle general mountain bike use and abuse.

The underside of the insole. photo: Jeff Barber
photo: Jeff Barber

One of the hallmarks of the Ride Concepts brand is incorporating impact protection into every shoe in the line. The Livewire insoles feature 3DO shock-absorption material that is soft and flexible but hardens upon impact. The idea is to take some of the shock out of say a hard landing after casing a jump.

photo: Leah Barber

The shoes feature a basic lace closure system with a stretchy loop for easily tucking laces in and keeping them out of harm’s way.  Webbing attaches the tongue to the uppers, preventing the tongue from slouching to one side or the other over time.

A spacious toe box makes these shoes comfortable, even for riders like me who have wide feet. My size 12 shoes (US sizing) weigh 533g each, which doesn’t feel overly heavy for such a burly bike shoe. The sole is nice and stiff for excellent power transfer, but there’s still a little give which makes walking around comfortable.

photo: Jeff Barber
photo: Jeff Barber

In addition to working with 3DO on adding impact protection, Ride Concepts has also partnered with a company called Rubber Kinetics to develop three proprietary rubber compounds to use in the line. The Livewire shoes feature Dynamic Surface Technology (DST) 6.0 compound which offers mid-level grip. Based on a quick back-to-back comparison, the DST 6.0 compound doesn’t seem as grippy as Five Ten’s Stealth, but it provides more than enough grip to keep feet firmly planted on the pedals. I’m definitely curious to see how the stickier, more flexible DST 4.0 compound compares.

photo: Leah Barber

I really like the look and feel of the Livewire shoes, and they appear to be very well constructed. Ride Concepts pulls together a number of materials like mesh and synthetic suede to create a nice aesthetic, while still promising low-maintenance and durability.

photo: Jeff Barber

Pricing is set at $100 USD and Ride Concepts plans to offer 3 colors each in mens’, women’s, and youth styles.

Buy Ride Concepts Livewire Shoes

The Session series

The Livewire is the entry-level shoe in the Session series, offering basic features and attractive styling at an accessible price point.

Moving up the line, the Wildcat is a more performance-oriented shoe with improved ankle protection and stability over the Livewire. Most notably, the Wildcat adds a velcro strap for improved retention. Based on my very brief tests of the Livewire shoes, the velcro strap should be a welcome addition. Wildcat shoes will retail for $120.

The Ride Concepts Hellion shoe cranks up durability and protection, but loses the velcro strap from the Wildcat. All three shoes in the Session series feature the mid-grip, DST 6.0 rubber compound on the sole. Hellion MSRP: $130.

The Flow series

artwork: Ride Concepts

Ride Concepts’ Powerline (men’s) and Skyline (women’s) shoes add 3DO protection to the shoe’s medial collar and feature additional ankle protection over the Session series.

Courtesy Ride Concepts.

The Transition (men’s) and Traverse (women’s) shoes appear to offer similar protection, but add a velcro strap plus the option of running cleats for use with clipless pedals. These shoes feature the DST 8.0 compound, which is the most firm of the three DST compounds.

Prices for shoes in the Flow series range from $150 to $160 USD.

The Launch series

There’s just one shoe in the Launch series and it’s a big one: the TNT.  TNT is designed for explosive moves, and features a heaping helping of Action Leather throughout. Ride Concepts reserves their stickiest rubber compound, DST 4.0, for this shoe. MSRP: $160.

It’s not every day that a new mountain bike shoe brand launches with such a big line and such cohesive, well-considered branding. Don’t be surprised to see Ride Concept shoes showing up at your local bike park and on the feet of pro athletes very soon!

Thanks to Ride Concepts for providing the Livewire shoes for review.

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