Following the recent introduction of the 2FO DH shoe range, Specialized also introduced another new shoe, the RIME Flat.
Specialized says that the RIME Flat shoe is aimed at the hike-a-bike rider, who requires their feet to stick to their pedals but also requires a good walking and hiking platform when off the bike. Images of all-day rides with difficult hikes up to the top of the mountain come to mind.
The RIME Flat shoe comes in two colors, Black and White Mountain, with sizes ranging 36-49 and half sizes 38.5-46.5. The pair retails for $130.
Key features include a flexible forefoot section that bends and adjusts to the terrain when off the bike and a midsole cushioning that helps with bump absorption. The RIME also boasts a toe box to protect you from crushing your feet and a “Specialized Body Geometry” insole that Specialized claims aligns the hip, foot, and knee while also limiting medial and lateral knee movement and maintaining good circulation down to your toes.
Much like the gravity-specific 2FO DH shoes introduced recently, the RIME Flat shoe comes equipped with a “SlipNot ST” rubber sole. The “ST” stands for Super tacky if that wasn’t immediately obvious. Additionally, as any respectable adventure shoe should, it comes with a hydrophobic mesh to minimize water absorption and speed up drying time.
We tested the RIME Flat in Black and unisex size 39 (EU). After wearing the shoes for a while now, I would suggest that you should size up if you are in-between sizes or if you like to wear particularly chunky socks. The profile of the shoe is fairly narrow, which can be restrictive for people like me with wider fit requirements.
The shoes look sturdy and well made, which is what you would hope for if you are looking for a shoe designed to ride fairly hard and also hike up to the top. There are no seams visible on the exterior of the RIME Flat shoes as they have been created with welded mesh and a TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) upper layer. When I put the shoes on for the first time, walking on kitchen tiles sounded like my feet were covered in golden syrup. They are that tacky.
Exposed to the elements, as only a UK winter can do, the RIME Flat shoes stood up to the water resistance test. Even when I put my feet in the numerous boggy quagmires on my local trails, they stayed fairly dry. I have only really tested these in colder, wetter weather, so it’s unclear how this shoe will work out on the rare dry and sunny days later in the summer, but I didn’t experience any overheating or sweating so far.
When pushing or carrying the bike up the hill, I found that the flexible forefoot section made the walk comfortable in comparison to the stiff sole shoes on offer. This flex is noticeably different from other mountain biking flat-pedal shoes and it allowed the foot to align to the terrain. It is still not a cross-country running shoe, but it eases the hike-a-bike situations dramatically.
Concerning the feel on the bike, I was seriously impressed with how the shoes stuck to the pedals. The SlipNot Super Tacky rubber does own up to its name, and it is a great competitor against the leading brands. The midsole is stiff enough to still provide a planted feel on the pedals. The cushioned foam midsole is designed to help with impact absorption and it seems to work, though I am not sure that it was an element I felt acutely while wearing other shoes.
The RIME Flat shoe is designed for an adventure rider who not only rides but also hikes. I would argue that this is a great all-rounder shoe for any flat pedal rider. Its hiking credentials are an added bonus that does not particularly compromise on the on-bike feel. However, if you don’t intend to do any hiking or walking then there might be other shoes which offer a more suitable fit and feel.
Again, I would consider sizing up with the RIME Flat, or if you are looking for a wider fit, you might look elsewhere altogether. Otherwise, Specialized hit the nail on the head with their new flat-shoe offering, and it’s almost enough to convince me to go for a hike!