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Since Ride Concepts’ launch last fall, the MTB shoe company has rolled out more and more options. During the spring, we took a look at the new shoes at Sea Otter. They showed off the TNT, a flat pedal downhill shoe, and the new Transition and Traverse clipless shoes for men and women.

Browsing through the Ride Concepts website, it’s easy to tell that the brand is gravity-oriented. Most of the models aside from the Transition and Traverse are flat pedal shoes with some heft and padding to them. Shoes like the Livewire, though, are light enough to be a daily trail shoe for flat pedal riders. Ride Concepts also has a stacked list of gravity athletes wearing their shoes, who have no doubt expedited research and development. Even though Ride Concepts is only a year old, the shoes come with decades of experience.

Details and specs

  • Clipless MTB shoe
  • Rubber kinetics DST 8.0 Mid Grip rubber outsole
  • D3O High Impact Zone insole
  • D3O Asymmetrical medial collar protection
  • Custom-molded rubber toe and heel protection
  • Medial high-rise EVA midsole for support and shock absorption
  • Fully gusseted tongue
  • Weight: 924g/pair, size 8.5, including SPD cleat
  • MSRP: $160 (find online)

Shoe performance

Although the Transition and Traverse are their first clipless shoes, they are both well thought out shoes with innovative features, like the D3O padded insole and collar. For anyone not familiar with D3O, it’s a thermoplastic urethane (TPU) that absorbs and dissipates impact energy. D3O is more commonly used in items like knee or elbow pads.

Now, the material has made it down to shoes, which seems like an obvious place to put D3O for mountain bikers, considering most of us have hammered the ground with a foot or have experienced a harsh landing or two at some point.

The D3O placed on the insole in orange.

When it comes down to it, I’m really relying on the placebo effect to trust that there’s a difference by incorporating D3O in the insole. It seems appropriate and a smart place to put the material, and I’m sure it offers impact protection, but it is hard to tell how well the padding works when you’re wearing the shoe. Again, it’s probably better to have it than not, and sometimes the best indication of good padding is when you don’t notice that it’s working.

The shoes lace up just fine, and I usually pull the Velcro strap all the way out to tie them up. With the Velcro strap looped back in and secure, the laces stay where they’re told, and on all of my rides, the Transitions have been just as tight at the end of the ride, as they were at the start.

The Transitions look like they’d be a hot shoe, especially in black, but I have had them out in the peak of summer, on multi-hour rides and they remained vented and comfortable. Comfort in a mountain bike shoe can be very hit and miss in my experience, and a lot have hot spots, or points of pressure. At the end of a long ride, sometimes I’m itching to get my shoes off quicker than a sweaty, stanky chamois. The Transitions still feel cozy at the end of the day and my toes aren’t screaming to pull them off.

Part of this is surely the more flexible shank inside the shoe. The Transition is a shoe for those who put descending above all else, so if buyers are looking for a stiff clipless shoe with a lot of capability for power transfer, then it’s best to look elsewhere. That said, they are stiff enough for most people’s pedaling needs, and I dig the extra flexibility for hike-a-bike slogs and when I’m cruising through the grocery store after a ride.

The DST 8.0 Mid Grip rubber is the least sticky compound Ride Concepts offers, and that’s so the shoe slides against the pedal easier when riders are clipping in or out of the cleat. I’ve found the sole to be plenty sticky enough for anything off the bike. Pedal engagement is also easy with the Transition’s open cleat box.

Final word

The Ride Concepts Transition is a durable gravity shoe, but I’ve worn gravity shoes that feel much heavier and clunkier than this one. Even though it has great impact protection, and toe and heel protection, it still feels light and well vented enough for everyday trail rides as well, making it great for almost anything.

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

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