When it comes to flat pedal shoes, Five Ten seems to have held a monopoly on the market for years. However, there is some much needed competition stirring things up with the arrival of brands like Ride Concepts. Ride Concepts is a “rider-designed, rider-owned” company based in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. The founders set out to deliver a shoe offering passionate riders more than just grip, and the women’s Skyline is no exception.
At first look, these shoes are sleek. Before slipping them on, I knew the Skylines would offer a less bulky fit than my other flat pedal shoes I’ve worn. The shoes feel snug, and I found they to run smaller when compared to the Five Tens I’ve tried. Just like when purchasing running shoes, I wish I had gone a half size up for extra room in the toe bed. However, despite my lack of toe room, I found the fit to be comfortable for all day riding, and my foot wasn’t slipping around in the shoe.
For over a month, I put these shoes through a ringer testing them out on technical gnar, flow trails, downhill parks, and even the local pump track. Even after all of that, the shoes proved to be extremely durable. I have had experience with other shoes starting to fall apart just after a few beatings, but I have been pleased with the Skylines’ durability. There are hardly any signs of wear and tear, and even the tread is still in great condition. The breathable microfiber upper also kept my feet and nose happy even on blistering summer days. My foot never felt hot, and I didn’t have to deal with rank smelling shoes. I also found them to have a faster drying time in comparison to other flat shoes.
The gusseted tongue was helpful in preventing loose rocks and debris finding its way into the shoes, so I never had to dump out my shoes after rides.
I was unsure how the D3O asymmetrical mid collar protection would feel when pedaling, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be extremely comfortable it felt, even during long days in the woods. My inside ankles tend to get beat up, especially from rocks shooting up under the bike, so having that extra protection is a definite bonus. The Skyline also offers a custom-molded rubber toe cap and heel protection. I’ve stubbed my toe one too many times — even breaking one once — when wearing flat pedal shoes that didn’t have a thick toe cap. The stiff sole, along with the D30 high impact zone insole, provides impact protection to both the forefoot and heels.
However, my one issue with the Skyline is its grip. Ride Concepts partnered with Rubber Kinetics to offer three differing levels of grip: DST 8.0 (lowest grip), DST 6.0 (mid-level grip) and DST 4.0 (highest grip). The Skyline includes the DST 4.0 compound, but it doesn’t feel like the grippiest I’ve tested.
While I didn’t have an issue with my foot sliding while climbing technical trails, I found my foot bouncing around when descending, especially over rocks and roots. I had to forcefully focus on planting my foot in an effort to avoid losing stability. I started to understand the shoe better after a few rides, but unfortunately I was not impressed with the DST 4.0. Ride Concepts is a fairly new company so hopefully they will continue testing and working on developing a grippier tread because I’m pleased with every other feature.
All in all, I found the Skyline to be a strong competitor in the market and a shoe I believe will stir up more competition. Compared to shoes at the same price point, the Skyline’s long lasting durability, all day riding comfort, and the innovative foot protection help it stand out. However, if you are looking for a flat shoe that feels like being clipped in, this shoe may not be for you.
This has not been a deal breaker though, and I for one will continue choosing the Skyline as my first choice when gearing up for rides.
Buy It: MSRP: $150, available at JensonUSA.
Thanks to Ride Concepts for providing the Skylines for review.