GRAVELBIKE

First Impressions: Specialized Rime Flat Shoes

Ask five people to define adventure riding, and you’re likely to get five different answers. Most riders, however, will agree that it usually includes a healthy dose of two-footed exploration (planned or otherwise). Finding a shoe that’s suited to biking and hiking can be tricky. Thanks to Specialized, adventure riders get the best of both worlds with the company’s Rime Flat shoe.

Specialized’s approach-inspired Rime Flat adventure shoe.

Unboxing the Rimes, my first impression was that they looked more more like trail shoes than mountain biking footwear. That’s no accident. From their SlipNot ST rubber soles, to the seamless mesh and TPU uppers, Specialized built these kicks to tackle two-wheeled and two-footed adventure. Coming in at 849 grams for the pair, my size 45 samples weren’t the lightest shoes I’ve tested. Once laced up, however, they felt downright sprightly. The $130 Rimes are available in euro sizes 36-49 (half-sizes 38.5-46.5). And if the White Mountain color scheme isn’t your thing, Specialized offers a more subdued black colorway.

Despite a relatively low-key aesthetic, Specialized’s Rime Flat boasts an impressive array of tech and features. The thermo-welded uppers eliminate blown-out seems, and Xpel hydrophobic mesh construction reduces water absorption (which speeds up drying time). Cushioned EVA midsoles provide comfort and impact absorption, while reinforced shanks deliver the stability needed for riding and hike-a-bikes. Inside you’ll find Specialized’s Body Geometry insoles, which help keep riders’ hips, knees, and feet aligned. An injected-molded toe box protects against rocks and roots, and the flexible forefoot tread sections adapt to steep terrain. That all sounds good on paper (or in this case, pixels), but what about real-world performance?

SlipNot ST rubber outsoles and reinforced toe boxes.

Balancing a cycling shoe’s grip, pedal feel, and stiffness is no small task. Factoring in off-the-bike performance, I was skeptical that Specialized’s new model would tick all the boxes. My first rides revealed a shoe that delivered gobs of traction, outstanding pedal feel, and stiffness on par with dedicated MTB footwear. Would the Rimes’ pedaling performance come at the expense of hikability and overall comfort? I’m hardly what you’d call an avid hiker, but I can tell you that these are one of the few flat-pedal shoes I found comfortable enough for daily wear. The more I wore the Rimes, the more I appreciated their relaxed fit.

In addition to the pedals shown in the photo below, my testing included flats from Bontrager, Crankbrothers, and Deity. Regardless of pedal choice, I never found the Rimes lacking the necessary grip for aggressive riding. Traction was so good, in fact, that shorter pins were sometimes necessary for easier foot repositioning. And while I was initially concerned the Flats’ flared heels might be prone to frame- or crank-rub, it proved to be a non issue. I can’t comment on the SlipNot ST soles’ long-term durability just yet, but tread wear has been minimal after four months’ use.

Expect plenty of grip, whatever your pedal preference.

Specialized’s Rime is one of the few flat-pedal shoes that’s truly hike- and bike-friendly. It’s a great choice if your current cycling shoes lack the traction needed for two-footed exploration. And if you’re looking to make the jump from running or skate shoes, you’ll definitely appreciate the Rimes’ solid feel and abundant grip.


Disclosure: Specialized provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

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