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Apparel

First Impressions: Specialized RIME FLAT Shoe

For flat- or flat-curious riders who've wandered outside the bike park

Basics

Sizing: 36-49 and half sizes 38.5-46.5


Pros

-Super sticky rubber

-Surprisingly efficient pedaling

-Low-profile, snug fit

Cons

-Not especially breathable


Price

$130

Brand

Specialized


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Lured by the promise of riding like Sam Hill, I’ve been meaning to try flat pedals again for a long time—but have always been turned off by the chunky, floppy shoes, which make my calves tired just to look at. I’m also pretty reluctant to mangle what’s left of the skin on my shins. (I was never gonna be a leg model, but who has time for stitches these days?)

The new RIME FLAT from Specialized got me out on flats for the first time in years, and I was blown away by how secure, efficient and downright fun they felt. The “super tacky” rubber soles live up their name, and my visions of bloody pedals evaporated within a few laps of the pump track—these things stay put, even if you’re super-conditioned to riding clipless, like I am. 

The low-profile, retro styling and flexible sole make for easy transitions from errands to riding; or between types of riding. Need to scramble to reach a line? Digging some new trail? Standing around coaching or getting coached? You’ll wish you were wearing these. They walk as naturally as they ride, and it’s nice not to have to worry about slipping on your cleats when you’re scrambling over rocks. 

While they look and fit just like a sneaker, they’re significantly more burly, with a weather-and-scuff-resistant welded mesh and TPU upper; and an injection-molded toebox—useful if you tend to kick stuff accidentally like I do. The only downside to all this burliness is that they don’t breathe especially well—but that may be a worthy tradeoff for a shoe that feels like it could last multiple seasons unscathed. 

Besides being delightfully speckled, the EVA midsole gives you all-day cushion for walking without compromising too much efficiency—and while this shoe doesn’t have the stiffness of a more endurance-oriented shoe, it’s no noodle either. You can tighten the laces down for a satisfyingly snug fit, and power transfer was way better than I expected for not being clipped in.

If you’ve been flat-curious but reluctant to swap to an inferior performance shoe, the RIME could be your answer—it’s an efficient and versatile flat shoe built for long rides.