I tend to find myself on flat pedals during the sloppiest, muddiest days of the year, times when trying to clip into a mud caked pedal just isn't worth the hassle. For that reason, it's always surprised me how few options there were for waterproof, or even highly water resistant, flat pedal shoes. Thankfully that's started to change, and now Leatt has joined in with their new 7.0 HydraDri shoes.
The shoes have a waterproof outer fabric and a mid-height cuff combined with a sole that uses Leatt's new RideGrip Pro rubber, which is claimed to be 20% softer (and thus grippier) than the rubber Leatt had used on previous flat pedal shoes.
• 10k/10k HydraDri membrane waterproof bootie construction
• Speed lace system
• RideGrip Pro rubber compound
• Waterproof zipper
• TPU reinforced heal, toe
• Sizes: US 6-13, UK 5.5-12.5, EU 38.5-48.5, CM 24-31
• MSRP: $189.99 USD
The shoes are available in US sizes 6-13, or EU 38.5-48.5 and retail for $190 USD. Details
The HydraDri shoes may look like a burly mid-top boot, but in reality they're more like a low-top shoe with an integrated waterproof bootie. The bootie doesn't add much additional ankle support - it's there to keep water out more than anything else.
The inner portion of the shoe is secured with a speed lace system, with a tiny elastic pouch at the top of the tongue to tuck the laces into. There's a pull tab in the center of the laces that makes it easier to cinch down the forefoot, and another pull tab at the back of the ankle to help pull the shoes on.
The shoes are encased in a bootie made from Leatt's HydraDri waterproof membrane, which has a 10k/10k waterproof / breathability rating. Those numbers mean they should work well in the conditions found on a typical rainy ride, but may let some water in if you end up directly in front of a fire hose.
Once they're on and the speed-lace system is tightened, the next step is to fully batten down the hatches by zipping up the waterproof outer zipper and securing the large snap at the ankle cuff. That cuff is nice and thin, which helps keep water from running off the bottom of a pair of pants and directly into the shoes.
The RideGrip Pro rubber used on the sole is formed into a series of larger and smaller triangles (okay, technically they're irregular hexagons, but they look like triangles from a distance). There's enough space in between each of the shapes to allow room for pedal pins, a key feature that help provide more grip. Fit
The HydraDri shoes are on the roomier side of the spectrum as far as the width goes, especially around the forefoot. Compared to Five Ten's Trail Cross Gore-Tex
shoes, the 7.0 HydraDri has a much less pronounced taper towards the front of the foot. For me, the fit of the size 11 (my typical size for most cycling shoes) was comfortable, and left enough room for slightly thicker socks.
Riders with narrower feet may struggle to get the shoes cinched down enough with the speed lace system – those laces only extend so far towards the front of the foot, and on more than one occasion I found myself stopping to add tension part way through a ride.
I also wish the inner heel cup was a little deeper to help reduce the likelihood of heel lift while riding or hiking. I didn't experience any hotspots or any specific issues due to its height, but my foot never felt quite as locked in as I would have liked.
As far as overall stiffness goes, the 7.0 HydraDri's sole is more flexible than the Five Ten TrailCross Gore-Tex. I don't mind a more flexible sole for a flat pedal shoe, since it allows my foot to contour more to the shape of the pedal, but it's worth noting that the TrailCross shoes have a more sturdy, robust feel too them, closer to what you'd expect from a lighweight hiking boot, while Leatt's HydraDri shoes are closer to typical skate shoe stiffness.Grip
Is Leatt's RideGrip Pro rubber as sticky as Five Ten's Stealth rubber, or Specialized's SlipNot SuperTacky rubber, the two compounds that I'd consider to be the current benchmarks for pin-grabbing tackiness? Well, no. Those softer rubbers deliver a more tenacious hold than the Ride Grip Pro rubber, creating a more locked in feeling on rough trails.
That said, if those two options are a 10 on the stickiness scale, I'd give Leatt's rubber a solid 8, which makes them a worthy option for riders looking for shoes that don't require fully lifting your foot of the pedal to reposition it.
When paired with pedals with taller pins, like the Chromag Dagga or Race Face Atlas, I didn't have any issues with the amount of grip on tap, even on rough, chattery trails. Despite Leatt's claims to the contrary, I didn't have as much luck on pedals with shorter pins – there just wasn't as much bite, and my foot was more likely to lift and slide off at inopportune moments.
The shape of the tread itself does work well to increase traction, with enough depth for some of the pedal pins to settle in between the raised shapes. Function
I've worn these shoes in the middle of several atmospheric river events, the perfect time to see just how well they deal with pouring rain and deep puddles. I was impressed with how dry my feet stayed – that waterproof membrane works very well, and when the shoes are worn with an appropriately long pair of pants it's hard for water to find its way in.
My feet stayed warm and dry, even when temperatures hovered around 40° F (4° C). Keep in mind that this isn't an insulated winter shoe, but they are warmer than a standard cycling shoe, since it's essentially like wearing a rain jacket for your feet. In other words, they're great for areas like the Pacific Northwest and the UK for most of the year, but will likely be too warm for other locations during the summer months.
Excellent protection against rain / puddles+
Very comfortable, plenty of forefoot room+
Thin upper cuff works well for layering under pants.
Not as supportive as they look-
Sole rubber could be even stickier-
Heel pocket feels shallow