For 2020, Leatt have expanded their product line to include shoes. According to Leatt, their goal has always been to be a complete "head-to-toe" MTB and moto brand so, of course, a shoe fits nicely in that progression. Leatt claim they saw a need for durable and comfortable shoes with superb bike control qualities and they believe their new products will fill that gap. There are both flat and clipless offerings but for the purpose of this review, we're going to focus on the DBX 3.0 Flat shoe.
The DBX 3.0 Flat is the more performance-oriented of the two flat-soled shoes available from Leatt. The shoe has a synthetic leather upper, toe and heel protection, a waterproof/breathable membrane on the inside, and Leatt's RideGrip rubber compound.
DBX 3.0 Flat Details
• Synthetic leather upper, suede toe box
• Abrasion-resistant toe cap, heel protection
• Lace closure
• Colors: Black/Grey, Green
• Sizes: US 6-12, UK 5.5-11.5, EU 38.5-47, CM 24-30
• Weight: 951g (as tested, size 44/10)
• MSRP: $99.99 USD
The shoe uses a lace closure with compression laces that are intended to keep the shoe tight on the rider's foot more than traditional laces would. It comes in dark green and grey/black color options, US sizes 6-12, and sells for $99 USD.
A reinforced toe and heel help keep riders safe and a tall inner cuff provides extra ankle protection.Design
According to Leatt, the DBX 3.0's sole compound is a "highly durable NBR rubber blend" that is said to be abrasion and puncture resistant. The tread is a waffle pattern that is made to interlock with pedal pins, forming a mechanical lock in addition to the traction achieved from the rubber itself. There are also "mud channels" that are intended to help clear mud and keep the shoe functional on and off the bike on wet weather rides. Finally, there is an internal shank, a plate that runs the length of the shoe and provides extra stiffness. The shank in the DBX 3.0 is a mid stiffness, stiffer than that of the DBX 2.0 yet not as stiff as the one in Leatt's clipless models which are more focused on pedaling efficiency.
Lace retention is always welcomed but I accidentally permanently disengaged one of the elastic straps. All of the good anti-odor, bacteria, etc. has kept things fresh thus far despite some wet conditions.Performance
Out of the box, the DBX 3.0 shoes felt comfortable and fit true to size. The toe box feels as if it has a little more room than a similar size Five Ten. There is ample padding in the midsole of the shoe and there is extra ankle support in the upper. The laces did an excellent job of cinching things up and not letting the shoes slip during riding. The elastic lace holders are helpful, however, I did tear one off after a few rides...maybe it was my cold fingers not having a lot of dexterity but it still pulled out of the tongue. That's not a deal-breaker, but it's worth a mention.
The heel cup provides a good bit more support and tightness than many other flat shoes currently available and the DBX 3.0's seem to mold to your foot after an hour or two of riding. The lining and footbed of the shoe are smooth and feel as if they're well thought out, and not just a generic shoe upper and footbed. Plus, they have anti-bacterial and anti-odor properties to them, although I haven't spent enough time in the shoes to validate that.
The shoes aren't the best ventilated out there but they are very water-resistant to splashes and creek soakings that don't crest too high up. When they do get wet, they don't become water-logged and dry fairly quickly.
The rubber on the soles provides a lot of traction, but not quite as much as the benchmark Five-Ten compound. The tread pattern partially makes up for that by allowing pedal pins a little more purchase. They are also easier to reposition than shoes with an ultra-sticky compound while still providing plenty of traction. As far as stiffness is concerned, the shoes are amply stiff and fall somewhere between the Five Ten Freerider Pro and the Impact Pro. I think it's a good balance. While we're comparing, the rubber compound seems to wear a bit slower than the Five Ten in the short time I've had these on test, and it doesn't seem to pick apart quite as easily from pushing into the pedal pins.
Great fit, very comfortable+
Highly water resistant, fast drying
Lace retention system failed on one shoe-
Rubber could be tackier