Specialized have debuted a number of new shoes lately and the Rime is the latest to the table of offerings. According to the team at the Big Red S, they felt the bike industry has been historically focused on MTB trail riding as an experience with a lot of overlap in the surf and skate culture. I'd say it's an accurate assessment, just look at the fashion, slang, and plenty else. It's very evident. With the brands' 2FO line, that demographic was the target audience, apparent by the styling and function of the shoes.
According to Specialized, the new Rime flat takes a different approach catering to a bit different crowd. After assessing a number of riders, Specialized's
Rime Flat Details
• SlipNot Super Tacky outsole
• Injected-molded toe box
• Welded mesh TPU/upper
• XPEL hydrophobic mesh
• Colors: Black, White Mountain
• Weight: 801g (pair, size 43.5)
• MSRP: $130
designers felt that there was an entire group of riders who used mountain biking more as a way to explore new terrain where getting off the bike and being on foot is commonplace. A shoe that's built for shredding mountain bike trails needed to be different than a shoe built for exploring - think the difference between mountaineering and front-country skiing or sport routes in rock climbing.
The shoe utilizes the same SlipNot ST (Super Tacky) rubber that other recent flat shoes from Specialized do and sports an injected-molded toe box to keep rock strikes from ruining rides. There's an XPEL hydrophobic mesh material that is designed to keep a large amount of water out and away from the rider's foot. The material also is said to resist becoming waterlogged and while it's not waterproof, it is 'splash resistant' and designed to quickly dry.
Hikeability was considered a critical element for an adventure shoe, according to Specialized, and they claim to have seen a lot of riders choosing a hiking or trail-running shoe at times when running flats in these situations and believe that it's due to the limited options on the market, hence the introduction of this shoe. Running shoes don't hook up on pedals and likewise, a skate-style shoe doesn't offer the best traction on sketchy terrain.
The shoe is available in sizes 36-49, with half sizes between 38.5 and 46.5. There are two color options and the shoe sells for $130 USD.
A reinforced toe box helps by keeping kicked rocks from turning into broken toes.Performance
Specialized have produced a number of shoes that have fit and worked well for me in years past so I came into this review with high expectations along with a good amount of skepticism, as this style of shoe is one I've wanted for some time but have not seen properly executed by any brand... until now.
The fit of the shoe is true to size and in line with Specialized's other shoes, both clipless and flat. I have used the brands' 2FO Cliplite shoes as a go-to for several years, wearing a size 43.5, and this carries over with the same fit on my foot. The included footbeds provide an ample amount of support for my somewhat collapsed arches and the shoes are comfortable, although the upper did take a bit more of a break-in period than I expected and I experienced a bit of a hot spot on my right heel that rubbed the wrong way at times, although it was only noticeable on prolonged hike-a-bikes and never resulted in any actual blistering.
The rubber on the sole of the shoe is top-notch and is easily the best in class. It is just as tacky as the Five Ten standard right out of the box and I felt that the grip only increased after a short break-in period. I never had any issues with pedal-to-shoe traction and was beyond impressed with how well the shoes interfaced with the pins of various pedals.
Deep lugs on the toe and heel give tons of traction off the bike while the middle of the tread hooks up very well with pedals.
Off of the bike, the tread on the Rime provides better grip for hiking and fording sketchy creeks/rivers on wet and slippery rocks than any other riding shoe I've used. There is plenty of traction to help give confidence and the shoe is stiff but not overly stiff to the point that I couldn't feel what was below me. There is a good balance and blend of functionality between on and off the bike traction.
Riding in sketchy, technical terrain where dropping a foot or jumping off the bike onto surfaces with marginal traction is common, the Rime offers a different experience than with some other shoes. On-bike to off is a comfortable transition and I have consistently felt confident and stable in maneuvering through the janky sections of trail where cleaning a line many times takes several tries and dabs are on uneven ground.
Moves like this are common in backcountry riding and require a lot of traction to prevent wet feet and bloody shins. (Rime not pictured)
I have been able to ride the shoes in a variety of conditions ranging from bone dry to snow, along with the muck in-between. The upper does a good job of keeping spray and splash from giving me swamp foot although larger volumes of water can find their way in over the low cuff. I think this shoe would be a great candidate for a hi-top version that would or, at the very least, an integrated gaiter of sorts. Some riders will likely balk at the lack of a lace cover being included and while it would be a nice addition at times, I think that it would take away from the functionality of the shoe off the bike, e and add to the overall weight and bulk, which the lack of, is something I consider an asset.
I can't fully comment on long-term durability as I only have a couple of months' worth of riding on the shoes yet but they're holding up well, as I would expect them to and I don't foresee any issues.
Excellent function and traction on and off of the bike+
Lack of integrated gaiter/higher cuff for more adverse conditions and support-
Hot spot in the heel on extended hike a bikes-
Not fully waterproof