Vaude is Germany's "most sustainable clothing brand" and has been committed to environmentally conscious products since its inception in 1974. From a general outdoor brand offering hiking and mountaineering apparel, bike products have become more and more popular from the Tettnang based company, and it's good to see another choice of footwear for platform pedal pushers. Decent flat pedal riding shoes are hard to come by, aside from the obvious offerings from Five Ten. Manufacturers like Giro, Shimano, Specialized and O'Neal add a couple of extra choices, but it's still slim pickings. Most brands plow budgets into wide ranges of hi-tech clipless pedal compatible shoes, despite many mountain bikers preferring to not lock themselves into the bike.
After spotting these Vibram soled Moab shoes when they first appeared at Eurobike last year and being an avid platform pedal user myself, I was intrigued to give them a try and have been putting them through their paces over the last six months.
Moab Low AM Shoes Details
• Terracare® suede upper
• Vibram® Vert sole - flat pedal specific
• Anti-slip heel lining
• Colors: Black / Pebble Grey
• Weight: 1008g - Uk 9.5 / EU 44 (actual
• MSRP: $140 USD / €140
As the name suggests, the Moab Low AM is a low-cut, all-mountain shoe, but there is a 'Mid AM' model for those who want increased ankle support and protection. The shoe's upper is made from Terracare certified leather wrapped around a 50% recycled hydrophobic mesh to help expel water. A removable Ortholite insole is also on the green side of the spectrum, with 25% of its material coming from bio-based castor oil.
The most important part of a shoe for platform pedal users is the sole. The white pedal contact patch is made from Vibram's Megagrip rubber, while the black heel and toe are constructed using Vibram's XS Trek compound that's borrowed from their hiking shoes. The mid-sole is made from shock absorbing EVA foam to absorb trail chatter and uneven terrain underfoot.
A combination of recycled PET laces that reach far down the shoe are combined with a velcro strap and a seal skin-like material in the heel, which slides in one direction and grips in the other, preventing heel lift. Picture a cat's tongue, but inside a shoe. Performance
The most important factor for me when it comes to shoes is grip, and since discovering Five Ten shoes over a decade ago nothing comes close, but that gap is closing. The Vaude shoes' Vibram sole is a great effort but doesn't quite have the stick of Stealth Rubber. Having said that, they are tacky enough that I was comfortable riding these shoes across the Portes du Soleil's washboard braking bumps on a downhill bike, never feeling like I was forcing myself to risk life or limb for the sake of this test. In fact, I will happily continue riding this pair in the future as months of abuse have barely taken any visible toll on the Moab.
They've also broken in and are now a lot more flexible and fitted compared to when they arrived, having a homely feel every time I slip my feet inside. The outers still look good, and the sole has plenty of life, although the pin contact points have become permanently embossed, but not shredded. The hydrophobic material is still doing its duty, even after the Moabs have taken washing machine trips well into double figures.
The fit is slim, and might be tight for people with wide feet. Thanks to the laces reaching far down from the top of the shoe towards the toes and the velcro retention strap, finding a comfortable yet supportive fit is easy. The base of the shoe also feels more precise and firm than an Impact from Five Ten, where I find the deep midsole is spongy and my feet are always rolling outwards (supinating) on the pedals.
When walking, relying on the white pedal zone of the sole needs to be avoided if you want to walk through any kind of mud, but the black areas and square edges can easily be dug into the dirt. The Moab has even been on a few hikes and has been my pick on recent trail building trips. Pinkbike’s Take:
|Environmentaly friendly products don't come cheap, but this flat pedal shoe offered by Vaude is no more pricey than its competition. Overall grip still doesn't challenge Five Ten, but the Moab offers great all-round performance and durability for general mountain biking. - Paul Aston|