Gear Reviews Mountain Biking

Ride Concepts Powerline – Shoe Review

Ride Concepts Powerline – Shoe Review
4.1
Our Rating
Ride Concepts Powerline – Shoe Review
Cut to the Chase
Aimed at the enduro and all-mountain crowd, with a superior fit and construction to most other flat pedal shoes on the market. They may not be as "sticky" as the Five Ten stealth rubber, but they are certainly the next best thing. With all the other pros taken into consideration, the RC Powerlines are a shoe that is very hard to beat.
Pros
Lightweight construction.
D30 impact protection built in to the sole and ankle cover.
Very effective rubber toe box.
Excellent air flow.
Handy elastic lace loop to tuck laces into. Why doesn’t every shoe do this???
Cons
Grippy but not as sticky as the Five Ten Stealth.
Sole has worn a little quicker than expected.

Will You Be Shouting “Flat Pedals Win Medals”, with the new Powerline from Ride Concepts?

So, everyone’s heard the saying –  “Flat pedals win medals” but if the shoes being worn with those medal-winning flat pedals suck, then I doubt those medals would be as commonly won.

If Sam Hill was racing in a pair of Vans, yeah he’d probably still be shredding because let’s face it, he’s Sam Hill, but I’m pretty sure those Five ten shoes he’s had on his feet all these years have played a pretty big role in his success.

Five ten were the original sticky rubber flat pedal shoe and no one can deny that they were a game-changer and continue to have a stronghold on the market. 

ride concept powerline

Ride Concepts Powerline shoe. A clipless shoe from the new kids on the block.
Photo: ©Sean Murray


Can this new-comer, Ride Concepts, put a dent in the sales from the Sticky rubber giant?  I think Five ten need to listen out for the call of “rider!” because Ride Concepts are the ones shouting it and they are sitting on their back tyre looking for an inside line.

ride concept powerline

Above, handy lace tuck system, and below, the asymmetrical medial collar with D3O impact protection.
Photo: ©Sean Murray

ride concept powerline

First Impressions

I have always had a thing for shoes, I think it started in my skateboarding days as skate shoes were a part of the culture as much as they were equipment. Unfortunately, I used to wear a hole through a pair every six weeks so I quickly learned what made a good shoe, which, to be honest, was probably just the pair that lasted the longest. 

The Ride Concepts Powerlines really impressed me from the moment I pulled them out of the box and the first thing I noticed was the weight, much lighter than the Five Ten Freerider pro’s that I am currently using. The construction of the shoe looks robust and clean in the way it is put together, as the joints on the microfiber upper are welded together and not stitched.

The other key feature I noticed was the asymmetrical design and D30 print on the inside collar of each shoe, yeah, it looks a bit different, maybe bordering on bulky, but the added benefit of the extra ankle protection is a big positive. Form is good but so is function. 

The only concern I had was around sizing as it’s always a bit of a gamble when ordering shoes. I’m a size 11 US and I was relieved when I found out these fit me perfectly, no bite points, no uncomfortable areas at all.

ride concept powerline

Above, Rubber Kinetics DST 4.0 MAX GRIP Outsole with a hex pattern for a consistent grip pattern.
Photo: ©Sean Murray

ride concept powerline

Above, custom-moulded rubber toe cap. Below, the Ride Concepts Powerline is a good looking shoe.
Photo: ©Sean Murray

ride concept powerline

Features

  • Rubber Kinetics | DST 4.0 MAX GRIP Rubber Outsole
  • Recessed toe and heel for hike-a-bike situations
  • Welded microfiber upper is abrasion and weather-resistant
  • Asymmetrical medial collar with D3O impact protection
  • Custom-moulded rubber toe cap and heel protection
  • Medial high-rise EVA midsole provides support and shock absorption
  • D3O High Impact Zone Insole Technology absorbs impact and reduces fatigue
  • Fully gusseted tongue prohibits intake of dirt and debris
  • Elastic lace tuck
  • Weight: 435g (Men’s 10)
  • Material: Synthetic, Rubber

On The Trail

Did I mention the RC Powerline shoes were light? Well, they are. I wouldn’t have thought it would be noticeable on the pedals but it made a big difference, especially when climbing. The front mesh panel provides great heat escape and allows air to flow keeping your feet’s cool on hot days.

The sole flex with the RC Powerline is not as soft as a skate shoe but it’s not stiff either. For me, it was in that goldilocks zone of not too stiff and not too flexible, like wearing a pair thongs (Flip flops or jandals for our overseas readers).

ride concept powerline

The Ride Concepts Powerline flat pedal provides good pedal feedback and shock absorption.
Photo: ©Sean Murray

ride concept powerline

I could feel the pedals through the sole, providing me with great feedback, but not enough that my foot was arching over them. The toe protection on the RC Powerlines is very good. I gave the rubber toe box protection a good test (great for this review but not so great for my foot) by smashing it into a rock and I’d have to say, had I been wearing something else It might have been ride over. I didn’t get to test the ankle and sole “D30 impact protection” luckily*. 

The Ride Concepts Powerline flat pedal provides good pedal feedback and shock absorption.
Photo: ©Sean Murray

ride concept powerline

OK, so the grip. It’s good, but not quite good enough to knock the Five Ten Stealth Rubber, off the podium. When these shoes turned up on our doorstep, we truly wanted them to be a contender to finally take on the giant that is Five Ten, but unfortunately, they just didn’t quite hit the mark in the grip department. And let’s be fair, if you’re going up against Five Ten grip is where the focus needs to be.

Are they grippy? Yes, they certainly have grip but lack that locked-in feeling that comes with stealth rubber and the feeling of confidence you get when charging into a rough section of trail that you have with Five Ten’s. 


Conclusion

So, who are these shoes for?

According to the RC website, the powerline is “Designed for hard-chargers who require all-day comfort and grip, the Powerline introduces a new class of flat pedal superiority. Utilizing the utmost of materials and construction techniques, the Powerline is the go-to when the going is anything but predictable. All Day. All Grip.”

Although aimed at the enduro and all-mountain crowd, anyone that uses flat pedals over clipless will get along with these shoes. It’s hard to believe, but there are people out there that feel that Five Ten shoes have too much grip. If this is you, then the powerlines are your next pair of shoes and you should just go out and buy a pair right now!

In our opinion, the construction, fit and comfort of the Ride Concepts Powerline shoe is as good if not superior to any other flat pedal shoe on the market that we have seen. 

It’s hard to do a flat pedal shoe review without referring to Five Ten and I guess that this is a testament to how good the Five Ten stealth rubber compound is. If Ride Concepts could develop a sticky rubber that was equal to or better than the stealth rubber compound, then they will show that their shoes for flat pedals, will certainly be winning medals. However, this is the first range from Ride Concept and we have been very impressed. We can only see them improving the sole grip in models to come.


Price / Where To Buy

Ride Concepts Powerline – $219 – 270.00aud.

The Ride Concepts Powerline and can be purchased at most online stores.


*Side note – testing safety features is something we’d prefer to trust the manufacturer on and not have to give a real-life test. eg: MIPS protection in helmets is great and the science and lab tests all stack up but we’ll take their word for it instead of smacking our heads into something.

Dan Greenwood
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