Product Preview/Ride Report

Introducing Ride Concepts Footwear (Plus Livewire Review)

Photos Cam McRae

Sometimes, when I'm feeling charitable, I let my kids buy some sugary cereal. The first time this happened I was a little surprised by the selection. I could hardly find a version of candy-for-breakfast that wasn't around when I was watching Bugs Bunny. It seems like an odd market segment to have a such an impossible barrier to entry, but the shelves don't lie: Captain Crunch, Honeycomb, Count Chocula, Froot Loops, Sugar Crisp and Frosted Flakes continue to dominate.

New shoe brands, particularly those that plan to launch with a full line, are similarly scarce. Ride Concepts, headed by three industry veterans, isn't putting a tentative toe into the footwear pool; the company is diving in with 9 men's models, 5 for women and 3 for youth. I was sent an advance pair of Livewire flats that I have put three solid rides on and I've been very impressed thus far.


These are good looking shoes that ooze quality.

Flats were ready first so that's what I tried. The tricky part is that I've been a full time SPD guy for the past three years after 15 years on flats and I was a little reluctant to go back to rubber and pins. One factor that sped my swap to SPDs was Fiveten stopping production of my favourite shoe; the Impact High. Subsequent models seemed inferior to the Fivetens I had come to love and other brands, usually with less grip, were not for me either. I was sure I would be very hard to please this time around. I yanked my XTR pedals and twisted in some Crankbrothers Stamps on a pair of bikes (one large and one small pair) and headed out.


Heels and toes are well protected by molded plastic caps..

Climbing felt surprisingly good immediately. The Livewires have a sole that balances stiffness and flexibility perfectly in my mind. You can still bend over the pedal on the way down but there is enough to push against on the way up. And grip surprised me as well, but climbing grip isn't where flat shoes are measured so I reserved judgement. One thing I enjoyed was practicing my wheelies on the way up. It was a leisurely pace and not being attached to the bike took the terror out of the catwalk.


A pet peeve of mine is cheap insoles in expensive shoes. All Ride Concepts models include D30 polymer inserts for increased comfort and protection.


The D30 sections are orange and banging your knuckles into them proves the concept.

The first ride down was also relatively mellow, since my son has just recently started riding more challenging trails like Seventh Secret and Crinkum Crankum, and it felt amazing being back on flats. I found myself playing on the edges of the trail a little more and banking the bike aggressively in the corners. The moderate pace wasn't much of a test but I had some burlier rides coming up.


The important stuff. You'll notice a somewhat familiar sole pattern. Why mess with a proven concept? The sticky rubber comes form Rubber Kinetics, the company who licensed the Goodyear name for MTB tires last year. It turns out they know their stuff. The grip was just right for me.


Minor wear after few long rides is good news in my books. Harder soles wear longer but your body will wear out faster if you keep slipping pedals at high speeds.

The second ride began with a trail that alternated between loamy and rooty with lots of square edges at speed. I few times I lost pedal contact briefly and realized that I couldn't allow the rear wheel to get light as I could while clipped in. Once I stomped a little harder this stopped happening but it then became apparent that I needed to tweak my fork and shock tune for the more rearward weight bias. The pedals however were fantastic. Going faster I appreciated the ample grip. A little less than my old Impacts but with enough hold to make repositioning very difficult when standing.


Firm and well placed padding held my heel in place and inspired confidence.

A more aggressive ride made me appreciate that quality of construction as well. Nothing about these shoes feels cheap or under-engineered which I have found with some of the completion. There are robust caps around the toes and heels and generous padding on the tongue and for heel hold. The tongue is gusseted to prevent crap from getting in as well.

Ride concepts

At one point during my third ride, long after my hard tumble, a wasp got into my shoe. The little bastard stung me three times before I stopped and banged my heel into my frame to kill him. I needed a hug when I got home. Again - I can't fault the shoes.

On my third ride I jumped on the Bronson I've been testing with size large Stamps and things got burly. We rode some very steep and nasty trails and I had to relearn how to ride that stuff on flats. I found I had to consciously lower my body position to get adequate braking without clipping in. I haven't quite figured out why but I had a couple of oh shit moments. Heading down one particularly loose and nasty chute I completely lost the reins and went into survival mode. In a span of perhaps 20 metres I was sure I was going to bail horrendously five different times, but somehow the rubber stayed down.

Ride Concepts

My rusty flat skills were all I had to blame though; the shoes again perfumed flawlessly, although I did have one flat pedal-related bail. I was riding over a partially decomposed log perpendicular to the trail on a moderately fast section and just as I pushed my weight forward to accelerate I caught a pedal. I was flung instantly to the ground, driving my visor into wrist and executing a reasonable scorpion. Despite not being clipped in the bike managed to land on my back. It was a hard one but I mostly escaped unscathed, and my feet were just fine. I also decided at that moment that I prefer the small size Stamp pedals.

ride concepts

This will give you an idea of the line. Prices range from 100-160 USD.

For now I think I'll switch back and forth between flats and SPDs, but if I become a full time flat pedal rider again I'd pick up a pair of Ride Concepts Livewires in a heartbeat. These are also the most reasonably priced option in the Ride Concepts line at 100 USD.

For more info check out the release below as well as rideconcepts.com

Ride Concepts Press Release

Truckee, CA – Ride Concepts is proud to debut its line of progressive, high-performance mountain bike footwear. Founded around a deep passion for mountain biking and the communities that it inspires, Ride Concepts comes to fruition after years of riding, market research, careful design and partnership development, and is set on creating dirt-riding footwear that ups your game no matter where or how you ride.


The Wildcat, also a flat shoe, goes for 120 USD.

Industry partnerships help Ride Concepts create durable, highly specialized footwear: D3O protection is molded throughout insoles on all shoes to reduce impacts taken from hard landings and extended riding on rugged terrain, and is employed strategically to the uppers of some models to add extra protection where needed. Rubber Kinetics - an industry leader in the design, development, and manufacture of high performance rubber compounds - formulated multiple proprietary rubber sole compounds, taking into account dry and wet grip, operating temperature windows (ranges) and durability.

ride concepts

Here's what they looked like before wasps, crashes and general bad behaviour took their toll.

The initial offering from Ride Concepts caters to both flat and clipless pedal riders, and is made up of three distinct shoe series; Session, Flow, and Launch, alongside a full line of synthetic and merino performance socks. Gender-specific lasts offer precision fit for men, women and youth, allowing shredders of all ages the same access to highly technical kicks.

Ride Concepts will be shipping their Session series to dealers in late October with Flow and Launch series following later in the year.

Dealers interested in stocking Ride Concepts should contact Brandon Dodd

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+2 Cam McRae Jordan Carr

Great looking shoes that are looking like strong contenders for flat pedal riders hooked on Stealth Rubber. The Coaster is an interesting addition to the range too! Can’t wait to see the full line in a couple of weeks.


+2 IslandLife Jordan Carr

They look like good shoes so far...I would love to try 'em out and see how they fit my feet and riding style (or lack thereof). 

As for riding on flats, when I moved back a few years back it took a while to get used to the feeling...but now I feel more glued to the bike than I have in a while...and I am riding a HT too. Give it some time, and you too can ride without the crutch of being clipped in. ;)


+2 Jordan Carr AJ Barlas

Any word on who's going to be stocking these locally?  With my duck feet I have to try on all footwear as most options are typically too narrow across the toe box...  (my ancient 5.10 Impacts fit well, modern Freerider Pros are too narrow)  It's also nice to support my local shops whenever possible.

The girl needs new kicks as well, so a shop that stocks the women's models in a wide range of sizes would do pretty well, methinks...



The idea of being stung three times on my foot is horrendous. Stepped on a bee once and that was insanely bad. You're my new idol of pain.



The little bastard somehow got in there while I was riding but I coudln't push back and kill him without stopping ( I was behind a fast group) but he just kept on stinging. And yep - it hurt like a mofo. I'm still swollen three days later but it's just mildly itchy now. Not my favourite creature.



Cam, what's the fit like, particularly the width?  I'm always struggling to find flat pedal shoes for my wide feet.  Five ten freeriders are ok but something even wider would be nice.  Always happy to see more players entering the flat pedal shoe market.  Looks like a high quality product.



I don't have width problems RJ, but my feet aren't narrow either. I'd say I'm on the wide edge of normal range and there was plenty of width. RC doesn't specify sizes in multiple widths though so they are likely trying for the meat of the market.



No half sizes??  The one good thing about Adidas fully enveloping 5.10 is the addition of half sizes (finally).  For a sport such as MTB where shoe fit is very important... neglecting half sizes seems like a mistake in my eyes.  Maybe as they grow they'll add them?

Will have to try them on as they show up in stores to see where I truly "fit".  But generally, across many brands and styles of shoes... 9.5 has always been my perfect fit.



Finally had to replace my last pair of old 5.10 impacts.  As the supply of any replacement seems to be non-existent I had to change up from my usual choice.  At the store tried the livewires and also the 5.10 freeride.  Walking in the livewires it felt like the heal was too low and my foot would too easily slide out.  Had to go with the freerides for that reason as they seem to have a slightly higher heel support and hold in better.


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