Leatt DBX 2 NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG
REVIEW

Leatt 2.0 Flat Pedal Shoes

Words Andrew Major
Photos As Noted
Date Dec 22, 2020
Reading time

The Roller Coaster: Act 1 - Locking Laces

Everything about reviewing Leatt's 2.0 shoes started off wrong. First off, why did they send the 2.0 instead of the 3.0 which adds toe protection, weather resistance, and sole stiffness for a only ten bucks? Either shoe has the potential to offer excellent value with the 3.0 at 100 USD and the 2.0 at 90 USD. Then there's the geometric waffle pattern of the sole that makes sense visually but felt weird on my first spin around the neighbourhood. Finally, the pain. The flaming f***ing pain in the damned dorsal muscles on my left foot after some twenty minutes on my first real ride in them. The pain is so intense that I bend over, untie my shoe, pull it off my foot, and set up to loft it into the woods. Yep, I'm standing in a puddle, in my NSMB socks, in the pissing rain, holding my shoe behind me head, in a rage, or maybe just a temper tantrum. And then I exhale.

Deep sigh.

Sans discomfort, rational me returns and I relax into the realization that I'm actually the victim of user error. Specifically, I always overtighten my shoes just a touch to account for the laces settling in during the first five minutes of a ride. The wide laces on these shoes are highly textured and, like running wax laces on a pair of hockey skates, they don't budge a millimeter. This is actually a great feature - the 2.0 is the first lace-up shoe I've never had to retie on a ride. Once I clued in that is.

I loosen off my right shoe as well and the Leatt kicks are immediately twice as awesome as they were a couple minutes earlier. Lovely even. Actually, they're one of the better fitting flat pedal shoes I've worn and I think they look great, although a little less so after the weather they've been put through recently. Now that I know to go easy on the initial tighten, things are looking up!

Leatt DBX 2.0 Shoes NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Great looking shoes for 90 USD. The soles are grippy and the wide textured laces make these the only lace-up shoes I've never had to re-tighten on a long ride. Photo: AM

Leatt DBX 2 NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Even after routine mucky wash-offs and North Shore wet-rinses, the shoes clean up fairly nicely. They have comparable volume to most flat pedal shoes I've liked. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic.

Act 2 - OneUp Composite Pedals

Well, my feet don't hurt at least but then there's the soles and their weird waffle pattern. At least it starts off weird, meshed with my Wah Wah 2 pedals. The Leatt RideGrip rubber compound is easily sticky enough for the Kona pedal's widely spaced spikes, but compared to any shoe I've ridden recently it just seems like my foot won't easily self-locate to an optimum grip position.

I did eventually come around to riding the Leatt + Wah Wah combo without thinking about it at all - the true goal of pedal/shoe interfaces I think - but that was long after discovering the Leatt 2.0 shoe's natural partner in the OneUp Composite pedal. The OneUp pedal shape makes no sense to me and the pins are vicious but I ended up buying a pair out of necessity; I needed pedals ASAP and it's what the shop had. On my first real ride, pairing them with the Leatt shoes, you could have easily convinced me the products were made to work together. Whether it's the convex shape, the sharp little pins, the platform size, or some combination of the three, the OneUp + Waffle combo is amazing.

Leatt DBX 2.0 Shoes NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

The rubber is plenty sticky, the shoe is soft enough to conform to most pedals, and the waffle pattern? Well, it works better with some pedals than others. Photo: AM

OneUp Composite Pedal NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I've tried the Leatt 2.0 shoes with my three favourite flat pedals and by far the most natural fit is the OneUp Composite. Made for each other? Photo: AM

A rider wanting maximum traction with any given pedal will be better served by Crankbrothers' stickier Stamp flat pedal shoes. For my own spend tomorrow, as long as I'm combining them with the OneUp Composite pedals, I'll go Leatt 2.0 every time.

Why not Leatt 3.0? Leatt notes that the 3.0 shoes use a stiffer sole ('medium-stiff' v. the 'medium-soft' of the 2.0) and after hours and hours on the lower-priced 2.0 I'm assuming I wouldn't be as much of a fan. Big body flat pedals provide a tonne of support already and I think sole flex combined with the rubber compound and pattern is what gives the 2.0 shoe its charm.

Act 3 - Insole Action

The soles aren't particularly firm, but I'm happy to argue that's part of what makes the interface with a big pedal body so great. With stiffer shoes the large body can sometimes feel quite vague. Whether it's my OneUps, my Wah Wah 2s, or the Crankbrothers Stamp 3 large, any pedal I'm riding provides enough support, that shoe feel and grip win over rigidity every day.

And then, after happily learning to love the Leatt 2.0s, I had two negative experiences in the same week. First, at the point of exhaustion on a particularly long ride my left knee started to hurt on both the outside and the inside, perhaps indicating I needed a more supportive shoe after all. Then, on a decently long and rugged hike-a-bike with my brother, I found that both of my feet were hurting and my toes were going numb.

Leatt DBX 2 Shoes NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I've been using SQLab 215 mid-level support insoles and Specialized Blue++ insoles in the Leatt 2.0 shoes for a perfect blend of performance and comfort. Photo: AM

On the roller coaster I've been on with these shoes, this was the low point because there was no simple fix of loosening off the laces. I'd never had discomfort from hiking in flat pedal shoes. In fact I love being in flats for hike-a-bike sections - but the knee pain was familiar from the days before I stated riding a more supportive clip-in pedal, in my case the Mallet DH.

Using clip-in shoes, usually ones with ultra stiff soles, I would run Specialized BG Blue++ insoles and SQLab 215 mid-level insoles to better support my feet and, combined with my foam roller, they resolved all my issues. I popped them into the Leatt 2.0 shoes and the results were phenomenal and instantaneous - no more knee pain & no more discomfort or numbness on rugged hikes.

Giro Chrono Pro NeoShell NSMB AndrewM (2).jpeg

The Leatt 2.0 has been my go-to for greasy rides on either of my bikes. Excellent traction on my pedals combined with the ability to move my feet around when the call is for aggressive body English. Photo: JacVenture

7th Secret NSMB AndrewM.JPG

With or without insoles, I had no issues with discomfort descending despite the shoes being a little less stiff than the flat pedal shoes that I have previously loved. Photo: AM

Now an SQLab insole is 40 USD, which can really play havoc with determining the value of one shoe over another since, for example, I don't need an insole with Shimano's GR7 (140 USD) or Crankbrothers' Stamp Lace (130 USD) but both shoes have enough of an initial premium over the 90 USD Leatt that balances out. Especially as the Leatt doesn't give up anything in terms of construction quality.

Maybe Leatt's 3.0 model would improve both hike-a-bike comfort and pedaling support enough to ditch the inserts. And maybe that would preserve the magical interface of the 2.0, but my gut feeling is that Leatt sent the 2.0 shoes because they are better – and I can't imagine liking the 3.0 shoe as much.

Act 4 - A New Baseline

Usually with flat pedal shoes my first ride impressions align with the rest of the experience. That obviously has not been the case with the Leatt 2.0. After my first impressions with the WahWahs, my feet figured out where to go and the interface with the shoes turned out to be very good. They weren't as instantly intuitive as the Stamp combined with the WahWah mind you. but with the OneUps it was love at first turn of my cranks. At this point, I feel like if I never try another pedal/shoe combo I'll be okay with this combo.

I have just started trying the Stamp shoes and some Giant Shuttle flat pedal shoes as well and I may have to put the 2.0s in a box. Unless I'm careful they end up on my feet by default whenever I leave the house.

Leatt DBX 2 NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Looking so on trend riding my long, low, and slack bike in my pants. Speaking of which, I also owe a review of the MTB 4.0 pants. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

Leatt DBX 2 NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

The 2.0 shoes come in four colours. These grey ones are called 'Steel' and there's also, of course, a boring-black. The red 'Chili' and pewter 'Onyx' options look great. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

It took plenty of patience to get here, but the Leatt 2.0 shoes with their medium soft, geometric-patterned RideGrip rubber soles, casual looks, and tenacious textured laces, have become my go-to flat pedal shoes, particularly with my OneUp Composite pedals. While there are bound to be some combos that work better than others, I've only tried these with four different pedals.

Unlike some much-less-sticky shoes with lower price tags, the Leatt 2.0 is a legitimate year-round all-weather option and at 90 USD that makes it the best priced example I can come up with. Once I add in a set of high-end insoles that value is more comparable to higher-end footwear but even then the 2.0 has remained my go-to. Available in four colour options, this is a shoe worth checking out if you're looking for a new flat pedal shoe experience.

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Comments

agleck7
+2 Andrew Major Leatt_mtb
Agleck7  - Dec. 22, 2020, 4:39 a.m.

Great review. I tried these and really liked them. Ran them with the Chromag Daggas and didn’t feel like I gave up much grip compared to 5 10s. I’m the opposite though, between a couple pairs of Freerider Pros I went back to the regular Freeriders and got addicted to the very thin and super flexible sole. So much so that I couldn’t get down with these or go back to the Pros. But, I’d definitely recommend these for folks who like the feel of Freerider Pros.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Leatt_mtb
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 6:57 a.m.

Thanks!

Very interesting that you find the Freerider more flexible in the sole than the 2.0. Do you get a lot of feedback through the shoes on rugged hike-a-bikes? I don’t think I could do flexier than these - but who knows, I do love them. I also come at stiffness from the perspective of someone who’s predominantly clipped in until relatively recently.

All the Five Ten shoes I’ve used have felt stiffer than the 2.0. But it has been a few years. And I they would have been Pros or Sam Hills.

Reply

agleck7
+2 Andrew Major JVP
Agleck7  - Dec. 23, 2020, 3:53 a.m.

The regular freeriders are very flexible. That and the “stack” on the sole is really minimal so you’re right on top of the pedal. I almost think this is what I’m into as much or more than the flexibility. I think if the 2.0 insole was slightly less tall I’d have got on with them. 

I haven’t had any issues hike a biking with them on long days, but I’m pretty used to low support shoes and spend a fair amount of time on my feet so it could be a foot conditioning thing.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Agleck7
Andrew Major  - Dec. 23, 2020, 8:49 a.m.

It’s funny, I spend a lot of time on my feet too (Blundstones usually) and had no issues with normal hike-a-bikes it was just sustained rugged hiking that got me. I’ve never had it with another pair of shoes (these are the flexiest shoes I’ve worn for riding in) and it happened twice but insoles solved it (don’t wear them in my other flat pedal shoes). I’m just extrapolating off the experience.

Reply

agleck7
0
Agleck7  - Dec. 23, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

Interesting.  I guess I haven't tried sustained rugged hiking in the Freeriders, so can't speak to that.

Reply

JVP
+1 Agleck7
JVP  - Dec. 23, 2020, 9:24 a.m.

"Stack" on shoes should be a design feature. We spend good coin on thin pedals, buy the lowest bikes that we can for our terrain, and then shoes have 30mm midsoles, pushing us back up. 

It's why I liked the basic Freeriders over the OG Impacts. The Freerider Pros are OK, but not great in this regard. I always wonder if a company could keep thin mindsoles like the cheap Freeriders, but use a denser material that doesn't break down so fast. They get pretty floppy after a few months.

Reply

gregster77
+1 Andrew Major
gregster77  - Dec. 22, 2020, 8:15 p.m.

To be fair, with chromag daggas i don't think the shoes matter, you're basically almost the equivalent of being clipped in.  The grip is stupid good & addictive.   Also have 5 10 freeriders with those, and I've fallen over because i just couldn't get my foot loose on a weird angle with bike on a skinny...    Just got the one ups on new bike as well and that seems like a good balance for pedal grip and hopefully shoes don't get shredded as much as with daggas.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Leatt_mtb
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 8:53 p.m.

I tried the OneUps when they first came out (aluminum) and didn't love them. Maybe it was the shoes, maybe the shape (outboard bearing), maybe just that I had a very solid pedal shape preference but for whatever reason they didn't work for me. 

I've been on Wah Wah 2s for a while now as my go-to pedal with zero complaints but needed a set of pedals tout suite and there were OneUp Composites at the shop. I love them with a variety of shoes but I have to say they're tops with these Leatts.

Reply

GladePlayboy
+2 Andrew Major Leatt_mtb
Rob Gretchen  - Dec. 22, 2020, 7:23 a.m.

Hey Andrew... great review as always.   I've been rocking the DBX 3.0 flats/Dagga pedal combo since early summer.    This to me is a near perfect combination of shoe and grip.    I find the waffle pattern has its weakness with certain pedal designs but the overall style and function of the shoes are top notch.

Oh and I love the DBX 4.0 pants... they are amazing.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Rob Gretchen
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 11:10 a.m.

How have you found the tread wear v. FiveTen? Question below and more experiences always better.

Did you try the 2.0 as well and prefer the stiffness of the 3.0?

The pants are wicked good.

Reply

GladePlayboy
+2 Andrew Major Leatt_mtb
Rob Gretchen  - Dec. 22, 2020, 11:27 a.m.

Tread wear is better than FiveTen for sure.   I have only tried the 3.0s.  I prefer the stiffer sole and higher level of protection.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 8:54 p.m.

Interesting. I guess with the Dagga having a stiffer sole you're still not giving up any grip the 2.0 may deliver by having some flex.

Reply

agleck7
+1 Andrew Major
Agleck7  - Dec. 23, 2020, 3:55 a.m.

My theory is the waffle should last longer than 510 soles since you’re getting some grip from the pattern rather than fully depending on digging into the rubber. But that’s just theory. 510s wear so darn fast I’d love an alternative

Reply

Pnwpedal
+1 Andrew Major
Pnwpedal  - Dec. 22, 2020, 10:24 a.m.

I love the idea of the DBX3.0, but my feet are quite particular about shoe fit and I 100% need to try on shoes before buying. The fact that not a single shop in the Portland metro area seems to stock Leatt shoes means that I can't confidently order a pair. Oh well, I will continue to buy 5.10s because I know how they fit and the Impact Pro provides all the support and then some.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 11:12 a.m.

It’s an issue locally as well. Leatt really needs to ramp up their network of stockists with shoes (and helmets) being so particular.

Reply

Leatt_mtb
0
Leatt_mtb  - Jan. 12, 2021, 9:34 a.m.

Hey everyone, we have a distributor in Canada doing a fantastic job! They have stepped up their inventory and the dealers are also stepping it up for 2021. 

We have launched a new website for Leatt.com and we will have a dealer locator for Canada.  That part of the site is not up and running just yet but will be soon.

In the meantime, please check with your local shops as they know how to get our products or may be expecting them into stock already.

Reply

kyle-doherty
+1 Andrew Major
Kyle Doherty  - Dec. 22, 2020, 10:40 a.m.

I find that tread patterns that don't have big chunky lugs tend to get shredded fairly quickly. This is what drove me away from the Shimano GR7s, they just didn't hold up relative to big fiveten dots or similar patterns. This pattern looks to be in the dainty tread realm, can you share a picture of what they look like after X months or riding?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 11:14 a.m.

I can snap you a photo later. The OneUp pedals are mean af and I think the treads holding up remarkably well. That said, I ride a fair amount and haven’t had any issues with premature wear on the GR7 either. I mean, the Michelin soles are fairly beaten but still rideable and I have a lot of hours on those shoes.

As a comparison, I seem to destroy clip-in shoes much faster than other folks I know.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Leatt_mtb
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 9:36 p.m.

Will try and pop you an image tomorrow. If you see Rob's comment above he has also had good results with longevity with the Leatt soles - in his case better than Five Ten Stealth.

Reply

kyle-doherty
+2 Andrew Major Leatt_mtb
Kyle Doherty  - Dec. 23, 2020, 7:38 a.m.

Thanks, generally it would be interesting to make a gif or something of a shoes degradation over time where each frame is a month of riding

Reply

Ripmoslow
+1 Andrew Major
Ripmoslow  - Dec. 22, 2020, 2:40 p.m.

What’s the width like? Five tens are too wide for me and feel a bit clunky. Just picked up some one up comps and have started to look at shoes

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Ripmoslow
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 9:06 p.m.

43 v. 43 the Leatt shoes are a lower volume fit than the Five Tens I've used (narrower width, less height)

Reply

Ripmoslow
+2 Andrew Major Leatt_mtb
Ripmoslow  - Dec. 23, 2020, 7:26 a.m.

Thanks! Will be looking hard at these and the new specialized shoes with slipnot rubber

Reply

JVP
+1 Andrew Major
JVP  - Dec. 23, 2020, 9:31 a.m.

I also have narrow-ish feet. I slopped around in the older Five Ten toe boxes, but the Freerider Pros are narrower and fit me a lot better. But I realize recommending shoe fits is a dangerous game, we're all so different.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 23, 2020, 3:16 p.m.

Shoes an helmets!

When I reviewed the DBX 3.0 Enduro lid there were a fair few emails/messages from folks re. is there any way to figure out if there’s a stockist near me so I can try it on & if not have you worn helmet X and can you compare.

Helmets and shoes. Either you’re one of those folks whose lucky with fit, or it can be really frustrating if shops don’t stock options.

Reply

MuscogeeMasher
+1 Andrew Major
MuscogeeMasher  - Dec. 22, 2020, 6:31 p.m.

In all seriousness, any more info on those laces?  I just went to Leatt's website to see if I could order some.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 MuscogeeMasher
Andrew Major  - Dec. 22, 2020, 9:07 p.m.

No more info on the laces but they're awesome. I'm going to see if I can order a pair for another set of shoes with similar lace thickness.

Reply

MuscogeeMasher
+1 Andrew Major
MuscogeeMasher  - Dec. 23, 2020, 2:38 p.m.

If you find a way to order them please share.  Thanks for the reply!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 23, 2020, 3:17 p.m.

I will! It’ll be the new year when I hear back but I’ll post here.

Reply

Leatt_mtb
0
Leatt_mtb  - Jan. 12, 2021, 9:36 a.m.

Hello!  You can order them through your local dealer.  Just let them know  you want a pair and they will contact the Canadian distributor to get them coming.

Reply

dragonkrys
0
dragonkrys  - Dec. 26, 2020, 10:30 p.m.

Within the US you can order laces in five colors on the Leatt website. Check the bottom of the MTB shoes category. They were $8.99 plus shipping.

Reply

Leatt_mtb
0
Leatt_mtb  - Jan. 12, 2021, 9:38 a.m.

Hi Dragonkrys, Yes in the US we sell on the website but we have a Canadian distributor with an established dealer network in Canada.  The dealer locator for Canada should be up and running soon on Leatt.com. 

Also, if Canadians ask their local dealers for laces, they know to contact the distributor to get them coming.

Reply

fartymarty
+2 Andrew Major Vik Banerjee
fartymarty  - Dec. 23, 2020, 2:43 a.m.

Andrew, are you getting some 3.0s to try?  It would be interesting to see how waterproof they are / how quick they dry.  I'm currently on 5.10 Freerider EPS which are good at keeping water out but when the tongue  / liner gets wet it takes an age to dry them out.  

My holy grail is a comfy quick drying flat pedal shoe.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 23, 2020, 8:54 a.m.

I use a shoe drier at home normally but that’s one thing to note that even without the 2.0 dries fairly quick. 

I’d be keen to try the 3.0 for the stiffness (on Rob’s recommendation above) but don’t know that I care about weatherproof shoes. Can always wear my Showers Pass socks and the big thing for me is how much water the shoes hold. These drain fairly well where some weatherproof options I’ve tried hold a lot of water once it’s in.

But yes, would be keen to try the 3.0 - although very much prepared to prefer the less-stiff 2.0

Reply

Leatt_mtb
0
Leatt_mtb  - Jan. 12, 2021, 9:44 a.m.

Hey Andrew, we will also get you some 3.0's to try.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Dec. 26, 2020, 12:12 p.m.

I'm using the 5.10 EPS as my winter shoe. I use a boot dryer as needed. I can't find another pair or I'd buy a replacement set of EPS shoes. They work great.

Reply

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