Ride Concepts Long Haul Update (4 Models Ridden)

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae
Date Oct 27, 2020
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One of the best things about this platform we publish to is the freedom it provides, meaning I can add new information about several products that I hadn’t learned when I first wrote about each of them. In this case, I’ve found that I now appreciate the performance of one shoe model that I didn’t have success with at first, and another shoe has been a disappointment in terms of durability. These are significant updates, but this also means I can use this opportunity to update two more pairs of shoes with slightly less compelling information that is noteworthy nonetheless. Hooray for the internet… I guess?


These Livewires put up a valiant fight for almost two years of mistreatment. A groove in the sole has finally made them less secure on the pedals. Or it did until I got some new pedals.


The groove is most pronounced in the right shoe, which is what my back foot fits into. The evidence makes me wonder if the sole could be optimized to prevent this with more structure running the width of the sole or with a greater offset between lugs. Still the durability of these shoes was excellent.

Ride Concepts Livewire

I have spent time in four different Ride Concepts models since the brand launched in Sept. of 2018. Most of my ride time has taken place with the Livewire model, which I reviewed for the launch. I finally had to retire this pair a few months ago because I was wearing a groove into the sole of the left foot, which is my front foot, from using the same pedals and identical foot placement. Other than the groove in the rubber, they have held up really well. They offer solid protection from impacts and are very well made.

The Livewires offer a somewhat stiffer sole than the competition and I find this gives me more power, both pedalling and when I need to move the bike around or bunnyhop. In fact, now that I’m testing some new pedals, I may put them back into service if the pin damage doesn’t match up with the new pedals because otherwise they’re still good to go. The grip isn’t as sticky as some so if you are looking for that gummy FiveTen feel that requires you to plant your ass to reposition your feet, these may not be for you.


I may try and add some Freesole or Shoe Goo to extend the life of these, unless they turn out to have renewed purpose with my new posture and my new pedals.


The other pair I rode in and enjoyed in terms of grip and structure was the Hellion. It’s a more expensive shoe at $130 USD. It’s a little lighter and, like the Livewire, it incorporates D3O protection, but otherwise it’s very similar with the same features including RC’s DST 6.0 rubber on the sole, which is less tacky than the DST 4.0 that comes on the TNT and Powerline.


I have really enjoyed wearing the Hellions, but this has now happened twice.


I repaired the first failure with two-part JB Weld Epoxy, which is one of my new favourite ninja repair tools. Neither of the two parts ever seems to dry out, even when exposed to the air before being mixed, and the integrity of the repair is amazing. I've seen videos of mechanics repairing cracked engine blocks with the stuff, but it has remained flexible on the shoes.

Early on I was switching between the two models, particularly during the wet seasons. One day I came back from a ride and noticed the outsole was separating from the upper all the way back to the ball of my foot. I wasn’t aware of an impact that caused this and Ride Concepts told me they haven’t had issues with this on the Hellions.


I would discover these wounds on my shoe without ever noticing a significant impact.


The outer layer of material is also delaminating on my right shoe near where the sole detached.

I liked wearing the Hellions and I am becoming obsessed with fixing anything that can be repaired, so it was repair time. I got some two-part JB Weld Epoxy (we should ask for a sponsorship) and re-attached the sole to the Hellion and continued to be pleased with their performance. After a few months, the right sole also separated, although less dramatically than the left. I also noticed that the upper was beginning to suffer wounds and the material had started to feel somewhat brittle and easily torn. I will likely break out the epoxy again, because these still have life in them, but as you can imagine I’m not able to recommend these shoes for their durability.


This is my second set of Powerlines. Trevor Hansen is now riding in the first set and he likes them.


They powerlines seem to be very durable, like the Livewire, but the Livewire wins the value battle at 50 USD less than the 150 USD Powerlines.


The third Ride Concepts shoe I’ve ridden in a lot is the Powerline. It’s a premium model at 150 USD and it offers a weather resistant upper with welded seams, D3O ankle protection for the inside of your bony lower leg, and a stickier 4.0 rubber compound on the sole. Like the Livewire it has a robust feel on the pedal but it offers even better protection. The fit isn’t quite as good in my experience and the toebox is a little tall, meaning it’s hard to lace the shoes and get solid pressure over the top of the forefoot. I got used to this however and it hasn’t seemed to affect performance.

When I first got these shoes, I wasn’t happy with the grip. They didn’t stay put as well as the Livewire or Hellion in my experience, riding on pedals from OneUp and Crankbrothers - the stickier shoe didn’t stick as well. It sounded crazy to me too so I did back-to-back testing and even spent time wearing one of each model at the same time, and it was conclusive. Ride Concepts sent me another pair since my experience didn’t match the feedback they had received. Unfortunately my experience with the second pair was identical and I didn’t have more to say.

Recently I’ve been riding pedals from Canfield with pins that are about the same height but are larger in diameter than the OneUps I was riding in earlier. The platform shape of the Canfield is also more dramatically convex than the OneUps. These differences were enough that I decided to give the Powerlines another try. On these pedals, and a pair of WahWah 2s from Kona more recently, I’ve been quite pleased with the grip and I’ve happily laced them up for every ride, when I haven’t been testing other shoes. Is the difference the pedals? I’m not sure yet, but I have a theory.


The orange pedals on the outside are OneUp (right) and Crankbrothers on the left. In the middle sits the Canfield Crampon Ultimate, which I will be reviewing shortly. The pins are very slightly taller than the OneUps but significantly wider, while the Crankbrothers' pins are a little shorter than both.


It takes some serious monkeying around to find the perfect shoe and pedal combo but it's possible to get there with various combinations. You may want a stickier shoe with a pedal that provides less grip, and vice versa, because these combos can result in similar performance.

It feels like the Powerlines sink further into the pedal pins on the narrower pins on the OneUp pedals, to the point that the sole makes contact with the platform. This pressure reduces the weight on each pin, meaning I don’t feel as stuck. The Canfields, because of the larger surface area of the pins and the pedal shape, keep the sole of the Powerlines off the platform, increasing grip. Otherwise it makes no sense that stickier shoes would be less sticky.

Another possible factor in this grip conundrum is the coaching I received from Joel at Blueprint Athlete Development. My shape on the bike has changed significantly and I’m weighting my hands more in most situations, and pushing my heels down to be deliberate about extending my legs. Whether it’s the coaching or the new pedals, or a combination of both, I’ve been really happy with the grip of the Powerlines. Like the Livewires, they have also been very durable, with very little wear to show from a busy fall riding schedule.

For me the Powerline’s grip still isn’t quite as good as that of the Hellion or Livewires, but for the most part my feet stay put, which seems to be a good indicator.


I have decided these are too nice to ride in, except for perfect days. I'm on the fence about the grip for my purposes.


At first I didn't appreciate the grip of the waffle sole, despite the hexagons that are closer together in the forefoot. That may be changing with my new pedal and stance.

Ride Concepts Vice

The fourth pair I’ve ridden in is Ride Concepts newest model, the Vice. These have a more traditional waffle sole like Vans and they are less technical than the others. I rode in these earlier with OneUp pedals but I didn’t like the fact that the pins could move about in the waffle gaps and it seemed I was mostly standing on the platform rather than the pins. When the weather is good* I’ll try these with my new skills and my new pedals, because they felt really good in my workshop.

*I really like these shoes and I want to preserve the suede so I can wear them as street shoes. They look great and they are the most comfortable shoes I own.

It sounds like I may need to do another update after this. I’m keen to test a pair of TNTs now so that would be a good time to let you know if I’ve solved the grip mystery of the Powerlines and how I like riding in the Vice with new pedals and new skills.

You can buy Ride Concepts Shoes at your local shop, or online at Competitive or Backcountry.

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+3 Pete Roggeman Metacomet Michael Klein
Lynx .  - Oct. 27, 2020, 4:58 a.m.

Hey Cam, it's good when reviewers updates old reviews with new info like longevity of the products, really helps out the buying public, wish all  reviewers would do this if they have the chance.

Now, onto the shoes. Curious about the sizing of this brand, I normally ride Shimano clipless shoes, but due to a bad knee injury have been relegated to flats. I would normally ride a size 48/13 Shimano, have a fairly narrow foot/lack of arch, any idea/take on possible sizing?


+1 Cam McRae
Hollytron  - Oct. 27, 2020, 9 a.m.

Try the shimano gr7! I have a similar foot and I love em. They last 4 ever too.


Skyler  - Oct. 28, 2020, 6:34 p.m.

I also love the GR7s, but both my pairs have lasted about 6 months before I've torn holes through the rubber outsole. Tempted to keep buying them regardless, cause I like them so much.


Cam McRae  - Oct. 27, 2020, 9:09 a.m.

I would say sizing should be similar. I wear 45 in both. Shims is might be a little narrower though.


Michael Stormer  - Oct. 27, 2020, 12:19 p.m.

Cam, have you tried the shimano gr7? I have been using those and need to replace them. I'm curious to know how the grip compares to Ride Concepts.


Cam McRae  - Oct. 27, 2020, 9:18 p.m.

I haven't ridden in those I'm afraid Michael.


Jon Harris  - Oct. 27, 2020, 1:41 p.m.

My experience is that these run a little smaller by half a size over 5.10 shoes (I don't have a Shimano reference point). I ordered a 10.5 as I would normally but needed an 11 as my toes were stuff into the end.


+1 Pete Roggeman
mrbrett  - Oct. 27, 2020, 7:24 a.m.

If we're talking about JB Weld, they have a bunch of other interesting products. My wife inherited a Scott carbon XC kinda hardtail, but the derailleur hanger mounting tab was mostly broken off the driveside dropout. 

I cleaned up what was there and "made" a new der hanger interface with JB Weld Marine epoxy, which has fibers in it and to me sounded like carbon-fiber-fix-ina-tube. I wouldn't trust it with a structural repair that might cause dental work if it fails, but it's definitely good enough to mount a derailleur hanger without a worry.

JB Weld might put carbon fibers in epoxy and sell it to mountain bikers as a "carbon repair kit" and I think we would pay $80 for it.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Cam McRae  - Oct. 27, 2020, 9:10 a.m.

Nice one! I’ve just started experimenting with it but anything that can bring expensive products back from the dead is in my wheelhouse!


+1 Pete Roggeman
[user profile deleted]  - Oct. 27, 2020, 9:22 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

+1 Cam McRae
tanadog  - Oct. 27, 2020, 12:59 p.m.

I just used JB Weld to glue back in a press fit bottom bracket that had become loose in the frame of a carbon road bike. Worked a treat. The engineering shop I went to measured it up and the carbon frame layup had compressed over time (8 years). The repair seems bomber! Great to know JB weld will work on flexible items too


+1 Cam McRae
happycamper2020  - Oct. 27, 2020, 11:04 a.m.

I had a pair of hellions in the beginning of the year and the cheap liner that covers the shoe cracked all the way accross the shoe where the shoe bends when walking in two months. Pretty disappointing for a 200 plus dollar shoe . This shoe got returned to M.E.C. Immmediatly. I hope other distributors would honor such sales.I had this similar issue with free rider pro's.  I have found with shoes u are always going to hit a rock, get caught on a root etc and now look for shoes that are stitched ,not glued and made of durable material. I have noticed in the clipless world most shoes seem to be made more durable. I am now running five ten kestrel  for 10 months and they have put up with much abuse are stitched and durable.Just my 2 cents.


+1 Cam McRae
AverageAdventurer  - Oct. 27, 2020, 12:57 p.m.

JB weld has been my not so secret weapon for ages! Most recently a totally cracked chainstay, some JB weld steelstik and a finishing wrap of fiberfix has made a super bomber winter commuter.


+1 Cam McRae
Jon Harris  - Oct. 27, 2020, 1:53 p.m.

I had a similar experience and one that was down to being a dumb customer. I ordered Wildcats as I liked the concept of the velcro strap to get a nice snug fit with the laces. I also thought the sole had the tackiest rubber compound. Coming off of a pair of 5.10 the Wildcats didn't cut it grip wise. And the fit was smaller than I was user to and 10.5 was too small.

I then ordered the Powerline and these are definitely comparable to the 5.10 Freeriders with respect to grip, but with a slightly stiffer sole and better foot protection in the toe box, ankle etc. 

The Powerline is a good mid point between the 5.10 Freeriders and Impact. I find the Impact too clunky but appreciate the extra protection of that shoe on bigger rougher descents. I've smashed my toes too many times in the Freeriders to ride those now.


+1 Cam McRae
kmag76  - Oct. 27, 2020, 9:11 p.m.

I had a pair of Hellions as well, I didn't mind them at the time. The grip seemed to be alright (coming off of free rider pro) I ended up splitting the side of the shoe from the sole after a few weeks. Ride concepts replaced them with some Powerlines. And like yourself I found the grip to be sub par, paired with Oneup pedals. I moved back to the free rider pros and some north wave clan's (these weren't to bad either)

Im now using 5.10 Trailcross LT and some Suplest off road pro flat. They are both great shoes! the supplest have the best soles I have come across yet! a great combo of durability and grip. (they are being paired with some Crank Brother stamp7 Large) I retired the one up pedals because i think they destroy shoe soles prematurely with little benefit. 

Like yourself it seems I am always on the hunt to try new Shoe/Pedal combinations

BTW I am digging your canfield pedals!


truckymctruckerton  - Oct. 30, 2020, 12:36 p.m.

Great follow up!

I've been using 510 impacts for the last.... wow.. way too many years and was wondering if any of the shoes you've tested have a similar feel. You know, that comfy, wear all day nursing shoe/workboot combination. Just curious as most I've tried feel more like the stiff soled freeriders which I really dislike. All else fails ill try to find another set of impact highs when this pair dies...



Cam McRae  - Nov. 2, 2020, 11:33 p.m.

I'd say the Vice shoes have the same feel underfoot, but not the same grip. The Impacts are in a class of their own for riders who want ultimate grip. I used to be in that camp but I jumped ship. I'm more of a (slightly) stiffer sole, moderately less grip guy now. It's weird but there it is.


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