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High Protection Without Extreme Grip

Ride Concepts TNT 2.0 Shoe Review

Words A.J. Barlas
Photos A.J. Barlas
Date Jul 20, 2021
Reading time

Spring 2021 was the most frantic for shoe releases in recent memory. Brands were dropping new kicks so often that when Ride Concepts announced their new TNT flat pedal shoe, we decided to hold off our article and provide a review after things settled down.

A few months later everything in the shoe release world has eased and I’ve had a chance to ride, hike, dig and casually wear the new Ride Concepts TNT shoe. I’ll address the elephant in the room immediately; if you’re a grip snob when it comes to flat pedal footwear, sticking to Specialized 2FO DH or FiveTen Stealth Rubber is a wiser strategy. If you are grip agnostic, or maybe pan-gripual, these are great shoes with heaps of nice features.

Highlights:

  • Rubber Kinetics | DST 4.0 MAX GRIP Rubber Outsole
  • Power strap for additional retention (or lace management system as some refer to it)
  • Microfiber synthetic upper
  • Fully gusseted tongue
  • Moulded rubber toe cap and heel protection
  • Men's Sizing (US): 7–13 with half sizes every step between
  • Weight: 1,068g (size 11 US / 44.5 EU)
    • FiveTen Impact Pro 1,210g (size 10.5 US / 44 EU)
    • Specialized 2FO DH: 896g (size 11 US / 44.5 EU)
  • Price: 160 USD / 240 CAD
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The sole of the updated TNT looks similar and bares the same name for the rubber, but a bit has changed to provide more pedal grip.

What's New

Probably the most important update to the TNT is found in the outsole. The DST 4.0 Max Grip rubber compound, built in partnership with Rubber Kinetics, has been updated to provide more traction. Ride Concepts has also changed the larger 14mm hexagons in the tread pattern to 12mm, aiming for the smaller polygons to engage better with pedal pins. At the toe and heel of the shoe there's a deeper recess to improve hiking traction.

The TNT shoe's upper has been updated to a microfiber synthetic material is supposed to improve abrasion and water resistance. Ride Concepts says it's also more comfortable and the addition of an anti-bacterial mesh lining is an effort to keep the stench down. Ride Concepts has developed the TNT shoe with aggressive downhill and freeriders in mind, but anyone looking for the best protection and a more robust shoe should also consider the TNT. Its construction is sturdy, with a heel and toe cap increasing protection on what's already a well-protected shoe. They're stiffer and a tad bulkier than some others in this category but for reference, the bulk is similar to the latest Impact series of shoes from FiveTen.

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The updated sole features smaller, 12mm hexagons, down from the 14mm used on the previous TNT model. Ride Concepts claims the smaller hexagon provides improved pedal pin engagement. There's also a series of smaller lugs and deeper recesses in the toe and heel to provide more traction off the bike.

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The velcro strap measures 40mm and securely locks the laces, and foot in place.

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The strap isn't removable but there is an included elastic lace loop built in as well.

A velcro strap across the upper portion works well to keep laces out of the way and maintain pressure without going as far as the full lace closure some riders appreciate. Ride Concepts kept the elastic lace loop on the tongue as well, which seems redundant with the large 40mm wide strap.

The tongue is gusseted all the way around to prevent debris from getting into the shoe. While I usually find this happens around the ankle opening, I have to admit there hasn’t been a problem with debris getting into the TNT. That could be thanks to the gusseted tongue but I also find the shoe opening to fit close to the ankle and the higher medial side helps too. The downside is the TNT isn't very breathable and it's a warm shoe to wear.

Beneath the footbed is a soft, black foam that Ride Concepts told me is part of the "footbed from the board last construction.” This foam seems to contribute to the comfort of the shoe, especially when combined with the D3O integrated into the removable footbeds.

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The shoes are lighter than the equivalent FiveTen Impact but heavier than the closest thing from Specialized, the 2FO DH flat.

In Practice

Ride Concepts knows how to develop a shoe. The TNT 2.0 is well thought out and manufactured, offering heaps of features in a robust package. Pedal feel is decent and though I've not spent much time in their other shoes, it feels like it has improved. They tend to feel clunky at first, similar to the FiveTen Impact series, but they're comfortable on and off the bike once they are broken in. I spent a couple of afternoons wearing the shoes on short hikes before attempting to ride in them – a common process I follow – but their sturdy construction still took a few rides before they settled.

After a couple of rides, the shoes were comfortable and provided adequate pedal feel. The outer of the shoe has remained reasonably stiff and the addition of the strap amplifies this impression. There's heaps of material/padding throughout the uppers but it's not overly thick and spongy. The uppers provide a close fit and after a few weeks of not using the shoes, I found them tight. After 30 minutes back in them, comfort returned. I have found the width perfect for my average width forefoot.

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The medial protection goes a step beyond other shoes and includes a section of D30 to improve impact protection.

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The shoes use plenty of padding, providing a comfortable fit but they can be a touch on the warm side. The medial protection is nice as an ex-mid-top shoe wearer and it's higher than others I've worn recently, offering improved protection.

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The toe-cap is tough but without being overly bulky and more pronounced than others, including the Impact Pro and 2FO DH.

The firm outer provides stability and any input is transferred efficiently to the pedal. Support across the sole is good and the shoe walks the tightrope between power transfer and feel quite well, giving good input to the rider but not allowing the foot to cave excessively around the pedal. Power transfer benefits from this support but because the rubber is less grippy than FiveTen's Stealth or Specialized's SlipNot ST, this may be unappealing to some riders. On trails I knew well, I could ride without much concern about losing my footing. The rubber was grippy enough to carry on almost entirely as usual but when things got rougher or on new trails, the lower grip became problematic.

Despite predominantly riding in flats, I prefer to ride as light on the pedals as possible and I often rely on the sticky rubber to keep me connected. The rubber sole of the TNT 2.0 required more pressure to achieve this level of grip in rough terrain and when riding new trails. Any sudden unweighting to smooth rough sections or for quick direction changes often resulted in my foot disconnecting and moving.

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The Rubber Kinetics DST 4.0 Max Grip sole offers a good amount of grip and could be perfect for riders that find the Stealth Rubber of FiveTen's Impact and Freerider series too restrictive.

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I prefer to replace stock footbeds with something that's better suited to my high arch but for a stock option, the Ride Concepts is above and beyond.

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There are two sections of D30 in the bottom of the footbed. They're strategically placed at the heel and under the ball of the foot to minimize the energy transferred while riding, or jumping off in a crash.

In situations where I was able to plan, I could lock in and drive through the bike with extra force, more heavily loading my feet than usual to keep them firmly attached to the pedals. Riding like this required more concentration and focus but also more energy. As soon as my riding became more instinctual, the reduced pressure would cause me to lose foot position.

Ride Concepts' DST 4.0 rubber is soft enough to let the pins penetrate adequately but the rebound characteristics feel as though they're faster than the competition. The rubber doesn't have the 'dead' feeling that others do and it results in the foot being disconnected from the pins more easily than with sticky, slower rebound options. I'm nit-picking here because the DST 4.0 rubber is very close to the feel of Stealth Rubber but it's still not quite there. It's not close to as sticky as the latest version of SlipNot rubber, which is also proving to be quite durable.

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The TNT is a robust shoe that offers a high level of protection and almost the same level of grip as the grippiest shoes available.

Conclusions

With so many options for ride-specific shoes now available, there's never been a better time to ride flat pedals. Less grippy, more grippy, and everything in between, the options to suit individual preferences are great. Ride Concepts have three excellent rubber options available and as their grippiest, the updated DST 4.0 is really good. But if you're a grip snob, the TNT 2.0 isn't likely your cuppa.

For riders after a little less-than-Stealth grip but a similar level of protection, these fit the bill perfectly. Pedal feel is somewhere between the Impact Pro and Freerider Pro, but bulkier than the latest models from Specialized. The shoe construction is excellent and with the rubber toe cap, there's plenty of protection. The velcro straps doubles as a nice lace management system and the secure fit is great.

Ride Concepts' TNT 2.0 is comfortable, offers heaps of protection and is close to the level of hold available with other grippy flat pedal kicks. They're a great high protection option for riders in need of grip that is just below the highest traction currently available.

More info on the Ride Concepts TNT 2.0.

AJ_Barlas
AJ Barlas

Age: 39
Height: 191cm/6’3"
Weight: 73kg/160lbs
Ape Index: 1.037
Inseam: 32”
Trail on Repeat: Changes as often as my mood.
Current Regular: Every test product spends time on Entrail

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Comments

lev
0
Lev  - July 20, 2021, 2:38 a.m.

I'm running powerlines with DST 4.0 and they are lasting well on my Daggas. I think 5-10's stealth soles would have shredded to bits by now.  RC have a found a good balance for me.

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - July 20, 2021, 6:03 a.m.

How are they when they get wet?  I love 5-10s but boy are they sponges.

Reply

slyfink
0
slyfink  - July 20, 2021, 7:22 a.m.

I bought my son the Livewires earlier this year. I've found they soak up a fair bit of water, and take a long time to dry, compared to my Shimano AM7, and even his Salomon running shoes (Kids Speedcross). This aspect of the shoe really surprised me to be honest, I thought we'd moved on from those days.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - July 20, 2021, 10:43 a.m.

Interesting to hear. I'm not surprised, given the amount of padding and that it's a typical foam (sponge) padding. I haven't ridden them in the wet yet, though, and I don't think I will. Thanks for the helpful info.

Reply

lev
0
Lev  - July 21, 2021, 4:18 p.m.

So I've not found that the powerlines don't get too wet, in the wet.  They are definitely slimmer than the TNTs.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - July 20, 2021, 10:14 a.m.

They come and go, but 5.10 have had winter shoes in their line up that are fairly waterproof. I'm on my 2nd set and like them a lot. My feet stay dry in all, but rain-pocalytic conditions. Next time I see some for sale I'll buy a couple pairs.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - July 20, 2021, 10:42 a.m.

Hey Vik. What shoes in 510's lineup are you referencing? I have the Freerider EPS (high) and have a similar experience with wet rides, but damn, once they're wet they take forever to dry, even on my boot drier.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - July 20, 2021, 1:13 p.m.

I have the low top Freerider EPS right now and had a different version of the Freerider that was weatherproof before this pair....I don't recall what the model name was.  My feet stay dry in the EPS shoes most of the winter. Stepping into a deep puddle or savage rain are exceptions, but those are rare for me. I have had no issues drying mine on a boot dryer. I pull out the insole and the dryer does its job long before I need them again.

I might get another winter out of these EPS 5.10's, but I'm hoping they offer them or another similar product soon so I can stock up.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Vik Banerjee
AJ Barlas  - July 20, 2021, 1:59 p.m.

Yeah right. I mean, they dry fine on the boot drier but compared to others, takes ages for me. If I don't need them for a week it's fine but if I want to ride both consecutive days, I'm S.O.L.

Definitely keen on their updated Goretex shoe that they've teased for a while now. Last I heard they were hoping to release it this autumn but who knows with the supply chain issues now.

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - July 20, 2021, 3:55 p.m.

That's odd mine will dry overnight if I put them on the boot dryer when I get in from a ride. I'd have no use for shoes that took a week to dry.

Reply

paul-lindsay
+1 Vik Banerjee
Paul Lindsay  - July 20, 2021, 4:40 p.m.

I was put off the high top EPS shoes because the ankle didn't seem to have the same outer as the foot, it just looked like a sponge. I think I was a convert to lace covers by that point anyway after buying a set of Freerider EPS shoes.

The Gore Tex shoes looked like the answer, but I bought a pair of Trailcross high tops, which I think are pretty close to the Gore shoes, and I don't like them. The sizing is odd and the sole feels more like a sports shoe sole than a riding shoe sole. Presumably that's the Adidas influence.

Before I used the Trailcross shoes I'd probably have bought the GTX shoes on the belief they'd be better than anything else on the market, but the Trailcross shoes are bad enough that I'm not risking them!

Reply

Vikb
+1 Paul Lindsay
Vik Banerjee  - July 22, 2021, 2:46 p.m.

The sole is definitely soft and flexible on that new Adidas/5.10 shoe. Not something I want to smash downhill on for long. I've warmed up to them for less demanding riding though.

OLDF150
0
Kerry Williams  - July 20, 2021, 7:55 a.m.

I'm currently using the Shimano GR9's.  They fit really well, and have adequate grip for my first flat pedal shoe in about 8 years.  I wonder, how do my Shimanos compare to an RC or a Stealth?  These RC's look to be a great next shoe for me.

Reply

Hollytron
0
Hollytron  - July 20, 2021, 9:31 a.m.

I really like the construction on shimano shoes but I kill the sole pretty quick with kona wah wahs. They are less grippy that 5.10 so perhaps similar to these shoes.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - July 20, 2021, 10:45 a.m.

Same as Hollytron for me, Kerry. The Shimano construction is great, probably the best I've had, but the grip isn't as good as Five Ten, or these TNT shoes.

Reply

OLDF150
0
Kerry Williams  - July 20, 2021, 11:46 a.m.

Nice.  Thanks for the responses.  I'm always on the lookout for a good shoe.

Reply

nzstormer
+1 AJ Barlas
Michael Stormer  - July 20, 2021, 11:22 a.m.

I bought these about a month ago after my GR9's finally gave up. These aren't what I wanted, but they were the only shoes I could find in my size. 

These have more grip, and a bit more bulk. The extra bulk is noticeable on long or technical climbs, but it's also a really solid feeling on descents - a lot more so than the GR9's. 

I agree with everything in this review. They were a bit stiff initially, and it took a few rides to find the sweet spot for the laces and strap, but once I had that figured out, I'm quite enjoying them.

Reply

Keoke
+1 AJ Barlas
Jeff Bordignon  - July 20, 2021, 8:53 a.m.

I appreciate that they make half sizes after size 12. Most brands dont.

Reply

velocipedestrian
+1 AJ Barlas
Velocipedestrian  - July 20, 2021, 3:46 p.m.

Thanks for leading with the elephant AJ. I'm a long time clipper who wants all the grip.

Some of the features on these look good (strap, D30 ankle) but not sticky enough for me.

Reply

DanLees1978
+1 Kerry Williams
Dan Lees  - July 21, 2021, 3:35 a.m.

I have the Ride Concepts Hellion Elite (the ones with the same stickier rubber).

First flat experience for me but I don't have any complaints about the grip on DMR Vaults or HT PA03A pedals.  

You have to actually lift them off the pedal to reposition on Vaults. Bit less grip on the HTs but still sufficient for me.

Reply

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