specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00094.jpg
First Impressions/Podcast

Specialized's On & Off-Bike Rime Shoes

Words A.J. Barlas
Photos A.J. Barlas
Date Mar 18, 2021
Reading time

Specialized's third shoe to include their new SlipNot ST (3.0) rubber targets a different rider. With the Roost, Specialized created a casual flat pedal shoe for riders less keen on tech and more drawn to the skate shoe aesthetic. The 2FO DH Flat looks similar to the Roost but involves more technical materials and a stiffer sole for additional support.

The Rime is the latest shoe and has a different look. It's targeted at riders who enjoy the odd scramble with their bike; alpine adventures and the hike-a-bike experience are target examples. Slotting into the range as the flat pedal equivalent to the Rime clipless shoe, it's targeted at an audience who prefers a more technical aesthetic.

Highlights:

  • SlipNot ST (3.0) rubber sole
  • Cushioned EVA foam midsole with shank layer for stability
  • Fully welded shoe to remove seams
    • One at the rear to connect each side
  • Injection moulded toe box
  • Xpel™ hydrophobic mesh construction
  • More hike friendly last orientation
  • Body Geometry
  • Sizing (EU): 36–49 w/ half sizes from 38.5–46.5
  • Colours: Black and 'White Mountain'
  • Weight: 427g/shoe (Size 44.5 EU/11 US flat shoe tested)
  • MSRP: 130 USD

Interview w/ Specialized Footwear Product Manager, Stephen Quay

More about the new shoes and how Specialized developed the grippy third generation of their SlipNot ST rubber outsole.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00074.jpg

A first for Specialized – a flat pedal shoe developed to be great on the bike while providing the support, comfort and protection required off hiking around with the bike slung over the back.

Specialized Rime

Although Specialized hasn’t previously marketed a flat pedal shoe for riders regularly heading into the backcountry, I found the previous generation 2FO fit and felt similar. The sole of that shoe wasn’t as grippy as the new SlipNot ST compound, making the performance insufficient for some riders, despite being a very comfortable shoe to wear around.

That Gen. 2, 2FO was a shoe I wore to death but beyond the first couple of rides, never on my bike. For two and a half years, it slid onto my foot almost daily while hiking with my dogs all over Squamish and throughout the Sea To Sky corridor. There was enough grip when ascending steep pitches and I grew fond of the soft sole. It was a sad day when they could no longer be saved and I had to put them in the bin.

Unlike this shoe incarnation, that second-gen. 2FO wasn’t intended to be a good hiking shoe. The Rime is the most technical in terms of construction and while I’m not sure that’s necessary to be deemed an ‘outdoor’ shoe capable of all-day on-the-ground abuse in rough terrain, Specialized believes the audience drawn to shoes with such capabilities aren’t interested in something resembling a skate shoe.

As the more technical shoe with a hiking shoe aesthetic, the outer is constructed using fully welded mesh and TPU, with only a single seam at the rear to pull it all together. Torsional stiffness, which Specialized says is needed when hiking in rough terrain, is boosted by the shank from the 2FO DH.

The tread is aggressive, particularly at the toe and heel where bold lugs extend to the very edges, providing grip when clambering in rugged or loose terrain. My hike-a-bike memories include often walking across steep inclines and scree fields. While the snow-line is currently too low to access these environments, hiking in steep, loose terrain with fewer rocks and exposure than in the alpine, the shoes have gripped well and provided solid footing.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00097.jpg

Where the Body Geometry logos were hidden in the 2FO DH, they're clear as day on the footbed of the Rime.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00100.jpg

The metatarsal button (centre of bed) is the clearest piece of the tech. But like the 2FO DH, the footbeds are Specialized's red option, providing minimal arch support to not feel awkward for anyone. If more support is needed, the blue (intermediate) or green (high arch) can be purchased.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00096.jpg

Rime shoes also use the Xpel™ hydrophobic mesh found in other models. The mesh is said to provide the cushion of regular foam while improving breathability without the sponge-like qualities. It's also claimed to be lighter, a component of keeping the weight of the shoes down. These weigh 855g/pair (size 44.5 EU).

Specialized’s Body Geometry is more openly advertised in the Rime; another nod to the audience. The footbed is Specialized’s 'red' option, which is said to provide minimal arch support. For riders interested in the Rime but not so much the hiking or tech features like Body Geometry, the red footbed offers a similar feel to those found in casual skate-style shoes.

As found in the 2FO DH, there’s also an injection-moulded toe box, which offers ample protection. The shoe features Xpel™ hydrophobic mesh throughout, keeping weight down while improving breathability and drying times. They're quite comfortable and the rough connection with the inside of the toe box of the first gen. 2FO is gone.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-on-bike-170321-ajbarlas-00894.jpg

At the end of the day, the Rime is still a riding shoe and while they feel a little different than the 2FO DH and Roost, they're proving to be a great, grippy shoe.

Bike-About

Hiking around in a riding shoe isn’t something everyone is going to do, and fewer probably care about it. Strong off the bike and on, the shoe appears to cover a good mix of each, but it's a strong riding shoe first. It’s early days but on-bike performance has been excellent, similar to the 2FO DH Flat

The SlipNot ST rubber is really good and riders who prefer their feet to be firmly stuck to the pedal will be well-served. Once set, it usually takes either improper rider input or a hefty knock to be displaced with these new shoes.

The Rime midsole is a bit different from those found in the Roost and 2FO DH. With a mix of on and off-bike activity in mind, the shoe includes a mild lift at the heel, more-so than the other models. There's also a gradual rise to the outsole from the widest point (the ball of the foot) to the tip of the shoes, more than the 2FO DH flat. I haven’t found it as aggressive or a concern but it’s worth noting as others may prefer a flatter sole through these areas.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-on-bike-170321-ajbarlas-00902.jpg

On my last ride, my left foot was so stuck that lifting my foot brought the pedal with it. I was surprised by how much it took to disconnect from the pedal. SlipNot ST is really sticky.

The slightly taller feel of the sole has taken more time to get used to. As they’ve broken in, the Rime has become much more comfortable and the taller sensation has faded, but I’d still prefer the flatter sole of the 2FO DH. Aside from the sole shape, I have found the Rime more comfortable to wear thanks to the closer fit and tighter connection.

Compared to the FiveTen Impact Pro sole, the Rime, and the 2FO DH, have a narrower footprint, not taking full advantage of the pins and wide platform of pedals like the Deity TMac. The pins on the crank side of the pedals have nothing to do unless I slide my foot inboard, but that exposes the outer edge of the pedal, leaving those outboard pins catching the breeze. A smaller pedal platform would work well with the sole of all three new Specialized shoes.

Getting in and out of the Rime has also been easier thanks to the laces and loop system. Where the Roost and 2FO DH use flat laces and eyelets, the Rime uses loops and a round lace. The final two eyelets are round and reinforced with metal, which should help with durability. A firm pull of the laces provides relatively even tension throughout.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-hiking-120321-ajbarlas-00822.jpg

During a recent shoot for new component company, Loam Lab, I found myself clambering around in steep terrain and hanging off the edge of small cliffs. The sure-footed feel and grip provided came in handy. Loam Lab founder, Mark Haimes dives into a chute below my sketchy moss-covered rock perch.

Hike-About

With the shoes claiming strong hiking abilities, I’ve spent as much time wandering around the bush as riding. Specialized’s use of technical materials with these and the 2FO DH Flat makes break-in more important, and I generally spend a couple of days hiking in shoes before trying them on the bike. At first, the uppers feel stiffer than something from FiveTen but they've broken in nicely. These have alternated between walk, ride, hike for a few weeks now and with each outing, comfort has improved.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00088.jpg

The same lug pattern used on other Specialized flat pedal shoes is found through the area of the shoe that connects with the pedal. But on the Rime, the lugs are more aggressive.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00090.jpg

At the toe, large, aggressive lugs provide heaps of grip when digging into steep, loose terrain.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00091.jpg

The same is found at the heel of the sole too.

Aggressive lugs at the front and rear of the shoes are great when running up and down steep sections of trail and during a recent shoot, the surefooted feel was reassuring. On rocky outcrops the SlipNot ST rubber has provided excellent grip. Having a stiffer sole is great for protection when hiking, but these aren’t as stiff as hiking shoes. The sole of the Adidas Terrex, another shoe I spend heaps of time hiking in, is a bit stiffer and more clunky than the Rime. Once broken in, the Rime has a softer toe and heel, providing comfortable off the bike flex.

specialized-rime-flat-shoe-100221-ajbarlas-00072.jpg

The Rime flat pedal shoes are unique looking and feel different on the pedals, providing options for flat pedal riders who prefer maximum grip.

It’s Early Days But…

It doesn’t take long to know if a shoe provides the grip or feel you desire and after only a few rides in the Rime shoes, it’s clear the new SlipNot ST rubber likes to stick to the pedals. Although each of the new Specialized shoes I’ve used features the same, sticky rubber outsole, they feel quite different on the bike. The Rime offers a closer-to-foot fit, which I enjoy, and a taller feeling midsole, which I'm less pleased with.

Specialized has brought three shoes for three different riders to market. Unfortunately, riders who don’t want all the grip may need to look elsewhere, or at least customize their pedal pin setup. But for riders who appreciate sticky shoes, all three options are excellent. And if there’s a desire for some adventures, with or without the bike, the Rime seems like a solid option.

More on the Specialized Rime.

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

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB

Comments

Please log in to leave a comment.