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My preference has evolved to be based around a sticky enough sole, but with more importance being on having a good amount of sole flexibility and having a really direct pedal feel (ie, not much 'stack' between the pedal and my foot) of course with a nicely concave pedal. If I have all those things, the rubber doesn't need to be super sticky because those lock me in. That said, the only shoe I've tried that is flexible/thin enough is the OG freerider. I used to LOVE the Freerider Pro, but now find them too tall and stiff (ironically after I started wearing an old pair of Freeriders I had for dirt jumping more on my trail bike in order to preserve the sole on my FR Pros because they wear out so fast). I totally do the same technique of torqueing the pedals as AJ described and the flexibility and thin-ness of the sole with a concave pedal really allow that more comfortably without having to rely just on pins and rubber. My ideal shoe would be a waffle sole like the Leatts with decently sticky rubber, but with the flexibility and thinness of the Freeriders. That would last longer and allow a little bit more room for error on re-positioning and give me the stability I need. Or if Vans made a slightly more robust shoe for mtb (i've heard amazing things about the Gravel, but never got a chance to ride them).
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