We test the Unparalleled Dust Up flat pedal shoes.
Words: Will Shaw
Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Unparalleled are a Californian footwear company founded in 2017 by Sang Lee, a former Five Ten employee prior to their Adidas takeover. Visiting their website reveals that the only products they do are mountain biking and climbing shoes, a good indication they’re sticking to what they do best.
The Dust Up shoes I was sent are an All-Mountain shoe, and as such aim to be a jack of all trades when it comes to grip, comfort, and protection. At first glance they might remind you of the Teva shoes that were on the market during their brief flirtation with mountain biking. This is because Unparalleled bought Teva’s tooling when they established themselves. Having owned and loved a set of Teva shoes back in the day, I had high expectations for the Dust Ups.
The rubber used in the Dust Ups is actually softer than Five Ten’s Stealth rubber, which is immediately noticeable out on the trail. The rubber at the pedal interface is softer for obvious reasons, while a harder rubber is used at the toe and heel areas to both provide protection and allow you to hike a bike easier.
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The fit of the shoe is great from the outset, with more of a cushioned feel in the uppers than many flat pedal shoes out there. This is something I really appreciated, alongside the strap over lace system, which worked just fine.
Out on the trail, the first thing I noticed about the Dust Ups was the ridiculous levels of grip. I was using the shoes with a set of TAG Metals T3 Pedals. These pedals come with 3mm pins and I had zero issues with slippage. If you’re using pedals with longer pins getting your foot off might require more thinking than usual to begin with.
The grip offered by the Dust Ups isn’t impacted by wet weather, and I found the connection between shoe and pedal allowed me to maintain my pedalling form despite being a predominantly clipless rider. The grip also gave me some respite when I was jumping or hopping with sloppy technique. My feet only flew off the pedals once, on a jump I’m used to pulling the bike through with clipless pedals. Aside from this occasion caused by user error, the only time my feet came off the pedals were intentional.
The comfort of the Dust Ups does introduce a touch more flex in the uppers than a stiffer shoe, for example Shimano’s GR9s. I didn’t feel that this slight increase in flex effected the pedalling efficiency of the Dust Ups greatly. Even if there was a minor loss in efficiency between the Dust Ups and flat pedal shoe with a stiffer upper, it’s one I’d take for the comfort offered by the Dust Ups. One situation where I wouldn’t opt for the Dust Ups is downhill use, where I’d choose a shoe with a stiffer upper and more protection.
Despite the ultra-soft rubber used at the pedal interface, the Dust Ups don’t show any signs of wear after around 10 multi hour rides. I’ve also taken the Dust Ups to the dirt jumps for both digging and riding, and they’re holding up just fine.
The Dust Ups retail for $239.95 in Australia, which puts them at the more premium end of the market in line with higher end offerings from Ride Concepts, Five Ten, and Shimano. In my opinion, the Dust Ups are worthy of their place in this price bracket. If comfort and performance for anything but pure downhill riding are what you’re after, the Dust Ups are worth a look.
- Very comfortable
- Very grippy
- Simple strap over laces system does the job
- Not enough protection for pure downhill use
From: Link Sports - www.linksports.com.au