Take a look at the latest options for trail shoes.
Words and photos: Ben Morrison
Ride Concepts Transition
The new kid on the block. The US brand came out swinging with their first entry into the world of clip in shoes, signing up the likes of the Athertons and their race team.
Ride Concepts have a deep relationship with the free ride scene and so added protection to their shoe for when the rubber side down is the shoe before the tyre. This includes an inner sole made out of D3O high impact foam like inside your favourite kneepads. This has also been added into the ankle collar to protect from any nasty ankle crank strikes.
Sizing on the Transition is very generous so if you have a narrow foot you might want to look at going down a size or try them on in store with the socks you will likely ride in most.
There are several colour options too with the Transition not just the standard black on black, which does look good and is easy to clean but lighter colour options like this light grey is going to be a winner in the hot Aussie summer. They also scrub up very easily with a little Maxima bike wash.
· Clipless MTB shoe
· Rubber kinetics DST 8.0 Mid Grip rubber outsole
· D3O High Impact Zone insole
· D3O Asymmetrical medial collar protection
· Custom-moulded rubber toe and heel protection
· Medial high-rise EVA midsole for support and shock absorption
· Fully gusseted tongue
· Compatible with 2-bolt SPD-style cleats
Specialized 2FO 2.0
Specialized have taken their ever popular 2FO clip shoe back to the drawing board and made a few changes based on long term feedback under their sponsored riders and the public like us. The claim to dry in under 4 hours for a shoe that doesn't look like a soccer boot is very tempting!
Other notable updates include a bit more room to be able to nail your cleat placement, 4mm to be precise. Being able to move the cleat back a few extra mm could give you the power and comfort you have been chasing. Specialized have also gone with a bit more of a relaxed fit over the original version for the 2FO which make for a bit plusher feeling shoe that will likely also fit a wider range of foot widths and heights.
The 2FO 2.0 is a top level shoe and one you can spend all day in no problems. A stand out feature over lace up shoes is the lace itself (there is no ankle strap on the 2FO 2.0) that is a little course allowing the lace to grip on its self and has little give so does not need much adjustment mid ride like some other lace up shoes do.
· Body Geometry design and construction
· Captured foam upper protects the foot
· XPEL air mesh on tongue and upper
· A long cleat pocket for fast engagement
· Lollipop™ inner plate for pedalling stiffness and off bike comfort
· Compatible with 2-bolt SPD-style cleats
· Extended length cleat slot (4mm) for rearward cleat set up option.
· Relaxed Fit for a balance of pedal feel and off-bike comfort.
The Rally is Bontrager’s first real step into this style of shoe, with the Rhythm being the closest shoe they had in their range to the new Rally and it was not really suited to walking or DH runs. The Rally gis used by their gravity riders and enduro team, there is even a Trek Factory racing model (tested) showing Trek's deep root in racing.
Bontrager have done a great job with the Rally, it has that all day plush feel – perfect for long days racing Enduro. Sizing is between both the Transition and 2FO 2.0 being that happy medium on shoe width. There is an excellent long landing pad for your cleat which really helps for engagement. Something to note is that the cleat on the Rally actually sits below the shoes sole line so you won’t be standing on it when walking around, this may require the use of cleat shims depending on the pedals you use but adjustment is never a bad option with fine tuning contact point fit.
Trek Australia offer the Rally in all colours, and perhaps the biggest feature with the Rally is the Bontrager Unconditional guarantee which is basically a 30 day test period, don’t like them bring them back - that simple.
• Durable, synthetic leather upper
• Abrasion-resistant coating on the heel and toe caps
• Reinforced, durable toe box
• Shock-absorbing EVA midsole
• Hook-and-loop closure
• Compatible with 2-bolt SPD-style cleats
• Unconditional guarantee