After my second pair of a different brands shoes prematurely wore out, I decided that it was time to try something new; cue in Ride Concepts. I remember seeing the press release back in late 2018 about a new brand from Northern California coming out swinging, so I checked their site out and was immediately intrigued by their flat pedal “Wildcat” shoes. I liked the high-top look and tons of protection that the shoe looked to provide so I started looking into getting a pair. Instead of sticking with flats, I ended up going clipless on a whim, so I never got a chance to give the Wildcats a try. After the premature failure in the same exact spot of two different pairs of shoes by a different brand, I decided to circle back around to Ride Concepts to see what they had to offer in the clipless department.
After a few minutes of searching through Ride Concepts’ catalog, I decided that I’d try out the Transition clipless shoes. What initially struck me about the Transition’s and what led me to this choice was the taller high-top profile, which provides ankle support, a wide and sturdy looking toe box, a long Velcro strap, and grippy sole. The Transition’s looked very similar in style to the Wildcat’s that I was originally interested in years ago, so it was a pretty quick choice for me. The price of the shoe is reasonable, and the protection checked all the boxes, so I quickly added them to my cart and checked out.
Upon receiving and opening the box to my new shoes, I was immediately impressed by the quality! In fact, one of my favorite things about these shoes is that they’re made with durable materials that are quite easy to clean. Ride Concepts says that they’re constructed of some sort of synthetic material, along with extremely durable rubbers, which makes for a long-lasting shoe. These shoes continue to look fresh because all it takes is a quick spray down as you’re washing your bike and your shoes look good as new! An additional plus is that they don’t waterlog when lightly sprayed because most of the outer layer seems to be waterproof, so it prevents water from getting the shoe soggy.
As far as protection goes, the shoes look and feel EXTREMELY supportive, providing confidence that I can ride the toughest of trails without having to worry about my feet being injured. Ride Concepts has constructed the Transition’s out of D30 protective material, a solid molded toe cap, and thick Rubber Kinetics DST 8.0 rubber soles, making for bomb-proof protection. Speaking of the toe cap, this is obviously one of the most important places to focus on when it comes to trail/enduro/downhill shoes; I have come unclipped on some extremely rocky, technical trails resulting in some hard foot strikes, yet I don’t think that I ever felt a single painful strike to my feet with these on… they’re like mini tanks on each foot. Another plus to the toe box is that they are plenty roomy! My previous clipless shoes were a bit too narrow at the toe box, causing pain in my pinky toes on longer rides. These shoes are spacious all around while still fitting true to size.
The wide cleat box made the shoe way easier to clip in and out with and was immediately noticeable over the brand that I was previously using. I am currently running Shimano XTR PD-M9120 pedals which seem to pair perfectly with these shoes, and even without my pedals having pins, I still feel like there is good enough grip on the soles to not feel like I’m going to go down when I don’t get clipped back in quickly enough in rowdy sections.
The only negative things that I have to say about these shoes are minute and laughable. The first is that because the shoes are so tall to support your ankle, they’re a little finnicky to put on because the back of the shoe tends to fold in at the very top as you’re pressing your foot into the shoe (this is totally nitpicking and grasping for a reason to complain… no big deal at all if you aren’t lazy when putting your shoes on like I am). I think this issue is actually a plus to the quality of the shoe, as it is probably related to a safety feature of the shoe; one of the features is a “Nylon heel counter” that provides stability and support for your feet. I think that whatever is in the back of the shoe that provides protection is stiff, but there is a little bit of raw material above it that folds over a little bit as foot slides into the shoe. This minor inconvenience is easily able to be looked over because the shoe is doing its job in providing support to my feet.
Upon receiving and opening the box to my new shoes, I was immediately impressed by the quality! In fact, one of my favorite things about these shoes is that they’re made with extremely durable materials that are extremely easy to clean. Ride Concepts says that they’re constructed of some sort of synthetic material, along with extremely durable rubbers, which makes for a long-lasting shoe. These shoes continue to look fresh because all it takes is a quick spray down as you’re washing your bike and your shoes look good as new! An additional plus Is that they don’t waterlog when lightly sprayed because most of the outer layer seems to be waterproof, so it prevents water from getting the shoe soggy.
The second complaint I have is that because the inside wall of the shoes is so tall, it rubs your cranks. As far as crank/graphic wear, I couldn’t care less because it’s a bicycle part that is going to get trashed regardless. What I don’t like about it is that it rubs the material of the shoe so much that it breaks them down over time (see attached photos). I’ve worn these shoes for a couple of months now and they’re still in excellent condition, but I am beginning to see wear towards the top that may spread, but I don’t think it’ll cause the shoe to fail in any spectacular way. Really just something to look out for…
I know this has been a super long review, so I’ll just wrap it up here. I have tried a few different shoe brands over the last few years, but these Ride Concepts Transition shoes are hands down my favorite pair that I’ve owned so far. In fact, these shoes are so good that I got an identical second pair a couple of months after I purchased the first pair for when these shoes do finally wear out, which I suspect will be even further down the road than I initially thought. I highly recommend these shoes to anyone interested in getting a pair… I doubt that you will be disappointed in doing so. The crew at Ride Concepts put a lot of time, effort, and knowledge into designing these shoes and when you get your hands on a pair, it’ll be evident. Top tier shoes!
TLDR: The shoes are really good, buy them.
+ Allows me to travel with a single pair of shoes for biking, hiking, running and daily wear
+ Better support and grip than the previous 5.10 Access shoes
+ Good looking trail runner style shoe for on and off the bike
+ Lightweight, very comfortable, and breathable
+ Available in many different styles to meet your needs
+ Has a stretchy loop to keep the tongue from slipping and to hold your laces in place
- The increased stiffness made them slightly less comfortable for running/hiking than the previous Access shoe.
- Currently, no option for a leather version
- Not quite as casual looking as the previous Access shoe
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