Hot on the heels of the 2FO DH released last week is an all-new mountain biking shoe; the Specialized RIME Flat. With big mountain hike-a-bike adventures in mind, Specialized designed the RIME with emphasis on all day comfort both on and off the bike. Importantly, with the holy-grail of sticky rubber in the form of 3rd Gen SlipNot, they haven’t sacrificed grip on the pedal either. Here are thoughts from myself and Zach.
Feature Image Credit: Finlay Anderson
Review: Specialized RIME Flats
The new Specialized RIME Flats do have a certain leisurely look about them in comparison to the more business-like 2FO Roost and 2FO DH shoes. But, don’t let that fool you. These flat pedal mountain bike shoes are real performers both on and off the trail.
The RIME shoe gets the same tacky 3rd generation SlipNot rubber we see on Specialized’s flats solely devoted to trail riding. I went on about the grip at length in my review of the 2FO DH, so I’ll not labor the point too much here. Make no mistake, the low-rebound properties of this rubber makes for a very good shoe-pedal connection. So, you need not worry about your feet bouncing off the pedals when you hit your next Munro descent.
The Specialized RIME Flat gets a cushioned EVA foam mid-sole for comfort and impact absorption. That takes the edge off big hits, protecting your ankle joints when you execute your next ill-advised huck-to-flat. A shank layer adds a bit of stiffness around the mid-sole too, also aiding stability.
We found the RIME shoe to be more flexible than the 2FO DH, however. This is partly what makes it more suited to hike-a-bike adventures and days sessioning features at your local woods. A flexible forefoot tread section is designed to articulate and adapt to steep terrain. As you can see in the above image, it does just that without having to force it.
I’ve not done a heap of hike-a-bike in these shoes. But, I’ve done enough to know they are more suited to the pursuit than all other flat pedal mountain bike shoes I’ve tested in… forever. So, if you’re a Munro-bagging enthusiast like Grizzly Munro, this could be the perfect riding shoe for you.
What about the uppers?
The RIME Flats are fully lined with EXPEL mesh, a lightweight water-repellent fabric. That ensures the shoe doesn’t quadruple in weight when you hit big puddles, and it means they dry at a reasonable rate too.
These MTB shoes have a lace closure, though they aren’t your average laces. These are rounded which means when you pull them through to tighten the shoe, they tighten equally up the full length of the tongue. Basically, it means putting them on is a little bit faster and easier than putting on other lace-up shoes like the 2FO DH which has flat laces. There’s also a loop at the heel to help you slip them on your feet.
In keeping with their adventurous hike-a-bike intentions, the Specialized RIME Flats gets more toe protection than the 2FO DH and Roost shoes. This is a stiff injection-molded polymer that will help keep your toes safe when ploughing down rock gardens or hiking up scree.
Overall, the Specialized RIME Flats are a super comfortable pair of mountain bike shoes. They are deep enough that my heels feel secure, and the added toe protection gives me the confidence to ride rowdy sections of the trail. And, they grip pedal pins like nobody’s business. They’ve performed well in every situation I’ve put them in. These have to be my favorite flat pedal shoe of the three offerings from Specialized.
I think these could be a great option for mountain bike coaches who spend a lot of time off the bike, or people who like to session features, pushing back up the trail for another go.
I think of all the new flat pedal shoes from Specialized, the opportunity to try out the RIME excited me the most. Like Jessie-May discovered, the RIME is an excellent trail shoe – but it’s the versatility of the shoe that makes it stand out for me. The RIME could be a great trail shoe, a comfortable bikepacking shoe, or even the perfect travel shoe.
Built with a slimmer profile than most MTB flat shoes, the RIME doesn’t feel like you have clunky riding footwear on your feet when you’re walking around off the bike. Yet, the outsole feels very planted both on the trail and on the pedal. For me, the RIME strikes a great balance between efficient pedaling without feeling too stiff both on and off the bike.
The included Body Geometry insole is pretty basic, but it does provide a bit of arch and metatarsal support. More of the comfort seems to come from the EVA midsole.
At 358g for a size 41, the RIME is almost the same weight as the Specialized Recon 2.0, meaning it’s actually fairly light for a flat pedal shoe.
Overall, I’ve been just as impressed as Jessie-May with the RIME, but probably for slightly different reasons. I don’t ride flats on any of my trail or enduro bikes, but for me, the RIME fills a different need. To me, this seems like a great shoe for someone who wants something that is comfortable enough for all-day use, versatile enough for a day hike when you’re not on the bike, and still excellent on the pedals – whether that’s for a bike share to get across town, or unexpected riding sessions.
Pricing & Availability
The new Specialized RIME Flat Pedal MTB Shoes have an MSRP $130 and are available worldwide in sizes 36-49 and half sizes 38.5-46.5. Get them in Black or White Mountain colorways.