The Ride Concepts Women’s Traverse shoe is a pair of SPD or clipless shoes, in fact, the only clip-in model in the brand's range. The well styled shoe is on the pricier end of things and they do size up really small and slightly narrow but they are pretty stiff and supportive.
The traverse shoes are designed to be an all mountain SPD shoe built for what we all now call enduro riding. Like its sibling, the Livewire flat shoes, the Traverse gets D3O technology at the impact areas of the insole, there to absorb high energy hits to the balls the feet and heels. There is also D3O material located at the asymmetrical collar of the shoe to protect the ankles. I didn’t really notice the presence of this wonder material compared to other shoes but just like the Livewire's, these are supportive shoes that I like riding in.
Other parts of the shoes get neat features too, there’s a custom moulded rubber toe cap and heel protection and high rise EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate or in layman's terms, foam) midsole for arch support and shock absorption. These shoes do size up pretty small, I’m usually a size 5 (EU 38) yet wore a size 6 and still found them to be a tad on the snug side. This in combination with the thicker D3O padded insole and arch support of the midsole means room inside the shoe is lacking. In practice, I needed to leave the laces of the shoes looser rather than tighter to avoid foot fatigue from the cramped inner. Luckily laces do allow you to infinitely customise closure tightness, they can then be kept in place by the elastic lace tidy and the Velcro strap.
The cleat recess is deep on these shoes, I experiment with and without plastic spacers between the sole and my Shimano cleats and decided I didn’t need them in the end. Although I did need to adjust the pins on my Nukeproof Horizon platform pedals so they weren’t quite so prominent to allow for easier clipping in. I also found that I needed to angulate the cleats quite a lot towards the inside to allow my feet to feel as if they were sitting straight on the pedal. It’s not something I normally have to fiddle with, I’ve ridden in a range of shoes with Shimano cleats and I normally 'set straight and forget'.
I found the shoes to be sufficiently stiff, they were stiffer than the Shimano ME7’s I’ve tested recently, this combined with the supportive nature of a well built outer means that power transfer is efficient despite the Traverse shoes being heftier than rivals (968g for a size UK 6). It is worth noting that although these shoes do fend off mud and trail splash pretty well, but as these are a solid pair of shoes they do take a few days to dry out completely should you get them soaked.
The pins on my pedals have already started to damage the rubber tread a little but you reasonably might expect that in the two months of testing. I've walked around a fair bit in these shoes too, the rubber hexagon shapes at the heels have also flattened but it's not noticeably compromising grip.
All in all, the Ride Concepts are a robust and stiff pair of shoes that get the thumbs up with regards to style and durability. The sizing is a little awry though, I’d recommend sizing up and if you have partially deep or wide feel you will definitely need to spend some time walking about in these at home to make sure they don’t make your feet ache if they are a tad small. £155 isn’t a bad price, it's reasonable for a more premium shoe, but it could be made better value with a more spacious fit and by chucking the shoes on a bit of diet.
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