The Specialized Rime Flat shoe aims to be as good for hiking as it is biking, and it's exactly that. It's grippy on and off of the pedals, comfy, and impressively weather resistant. However, the lace tidy isn't the most secure, they're pricey, and there's no clipless version available.
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The Rime Flat shoes come with a welded mesh and TPU upper, the brand's SlipNot ST rubber sole, an XPEL hydrophobic mesh, cushioned EVA foam midsole and, the pièce de résistance, a Body Geometry footbed.
Most notably, compared to the brand's range of flat pedal shoes, the Rime's tread is significantly more aggressive, which should lead to improved grip over soft conditions. The Rime's stand apart from the rest of the range with deep bars at the heel and toe to aid grip.
The toe section has been built with extra flexibility to make for a more natural shoe to walk in without compromising on-bike stiffness.
These shoes were made for walking...
Before even sliding a Rime onto my foot, I was super skeptical about a shoe that's meant to be as good for riding as it is for hiking, but I've been very pleasantly surprised.
Starting off with the hiking side of things, the Rime brings Spesh's famed Body Geometry to a walking shoe, and as someone who gets on with the Body Geometry footbed, that's a welcomed feature. It offers an impressive level of support to the foot arch above anything else but in a way that feels natural. And with that, comfort is instantly familiar and reminiscent of my favourite clipless shoe, the Specialized 2FO Clip 2.0.
But like many casual shoes, the Rime needs a break-in period before the comfort really comes in. My first on-foot outing in them left me with a blister or two, but as time went on, they became more comfortable.
I've walked in the Rime over wet, soft mud right through to dry dust, and grip has been impressive at both ends of the spectrum. I've been particularly impressed by its wet weather grip as I've rarely slipped unless trudging through serious slop. They offer a level of purchase that's yet to be seen from a flat pedal shoe.
But also made for pedalling
On-bike performance is where I've really been impressed by the Rime. Although its tread is pretty aggressive for a flat pedal shoe, it positively engages with pedal pins, resulting in a super confident grip. It offers a locked-in feel, much like the Leatt DBX 4.0 Flat shoe, because of the tread's channels that provide heaps of on-bike confidence.
It's not without a couple of issues, though. Firstly, the lace tidy is, for lack of a better term, relaxed. The elastic is pretty loose, which sometimes causes the laces to come free.
With its hiking spin, the shoe doesn't quite get the level of protection that you would with a riding shoe. The front of the toe box is reinforced, along with the heel box, but the top area isn't reinforced at all, and I've learned that the hard way with janky-angled rock strikes.
Then, unfortunately, if you're a clipless pedal purveyor, you'll need to fish out the flat pedals, as the Rime only comes compatible with flat pedals.
That's where the downsides end, though, and the good points keep on coming.
Having used the Rime in more or less all conditions, the Rime shrugs off weather rather well. With enough perseverance, the rain will make its way into the shoe, but against spray and light rain, the hydrophobic mesh and well-sealed construction do a great job of keeping your tootsies dry. Even with those mesh panels, breathability is somewhat limited in the summer heat, resulting in a not so uncomfortable warm shoe.
Value and verdict
The Specialized Rime Flat shoe is quite pricey at £130. Still, very few (if any) shoes on the market blend on and off-bike performance so purposefully. The most similar shoe we've tested is the Leatt DBX 2.0 Flat, costing £80. It's a riding shoe through and through, and it offers a respectable level of off-bike grip and comfort, but it's just not as confident a shoe while walking as the Rime.
Although the Rime effectively offers two shoes in one, so it could be argued that it is, in fact, pretty good value for money. It's definitely taken a spot in my shoe collection as my walking shoe. Still, it'll always come along with me when photographing or filming with a bike because of its versatility.
The Rime is a shoe that's ideal for those who work around bikes, so I'm talking coaches, media squids, and the like because of the range of conditions they work so well in.
Those who shy away from hike-a-bike or spend most of their time on the pedals will benefit from something more cycling-specific as you'll be rewarded with more protection and even more grip on the pedals.
Specialized has done a great job with the Rime Flat shoes, achieving exactly what has been set out. It's a shoe that's grippy on the pedals and comfortable while walking, and because of that, it's earned a permanent place in my riding shoe collection. Though it comes at a price and it would be great to see an SPD version in the future with improvements to the lace tidy and protection.