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Ride Concepts Livewire Flat Pedal Shoes Review

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

What it is: A flat pedal shoe from newcomer to the industry, Ride Concepts. The Livewire is their closest offering to the FiveTen Freeriders, with a lower price point, weight, and stiffness to other options in the RC lineup.

Thoughts:

I've had a lot of durability issues with shoes this year, I'm on my third set of FiveTen Freeriders for the season, with all the pairs I've owned developing a 1in+ tear in the sole after 3-4 months of riding. I've been on the hunt for something different than provides similar levels of grip and Ride Concepts have been getting a ton of great reviews.

Rather than go into the history of everything, I'll defer to other reviews (Pinkbike) to cover those aspects and just talk about my experiences with the shoes.

There were a few aspects of the shoe I liked right off the bat, but the one that stood out the most was the laces management. I don't know why FiveTen doesn't put loops for the laces on all their shoes, everyone else (Shimano, ION, Ride Concepts) is doing it and it makes so much sense. The ability to tuck your laces into the shoe and keep them controlled was really nice.

That's about where the positives end for me.

The first 5 minutes of wearing these shoes were not a good look. I tightened the laces and the tongue loop on the tongue of the shoe snapped off just while tightening. That was disappointing in a $100 shoe that's supposed to stand up to mountain biking.

I also found the uppers were extremely stiff. Some may like this, but coming from FiveTens that fit more like a slipper and less like you are tightening a 2x4 around your foot, it was a very disorienting feel. An interesting side effect of this is that the laces do not require the same level of tension that FiveTens do to keep your foot in place, which didn't have any obvious benefits or downsides for me, but was interesting to note.

The main complaint I had with the feel was a pressure point on the outer left side of my foot. I have weird feet, I'll admit, I've had issues with being flat footed most of my life, but the pain that these shoes induced in my foot was excruciating. I had to remove them on the drive home because the pain was so bad that keeping them on was a distraction.

To address the immediate question here of sizing being the culprit, I did not try the next size up. I normally wear a 10.5, but tried size 10 due to all the 11 shoes I've tried being much too large (10.5 has been too big for me recently, too). Ride Concepts doesn't make half sizes, so it's one or the other. It's possible the sizing runs small and I would have been fine with an 11, however most size 11 shoes are way too large for me. I've since found that size 10 works better for me in FiveTens and some other brands.

In either case, the sizing doesn't change the issues I had with grip.

The grip on the pedals is mediocre at best. I tried these with two pedals (ANVL Tiltv3, Catalyst) and the grip was nowhere near that of FiveTen. Maybe I haven't been riding long enough to know what the days prior to the stickiness of FiveTen Stealth rubber was like, but I can say that I could not tolerate the level of slipping that was going on with these shoes. I think that, in part, it has to do with the lack of rubber softness, but also the sole is so stiff that it doesn't settle into the pedal very well, so you lose the benefits of concavity.

Ultimately, they got returned. Maybe they'll work for you, but on the rides I wore them, I could not tolerate the discomfort and lack of grip. Who would I recommend this to?

If you buy these, I'd suggest wearing them around the store and ensuring that there are no pressure points, especially on the outside front of your foot. The pain was more noticeable when seated than when walking around, so sit for a few minutes and see if you experience any discomfort.

It's possible they will come onto their own with grip as the shoe wears some and the sole starts to flex a bit more, but I tried them on some pretty high grip pedals and they just didn't work for me. I found my foot slipping off more than with FiveTen shoes, especially on chunkier terrain when climbing, my foot would tend to slip off the pedal awkwardly.

If you absolutely are done with FiveTen and want to try something else, they may be worth a shot. Given my experiences, I can't recommend these to anyone even with caveats, but that's mainly due to the discomfort I experienced with the shoes. If I had a better feel out of the shoe and they were more comfortable, I may have been more inclined to wear them longer to see how the grip comes in after some wear.

I think they are on the right path, but I can't recommend them in their current state.

Comparisons:

vs. FiveTen Freerider : These are the shoes I've worn the most. The FiveTens feel more like wearing a slipper, even when new, and less like wrapping a box around your foot. The FiveTens grip better, but lack some useful features like the laces management. I also found the Livewires to have a more secure feel even without having the laces super tight, likely due to the stiffness of the uppers. I can't speak to durability, I only ran the Livewires for a few weeks before going back to FiveTens, I'd expect that the RC soles last longer.


vs. ION Raid AMP II : Coming soon...


Pros:

  • Not FiveTen, should last longer (?)

  • Laces loop provides great laces control

  • Stiff (if you like stiff shoes)

  • Fairly inexpensive

Cons:

  • Tongue loop broke upon tightening the shoe

  • Poor grip

  • Excessively stiff uppers

  • Caused me extreme discomfort (I have weird feet)

  • No half sizes

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