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Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's Review

This beefy shoe has a great grip, absorbs the trail, is highly durable, and has tons of protection making it a great choice for the gravity crowd
Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's
Credit: Ride Concepts
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $140 List | $139.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Protective, excellent grip, durable
Cons:  Warm on the feet, velcro strap is cumbersome
Manufacturer:   Ride Concepts
By Tara Reddinger-Adams ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 10, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 13
  • Grip - 30% 9.0
  • Comfort and Protection - 25% 7.0
  • Rigidity and Power Transfer - 20% 9.0
  • Breathability - 10% 4.0
  • Durability - 10% 9.0
  • Weight - 5% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Wildcat is one of the latest shoes from Ride Concepts. This mid-top design provides tons of protection, but at the sacrifice of breathability, which is to be somewhat expected. The MAX GRIP outsole with hexagonal dots matches up well to a variety of pedals, providing a confidence-inspiring grip. The midsole strikes a great balance between being too soft and too rigid, and flexes just behind the small toe and stiffens as it reaches the midfoot. This design is both comfortable on the bike and when walking and has good power transfer on the pedals. The Wildcat is our Top Pick for the bike park, enduro, and other gravity-oriented riding.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Protective, excellent grip, durableLightweight, fantastic grip, great power transfer, durableLightweight, awesome grip, absorbs trail chatterExcellent grip, comfortable, lightweight, breathable, reasonable priceInexpensive, offers a lot of protection, balanced grip
Cons Warm on the feet, velcro strap is cumbersomeBreathability is not the best in hot conditionsMinimal foot protectionLong laces, minimal foot protectionNot the grippiest, moderate weight
Bottom Line This beefy shoe has a great grip, absorbs the trail, is highly durable, and has tons of protection making it a great choice for the gravity crowdA great performing all-round shoe with great power transfer and the right mix of stiffness, flex, and comfortA lightweight, well-balanced shoe with incredible grip, all-day comfort, and great trail absorption make this shoe stand out in the crowdAn excellent performing shoe for all types of flat pedal riders that has outstanding grip, comfort, and valueThis is an exceptional flat pedal shoe for someone just starting their mountain bike adventures, especially for the price
Rating Categories Ride Concepts Wildcat Five Ten Freerider Pro Giro Latch Women's Specialized 2FO Roo... Ride Concepts Livewire
Grip (30%)
9.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
8.0
Comfort and Protection (25%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
Rigidity and Power Transfer (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Breathability (10%)
4.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
Weight (5%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Ride Concepts Wildcat Five Ten Freerider Pro Giro Latch Women's Specialized 2FO Roo... Ride Concepts Livewire
Outsole Max Grip Stealth S1 Tack Rubber SlipNot™ ST Rubber Kinetics DST6.0 High Grip
Tread Pattern Full Hexagon Dot Full Hexagon Dot Gamma tread design Full Hexagon Dot Full Hexagon Dot
Measured Weight Grams (pair) 715g 616 g 593g 669 g 754 g
Upper Material Microfiber synthetic Synthetic Microfiber synthetic Leather, Suede Synthetic, mesh
Footbed Dual-density EVA Ortholite 3D molded Body Geometry D30 High Impact Zone
Midsole EVA EVA Mute Foam 3D EVA EVA
Size Tested 8.5 8 EU 40 EU 40 9

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Ride Concepts Wildcat is a mid-height, trail, and freeride shoe based on their popular Hellion shoe. The Wildcat uses their softest and most grippy rubber, MAX GRIP, for the shoe’s outsole which provides great grip on a variety of pedals. The lugs are somewhat shallow, but deep enough and spaced far enough apart to allow pedal pins to sink in providing a confidence-inspiring grip while avoiding being too grippy.

The Wildcat has loads of protection, especially in the area surrounding the ankle. A well-designed heel pocket in combination with a velcro strap ensures your heel stays down, even when standing and climbing steep grades, and an EVA midsole not only helps soak up trail chatter but helps transition power from your foot to the pedal. The protection provided by the Wildcat affects its breathability and the shoe feels a bit hot in warm conditions. The microfiber upper has lots of perforations to help with breathability, but the highly padded ankle makes the shoe warm. However, for the rider who spends their time at the bike park or on demanding terrain, breathability is usually a trade-off for protection. The Wildcat is also surprisingly light for its design, weighing less than many of the low-top shoes in our review and making it a great choice for times when foot fatigue is a consideration.

If you’re looking for a protective shoe to take you from the bike park to high country hike-a-bikes and enduro laps we highly recommend taking a look at our top pick, the Wildcat.

Performance Comparison


Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's mountain bike flat shoes - the max grip sole provides a great connection to the pedals, but the...
The MAX GRIP sole provides a great connection to the pedals, but the shoe's bulk and lack of breathability make it best suited for enduro and park riding.
Credit: Byron Adams

Grip


Ride Concepts uses MAX GRIP rubber with a uniform hexagonal dot pattern on the sole of the Wildcat that extends from the toe to the heel. MAX GRIP is Ride Concepts’ softest and most sticky rubber. The hexagonal dot pattern works well in tandem with the MAX GRIP rubber and throughout testing our shoes stayed confidently connected to the pedals.


The dot pattern has ⅛” of space between the hexagons and is somewhat shallow, but provides enough space for pedal pins to sink in. We used four different flat pedals while testing the Wildcat and the shoes remained well connected to them all.

Repositioning our foot is easy with the Wildcat with a slight unweighting of the foot. However, if you’re someone who likes to slide your foot around on the pedals MAX GRIP rubber might prove to be a little too grippy for you.

The Wildcat strikes a great balance between grip and stiffness. The EVA Midsole has enough give to it to allow your feet to conform slightly to the pedal helping the sole connect and not get bounced around.

Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's mountain bike flat shoes - the max grip sole grips a variety of pedals well creating confidence.
The MAX GRIP sole grips a variety of pedals well creating confidence.
Credit: Byron Adams

Comfort and Protection


The Wildcat is based off of Ride Concepts Hellion shoe and has a low volume fit. Its toe box is not overly generous and those with a wide forefoot may feel a little cramped. Over the course of our testing, we noticed the shoe stretches out and breaks in, but not so much to change the overall fit in the forefoot. Through the midfoot, the fit is wider and there is a nicely padded heel cup that helps keep your heel in place, especially while standing up and climbing.


The Wildcat offers great protection thanks to its mid-top design with a padded ankle and internal toe protection. The ankle is thickly padded which is great for protection, but over extended use feels perhaps a little too bulky for general trail riding and creates odd pressure points around the ankle. We’re fans of protective shoes, especially for park riding and enduro, and feel the Wildcat is best suited for these two areas versus general trail riding.

There is a velcro closure over the laces that helps keep the foot in place while riding. However, this is perhaps our least favorite feature of this shoe since it gets in the way when lacing the shoe. The velcro is fairly rigid and holds its shape meaning we have to hold it out of the way with the back of our hand or stand on it to get it out of the way while tying the laces. The velcro does cinch up the ankle area and keeps our feet snugly in place, but we would prefer to see a more user-friendly design.

The Dual-density EVA insole is comfortable and has High Impact Insole Technology designed to disperse impact and cushion the foot while coming off of drops, jumps, and riding chattery trails. The Wildcat has a gusseted tongue that helps to keep dirt and small rocks out of the shoe. We like the Wildcat’s ankle protection for lift-accessed trails or chundry enduro runs, but its overall comfort is decreased by thick padding around the ankle. For this metric the Wildcat scores high for protection, but below average for comfort.

Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's mountain bike flat shoes - the padded ankle provides support and protection. however, the...
The padded ankle provides support and protection. However, the velcro strap is somewhat rigid, making lacing and tying the shoe rather cumbersome.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Rigidity and Power Transfer


One of the first things we noticed when testing the Wildcat is its power transfer. The EVA midsole flexes in the toebox right where your small toe is and then stiffens back to the midfoot. This rigidity in combination with the MAX GRIP sole is a great combination for power transfer.


The shoe flexes slightly on the pedals without feeling soft underfoot and without losing the sense of where the pedal is. While standing up and climbing there is never any slipping on the pedals and our energy goes straight into the cranks. On descents, our feet remain planted on the pedals, and the shoe absorbs the trail forces well. On hike-a-bikes the Wildcat remained comfortable, even while hiking up steep slabs, thanks to the flex in the forefoot.

Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's mountain bike flat shoes - this shoe has great traction both on and off the bike and flexes...
This shoe has great traction both on and off the bike and flexes comfortably when you need to do a little hiking for the fun lines.
Credit: Byron Adams

Breathability


The Wildcat is constructed from a highly perforated microfiber upper. During our testing, we noted on every ride that the shoe is warm and lacks the breathability found in other models. Our test rides were in temperatures ranging from the low 60’s to 79 degrees. When the temps reached the upper 70’s and we were riding in full sun at 5,300 feet, the shoes were hot.


The mid-top design of the Wildcat does not seem to circulate air as well as the low-top shoes in our test. The padding around the ankle and the tongue seem to trap in heat, while the toebox has some breathability. However, the sides of the shoe breathe poorly, and this is where we most noticed how hot the shoe is.

Ride Concepts says the Wildcat is designed for all types of trail riding and freeriding, and it does offer substantial protection. For those using the Wildcat for park, enduro, or cold or wet weather riding the lack of breathability may not be of concern, however, for general everyday trail riding the shoe will likely feel warm.

Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's mountain bike flat shoes - we rode these shoes in a variety of terrain including cross country...
We rode these shoes in a variety of terrain including cross country trails on warm days and found them to be quite warm on the foot.
Credit: Byron Adams

Durability


Reinforced eyelets, TPU reinforcement for abrasion resistance, and a microfiber upper all contribute to the Wildcat’s durability. The TPU reinforcement at the toe and heel keep the shoes scuff-free and aside from some wrinkles in the microfiber at flex points, the uppers of our shoes look nearly new.


The microfiber uppers are sewn, show no signs of coming unstitched, and are very abrasion-resistant. The Wildcat’s gusseted tongue helps keep dirt and debris out of the shoe, something we appreciate living in a rocky and sandy environment.

Ride Concepts uses rounded laces on the Wildcat which do not stay tied as tightly as flat laces in our experience. The laces on our US 8.5 women’s shoe are fairly long and require double knotting or having really long “ears” to allow us to tuck them into the elastic lace retainer. If the laces were 4” - 6” shorter they would be easier to manage.

The sole of the Wildcat is made of Ride Concepts MAX GRIP rubber in a gumwall color. The sole shows no signs of wear and tear but has become discolored where our pedal pins contact the sole. This has not affected the shoe's performance and is only cosmetic.

Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's mountain bike flat shoes - we wish the laces were shorter so that we did not have to...
We wish the laces were shorter so that we did not have to double-knot them to tuck everything into the lace retainer.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Weight


The Wildcat weighs 715 grams for a US 8.5 women’s, which is less than some of the low-top shoes in our testing helping it earn higher marks for this metric.


The Wildcat’s weight will certainly be appreciated by those who wear the shoe for enduro or park riding, and by those who spend time on long hike-a-bikes where foot fatigue is a factor. The Wildcat provides significantly more protection than shoes of similar weight making it a great choice for those looking for a highly protective shoe. For those desiring more of an all-purpose trail shoe, the Wildcat may not be as appealing since there are many options available at a much lower weight.

Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's mountain bike flat shoes - these shoes are very light given the amount of protection they...
These shoes are very light given the amount of protection they provide.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Value


The Wildcat falls into the middle of the price spectrum for the shoes in our test. Taking into consideration the amount of protection provided, great on-bike performance, and durability, we feel it is also a great value, especially for those placing a high priority on protection.

Conclusion


The Wildcat is a great choice for those wanting a shoe that both performs well and provides tons of protection. The Wildcat has a great feel on the pedal, the MAX GRIP rubber has ample grip without being too grippy, and the EVA midsole and footbed dissipate trail forces very well. Surprisingly, the Wildcat weighs less than many other shoes in our review while offering significantly more protection, a factor not to be ignored. Because the shoe offers so much protection it’s not the most breathable and can feel hot on the foot, making it a better choice for cool or wet weather, or more gravity orientated riding like park and enduro. While the Wildcat may not be the best shoe for every type of riding or terrain, it is our Top Pick for those looking for lots of protection and the gravity crowd.

Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's mountain bike flat shoes - the microfiber uppers have lots of small perforations to help with...
The microfiber uppers have lots of small perforations to help with breathability and are abrasion resistant and the reinforced eyelets add durability.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Tara Reddinger-Adams
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