Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's Review
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Ride Concepts Wildcat - Women's
$139.95 at Backcountry
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|Pros||Protective, excellent grip, durable||Lightweight, fantastic grip, great power transfer, durable||Lightweight, awesome grip, absorbs trail chatter||Excellent grip, comfortable, lightweight, breathable, reasonable price||Inexpensive, offers a lot of protection, balanced grip|
|Cons||Warm on the feet, velcro strap is cumbersome||Breathability is not the best in hot conditions||Minimal foot protection||Long laces, minimal foot protection||Not 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 crowd||A great performing all-round shoe with great power transfer and the right mix of stiffness, flex, and comfort||A lightweight, well-balanced shoe with incredible grip, all-day comfort, and great trail absorption make this shoe stand out in the crowd||An excellent performing shoe for all types of flat pedal riders that has outstanding grip, comfort, and value||This 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|
|Comfort and Protection (25%)|
|Rigidity and Power Transfer (20%)|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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