Reviews You Can Rely On

Ride Concepts Powerline Review

A comfortable, beefy shoe with loads of protection well suited to gravity riding
Ride Concepts Powerline
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $150 List | $120.00 at Backcountry
Pros:  Great pedal grip, sturdy construction, protective features, comfortable
Cons:  Heavier weight, sizing runs a little small
Manufacturer:   Ride Concepts
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 6, 2021
  • Share this article:
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
86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Grip - 30% 9
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 10
  • Rigidity and Power Transfer - 20% 8
  • Breathability - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 9
  • Weight - 5% 4

Our Verdict

The Ride Concepts Powerline is a high quality, protective flat pedal shoe for charging hard. These shoes deliver with excellent grip, great power transfer, and a host of protective features to keep you comfortable and secure no matter how rough things get. The proprietary Rubber Kinectics sole provides an excellent connection to the pedals without being too grippy, with solid power transfer and a great pedal feel. A beefed-up toe box, heel pocket, and extra medial ankle coverage with a D30 insert help keep your feet protected through the gnarliest terrain. The cushioned EVA midsole and D30 inserts in the footbed help to dampen vibration and trail chatter, while the comfortable fit delivers all-day comfort. They may not be the lightest or most breathable, but the Powerline is still our favorite for gravity riding.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $120.00 at Backcountry$149.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$120 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$100.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$139.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
86
91
86
84
82
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Great pedal grip, sturdy construction, protective features, comfortableExcellent pedal grip, comfortable, true all-mountain performanceGrippy soles, casual looks, reasonable price, versatility, lightweightImpressive grip, protective, reasonable priceSupremely versatile, excellent ventilation, tacky grip, easy to walk in
Cons Heavier weight, sizing runs a little smallOn the expensive side of the spectrum, Stealth rubber wears more quicklySomewhat loose fit in the forefootHeavier weight, limited breathabilityNot a dedicated mountain bike shoe, less supportive sole
Bottom Line A comfortable, beefy shoe with loads of protection well suited to gravity ridingThe benchmark for flat pedal shoes, a true all-arounder that looks as good as it performsA versatile new flat pedal shoe with great grip and a casual styleA reasonably priced, versatile flat pedal shoe that offers strong performance and even stronger valueA versatile shoe for those riders who value adventure over all-out singletrack shredding
Rating Categories Ride Concepts Power... Five Ten Freerider Pro Specialized 2FO Roo... Ride Concepts Livewire Five Ten TrailCross LT
Grip (30%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Fit And Comfort (25%)
10.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Rigidity And Power Transfer (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Breathability (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
10.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (5%)
4.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
8.0
Specs Ride Concepts Power... Five Ten Freerider Pro Specialized 2FO Roo... Ride Concepts Livewire Five Ten TrailCross LT
Rubber Type DST 4.0 MAX GRIP Stealth S1 SlipNot ST Kinetics DST6.0 High Grip Stealth Phantom
Tread Pattern Hexagon dot Full Dot Full Hexagon Dot Full Dot Full Dot
Weight per Shoe (ounces) 16.97 (size 11) 14.11 (size 11) 12.96 (size 43.5) 16.15 (size 11) 14.15 (size 10)
Weight per Shoe (grams) 467 (size 11) 399 (size 11) 367 (size 43.5) 458 (size 11) 400 (size 10)
Closure Laces Laces Laces Laces Laces
Lace Keeper Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Volume Medium Medium Medium Medium Low-Medium
Upper Materials Welded microfiber Synthetic Leather Leather/textile Synthetic/mesh Synthetic/textile
Midsole EVA Cushioned EVA EVA
Insole AM/MT insole Body Geometry

Our Analysis and Test Results

Ride Concepts is still a relative newcomer to the mountain bike shoe market, but they've quickly made a name for themselves with high-quality, high-performance shoes like the Powerline. These shoes blend great sole grip, solid power transfer, protective features, and a high level of comfort, making them our favorite for gravity style riding. A heavier weight and limited breathability are notable shortcomings, though not unexpected given their beefy construction and the protection they offer.

Performance Comparison


The Powerline shoes deliver high levels of grip, support, and...
The Powerline shoes deliver high levels of grip, support, and protection for charging hard.
Photo: Laura Casner

Grip


Ride Concepts has teamed up with Rubber Kinetics to create their proprietary sole compounds. The Powerline features their tacky DST 4.0 Max Grip rubber with a full hexagonal dot tread pattern. We found this combination to provide excellent grip and a very connected pedal feel. While they aren't the absolute stickiest feeling shoes we tested, their grip always felt adequate without ever feeling too grippy.


The DST 4.0 Max Grip rubber sole is soft enough that it allows the pins of the pedals to settle into it nicely, and our feet felt locked in at all times when weighted on the pedals. We tested in some cold and even snowy conditions, and we did not find the sole's grip to be negatively affected by temperature or moisture. Unlike some other models, the Powerline aren't so tacky that foot movements are hard to come by, though we found that we did have to consciously unweight the foot to make micro-adjustments. The full hexagonal dot sole tread is relatively shallow underfoot, but just deep enough to make positive pin engagement when placing the foot on the pedal or repositioning it. The toe and heel of the sole have a slightly deeper tread depth, which helps provide a little more bite when walking.

The DST 4.0 Max Grip rubber offers a balanced grip while the full...
The DST 4.0 Max Grip rubber offers a balanced grip while the full hexagonal dot sole creates a nice shoe-pedal interface. Note the deeper tread depth at the toe and heel for enhanced grip when walking.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

We found the stiffness of the Powerline's sole to also be beneficial to its grip. Ride Concepts struck a very nice balance with a sole that is stiff enough to prevent foot fatigue, yet has just enough flex to provide a great pedal feel. The EVA midsole also provides a little shock absorption, and we never felt like our feet were getting bounced off the pedals. No matter the terrain, we found the Powerline to deliver confidence-inspiring grip and control.

We found them to run a touch small compared to other shoes, but they...
We found them to run a touch small compared to other shoes, but they are impressively comfortable otherwise.
Photo: Laura Casner

Fit and Comfort


We found the Powerline to be a very comfortable pair of shoes. With a plush lining, supple yet durable synthetic uppers, a padded tongue, supportive D30 insoles, and a medium volume fit, we feel these shoes should satisfy most riders. Despite their beefy look and protective feel, these shoes feel great on the feet and promote all-day comfort. We did find them to be a bit less breathable than other options, but beyond that, these are one of the most comfortable shoes we tested.


Our biggest concern in regards to the fit of the Powerline is that they seem to run a tad small. When compared to other size 11 shoes we tested, they felt more like a 10.5. Beyond that, they have a nice medium volume fit that should work for the majority of foot shapes other than the super narrow or wide extremes. When you slip your foot into these shoes, they are greeted by a nice soft, plush feeling lining and a supportive insole with D30 shock-absorbing inserts on the ball of the foot and the heel. The heel pocket has a nice shape that keeps the heel locked in well, with no slippage even when hiking. We found it easy to get even tension over the top of the foot with the laces, and the padded tongue has elastic gussets on both sides to keep it centered in the shoe and help keep debris out.

The footbeds have a comfortable shape, plus D30 impact-absorbing...
The footbeds have a comfortable shape, plus D30 impact-absorbing inserts under the ball of the foot and heel.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Additional features like the taller medial ankle cuff with a D30 insert adds protection and peace of mind. Despite the higher cuff, we didn't experience any hot spots or rubbing to speak of. A beefy, stiff rubber toe cap and reinforced heel cup also provide protection from rock strikes, while the EVA midsole helps to further absorb shock and trail feedback on rough descents.

The Powerline has a stiff enough sole to feel efficient on the...
The Powerline has a stiff enough sole to feel efficient on the climbs and supportive on the descents, yet they still have a good pedal feel.
Photo: Laura Casner

Rigidity and Power Transfer


While testing the Powerline we found their sole rigidity to feel pretty ideal. While cranking out the miles on trail rides, the sole felt stiff enough to deliver power to the pedals relatively efficiently without foot fatigue or sapping any power through unwanted flex. Out of the saddle, we noticed a slight amount of sole flex, but not enough to warrant complaint. There are stiffer soled shoes, but we feel the Powerline is near the top of the heap.


On the descents, we also found the sole's stiffness to feel great. Again, they were stiff enough to prevent foot or calf fatigue on a long downhill, yet with just enough flex to provide a good pedal feel. We think the stiffness strikes a good balance, where little energy is wasted while pedaling, yet they aren't so stiff that your feet get bounced off the pedals over rough sections on the descents. We found their lateral rigidity to also feel nicely balanced, promoting a good feeling of control when working the bike side to side. Off the bike, it is clear that you're wearing a mountain bike shoe, but there's plenty of flex from the ball of the foot forward to walk with a relatively normal gait on those inevitable hike a bike sections.

Given their protective design, the Powerline shoes aren't the most...
Given their protective design, the Powerline shoes aren't the most breathable, and we found them to work better than most for cold weather riding.
Photo: Laura Casner

Breathability


Considering the extra bulk and protective feel of the Powerline, they breathe reasonably well. That said, they are among the warmest and least breathable shoes we tested. This isn't that surprising given their gravity-oriented focus, and those who ride lifts or shuttle often probably won't be as concerned with ventilation. Riders who spend their days pedaling or live in warmer climates might find these shoes to be a bit clammy.


The Powerline shoes have a robust synthetic upper that has a number of small perforated holes on both sides of the foot. Above the toe box, there is also a mesh panel to allow air to pass through to and from the toes. While these ventilating features do allow some air to escape, the plush lining and cushioned tongue is simply a bit warmer than other models with less bulk in their construction. Again, their high level of comfort and protective feel is a tradeoff for their less impressive breathability and ventilation. That said, we tested in some cooler weather including a few fat bike rides, and we found them to keep our feet warmer and more comfortable in those situations.

The Powerline are made from quality materials with excellent...
The Powerline are made from quality materials with excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail. We feel they are built to last.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Durability


After testing the Powerline for weeks in a huge range of conditions, we feel they are one of the most durable models we've tried. They are made from tough materials with a beefy construction and quality craftsmanship. Aside from a few superficial scratches to the uppers and a very insignificant amount of pin scarring on the soles, they appear to be no worse for the wear. No mountain bike shoe will last forever, but we're convinced that the Powerline will outlast most.


Ride Concepts incorporated a number of great design features in the construction of the Powerline that we feel will enhance their longevity. The tough synthetic uppers have an almost completely welded construction with only a couple of stitched seams. The welded seams are super clean and well-executed, and the upper is also nicely bonded to the sole. A thick and sturdy rubber rand around the front of the toe box is also a nice feature that seems ready to take some serious abuse while keeping your toes well protected. The rectangular lace holes help to keep your laces flat, plus they have metal eyelets that should help to prevent them from being damaged by repeated use. Overall, we're very impressed with the attention to detail, materials, and quality of the construction of the Powerline shoes.

There was a slight variance in weight between our two test shoes...
There was a slight variance in weight between our two test shoes, but they averaged 467-grams per shoe in a size 11.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Weight


The Powerline shoes are among the heaviest we tested. With an average weight of 467-grams per shoe in a size 11, our test pair tipped the scales at 934-grams or 32.95 ounces. This additional heft is the result of the Powerline's robust build and protective design.


We imagine that most gravity riders won't be too concerned by the weight of these shoes and will happily trade a few extra ounces for the protection they offer, but weight conscious trail riders will probably want to look elsewhere. Interestingly, while we know they weigh a bit more than lighter options, we never found them to feel particularly heavy on the feet. That said, these shoes are geared more towards the gravity crowd where weight is less of a concern, though we feel they would work well for trail riders assuming you don't mind the extra weight.

Considering the materials, construction, protection, grip, and...
Considering the materials, construction, protection, grip, and support the Powerline deliver, we feel they are a great value.
Photo: Laura Casner

Value


The Powerline are at the higher end of the price spectrum of the shoes we tested, but their price tag seems justified given the durable construction, comfort, and protection they offer. We feel they are a solid value for gravity riders or aggressive trail riders seeking a grippy, supportive, and protective shoe that should stand the test of time.

Conclusion


The Powerline is a high-quality, durable mountain bike shoe with features and performance that make it very well suited to enduro and downhill riding. This beefy shoe has loads of foot protection, balanced sole stiffness and good power transfer, grippy soles, and a very comfortable fit. Sure, they are a bit heavier than most and they aren't the most breathable, but we feel their well-rounded performance makes them our top choice for gravity-oriented riders.

If you're looking for a beefy, protective flat pedal shoe, we feel...
If you're looking for a beefy, protective flat pedal shoe, we feel the Powerline is one of the best we tested.
Photo: Laura Casner

Jeremy Benson