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Ride Concepts Traverse - Women's Review

A high-performing shoe that offers comfort paired with excellent stability, protection, and walkability
Ride Concepts Traverse - Women's
Photo: Nashbar
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $160 List | $160.00 at Backcountry
Pros:  Comfortable, excellent protection, excellent power transfer, easy to clip in and out of, great for hike-a-bike
Cons:  Heavy, not waterproof
Manufacturer:   Ride Concepts
By Tara Reddinger-Adams ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 14, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Walkability - 25% 9
  • Stability and Control - 20% 8
  • Protection - 15% 9
  • Weight - 15% 3

Our Verdict

While being a relative newcomer to mountain bike shoes, the Ride Concepts Traverse Clipless competes with the best all-around shoes on the market offering exceptional comfort, protection, power transfer, and stability, making it our favorite for technical riding. They are a bit heavy, but if you're looking for a shoe that can take you from local rock gardens to high-alpine epics and park laps, look no further.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $160.00 at Backcountry$200 List$130 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$149.95 at Backcountry
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$139.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Comfortable, excellent protection, excellent power transfer, easy to clip in and out of, great for hike-a-bikeComfortable fit, large cleat opening, good power transfer, excellent trail absorptionLightweight, good power transfer, easy to walk inComfortable, stiff, good power transfer, large cleat openingLightweight, very good power transfer, breathable
Cons Heavy, not waterproofLacks breathability, expensiveNot the best lateral stabilityNot waterproof, velcro strap too longLacking side protection on the mid-foot
Bottom Line A high-performing shoe that offers comfort paired with excellent stability, protection, and walkabilityThis comfortable shoe impressed our testers with its fit, trail absorption, and power transfer and is a great match for short trail rides and all-day epics alikeThis unassuming shoe combines on and off the bike performance with good power transfer and walking comfort at a relatively reasonable price tagThis shoe offers a shock-absorbing sole and breathable uppers that deliver exceptional comfort, even when on technical hike-a-bike sectionsA solid performing shoe packed with features typically reserved for shoes with a much higher price tag
Rating Categories Traverse Mallet Boa - Unisex 2FO Roost Clip - Un... Five Ten Hellcat -... Scott MTB Elite Boa...
Comfort (25%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Walkability (25%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Stability And Control (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Protection (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
3.0
6.0
9.0
4.0
7.0
Specs Traverse Mallet Boa - Unisex 2FO Roost Clip - Un... Five Ten Hellcat -... Scott MTB Elite Boa...
Measured Weight (g) 450g 379g 322g 437g 351g
Outsole DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber Match MC1 SlipNot FG Stealth C4 rubber Sticki rubber
Closure Laces/Velcro Boa, Velcro strap Laces Laces/Velcro Boa, Velcro strap
Upper Material Synthetic & D30 Synthetic synthetic leather Synthetic weather-resistant micro-perforated, EVA Microfiber, 3D nylon air mesh
Footbed EVA Foam not specified Body Geometry EVA Foam ErgoLogic
Sole D30 High Impact Insole EVA midsole Soft Lollipop Nylon Composite Plate Three-quarter dual-density TPU shank, EVA midsole Fiberglass-reinforced nylon
Size Tested EU 39.5 / US 8.5 US 7 EU 39.5 / US 8.5 EU 40 2/3 / US 8.5 EU 39

Our Analysis and Test Results

It's rare that a young company would produce shoes that would not only go head-to-head with the top competitors, but surpass them, and that's exactly what the Ride Concepts Traverse did. This top-performing shoe earned high marks in nearly every metric due to its thoughtful construction and is our favorite for technical trail riding.

The Traverse's DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber outsole combined with a D30 High Impact Insole provided our testers with exceptional stiffness and impact absorption, and we never felt vibrations from the trail through our feet while wearing these shoes. We were also impressed at how comfortable these shoes were, and despite their looking quite bulky, they never felt that way on our feet. The synthetic uppers combine mesh and Ride Concepts D30 protection making them breathable and protective, qualities that typically don't go hand in hand. What perhaps impressed us the most is how sticky the outsole is on hike-a-bikes, the shoes clung to the rock as we scrambled up and over boulders, giving us confidence. Overall, we were impressed at how well these shoes were designed and performed both on and off the bike.

Performance Comparison



We found the Traverse to be just at home on our local trails as we...
We found the Traverse to be just at home on our local trails as we did on all day epics.
Photo: Byron Adams

Stability and Control


One of the highlights of the Traverse is the large cleat opening area, which measures 1 7/16", making it the largest out of all the shoes we tested by 1/16". This large opening makes clipping and in out a breeze. During testing, we wore the Traverse on our right foot and another shoe on the left and found it easier to clip and in and out of our pedals with the Traverse. The large cleat opening also allows the rider to set the cleat in their ideal position, which our testers appreciate as they prefer to have their cleat set back. Of course, we understand that not everyone has this same preference, and with 1 7/16" of adjustment, we feel most riders will be able to achieve their ideal cleat placement.


Having this fore/aft adjustment allows us to comfortably stand, push and pull on the pedals while maintaining a centered and balanced position on the pedals, something which we can not easily achieve with some of the more cross-country oriented shoes which place us into more of a toe down position. Having our cleat in our ideal location also allows us to drop our heels more on descents, as the cleat is not as far forward onto our forefoot.

Nearly 1 7/16" of fore/aft adjustment makes this the shoe with the...
Nearly 1 7/16" of fore/aft adjustment makes this the shoe with the most cleat adjustment we tested.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The insole of the Ride Concepts Traverse features D30 High Impact inserts, which provide excellent shock absorption and a RC PowerDrive nylon shank with an EVA midsole. Unlike some shoes which perform well on our flowy home trails and then send painful vibrations into our feet on technical trails, we never experienced any form of feedback, pressure, or pains in our feet while wearing the Traverse, making it an excellent choice for technical rides where you encounter continual feedback from the trail.

We never felt the impact from jumps or drops in our feet, thanks to...
We never felt the impact from jumps or drops in our feet, thanks to the EVA foam footbeds and D30 High Impact Insoles.
Photo: Byron Adams

Our testers especially appreciate the shock-absorbing properties of the EVA foam footbed and D30 High Impact Insole on drops and jumps, as landings can send lots of shock into your feet. Of all the shoes we tested, only one other shoe performs similarly in this regard. The stability and control of the large cleat opening paired with the exceptional shock-absorbing properties of the footbed and insole make the Traverse one of our top performers in the Stability and Control Category and the top choice for technical trail riding.

Comfort


A comfortable shoe is one that you don't think much about while wearing. The Traverse is incredibly comfortable and supportive and our testers are pleasantly surprised at how little we think about them while riding. Unlike other shoes we tested, the Traverse has an asymmetrical medial collar with D30 Impact Protection, or in layman's terms support on the inside ankle (the side facing your bike's chainstays). We appreciate the additional protection and support the asymmetrical collar provides yet still allows our ankle and foot to move freely.


Adding to the shoe's comfort are the overall construction and design, which appear to be well thought out. The uppers are constructed of a microfiber mesh that is welded to Ride Concepts D30 protection eliminating sewn seams and making a surprisingly breathable shoe, especially given the amount of impact protection they provide especially against rocks that get kicked up on technical trails.

Mesh inserts help these shoes to breathe well, while velcro and a...
Mesh inserts help these shoes to breathe well, while velcro and a elastic lace retainer on the tongue keep things tidy.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Our testers do not have any fit issues with the Traverse whose toebox is a bit narrower than the other shoes we tested that have a boxier fit. We are able to dial in the fit with the provided laces, velcro closure, and elastic lace retainer on the tongue. We did note that the velcro closure on the Traverse is in a better position than on other shoes. The Traverse's velcro strap sits at the lower part of the ankle, avoiding touching any areas that could make it uncomfortable. We also found our foot to have less fore and aft movement in the Traverse compared to other shoes tested.

Sometimes we needed to wear two different shoes at once to be able...
Sometimes we needed to wear two different shoes at once to be able to determine subtle differences in performance and fit. The design of the each shoes velcro is different and affects the shoes comfort.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The only thing lacking on the Traverse is a gusseted tongue. While not something we would typically think about, we do feel models with a gusseted tongue to prevent dirt from entering our shoes. Over the course of our testing, we found the Ride Concept Traverse to be on of the most comfortable shoes for our foot due to the fit, comfort, and ankle support.

Walkability


Having a supportive, sturdy shoe when you're doing a hike-a-bike is important because having to worry about your foot slipping only detracts from the task at hand. The Traverse has a very stiff sole, which comfortably flexes while hiking. Our testers find the Traverse to have an exceptional grip on rocks, especially when scrambling up and over slabs and boulders. Ride Concepts DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber performs as well as the climbing shoe rubber found on other models tested, which says a lot, making the Traverse one of our top performers in this category.


The DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber stuck to the slabs and boulders on Horsethief Bench, which is one part hike and one part scramble, especially for those of us who are not tall. We are able to easily smear our foot onto the rock slabs and confidently push up, as we would in a rock climbing shoe.

Going up the Horsethief Bench in Fruita, Colorado is part...
Going up the Horsethief Bench in Fruita, Colorado is part hike-a-bike, part scramble and the DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber gripped the rock and slabs like a climbing shoe.
Photo: Byron Adams

On hike-a-bikes through wet, muddy leaves, the Traverse shines once again thanks to its mud-shedding sole. Where other shoe's lugs caked with mud and leaves, the soles of the Traverse stay remarkably clean. Surprisingly, we did not find that we had a great deal of slipping in the Traverse either while hiking in mud, especially considering their lack of a lugged sole.

We were impressed at how well the D30 High Impact Insole shed mud.
We were impressed at how well the D30 High Impact Insole shed mud.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The asymmetrical medial collar provided our ankles with additional support while hiking, especially on technical hike-a-bikes, much in the same manner a hiking boot supports the ankle. While this is not something we would generally think about while choosing a mountain bike shoe, we do appreciate the additional support our ankles receive while hiking.

Protection


Unlike shoes designed for cross country use that offer minimal protection, the Traverse was designed with the rigors of all-mountain, trail, and enduro riding in mind and offers outstanding foot protection.


The Ride Concepts Traverse is by far the most protective of all the shoes we tested due to the asymmetrical medial collar, which provides support and protection to the ankle. In addition to ankle support, the Traverse also has D30 protection on the uppers in other impact-prone areas such as the ball of the foot and back of the foot. The shoe's footbed and insole also add to the protection the shoe provides as it absorbs shock on impact, preventing it from reaching the rider's feet.

The inside ankle is higher for additional protection and support and...
The inside ankle is higher for additional protection and support and welded D30 protection wraps around the mesh areas of the uppers for additional impact protection.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The Traverse also shed water better than all other shoes we tested, thanks to the weatherproof uppers. While not waterproof, the Traverse did repel water better than many of the other shoes we tested which left our feet surprisingly wet after riding through small puddles.

Weight


Weighing in at 895-grams for the pair in a US8.5, these were by far the heaviest shoes we tested. weighing 18 grams more than the next heaviest shoe and 266 grams more than the lightest shoes we tested. Due to their weight, they score lowest in the weight category. However, we do not think they felt all that heavy on their feet. That being said, weight can add up over the miles, and cross-country riders will want to look at lighter models.


Not exactly lightweight at 895 grams for a size US 8.5 women's.
Not exactly lightweight at 895 grams for a size US 8.5 women's.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Value


Our testers feel the Traverse offer exceptional value for the price. At just a few dollars more than the other similar shoes we tested, they provide better protection and significantly improved stiffness, control, and stability.

Conclusion


The Ride Concepts Traverse is a favorite shoe in our review due to its comfort and breathability, foot protection, stability and control it offers over the pedals, and exceptional hiking properties. Its outstanding performance when the trails get rowdy makes it our hands-down choice, making it our favorite for technical trail riding.

The Traverse quickly became our favorite shoe of choice due to its...
The Traverse quickly became our favorite shoe of choice due to its consistent and outstanding performance for technical trail riding.
Photo: Byron Adams

Tara Reddinger-Adams