While being a relative newcomer to mountain bike shoes, the Ride Concepts Traverse Clipless competes with the best all-round shoes on the market offering exceptional comfort, protection, power transfer, and stability, making it our Editors' Choice for technical riding.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.
Ride Concepts Traverse - Women's Review
Cons: Heavy, not waterproof
Manufacturer: Ride Concepts
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Our Analysis and Test Results
It's rare that a young company would produce shoe 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 Editor's Choice 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.
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 the some of the more cross-country orientated 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.
The sole of the Ride Concepts Traverse is made from the D30 High Impact Insole, which is very stiff and provides excellent power transfer and shock absorption. Unlike some shoes which perform well on our flowy home trails and then send painful vibrations into our feet on technical trails, we never experience 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.
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.
A comfortable shoe is one that you don't think much about while wearing. The Ride Concepts 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 bikes chainstays). We appreciate the additional protection support the symmetrical collar provides yey still allows our ankle and foot move freely.
Adding to the shoe's comfort is 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.
Our testers do not have any fit issues with the Traverse whose toebox is a bit narrower than the other shoes we tested who 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 whose velcro felt a bit high on the ankle and is also much too long. 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.
The only thing lacking on the Traverse is a welded tongue. While not something we would typically think about, we do feel models with a welded tongue to prevent dirt from entering our shoes. Over the course of our testing, we found the Ride Concept Traverse to be the most comfortable shoe for our foot due to the fit, comfort, and ankle support.
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 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.
On hike-a-bikes through wet, muddy leaves, the Traverse shines once again thanks to it's 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.
The asymmetrical medial collar provide 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.
Unlike shoes designed for cross country use who offer minimal protection, the Ride Concepts Traverse is designed with the rigors of all-mountain, trail and enduro riding in mind and offers outstanding foot protection.
The Ride Concepts Traverse are 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 shoes footbed and insole also add to the protection the shoe provides as it absorbs shock on impact, preventing it from reaching the riders feet.
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.
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 shoe 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.
Our testers feel the Ride Concepts Traverse offer exceptional value for the price, at just a few dollars more than the other similar shoes we tested, they offer better protection and significantly improved stiffness, control and stability.
The Ride Concepts Traverse is a favorite shoe our review due to its comfort and breathability, foot protection, stability, and control it offers over the pedals, and exceptional hiking properties. It's outstanding performance when the trails get rowdy make it our hands-down choice, earning it our Editors' Choice for technical trail riding.
— Tara Reddinger-Adams