Ride Concepts Flume Women's Review
Cons: Hard to feel pedal underfoot, not very breathable, expensive
Manufacturer: Ride Concepts
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Ride Concepts Flume Women's
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|Pros||Protective, very durable, quality construction||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||Hard to feel pedal underfoot, not very breathable, expensive||Breathability is not the best in hot conditions||Minimal foot protection||Long laces, minimal foot protection||Not the grippiest, moderate weight|
|Bottom Line||This shoe has all-day comfort, is well constructed, durable, and provides plenty of protection, but it comes with a high price tag and lacks breathability||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 Flume...||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 Flume...||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||Hexagon with reverse hex pattern on toe and heel||Full Hexagon Dot||Gamma tread design||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Hexagon Dot|
|Measured Weight Grams (pair)||723g||616 g||593g||669 g||754 g|
|Upper Material||Bonded Cordura mesh with TPU toe and heel protection||Synthetic||Microfiber synthetic||Leather, Suede||Synthetic, mesh|
|Footbed||D30 High Impact Zone||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 Flume is designed as a durable shoe for big epics. This shoe scored well in metrics such as durability thanks to high-quality materials such as a seamless and welded Cordura® upper and TPU anti-abrasion areas. The Cordura® upper is lined with an anti-bacterial mesh and is very comfortable against the foot. The MAX GRIP sole with hexagon dot pattern grips a variety of pedals well creating a solid bond between the pedal and shoe. It also has a lot of protection, such as D30 impact protection in the footbed, and a thick shock-absorbing EVA midsole. However, the thick EVA midsole makes it hard to feel the pedal and find a good foot placement. Depending on your intended use, the Flume may be worth consideration and the price tag. If you’re looking for a shoe for big rides with hiking, we recommend looking at the Flume, but if you’re looking for a general trail shoe we feel there are better options in our line-up.
Ride Concepts uses their softest and most grippy MAX GRIP rubber on the outsole of the Flume with a hexagon dot pattern. The lugs are well spaced and provide plenty of places for pedal pins to bite into, and the rubber has a great grip on a variety of pedals. The shoe's midsole is relatively thick, and we had a difficult time feeling the pedal underfoot, making it harder for us to find our sweet spot on the pedal. Adjusting your foot requires unweighting of the pedal and on the fly adjustments are difficult.
At the toe and heel, the hexagon dot pattern is reversed for additional traction while hiking both up and down slopes and is quite similar to those found on a hiking shoe. These “lugs” work well with providing additional grip and feel more like a hiking shoe than shoes with a uniform pattern from toe to heel.
Comfort and Protection
One thing that strikes our testers is how comfortable the Flume is, throughout our testing, its comfort stood out. The Cordura® fabric upper feels good and wraps the foot nicely and does not feel bulky like other materials. The upper is lined with an anti-bacterial mesh lining that can be felt when you place your hand inside the shoe. This lining is soft to the touch and adds to the shoe's overall comfort. The ankle and tongue are lightly padded and do not feel bulky or obtrusive.
D30, which absorbs impacts, is integrated into the footbed of the Flume and the medial collar. This material does a great job of absorbing trail impacts and provides additional support for the ankle. TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is found at both the heel and toe and provides additional protection from rocks and helps prevent dirt and debris from entering the shoe.
The EVA midsole on the Flume is thick, feels stable underfoot, and is stiffer than other models from Ride Concepts. During our testing, the midsole really stood out while descending and dampened trail vibrations very well. However, this thickness has its drawbacks making the pedal difficult to feel underfoot.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
Ride Concepts uses an EVA midsole on the Flume which is stiffer than other models tested. The midsole is stiffer starting at the toebox and has great support. But, the midsole is fairly thick and its rigidity makes feeling the pedal underfoot difficult.
The EVA midsole helps our shoes to remain connected to the pedals but its rigidity causes us to think more about foot placement, especially when restarting on a climb. This combination creates a bit of a dichotomy when it comes to power transfer, the stiffness makes pushing into the pedals easier, but finding ideal foot placement makes it more difficult. We would prefer the midsole to be thinner so that we can feel the pedal underfoot more.
The uppers of the Flume are constructed of seamless, fully welded fabric called Cordura®. Ride Concepts chose this fabric for its durability and breathability. Throughout our testing, we did not find the Flume to be an exceptionally breathable shoe. The Cordura® feels light against the foot and while the Flume is not particularly hot on the foot, it does not stand out in this metric as being noticeably breathable.
The Flume is designed with durability in mind. The shoe's upper is made from a Cordura® fabric, which is designed to be durable and breathable and features a seam-free, fully welded design. We did not find the Cordura® to be exceptionally breathable but have taken note of how durable and resistant to abrasion and water it is. The seams are well bonded and display no signs of coming detached from the fabric upper.
The upper is wrapped in TPU with an anti-abrasion film at the heel and toe for additional protection that shows no signs of wear aside from dirt. The TPU mud guard adds another layer of protection from dirt, and debris, and protects areas prone to rubbing such as the heel and midfoot.
The Flume has a durable, flat lace that is sized really well for the shoe and easy to tie. The lace retainer is a little higher up than on most shoes and is between the third and fourth eyelets, which are also reinforced. Like many of Ride Concepts shoes, the Flume has a gusseted tongue to help keep out dirt and debris.
The Flume definitely stands out in terms of durability and is unlike any other shoe in our test in this metric earning it high marks.
The Flume weighs 723 grams per pair for a women’s size US 8.5, placing it in the middle of our weight metric for the shoes in our test.
The Flume is one of the most expensive shoes in our test and really is designed for big, all-day rides. If you’re looking for an all-around trail shoe, we feel there are better options to consider. But, if you’re looking for a shoe for big, adventurous, all-day rides with hiking, we would suggest looking at the Flume.
Ride Concepts designed the Flume for big, all-day rides and achieved its goal. The shoe is very sturdy with a super beefy outsole that is very comfortable for hiking in and in many ways feels like a hiking shoe. The MAX GRIP rubber sole has outstanding grip and while the EVA midsole provides great support it is so thick that you lose the sense of the pedal underfoot, making it harder to find ideal foot placement. The shoe is loaded with protection, but the Cordura® upper lacks the breathability found in other shoes. We really feel the Flume is best for its intended purpose, big all-day rides, and suggest looking at other models if you’re looking for more general-purpose shoes considering the price point.
— Tara Reddinger-Adams
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