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Ride Concepts Flume shoe review – women’s MTB trail performance shoes

Superior comfort and robust construction, but not the most breathable in hot weather conditions

A pair of Ride Concepts Flume in blue, with one shoe laying on its side to expose the tread on the sole
(Image: © Mildred Locke)

Bike Perfect Verdict

The Flume MTB trail shoes are seriously well made, rugged, and grippy on a variety of pedals, but marred slightly by the overly thick midsole and lack of breathability.

Pros

  • +

    Well made and robust with impact protection

  • +

    Cordura upper is comfortable against the foot

  • +

    Excellent grip on a variety of pedals

  • +

    Elasticated loop to keep laces tucked away neatly

  • +

    Great vibration damping

Cons

  • -

    Not the most breathable option out there

  • -

    Slightly numb pedal feel

Ride Concepts is an American MTB shoe brand based in the mountains of Lake Tahoe, and its mission is to produce the most comfortable, durable, and reliable MTB footwear. Having appeared on the scene four years ago, the brand now has an extensive range of mountain biking shoes, including six women’s specific models. Flume is the most recent among them, launching in April this year, and I’ve spent the past couple of months putting them through their paces on a variety of trails around the UK.

The Flume comes in several options, from lace-up to Boa closure, and in both flat and SPD. We’re covering the lace-up flat model here, to see how it fares against the best MTB flat pedal shoes on the market. To find out whether or not they deserve a spot on our list of the best women’s mountain bike shoes, keep reading.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

The Flume comes in several options, from lace-up to Boa closure, and in both flat and SPD. We’re covering the lace-up flat model here, to see how it fares against the best MTB flat pedal shoes on the market. To find out whether or not they deserve a spot on our list of the best women’s mountain bike shoes, keep reading.

Design and aesthetics

The Ride Concepts Flume is a trail shoe designed with performance and big epics in mind, which means a lot of thought and effort has gone into making the fit as comfortable as possible. 

Running through the shoe’s construction starting at the top, the upper is made from Cordura, a super durable material that’s designed to be resistant to abrasions, tears, and scuffs. It’s fully welded and stitch-free, which adds to the comfort, while from an environmental point of view Cordura is a great material to make use of since it’s known to comprise recycled materials, so that earns the Flumes some extra brownie points. 

The midsole comes in the form of a thick EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) layer. EVA is a rubber-like polymer that’s both soft and flexible, which in the form of a midsole delivers supportive and easy movement. 

The outsole is Max Grip rubber – Ride Concepts’ softest compound – with a reverse hexagonal tread pattern, which varies across the surface from front to back. The majority of the tread, surrounding the ball of the foot and where most of the on-pedal traction is needed, consists of small and regular hexagonal shapes with deep, narrow channels separating them. This tread pattern bears some similarities to the proven tread found on Five Ten’s MTB shoes, and is clearly destined for pedal pins to create some serious grip.

At the extreme ends of the sole, at the heel and toe, the small hexagons are split in half, with the innermost sections cut away. This creates more space to traverse loose surfaces such as gravel, enabling the front and back of the foot to gain traction while walking. This forms a TPU toe and heel protection with, according to Ride Concepts, a reinforced anti-abrasion film.

Finally, where the inner part of the heel and outer edge of the arch is, the tread consists of larger hexagons, presumably designed to provide the most support and planted feel while off the bike.

Other small details make the Flumes easy and convenient to use, including the elastic lace tuck, a loop that holds the laces down when tied, to prevent any snagging. Meanwhile, there’s a heel pull tab to make them easier to put on.

Performance

In use, the Ride Concepts Flume shoes are super comfortable to wear, both on and off the bike. The highly cushioned collar cradles the ankle and offers excellent support and the Cordura upper feels pretty lightweight. While lace-up won’t be everyone’s choice, it’s pretty easy to achieve a comfortable, stable, and secure fit with them. Once tied, the elastic loop makes it easy to tuck the laces out of the way.

The combination of sole materials results in a stiff and responsive shoe that really helps you to lay down some power when you’re sprinting up a climb, while the D30 High Impact Zone Technology insole, combined with the rubber-like EVA midsole, definitely offers some serious vibration damping. 

However, as much as it’s important to reduce the fatigue caused by shocks from the terrain, as a rider I also like to remain relatively connected to the trail and the pedals, and I do find the stiff and very chunky soles to be a little numbing to those feelings. This is a personal preference of course, and for many a stiffer damped sole will be a huge selling point, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

The tread pattern and Max Grip rubber outsole are outstanding. Traction is easy to come by and when paired with my DMR V8 pedals I found my footing to remain consistently stable throughout my rides, which can go a long way when inspiring confidence on the trails. What’s more the TPU toe and heel protection feels very robust and has held up incredibly well to rough treatment on the trails.

While off the bike, the Flumes are comfortable to walk in and feel similar to hiking shoes. Their construction feels pretty burly overall, so hike-a-bikes through rough terrain are pretty easygoing.

The only thing that really lets these shoes down is the lack of breathability. While the Cordura upper has been hailed for this quality by the brand, it’s not something I personally experienced. The upper is indeed very comfortable on the foot, but since the shoe is apparently designed for all-day epics, I couldn’t help but notice a feeling of overheating on hotter rides. The shoe overall feels bulky, has a lot of substance to it, and I just found it to lack the ventilation it needed to keep me going comfortably for long hours in the heat.

Verdict

The Ride Concepts Flume MTB shoes are great all in all. They fit comfortably, they do a great job of protecting your feet, and they offer seriously confident grip both on and off the bike. They have some very well thought out details to make them easy and convenient to use, but they perhaps aren’t ideal for the hottest summer rides, or everyday riding in general, especially when they make it quite difficult to feel the pedal beneath your foot.

Tech Specs: Ride Concepts Flume MTB shoes

  • Price: $160 / £TBC (lace-up flat)
  • Sizes: US 5-10 / EU 38-44
  • Weight: 362g per shoe (size EU 39)
Mildred Locke
Mildred Locke

Mildred previously worked as a review writer for Bike Perfect. She enjoys everything from road cycling to mountain biking, but is a utilitarian cyclist at heart. Determined to do everything on two wheels, she's even moved house by bike, and can regularly be found pedaling around Bristol and its surrounding areas. She’s spent over four years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise comes from previously working in a bike shop and learning the ins and outs of the industry, and she's previously written for a variety of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, her ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch, followed by a gourmet campfire meal and an overnight bivvy beneath the stars.


Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg