Weight: 425 g / 15 oz. each (Size 42)
Size Tested: 43
- Vibram outsole
- Composite midsole
- Body Geometry
- S2 Boa closure
- Synthetic upper
Feet tested on: Street shoe size 10. Very boney, medium-width feet with numerous knobs (sixth toes, heel spurs) from the last 15 years of skiing way too much in double downsized boots.
Duration of test: 2 months, 6-8 hours a week.
Location of test: Lake Tahoe, California
Testing Conditions: Sunny, hot, dry weather; a couple of random thunderstorms. Mostly dry, loose, and dusty conditions. Some great hardpacked damp rides after thundershowers.
I’ve always wondered why most mountain bike shoes seem like they weren’t really designed for the sport of mountain biking. More often than not, they seem like glorified road biking shoes with sole lugs added as an afterthought. It always felt like I was tap-dancing anytime I walked, and they slipped on rocks as if I was wearing plastic soled shoes, because, well, I was.
But recently, a few companies like Mavic, Pearl Izumi, and Specialized have started making shoes aimed at the growing all-mountain/enduro market. I’m not talking about heavy DH skate-style shoes with a shank and cleat holes, but real XC riding shoes, with features like lightweight, stiff, and grippy soles with great traction, features I think almost all trail shoes should have. One such shoe is the Specialized Rime.
Sure, low-end bike shoes have looked like low-top hiking shoes for years, but the Rime is no low-end bike shoe. First, the Rime sets itself apart from other shoes in the Specialized line because it is a performance mountain shoe with a Vibram sole. That isn’t a typo, the Rime actually has a Vibram sole. Seems like a logical type of sole to have on a mountain bike shoe, but it’s a rarity among performance-oriented shoes.
The Rime also features a composite mid-sole with a stiffness of 7 on Specialized’s scale of 1-11. The shoe is closed with two Velcro straps and an S2 Boa cartridge that Specialized say has been updated for durability and better dirt performance. The Rime’s synthetic upper is vented with numerous mesh panels, and the shoe features both a wrap-style tongue and Specialized’s Body Geometry features (more on those in a minute) integrated into the outsole and footbed.
I have owned Specialized shoes in the past, so getting the correct size was not a problem for me, but I have found Specialized shoes run a bit larger than most other brands. For example, I recently got a pair of Giro shoes, and they fit roughly a half size smaller than the Specialized.
The Rime fit me great out of the box, so the first thing I did was attach some cleats. This is generally a pretty quick process for me, but in this case I found my first gripe with the Rime. When the cleats were centered on the shoe, I found the clearance between the side of the shoe and the crank arms to be an issue. I was experiencing a shoe-to-crank rubbing that I’d never had with any other shoes and my Shimano XT pedals.
To remedy this, I had to offset my cleats as far as they would go toward the medial (inside) of the shoe, which effectively moved the shoe away from the crank. But this also left me with very little medial side clearance of the cleat area/pedal interface. I don’t believe my cleat offset has negatively affected my pedal stroke or efficiency in any way, but it does occasionally make a quick clip-in a little awkward and difficult. I wasn’t able to try different pedals, but given that I’d never had this happen with other shoes, I’d imagine that others might encounter this same issue.
The Salewa Mountain Trainer is a comfortable, well constructed approach shoe that falls closer a to low-cut hiker than a climbing shoe, and is ideally suited for long approaches or scrambling.
The Specialized SX Trail falls between a burly trail bike and DH rig, which, when dialed, will rail the downhill and will climb when you need it to.