Article and photos by Jason Van Horn
The Teva Links Freeride Mountain Bike shoe doesn’t look like a mountain bike shoe — and that is a great thing. Instead, it takes styling from skate shoes, with oodles of performance packed in for when you need it. It isn’t the grippiest shoe intended for use with platforms, but this is why I like this shoe so much.
Out of the box, my first impression was that it was just a really comfortable riding shoe. Intended more for freeriding and dirt jumping than downhill, I didn’t find the sticky rubber used on the sole to be exceptionally sticky. Instead, I thought the grip to be more along the lines of a well broken in BMX/skate shoe. My favorite skate shoes in the past seemed to always take a while to break in for riding, and once they did, it seemed like they were on their way to needing to be replaced. The Teva felt like this out of the box. (nice)
In my initial review, posted on my blog here, (http://www.ihatebikes.net/site/blog/fresh-gear-teva-links-mtb-freeride-shoes/) I compared the grip of the Tevas to the 5.10s, as they currently hold the record for the grippiest shoe available. When it comes down to it, the 5.10s will probably still pulled when I’m hauling out the DH bike and planning to ride gnarly steeps, but even a few months later, my preference has been to wear the Tevas out the door. They’re comfortable, light weight, look solid with a pair of jeans, and have proven to be great shoes whether I’m on my trail bike with platforms, BMX or fixed gear bike. The pattern of the sole interfaces with pins well, and with the right pedal the grip varies considerably. For street or skatepark riding where I want to be free to move my foot around I’ve taken to using plastic pedals, and it makes it easy to shift my weight around for manualing. I recently had the opportunity to try the shoes with PointOne’s slim podium pedal and the grip was like velcro.
I’ve had the shoes for a few months now, and they’re still my go-to riding shoes for platform pedal days. Not having to pack two pairs of shoes for a day out on the bike is nice, and my initial concerns about keeping them clean have vanished. When they’re dirty, I just take them to the sink, and after doing a quick wipe down with a sponge I’m good to go. Post rinse, I slip them on still wet, as the water repellent coating actually works. Then I’m out the door with clean shoes, including the white section which I was initially hesitant about in my previous post.
I’ve been riding in the shoes regularly, and not only are they still holding up, but they still look great. The soles are just now starting to show signs of wear. I’m a big fan of this shoe, and my biggest concern is getting a replacement pair after these invariably wear out. Fortunately, if your local dealer doesn’t stock them, they can be ordered direct from Teva. I found they run slightly big, as I’m often a 42.5/ 9.5 in most shoes, and the 42/9 fits me comfortably, so keep that in mind.
Anyway, they’ve made me a fan if that wasn’t already obvious.
Read Jason’s Fresh Gear: Teva Links MTB Freeride Shoes Review