Ride Concepts Powerline Shoe Review

A protective shoe with good feel

Pro Reviews Shoes

Ride Concepts is a fascinating company. In the tumultuous category of flat shoes, they entered the fray dominated by sticky rubber king, Five Ten. How can an upstart company from Truckee, CA take on a giant such as Five Ten, recently acquired by Adidas. There’s also the whole Teva shoe brand debacle spending millions to launch one shoe successfully and then promptly exiting the category.

But what founder Brandon Dodd saw was all opportunity. He saw a market of kids and women who were not getting the right shoes and the right fit. He saw the growing all-mountain category that was not getting the proper engineering and design attention. And he saw the opportunity to build a brand that would focus on great designs, leading-edge tech and shoes that would allow progressive mountain bikers to enjoy the sport.

Enter Powerline shoe, an aggressive all-mountain shoe that is supportive and protective with a mid-top design and a battery of protective features. It is important to note that they’ve launched about 16 shoes already (in one year) and this is version 2.0 in their design and production round.

We’ve been riding this shoe for about three months now and have some things to share about it.

Ride Concepts Powerline features:

  • Rubber Kinetics | DST 4.0 MAX GRIP Rubber Outsole
  • D3O High Impact Zone Insole Technology
  • D3O Asymmetrical medial collar protection
  • Custom-molded rubber toe cap and heel protection
  • Medial high-rise EVA midsole provides support and shock absorption
  • Fully gusseted tongue prohibits intake of dirt and debris
  • Tech Fit with shaped heel molding
  • Price: $150

How does it Ride

We have two key points on this shoe with one being fit and protection. The fit is great indeed with a shaped heel cup, supportive insole, and gusseted and padded tongue. This is not a shoe you can just slip in and out of so it does time and care to get in and out of them. But the tongue opens up nice and wide and the rounded laces stretch and slide well as you tug on them. It is a mid-top type shoe but only on the inside, to protect that big inside ankle bone of yours that sometimes collides with the bike. It seems to be a good compromise with pedaling as the outside of the ankle is not as restricted.

It is worth noting that this is not a cross-country shoe at all as the shoe will slow you down on mighty climbing efforts. It’s the bridge between a trail shoe and a downhill shoe so it is a bit of a dilemma when to take this shoe out as opposed to other lighter options. What we found was, if the knee pads are coming out to play, then these are a great compliment. If there are jumps, rocks roots and a decent probability of impact, then these shoes are coming out to play.

Do you kick rocks and roots? Or do they come up and attack you? In the past three months, we’ve done some good riding in Santa Cruz, Downieville, and Tahoe and on at least 4 occasions, kicked a rock or jammed a foot into a crevice while pedaling. Felt a lot of pressure and waited about 10 seconds for that dreaded piercing pain to commence indicating an injury. Each time, no intense pain and the alarm bells disappeared after a few minutes. This is a similar and satisfying feeling when a knee pad has done its job as well. One really has to pay attention to good protective gear since you think they didn’t do anything since there was no injury, thus one tends to discount the impact. These Powerlines protect well.

Hard landings too are handled well as the D30 on the sole and heel noticeably mute impacts.

A really cool product in the Ride Concepts line is these Coaster sliders. Slipping into these with a cold beverage after a long session is the ticket.

Is it sticky? It’s pretty sticky. A lot like Shimano flat shoes but not as sticky as Five Tens. So it’s a good compromise since these shoes and soles are very durable. One can opt for pedals with high pins for example if they want a more connected feel. Go for OneUp Composite pedals for example instead of RaceFace Chesters to get a more sticky contact.

What about trail feel

We’ve ridden the first-generation Ride Concepts Helion shoes and our main complaint was the lack of trail feel. The shoes were so protective and stiff that we didn’t get that same connection with the bike that we’re used to. It’s often good to feel the trail and to gauge traction and control. The old Helions were too muted for us but these new Powerlines got it right. They seem to have enough flex and feel designed to achieve a good connection with the bike through the pedal contact point. The Powerlines seem to have benefited from early feedback and Ride Concepts adjusted to give these shoes more feel and bike feedback.

Replacing the D30 insoles, we noticed a little more feel and vibration transmitted to the rider so that is an option for some if they prefer more trail feedback.

The Powerline in black and orange

Styling and options

These shoes and the others in the Ride Concepts line look amazing. They look like $200 shoes made with the highest grade materials and best construction. Materials are all ‘welded’ together and the materials resist moisture and scuffing well. Red of course on our test shoe is polarizing but they have it in black and gray as well.

And the key is there are about 30 other shoes in the line. If these shoes are too much or too little protection or weight, just go up or down the line and get the same consistent Ride Concepts materials and construction.

For a year-old company, we’re impressed.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $150

More info: rideconcepts.com

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • MBR says:

    How about providing weight for any shoe/product tested.

  • David says:

    I was just trying these shoes on yesterday. High levels of initial comfort, excellent heel hold, and solid construction. The toe box is quite roomy compared to the Specialized 2FO Cliplite shoes I normally wear. The only real downside is the weight. 98% of my riding involves a pedal up to get to the descents, and I noticed that these shoes are heavier than what I’m used to. At the same time, they are definitely more substantial and protective, so that makes sense. For lift-accessed or shuttle riding, I think the Ride Concepts Powerline shoes are a great choice.

  • Bill says:

    Looks like a great shoe for flats. I’m not sure shoe weight is an issue for most of us. Even if you have a 5 lb shoe on the up-stroke, remember there’s a 5 lb shoe on the downstroke to balance it out. I don’t get the shoe weight concerns unless someone is 3% body fat…

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