The Ride Concepts Women’s Flume is the perfect mountain bike shoe for trail rides and backcountry epics. Unlike park flats, the Flume is intended for long hours of pedaling, and unlike cross-country race shoes, they are designed for hike-a-biking.
In my three months of testing the Flume, I put these shoes thru the ringer. I took them on bikepacking overnighters, on the wet and muddy trails of British Columbia, and the sandy steeps of Idaho. They were exceptionally comfortable for hiking and super grippy on the pedals.
I tested the flat, lace version though the shoe is also offered in a clipless (SPD) design and a version with a BOA closure.
Review In A Nutshell
- Comfortable and grippy for hike-a-bike
- Comes in clipless and flat version, as well as BOA or lace version
- Super grippy on the pedal
- Dries quickly
- Runs small, narrow in the toe box
Price & Where To Buy:
Sole Performs Exceptionally Well On The Bike And Off
I’ve always been a Five Ten loyalist, but my husband and son switched to Ride Concepts a few years ago. And now, I understand why: the rubber soles on the Ride Concepts are pretty much unparalleled.
Unlike many other flat shoes that were designed for the jump line or downhill park, the Ride Concepts Women’s Flume was intended with trail riding in mind. It has a sole that’s stiff enough to pedal in. And it also works well when you inevitably have to get off and walk.
The center of the sole is designed to stick to your pedal, while the heel and toe are designed for traction when walking up slick rocks or down wet roots. I’m still a fairly new convert to flat pedals after years of using SPDs, and I was VERY happy with how well the Flume’s stuck to my Race Face Chesters. I even used the shoes to race the Epic Rides Whiskey Off Road, and didn’t notice any discernable lack of power transfer compared to my ol’ trusty Five Ten Kestrels or my cross-country oriented Sidi Traces.
Similarly, the Flume’s did a great job of gripping surfaces while hiking–both with the bike and without. I found myself on a recent trip in Squamish without any hiking shoes, and used the Flume shoes for some rock scrambling with my son. They kept me upright and only slightly squeamish on the exposure.
Granted I’ve only been using these shoes for 3 months, but I’ve put a TON of miles on them in that time. (I’m training for a 400 mile bikepacking race so have been doing more than my fair share of riding).
Thus far, the shoes have held up pretty well. The bottom of the sole looks brand new with no show of wear. The material around both the toe and heel is pretty beefy and only has a few scuffs.
The shoe upper has some mesh, but even that is fairly durable. Mesh might not seem like the best option on a shoe that’s going to be abused, but I found that the mesh allowed the shoes to dry quickly when they got wet, and perhaps helped some with breathability.
The only issue where I have seen some wear is on the fabric that lines the inside of the shoe. Where it meets the exterior, it’s frayed somewhat. And despite the fact that there’s a heel tab to help you pull the shoes on, the material and padding at the heel has bunched and worn a bit.
Overall, considering how much I’ve used the shoes, I feel that they are still in pretty great shape and some level of wear- and tear is to be expected.
Laces Or BOA
Not everybody loves laces on their mountain bike shoes, but after breaking my fair share of ratchets and BOA closures over the years, I like that laces are simple. The Ride Concepts Women’s Flume has an elastic band to slip the ends of your laces into to keep them from becoming a hazard.
The tongue of the shoe is also fully gusseted which helps keep dirt and debris out of the shoe. The higher cut of the Flume (compared to a shoe like the Ride Concepts Vice) also helps with keeping sand and gravel out of the shoes when hike a biking.
If you prefer a more secure and snug closure, the Flume also comes in a BOA closure. This is a great option for those that don’t love laces.
I was in love with the Flume shoes in every way but one: they just didn’t fit my feet very well no matter how much I wanted it to. Supposedly, the shoe has been optimized for a woman’s fit with “toe and collar padding, slightly softer flex and tailored heel cup.” Honestly, I have no idea what that means, but I *think* it means that the shoe has a smaller profile than the men’s version.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to try the Flume on at Sea Otter before testing a pair. I say luckily because I normally wear a 6.5 or a 7 in shoes, and I was a solid 7.5 in the Flume.
Additionally, the shoes were very tight in the toe box for me. I don’t normally wear wide shoes and I think I have a pretty average width foot, but after an hour or so of riding, my feet would feel a little cramped every time.
At first, I thought it was just that the shoes needed to be broken in. And then, I figured I needed to relace the shoes a bit looser. But after 3 months of riding in the shoes, determined to make them work, I’ve realized that they’re just not going to fit my feet.
Of course, every foot is different, an these shoes might fit well for you, particularly if you have narrower feet.
Bottom-Line: The Ride Concepts Women’s Flume Is An Exceptional Trail Shoe Particularly For Those With Narrower Feet
The Ride Concepts Women’s Flume is one of the best shoes I’ve tested for trail riding. They dried quickly after stream crossings, allowed me to push my bike up steep hills, and gripped my pedals like nobody’s business.
There was a ton to love about these shoes, but unfortunately for me, the tighter fit made them uncomfortable for longer rides. My hope is that you’re lucky enough to have a narrower foot (I know there are plenty of you ladies out there!), in which case I would highly recommend the Flume.