The contact points on your bike make a huge difference in your riding. Have the right pedals with the wrong shoes? Well, it’s kind of like being “sort of” pregnant I guess. (it doesn’t work)
I was drawn to the Powerline for a couple of reasons. DST 4.0 Rubber & D3o inlays.
Powerline Initial Impressions
Other Ride Concept’s flat shoes the Hellion and Livewire, feature a slightly less tacky albeit probably a bit longer wearing rubber DST 6.0. Well, as my old shoes aged out they lost a tremendous amount of grip which made them a bit sketchy to ride. If I’m looking at shoes for my favorite hobby I want all the performance I can find – it’s not like I’m buying shoes too often for riding anyhow. This isn’t an indictment of the DST 6.0 as I’ve never spun a bike in them, but frankly I just wasn’t interested.
The vanity factor: how they look. OK, so, the first time I saw the Powerline’s I was walking by a purchasing team meeting and saw the only the inner side of the shoe. Which instantly reminded me of Vans Chukkas. And I probably said something kinda snarky. After the eye rolls for interrupting the meeting I had a shoe tossed to me. I saw that the “mid” height was only on the inside of the shoe and felt the D3o along the inner extension. Hmm, maybe I had spoke too soon.
Seeing I was impressed by the D3o inlays the team pulled out an insole. More D3o.
I was told they run a bit small but I have Fred Flintstone feet – almost straight across at the toes. I popped on the size I typically wear and because of the wider toe box they fit well. It was nice having a shoe without excessive length simply to get my pinky toe from rubbing to hell. If your feet have more taper you might want to upsize a bit.
Being a riding shoe with more sole than the classic Vans, what looked to be a mid height inner actually fits below your tibia bump on the ankle. The extension and it’s D3o padding are well placed in a sensitive area of tendons and such that can often get clipped on cranks, pedals as well as stays.
Foot retention fore and aft felt good with moderate lace pressure. The heel cup was well shaped and I didn’t find lift in the shoe. OK, you guys have my credit card on file – order me a pair…
And, they’ll never be this clean again…
Ride Concepts Powerline First Ride
I took the Powerline’s out on one of my local San Diego loops at Mission Trails. Nothing too hard but an interesting balance of pedaling and descending. Throw some San Diego rocks in there too (fixed and loose as they seem to have so many of down here).
Right off the bat I noticed how well the rubber stuck to the pedals.
This continued my eye opening experience from a couple weeks ago when I tested the new FiveTen Sleuth shoes and noted how incredible the grip was. Well, reflecting on the FiveTen review, what I had noticed was how worn my previous shoes were. Between wear and rubber age they had gotten quite slick – but somehow I didn’t suspect the shoe. I even found myself looking at the pins on my pedals once trying to figure it out…
Pedaling the Powerline’s I found the shoe to have a good fit with minimal shift between my foot and the footbed. The shoe was stiff enough to provide support for my calves while being malleable enough to be comfortable when I jumped off and hiked a couple sections. (clearly just to test, not because I was being lazy and hiking hahaha…)
When I got to the top of the climb I spent some time walking around and appreciated shock absorption of the sole and insole combination. D3o works to harden on impact depending on velocity, so it’s a bit malleable until it’s struck at which point it “locks” together to dissipate energy as heat. Placing D3o in the insole provides an interesting balance of comfort and shock absorption. I suspect, but wasn’t willing to test on purpose, that the Ride Concept D3o insole would add to comfort and protection for riders “running out” a crash or freefalling and landing on their feet from a feature. I’ll update this post if I end up testing these features, but, as I age I work very hard not to crash!
Descending the shoe performed as expected. Good traction. Enough “give” to be comfortable without being sloppy. The Powerline’s have enough support laterally that you don’t feel like you’re going to “roll out” of them (some of the more “casual” riding shoes I’d been testing had this).
The combination of sticky rubber and balanced support versus squish in the insoles offered a nice balance of pedal traction. The Ride Concepts shoes had enough compensation to smooth some of the high speed chatter without feeling like you’re riding too far above the pedal axis.
Wrapping Up Initial Thoughts
It wasn’t warm enough to comment on the ventilation but when I took them off in the parking lot I had some tell tale dust in my socks, suggesting decent ventilation in the toe box.
Post ride shot. Notice the scuffs in the extended inner uppers.
I ride left foot forward so it makes sense that the right shoe shows some additional contact from the chainstay or cranks.
This ride didn’t have any particularly hard strikes, but, it only takes one of those for you to appreciate the added D3o protection. There are some sensitive bits of your inner ankle that these shoes cover.
Wrapping up my favorite bits so far on the Powerline shoes.
Attention to detail, simple and complex. Love the lace retention – blows me away that all shoes don’t have that now… D3o is effective and well placed. Wider toe box fits my feet great. If you’re fitting shoes for your little toe like I do this allows a less voluminous fit. Relatively light weight.
It will be interesting to see how the materials hold up in the long term to scuffs and cuts. I don’t suspect issues, but it’s a light material for sure.
Ride clipless? Check out the Ride Concepts Transition.