Although Ride Concepts claims its new Vice flat-pedal shoe was developed with its dirt jump, slopestyle and BMX athletes in mind, it has features I’ve tested loads of times on mountain bike shoes in the past, so I thought I’d see how it stacks up.
The Vice is built around the company’s Fuzion sole, which features something called sloped-angle inverse hexagons, that vary in diameter from 9mm at the toe and heel to 7mm at the pedal contact area. In other words this is a waffle sole with different size indents to allow it to engage with the pedal pins and also help when walking. To further help grip, the sole uses Ride Concept’s in-house DST 6.0 rubber and features a D3O High Impact insole to absorb shock and a TPU toe bumper to resist rock strikes. A fully-gusseted tongue stops dirt getting in and the upper is a tough suede, which is also perforated for breathability.
The construction and features are pretty standard, and visually the Vice isn’t that far removed from a Five Ten Freerider – it’s even similar in price. The key difference is the DST 6.0 rubber isn’t as tacky as the Five Ten Stealth compound and, while this is something we criticise constantly when comparing shoes to Five Ten, in this case I’m wondering whether the rubber is harder because BMX/Slopestyle riders prefer that? I’ve heard companies claim a harder sole lets you reposition your feet more easily when you’ve taken them off to do a trick. I’m not a slopestyle rider, but I’ve never had an issue with repositioning my feet, even in the softest shoes.
Some manufacturers also claim riders don’t want a sole that’s soft because it wears out too quickly, which is sort of true, but few seem to actually have built a test shoe to verify this theory. Like most things, some products are based on conjecture, rather than what performs well in the real world. Personally, I think if you’re riding flats in whatever discipline you just want the most grip possible.
So where does this leave the Vice? It’s a well-built, comfortable shoe with casual styling that looks good on and off the bike. It might be perfect for BMX/Slopestyle, but if you intend to use this for trail riding, the grip isn’t as good as the equivalently-priced Five Ten Freerider.