[Tested] Specialized RIME Flat

[Tested] Specialized RIME Flat

Ian Collins, 18/03/2021
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Ian Collins, 18/03/2021

Specialized has been on a tear the last few months, releasing shoe after shoe in what seems like an endless stream of new models. However, their latest foray is a bit of a mold breaker. The new Rime takes the angle of a flat pedal riding shoe, but with a far greater focus than usual on walkability. It isn’t every day that a brand claims that their shoe “delivers all-day walking performance” and means it, outside of the typical, expected marketing hyperbole…With that in mind, after just one look at the Rime, you’ll know right away that it isn’t a conventional riding shoe…

Details

  • 812 grams / pair – our scale, size 44.5 EU
  • Sizing: 36-49 (38.5-46.5 in half sizes)
  • SlipNotTM ST rubber sole
  • Expel mesh construction
  • EVA mids0le
  • $130 USD

Starting with aesthetics alone, Specialized went for a far more casual looking shoe. To me, it’s reminiscent of a trail running shoe and to a certain extent that is fitting…

The idea behind the Rime is that it is far more suitable for off bike rambling. Specialized set out to make a shoe that “hikes as well as it bikes”, and while that may be a stretch, this definitely isn’t your standard flat pedal riding shoe.

While some compromises must inevitably be made in order for a shoe to work nicely for both hiking and biking, the Rime still retains some key features – like the toe bumper shown above. It’s more minimalist than most flat pedal shoes, but it’s still there and fairly effective.

Tipping the scales at 812 grams for our size 44.5, the Rimes are fairly lightweight given their category.

Specialized utilizes the standard lugged pattern they’re using for the 2FO lineup across the majority of the outsole, only with a different toe and heel pattern for you guessed it – improved feeling off bike. The SlipNot rubber compound has been reformulated recently and much improved both in terms of traction and durability.

The heel features an angled strike wedge and the EVA midsole offers abundant, dense padding.

There are some new things going on above. First off, compared to the 2FO, the Rimes have much thinner laces and a handful of fabric lateral lace tabs. Additionally, the lace capture is quite a bit skinnier. All in all, I think the lacing worked nicely when it came to evening out pressure, but I do prefer the lacing on the 2FO as it’s a little more robust.

Above is a close up look at the Expel mesh in the tongue. It breathes really nicely, dries out quickly and offers dense, but airy padding that doesn’t seem to give any hot spots.

The upper is constructed from a bonded combination of mesh and TPU as opposed to a handful of stitched together panels. This means it has a little less impact protection, but it’s lighter, more comfortable and more pliable.

On the trail

When the Rimes showed up for testing out of nowhere, I knew absolutely nothing about them. To be completely honest, I snickered at the aesthetics initially, but they started to grow on me over time. Additionally, once I realized that they were geared toward banging around off the bike, their looks started to make more sense as well. Anyhow, the fit was true to size and they were quite comfortable, with no weird quirks.

The traction on the pedals is excellent – certainly on par with the excellent new 2FO Roost. It takes a bit of break in time until the rubber isn’t too grabby and you can adjust your foot position on the pedals as you please while rattling down the trail. Initially I found the shank similar in stiffness, but after two or three rides it seemed to soften up and the Rime was clearly, markedly more pliable. This is intentional – because the shank is tuned for being a shoe that you can walk in. I didn’t really find them to be lacking in power transfer, but if you’re looking for a very firm shoe, this isn’t it. As far as walkability was concerned, I made a point to ride these on photo missions and sessions that resulted in a bit of scouting. I never spent “all day” in them, but I had absolutely zero complaints regarding their walkability and comfort. I’ve certainly spent long hours in the woods in much less comfortable/supportive shoes.

Regarding some other features, although the toe bumper is toned down compared to heavier duty offerings, it does a decent job, but if you’re riding savage terrain or racing, then you’ll likely want more protection. Another laudable aspect was the quick drying element. Although this has been something we’ve come to expect from Specialized shoes in general, the Rime takes it a step further with even lighter, airier materials. If you find yourself crossing streams often on your rides, these are worth considering for that aspect alone.

Overall

While I may have had an initial chuckle at Specialized’s expense when the Rime first arrived at my doorstep, they’ve won me over and certainly can fill a worthwhile niche. They aren’t for everyone – riders looking for a great deal of protection and an ultra stiff shank should likely look elsewhere. With that in mind, if your bike rides consist of a great deal of exploring and hiking around off the bike, you’d be foolish not to have a look at these. If the “tech bro at an overpriced coffee shop look” is a bit over the top for you, have a look at the more subdued black and grey combo, which will have you flying under the radar. All in all, the $130 price tag is fitting and I really liked the feel of these shoes both on and off the bike.

www.specialized.com