A certain climbing shoe company has led the way in footwear for flat pedal mountain bikers for ten years now and almost the entire time they have had zero competition. Shimano’s attempts have a very space geek chic look that hasn’t proven that popular, various skateboard shoes have been co-opted but proven to be insufficient for the task at hand, and most recently Teva have stepped up to the plate with some very bright yet Dad shoe designs. Five Ten have ruled the roost because their sole was head and shoulders above the rest, they are sturdy and hardwearing in the worst conditions and, well, they had some very popular antipodean racers promote their runners. However, Five Tens have sometimes been described as looking somewhat like posture corrective shoes, or a shoe that got elephantisis.
Sombrio, the original rider owned clothing company, have stamped their dancing shoes and intend to help mountain bikers not only get a grip on the trails but not look like a square whilst having a beer in the pub after a ride.
At Crankworx they surprised many by releasing details of not one but a whole range of shoes (there are three high tops and one low top, all available in two colours) which aren’t just pretty boy clogs but are, as Chad Hendren (Sombrio marketing menace) describes, “tyres for your feet”. Sombrio have worked to develop a tri-compound rubber sole called the Flyer Sol (or FS) which is sticky, tough, durable, lightweight and still allowing for feel on the pedal.
As the spiel says, “Sombrio FS Division is the result of research, design and testing of a proprietary molecular rubber structure for the bicycle action sports arena. From this was born an innovative FS compound and high friction rubber application that is both malleable and conforming to the pins of rider’s platforms unlike any other. Our outsole tread pattern features a positive cast lug design to enhance traction, and hooks pedal pins, features no catch points, and guarantees a consistent grade toe to heel. Our cup sole design is modern, lighter weight and uses less material than traditional cup soles for unmatched dexterity. Our rocker is flatter to enhance pedal feedback, provide more sensitivity and guarantees wear comfort. We set out to improve three elements: traction, durability and dexterity.”