The guy who designed this shoe obviously wore Lake MX165s back in the nineties, took racing far too seriously for a while, and doesn’t mind a hike-a-bike for elevation gain. He has designed a shoe that demands you stay on the bike whatever the gradient, but is more than happy for you to fail and get off and walk, and is aimed squarely at the rider who wants cross-country performance for all-mountain riding.The Rime comes out of the Specialized school of Body Geometry; these guys take product design and cycling science to the next level. Most noticeable is the footbed, with a soft, lengthways arch support, and a slight tilt to the outside at the front, which helps keep your knee and hip aligned and just feels ‘right’. While cycling doesn’t dish out the same punishment to feet and knees as running, some comfort and foot stabilisation makes sense, especially on longer rides. There are no panels or visible joins on the shoe’s inner side to rub on cranks, and mesh panels reside above midway on the shoe. The tongue folds over from the side, wrapping your foot like a sushi roll, offering both comfort and ease of use. Detailing is deliberate but not fussy, the Velcro straps are moulded and low profile, and the Boa fastener sits out of the way and works well. The heel is boxy and looks narrow, but my wide foot was easily accommodated by adjusting the straps. Without too much analysis, an aggressive sole with hard plastic tread suddenly doesn’t seem like the be-all-end-all underfoot. If you want to walk comfortably and safely, tread compound is important, so it makes sense that Specialized chose Vibram for the Rime’s sole. I could’ve done with a bit more tread under the toes, but I see why the designers chose a closer tread pattern in this high wear area. There was enough flex for comfortable walking, and the shoes stayed put when I had to scramble up on my toes, yet the Rime felt supportive; moderate to firm stiffness is how I’d describe it. The Rime is elegant, but not pretty; understated yet menacing. Equally capable of efficient power transfer on and off the bike, the Rime sits at the pointy end of mountain bike shoe evolution. LAURENCE MOTE
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