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There are few good do it all shoes out there. By that we mean something you could wear downhilling, dirt jumping, trail riding, and also as a casual shoe. When Sombrio contacted us about reviewing their new Float Edition Low Tops, we were intrigued because when we first saw them at Crankworx 2011, they certainly looked like they could do it all. Fast forward to our conversation and they hadn't been made publicly available just yet (they are as of this week), so we were eager to try them out. Would the Sombrio Float Edition shoes be the "quiver killer" of the foot world?

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At the time, the only samples available were men's size 9 US. I'm usually a size 10 and occasionally a 10.5, so I was skeptical that they'd fit. When they arrived, however, I was surprised to find that they fit perfectly, so consider that if you ever purchase a pair. As far as feet go, I'd like to think that my foot is fairly "normal" - I don't have a massive arch, an overly wide foot, or any weird toes.

Out of the box, the shoes were very comfortable. Some shoes require break in time, but these didn't feel that way. The sole was sufficiently flexible, and they were so lightweight and low profile that it didn't feel like we were wearing bike shoes. One of the goals with this shoe was to make it super lightweight, and they nailed it on that one. As we looked closer, the overall construction also impressed us - it appears that Sombrio took their time when designing and making them. For example, key wear points near the front of the shoe are double stitched to improve durability. Smart thinking.

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It wasn't long before we took them to dirt, and by now we've used them on several downhill and trail rides. Other than a few minor scuffs and some slight discoloration where the cranks rub on the inside of the shoes, there are next to no signs of wear. Perhaps that can be attributed to the leather construction. It helps keeps moisture out on wet days and seems as though it'd withstand the test of time. The soles also look almost new. We'll update this review later if that changes drastically.

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When Sombrio set out to create their own shoes, they did so with a mission to improve on three elements - traction, durability, and dexterity. To improve traction, they came up with their own rubber compound dubbed FlyerSol. It's a moderately sticky rubber that is malleable and conforms to pedals well. The hundreds of little Sombrio logos on the soles do a pretty good job of gripping pins. In terms of pedal friction, we'd rate them right in line with the tried and true Vans waffle pattern, which is well below Five Tens. It's a happy medium that allows you to reposition your foot when you want to. Some will like it, some will want more.

The sole on these shoes is deceptively thick. When you fold the shoe in half, it seems as though they're quite thin. However, when you push up on the sole like a pedal pin would, they are pretty rigid. This means you won't feel the pins through the sole. What does that mean for dexterity? Many people like the feel of their pins through worn out shoes because they know exactly where their foot is on the pedal. Ultimately we feel like it's too big of a personal preference to really weigh in on.

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You can call us old school, but the navy/orange/white color scheme wouldn't be our first choice (personal preference). We're also hesitant about running anything with lots of white on it because white things tend to only look good for the first few rides. Lucky for those of you that, like us, prefer your footwear in mundane colors, Sombrio is also offering the Float Edition Low Top in black. Problem solved.

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Having used skate style shoes for several years, we're used to a wide profile throughout the entire foot. This helps with side-to-side stability regardless of how you place your foot on the pedals. For comparison, the sole of the Five Ten Freerider shown above measures nearly 1/2 an inch wider at the arch than the Float Edition Low Tops. That 1/2 an inch can be the difference between having two or three pins in contact with your shoes at the rear of the pedal.

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Finally, the sides and tops of these shoes are just plain thin, which again decreases our sense of stability on the pedals. Even in beefier shoes rolling an ankle is pretty common, and so is smashing a toe into a rock at mach ten. We'd be bigger fans if they were more structured. On the positive note, the thin sides mean the shoes are very light weight which is a good thing for anyone planning to use these on their flat-pedaled trail bike excursions.

What's the bottom line? The Float Edition Low Tops weren't the do it all shoes we had hoped for. When it comes to dirt jumping, trail riding, or a night on the town these will do well. Because of their thin sides, however, we'd opt for the mid-top Sombrio Loam, Slats, or Shazam Edition shoes for a more planted, protected feel when riding downhill. Those used to the velcro-like grip of super sticky shoes will likely find their feet wondering on bumpy trails in these shoes, but the trade-off in weight savings will let you push it that much further.

The Float Edition Low Tops are now available through your local shop, and should be popping up on www.SombrioCartel.com any day now. Keep it locked to their site for the latest and greatest that Sombrio has to offer.

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