Ride Concepts Wildcat Flat Pedal Shoe

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
Views:
Wildcat 2
C70_wildcat_2 C70_wildcat C70_wildcat_3 C70_wildcat_7 C70_womens_wildcat_1 C70_womens_wildcat_2 C70_wildcat_4 C70_wildcat_5 C70_youth_wildcat_1 C70_youth_wildcat_2
Create New Tag

Compare to other Flat Pedal Shoes

Need more info? View our MTB Flat Pedal Shoes buyer's guides.

New Kid on the Block: Ride Concepts Wildcat Flat Pedal Shoe

A brand new shoe from a brand new company, the Wildcat offers excellent grip and lots of protection. A contender!

Rating: Vital Review
New Kid on the Block: Ride Concepts Wildcat Flat Pedal Shoe

When it comes to flat pedal shoes, we’re currently seeing a proliferation of new models and even new companies popping up, all promising great grip and better quality. As our recent flat pedal shoe Face Off proved, we do have more viable choices now than ever before, but there is still room to improve – and that is exactly what upstart Ride Concepts has set out to do. Hailing from Truckee, CA, this young company has spent the last 18 months perfecting the design of their first offerings, and the result certainly looks impressive on paper. What does it all add up to on the trail? Read on to find out!

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Very grippy on the pedals
  • High levels of protection
  • Comfortable and secure
  • Good at keeping debris out
  • May be too stiff/bulky for some riders
  • Slightly low on hiking

When it comes to flat pedal shoes, we’re currently seeing a proliferation of new models and even new companies popping up, all promising great grip and better quality. As our recent flat pedal shoe Face Off proved, we do have more viable choices now than ever before, but there is still room to improve – and that is exactly what upstart Ride Concepts has set out to do. Hailing from Truckee, CA, this young company has spent the last 18 months perfecting the design of their first offerings, and the result certainly looks impressive on paper. What does it all add up to on the trail? Read on to find out!

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Very grippy on the pedals
  • High levels of protection
  • Comfortable and secure
  • Good at keeping debris out
  • May be too stiff/bulky for some riders
  • Slightly low on hiking traction/comfort in some conditions

Ride Concepts Wildcat Highlights

  • Gusseted, Flex Seam, High Abrasion Air Mesh tongue
  • Elastic lace stay
  • Webbing tongue stay
  • Synthetic PU Nubuck/High Abrasion mesh upper
  • Synthetic PU Nubuck Power Strap
  • 1.5mm perforations for breathability
  • High Abrasion Mesh toe box
  • Abrasion coated toe cap
  • Breathable, wicking Tech Mesh interior liner
  • High Abrasion Mesh heel collar
  • D3O Impact Technology insole
  • EVA midsole
  • DST 6.0 - Ride Concepts x Rubber Kinetics outsole and tread pattern
  • Men’s / Women’s / Youth specific fit options
  • Sizes: 7-13 (Men), 5-10 (Women), 3-6 (Youth). Half sizes available on Session series in 2019, Flow and Launch series will have half sizes as of the launch.
  • Weight: 523 grams (Men’s size 46/12US, verified)
  • 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects
  • Availability: November 1, 2018 (Session series, rest of range later in year)
  • MSRP: $120 USD

Initial Impressions

We literally had no idea what to expect when we received our first Ride Concepts sample, since this is the company’s very first product. We were pleasantly surprised both by the impressive feature set and the general look and feel of the shoe. For this first test we took delivery of the Wildcat, which Ride Concepts describes as a “mid-height, sticky-soled, flat pedal brawler.”

Before digging further into the details of the shoe range, we decided to reach out to Ride Concepts Founder and President Brandon Dodd to get a little background info.

As I discussed these challenges with other riders, families and friends it became clear there was a need for a better, gender specific bike footwear option. Ride Concepts was formed and we’ve been hard at work since.

Vital: How, when, and why was the company formed?

Brandon Dodd: Ride Concepts was formed Spring 2017. Our office is located in Truckee, CA. We created RC because of a shared family need for better fitting, higher performance bike shoes. My son Noah is an aggressive bike park and downhill mountain biker. We just couldn't find shoes to properly fit him. The same year I had three flat pedal shoes fully delaminate and fall apart. As I discussed these challenges with other riders, families and friends it became clear there was a need for a better, gender specific bike footwear option. Ride Concepts was formed and we’ve been hard at work since.

Vital: Where are you based and where do you manufacture?

BD: Each shoe and sock is initially conceptualized and designed in Truckee, we then work with multiple talented designers in the US and Canada. Marketing is managed in house. Footwear is manufactured in Asia while sock production takes place in Italy.

Vital: Can you elaborate on your distribution strategy?

BD: We’re taking the brand to market via a few different channels:

  • Wholesale channel: IBD dealers for US and Canada. Managed by internal sales manager and external sales force.
  • International channel: We’ve signed incredibly strong bike distributors throughout the world. We'll launch internationally in UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
  • Direct-to-consumer channel: Yes! There are long term plans for RC e-commerce sales.

Back to the shoes, then. For their first catalog, Ride Concepts has produced three different ranges of shoes, the Session, Flow, and Launch series. The Session series is the more affordable option and features the Livewire, Wildcat, and Hellion flat pedal shoes as well as the Coaster sandal for the post-ride beverage runs (bonus points if you can name the trails/bike parks that inspired the naming convention). The Flow series includes the Powerline and Skyline flat pedal shoes as well as the Transition and Traverse clipless options. Finally, the Launch series proposes the TNT, the most aggressive flat pedal shoe made for “riding outside your comfort zone for extended periods of time”. Factor in women and youth specific options and you're looking at an impressive catalog for such a young brand (the Session series will be available by November 1, the Flow and Launch series will follow later in the year).

Looking over the feature list, we could not help but be impressed. From the D3O padding in the insole to the thoughtful selection of different materials, it is clear that Ride Concepts has put a lot of effort into the design. Our Wildcat shoe features a mid-ankle design, while the other shoes in the Session series offer a lower, classic cut. As with the other shoes in this series, the sole is made from a proprietary compound and a specific tread pattern that Ride Concepts developed together with Rubber Kinetics (“Dynamic Surface Technology” or “DST”). There are three different versions of the sole available, the one featured here on the Wildcat is the middle-of-the-range DST 6.0 option designed to offer a good blend of grip and longevity. The TNT shoe is the only shoe to get the ultra-grippy DST 4.0 option, while the clipless shoes get the firmest DST 8.0 version.

This is among the few times D3O has been used this way.

The Wildcat features an EVA midsole for comfort, but Ride Concepts did not stop there. They also included two viscoelastic D3O pads in the insole to provide extra protection during harsh landings. In the range-topping Flow and Launch series, the shoes also make use of D3O padding around the medial collar. This is among the few times D3O has been used this way.

The Wildcat uppers feature plenty of highly abrasion-resistant materials, and a burly, reinforced toecap should keep your little piggies safe during any unforeseen, high-speed encounters with rocks, logs, and other trailside objects out to ruin your day. There is plenty of padding in the tongue and around the ankle collar. To help you really secure the fit of the Wildcat, there is an extra Velcro strap that can be cinched down to optimize support and keep your laces in check at the same time.

On The Trail

A long feature list is all well and good, but when it comes to flat pedal shoes, grip is king. Having tested a number of flat pedal shoes recently, we were certainly a bit apprehensive before our first ride with the Wildcat, particularly since Ride Concepts didn’t even send us their grippiest compound to test first. Our concerns would soon prove unfounded. 

Going up, going down, your foot stays where you put it even through the roughest trails.

With the caveat that we have yet to test the Wildcat over a longer period of time and in different conditions, the grip delivered appears to be nothing short of impressive. Just a hair shy of the glue-like adhesive capabilities of Five Ten Stealth rubber, RC’s DST 6.0 compound is probably the most grippy other option we’ve tested to date, at least in the dry (and it gets pretty damn close!) Paired with a good flat pedal, we’ve yet to fault it. Going up, going down, your foot stays where you put it even through the roughest trails. Adjusting your foot position requires you to lift your foot off the pedal, especially if you are rocking a pedal with grub screw pins - these are a great match for the tread pattern of the Wildcat. To finish the inevitable comparison with Stealth rubber, Stealth seems to rely heavily on the surface grip while RC’s 6.0 compound appears to generate more of its grip from the tread pattern as well.

The Wildcat runs perfectly true to size, with a snug fit that should work well for people with narrow to normal feet. The addition of the extra strap really helps secure the fit, providing a very locked-in feeling on the bike. The sole is also quite stiff, and the overall result is a shoe that provides great support but not a lot of pedal feedback. If you like feeling your toes curl around the front of the pedal, look elsewhere. As previously discussed, there are a number of other options in the Ride Concepts catalog, some of which may well prove to be less uncompromising on stiffness (in particular the lower cut models). Note that the ankle protection of the Wildcat is particularly comfortable, with no rubbing of the ankle bone that we’ve sometimes experienced on other mid- or hi-rise shoes. It also does a better-than-average job of keeping trail debris out of your shoes.

Off the bike, the Wildcat is comfortable enough, although the primary design goals of on-the-bike performance shine through at all times. This is a performance-oriented shoe, and as such, it can feel a bit bulky for walking around in or hiking with after a while. We’ve only had our sample for a week, and it’s already broken in a bit over that time, so this feeling might well go away with a few more hours of wearing it.

Things That Could Be Improved

After this short initial test period, we have nothing much to offer in terms of criticism. The Wildcat is fairly stiff and a bit bulky, but that is to be expected from a mid-rise shoe with this much ankle protection and support. Other models in the range may well prove to be more “all-day, every day” in nature.

Long Term Durability

The Achilles heel of flat pedal shoes and the very reason for the creation of Ride Concepts as a company, reliability is really where the rubber hits the road (pun fully intended). After just a week on the trails it is way too soon to tell if Ride Concepts has succeeded in their mission of building a more robust shoe, so at this time we’ll just point out that the build quality seems absolutely first-rate, and the choice of materials and the general construction seem coherent with the design goals. There is no stitching around the toe cap, which experience tells us is a potential weak spot, but at this point we can only assume that Ride Concepts feels confident enough in their designs to stand by their reliability claims. We’ll certainly keep riding our sample to see how it holds up over time, and we’ll come back with an update at a later date.

What’s The Bottom Line?

After years of status quo, the flat pedal shoe market is heating up. Ride Concepts is a new company throwing its hat in the ring, and based on our experience with their first samples, they have come well-prepared to the fight. The Wildcat offers plenty of grip, good support and great protection, and it manages to do all that without breaking the bank. Time will tell how the shoe holds up to abuse, but since the company was created precisely to address a legacy of longevity concerns in this market, chances are good it will go the distance too. If you’re in the hunt for new kicks, definitely put Ride Concepts on your short list.

More information at: www.rideconcepts.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 45 // Years Riding MTB: 13 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Johan Hjord

Specifications

Product Ride Concepts Wildcat Flat Pedal Shoe
Riding Type Dirt Jump / Slopestyle, Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Rider Unisex, Women, Kids
Construction Synthetic upper, abrasion-resistant paneling
Rubber Type "Dynamic Surface Technology" or "DST"
Sizes 7-13 (Men), 5-10 (Women), 3-6 (Youth)
Colors Black, Grey, Lavender, Black/Pink
Weight 1 lb 2.4 oz (523 g)
Miscellaneous Weight: 523 grams, Men's size 12US, verified.
Price $120
More Info

​rideconcepts.com

More Products