Teva is looking to break into the the mountain bike footwear market, and apparently have been sending out advance shoe samples to MTB bloggers at every corner of the net. Thanks to my buddy Adam at MTBR.com, I was added to this list as well, and last night Adam sent me a text to come over an pick up my fresh new pair of riding shoes.
Like a lot of you, I wasn’t sure what to think. Teva? Don’t they make river sandals? Does the bike industry really need another line of footwear from a company that doesn’t get mountain biking? I remember seeing Nike 6.0 ads featuring sponsored freeriders for a while, and never once actually saw the shoes in person. (that I can recall at least) And were they marketing to the BMX scene, or the MTB dirt jumpers? Either way, guys I know were stoked to be getting paychecks, (both riders and photographers) so that’s cool, even if no one I knew actually bought the shoes. Is Teva the latest shoe manufacturer to jump on the band wagon? When it comes to performance shoes for platform pedals, while Shimano, Vans, and 661 have all put out a shoe geared towards flat pedals, there has really only been one footwear line that stands out above the others: Fiveten.
While I love my 5.10s, they are some heavy shoes, and I can’t say the ones I have are the best looking shoes. So of course I’m going to say yes to trying out a free pair of shoes from Teva. Though inside my head I was thinking, “I hope these don’t suck— I hate writing negative reviews..”
So what were my first thoughts on receiving the shoes? The ones I have are actually pretty comfortable. I even wore them to work in place of the usual hipster sneakers I wear when I trod in the Mission in SF. In fact, I’m really stoked on them. The
I will say this though, when it comes to the color ways, you’ll love ’em or hate ’em. Teva didn’t try to play it safe with this one. I’m not a fan at all of the blue and yellow ones. (mostly because I dislike yellow immensely) Fortunately, the purple ones I received totally work for me, and I fall in the “love ’em” category. The only thing I’m not fired up about is the white – I’m planning to ride these things in the dirt, and that won’t look white for long. The rest of the shoe looks fairly easy to clean for the most part though, other than the vented areas, which will likely have dirt jammed in the crevices.
I was a bit concerned with the sizing initially, as they don’t make half sizes. I tend to wear a 42.5, as I like to have room in the toe box. The pair I have are a 42, and I was psyched to find they fit great, and my little piggies doesn’t feel suffocated at all. Since riders don’t wear shoes unless they fit, this is obviously a biggie. I’ve worn them to work two days in a row, and I’m digging them. When I’m heading out riding, I don’t feel like I need to drag a second pair of shoes with me either.
For those of us that ride with platform pedals, 5.10 has been setting the bar when it comes to shoes for traction and grip with platform pedals. Let’s just get this out of the way— these shoes don’t stick to the pedals the way 5.10 shoes do. I would argue that this is a very good thing though, and likely a result of the collaboration with pro freerider Jeff Lenosky. He’s known for being a technical rider that shreds the dirt just as well as street and park, and it is pretty tough to manual the way he does if you can’t move your feet around on the pedal. Personally, I don’t always want to be glued in one position on the pedal either, especially for jumping and jibbing on the trail. Since the comparison to 5.10s seems to be a recurring theme, I’ll mention them one more time: they feel the best right before the sole is worn out, and are about to need replacement. The grip with the Links felt like my broken-in pair of 5.10s, but this is straight out of the box.
On my first ride with the shoes, I didn’t think about them once, and didn’t come close to slipping a pedal. Since I actually did slip a pedal on my last ride with my Karvers, (likely due to bad foot placement that didn’t get corrected due to the overzealous grip) this was pretty sweet. I didn’t think once about having to replace my foot on the pedal, and had ample grip, even on steep, fall line sections of trail on the local DH trail.
The sole of the shoe doesn’t feel exceptionally sticky when riding around on low end pedals that you would find on a city bike. They are definitely offer more traction than a typical skate shoe, but much of the traction appears to be from the pattern, which does the job with pedals that feature traction pins. The toe and heel have a different pattern that won’t interfere with riding, but should help offer traction while pushing up for another run through your favorite technical line.
Doing a quick bit of homework online, the shoes also feature a cool water resistant coating from P2i, a world leader in liquid repellent nano-coating technology. Sounds good, and I’m glad the weather is nice right now so I don’t have to test this, but I have been reading up on their process.
The Links shoe will scheduled to list for $100USD.
For those not psyched on the color ways, there is a lower priced model, the Pinner, that will features a subdued color palette and a lower MSRP to boot. (Get it? To boot? ah, never mind… $80.00 USD)
I have yet to test the heel cushion, (thankfully) but it feels pretty good on the street, and will hopefully help prevent the bruised heels that so often come with bad days at the dirt jumps. So far I’m digging these shoes in a big way, and wearing them every chance I get.
For more about Teva click away.