When it comes to shoes and gear for mountain biking, my gear always ends up covered in dust and dirt, so the arrival of the brown Aaron Chase edition of the Leatt 3.0 flat pedal shoe was a well-received addition to my collection of riding gear.
We’ve been impressed with every category Leatt has taken on to date, and were looking forward to seeing how their take on the flat pedal MTB specific shoe performed and stacks up to popular alternatives.
Features & Specs (via Leatt)
- Optimized waffle grip pattern in pedal area
- “RideGrip Compound”
- Synthetic Leather with synthetic suede toe box
- Control flex shank: medium-hard flex control
- Anti-compression midsole
- Moisture-wicking, quick-dry/anti-bacteria/odor carbon materials
- Inner ankle protection
There are a good number of shoe options available for mountain biking these days, so if you’re in the market for a new pair of shoes you now have some options.
Unlike the skate shoes we wore in the past, the biggest upgrade to platform pedal specific shoes has been the rubber. Without the ability to grip to the pedals, you may as well go back to wearing your waffle pattern Vans from the 80’s.
We’re fans of that classic waffle pattern as it works, but for riding bikes, a bit more grip is crucial; the rubber compound utilized in the 3.0 offers a good amount of grip, though it isn’t the stickiest out there. With a good pedal combination we found traction was more than ample.
Teva utilized a similar patterned in their well-received but now discontinued shoe line. The pattern used in the 3.0 shoe is similar, though they limited it to the area where you’re actually weighing the pedal. (The rubber is also noticeably softer than the rubber Teva used.) This is where the Leatt shoe starts getting interesting, as Leatt adds what they call mud channels to help keep mud off the soles. They also add to the walkability factor and traction of these shoes, which is a nice bonus as we tend to find ourselves riding to where we dig.
On the trail
When it comes to MTB shoes, the gold standard for the last few years has been 5.10. The Leatt 3.0 is a solid offering that provides a solid alternative with well thought out features that make them a great option.
The design of the shoe incorporates all the features you could want in a platform pedal shoe. In terms of feel, the Leatt shoe hits upon nice balance; it’s not so stiff you lose pedal feel, but stiff enough your feel are protected from impacts coming through the pedals. There is toe and ankle protection where you need it as well, making them a good option for dirt jumping.
Traction is the one feature that makes or breaks a mountain bike flat pedal shoe, and the 3.0 offers plenty. I tested them with a number of different platform pedals that included Shimano XT, Spank Oozy, and OneUp. Depending on the application, I had a different favorite in terms of the pairing. (For trail riding I like maximum grip; for dirt jumps and jibby bike park style riding, I like a bit less “stick” for moving around)
I did have a bit of a challenge in terms of sizing, but it was more of a knee jerk reaction to a mis-shipped sample that had the wrong size shoe in the box. Concerned about having a shoe that was too small, I went too far the other direction, resulting in a shoe that was at least a 1/2 size too big.
The material and padding of the shoe does create a feel that’s a bit on the wide side; it also could be because they’re slightly large for me. Since they were a bit large, I simply went with it and run heavier weight wool or waterproof socks, utilizing them for cooler and wet conditions. My cranks already get the anodizing rubbed off no matter what, so at this point it doesn’t bother me.
The Leatt 3.0 Flat pedal shoes list for $130. Check them out at Leatt.com or support the site by shopping for your next set of MTB shoes at retail partner JensonUSA.