I first came across Ride Concepts shoes just before Interbike 2018, and I knew immediately I wanted to try them out because they’ve got a trick up their sleeves: D3O, a material that promises flexibility and comfort without sacrificing impact protection.
D3O has been used for knee and elbow pad applications for several years now. This material feels soft when you squish it with your fingers, but as soon as it encounters an impact, D3O hardens to protect you. That means you get comfort and mobility when you don’t necessarily need the protection. But as soon as you hit the dirt, you’ve got a tough shield between yourself and a hard object.
Ride Concepts applies D3O material to its insoles to lend that same protection to your feet. An EVA midsole, molded toe, and heel guard up the protection quotient too. These shoes are heaven for riders who never met a huck-to-flat they didn’t love.
But beyond that, Ride Concepts gets something else right with the Livewires: They look amazing, and they’re so comfortable that they’ve become an everyday shoe for me. They might be the most comfortable shoe I own — and I don’t just mean riding shoes. I wear these shoes everywhere, on the trail and off.
That said, I want to bang these shoes against a few more rocks and roots before I’m ready to give the design a thumbs-up. I’ve used D3O protective products before with great success, so I have high hopes here. And the Livewires feel super stout. The rubber outsole sticks to my pedals superbly, so the Livewires should complement my exploratory journey back into flat pedal riding perfectly.
Ride Concepts has a full line of shoes available in both flat-pedal and clipless options.
A few things I’ll be looking for while testing:
- Is there adequate heel support both while climbing and descending?
- How do the uppers hold up to abrasions and regular abuse?
- Is the D3O insole a noticeable benefit?
Keep an eye on VeloNews.com this spring for my full review.