Ride Concepts - Product Performance Guide

Introducing our new product performance guide


We’re stoked to announce that we have developed a new product performance guide! We’ve dropped our shoes into terrain, flex, and volume ratings that are designed to help you find the right MTB shoe for your riding style and preferences as well as provide more detail around the fit.


In this blog we’ll cover the following categories—Terrain, Flex, and Volume—and break down what they mean and how they affect your on-bike experience. So that we’re all on the same page, we’ll define each category below before diving into the details. Just remember, these are guidelines meant to help you find the right shoe, but if you absolutely want to trail-ride in our Vice, we won’t stop ya.


This is a fairly abstract concept, but at Ride Concepts we design our shoes with an intended purpose in mind. We break down mountain biking into six disciplines (common, though not 101% consistent across the industry):

  • XC = Cross Country
  • TR = Trail 
  • AM = All Mountain
  • EN = Enduro
  • DH = Downhill
  • DJ = Dirt Jump (& Slopestyle)


All of our shoes have a certain amount of flex built into them to provide you with options around pedal feel, support, grip optimization, and intended riding use.


Lastly, we have volume which dramatically affects the fit of the shoe. At Ride Concepts we have low, medium, and high volume fits that accommodate different foot shapes. 

Now, let’s grab the devil by the hand and dive into the details!

The Nitty Gritty

Ride Concepts Terrain Overview


Oh, the categories we like to create in the bike industry! Freeride became All Mountain then went back to Freeride. Wasn’t Enduro the same as All Mountain?! But Enduro is definitely not Freeride! Downcountry is riding normal trails aggressively on an XC bike but then you still need an XC race bike? What even is trail riding? Aren’t we all riding bikes on trails? YES. It is all mountain biking, and it’s all fun, but different terrain and riding styles can benefit from specific shoe features. Grip, protection, weight, and breathability are all factors that can affect your on-bike experience. We loosely define each discipline below:

XC = Cross Country

Cross-Country riding is characterized by its undulating terrain, focus on uphill speed, fitness, long distance, and technical variation. A dedicated XC shoe will be light to keep rotational weight and fatigue away, stiff for ultimate power transfer and efficiency, and breathable with less protection to provide the most comfort for long hours in the saddle and to sustain watt after watt.

TR = Trail

As we work clockwise around our hex-map, we get slightly more aggressive. A Trail shoe will have all of the qualities of an XC shoe, but will sacrifice some weight for more protection as these shoes are generally more versatile and built to conquer a wider range of terrain. 

AM = All Mountain

Getting burlier, we arrive at the All Mountain discipline. Think Enduro without the clock. This category is defined by riding bigger, faster, more aggressive terrain and generally demands more protection around the foot, a stiff platform to prevent foot-fatigue on long, gnarly descents, and supreme grip for ultimate pedal contact. 

EN = Enduro

The main difference between our All Mountain and Enduro shoes is the pedal interface. They are built with all the same protection and features, but our Enduro shoes get a clipless outsole for ultimate power transfer and bike control while pushing your heart rate between the tape. 

DH = Downhill

As burly as it gets. Protection, speed, control, durability. The Transition and Traverse provide DH racers with the utmost foot protection and control while the TNT and Powerline offer similar amounts of protection, but keep all you Park Rats happy on flat pedals. 

DJ = Dirt Jump

Our Dirt Jump and Slopestyle shoes are quite different from the rest. These are designed with a softer outsole to optimize pedal feel while throwing tricks. With a more casual style, they transition well from the park to the pub.


Ride Concepts Flex Overview

Flex is defined by the amount the outsole of the shoe conforms to the pedal or terrain. The more flexible a shoe is, the more direct feedback you’ll receive through the pedal and the less support you’ll have. While flex preference ultimately comes down to rider style the general rule of thumb is:

A softer flex is best for Dirt Jump/Slopestyle/BMX where the rider is on and off the bike frequently—either throwing tricks or sessioning dirt jumps or the skate park.

Soft = more feedback + more foot fatigue

Whereas a stiffer flex is best for power transfer, efficiency, and foot support to reduce fatigue and cramping on longer rides or sustained, rowdy descents. 

Stiff = more support + more power

We had our shoe factory conduct a flex test—so the flex rating you see is science.

Level 1

Purpose: Casual / Lifestyle

Level 1 Flex is our softest rating and is only found on our Coasters. This flex is too soft for riding, but great for post-ride comfort and walkability.

Level 2

Purpose: Dirt Jump / Slopestyle / Freeride

Level 2 Flex gives the rider the utmost pedal feel by allowing the foot to slightly curve over the pedal. Found on our Wildcat and Vice series—this flex is proven in the freeride community, and chosen by several of our Factory Team athletes. Not recommended for sustained descents or rough terrain.

Level 3

Purpose: All Mountain / Premium All Mountain

Level 3 Flex retains a nuanced pedal feel, while providing some support to reduce foot-fatigue on longer descents. There is a more obvious power transfer and platform to push on than the softer Levels 1 & 2. 

Level 4

Purpose: Trail / Enduro

Level 4 Flex provides a strong power transfer to the pedal, support for long descents, and enough compliance for a secure pedal connection while offering a small amount of trail feedback.

Level 5

Purpose: XC / Enduro / Downhill

Level 5 Flex, found only on our Clipless offerings, is very stiff—designed for ultimate power transfer and support for hard charging riders. The stiff platform reduces foot-fatigue and offers stability and control for big miles and rough terrain


Ride Concepts Volume Overview

Volume is the vertical space that your foot occupies within the shoe. We make purpose-built performance footwear which means they are designed to fit fairly snug. However, trying to fit a high volume foot into a low volume shoe can lead to pressure points, numbness, and an overall uncomfortable fit. Riding in a shoe that works with your foot shape is crucial for performance—comfy feet equate to longer rides, and more confidence on the bike. 

Low Volume

Our low volume last is designed for an athletic fit. This allows the rider to achieve a more connected and secure feel without having to cinch down on the laces and risk foot numbness.

Medium Volume

Our medium volume last can accommodate a vast range of foot shapes, but an average volume foot will be most comfortable. Larger feet will be comfortable sizing a half-size up. 

High Volume 

This last is designed for a higher instep and generally wider foot though not a true “wide”. There is more room inside the shoe to reduce awkward pressure-points and increase comfort for sustained saddle-time.


While you can use any of our shoes to ride whatever or however you want, we design our shoes to excel in a range of terrains and styles. How much flex you want really comes down to your own preferences, now you can use our flex index to see which shoe will suit your style best. And lastly, there is more to fit than length. Our feet are three dimensional, obviously, and the volume of your foot will drastically affect your comfort in different shoes. We suggest using this guide to narrow down your selection and help make your shopping experience more informed. 

Thanks for reading, get out there and (try to) ride every day!