Fresh from Bontrager is a wild looking pair of scuff-able, thrash-able, walk-able shoes for the trail rider. Here’s our two cents after a couple rides.
Wrapped in from what appears to be some sort of alien reptile skin, the Rhythm shoes look like no other shoe we’ve seen. The small hard plastic hexagon dimples give the shoe a tough armoured exterior, but the way they are independent from each other gives the robust material flexibility around the foot.
Boa dials are pretty hot right now, in place of heavy velcro straps or cruddy laces this system allows shoe manufacturers to get a bit creative with the way a shoe fits the foot. Then there’s the weight saving, and bad weather performance of the whole concept too.
The other distinctive feature you’ll notice is the height of the inside of the shoe, providing protection for your ankle from crank arms and the rear end of your bike. If you’ve ever copped a fast moving seat stay on the bone of your ankle you’ll know how it feels.
The cleat slots are long and rearward, gravity riders tend to slide the cleats back toward the centre of the foot, these shoes provide a very useable range for gravity and trail riders.
Underneath the sole is rubbery and very grippy, the midsole doesn’t miss out on grip too, you’ll appreciate that during those times when you’re not quite clipped in and standing on the pedal, no hard plastic sections to spit your feet off here.
Just walking around in the Rhythms we found them quite comfortable, the tread on the toe becomes quite shallow towards the front helping the foot roll forward as you take a step, and no heel slip was noticed.
You’ll certainly be labeled as a cyclist with these kicks on though, they might have a trail/all-mountain purpose but certainly not the casual looks with such funky materials, bright orange/red colour and the Boa dial.
The upper feels quite stiff during the first ride, we’ll see how that softens as the shoe beds in, hopefully it softens and conforms to the foot. We’ll be back with more thoughts after some more riding, but first impressions are good!
We’ll keep on giving the Rhythm shoes some trail time, stay tuned for more thoughts on how they hold up.
Pricing is $259, and available now from your local Trek dealer.