The Stinger IIs use O’Neal’s own Honey Stinger rubber for a decently grippy sole, but their more casual looks belie the fact that they’re definitely based on a more traditional skate-style shoe rather than their more technical, bike specific rivals.
They have a relatively narrow overall fit which is great for slimmer slipper lovers, but that's bolstered by the fact that the mid section of the shoe is usefully wide, giving decent enough support on the pedal. Compared to many other mountain bike specific shoes on the market, there is definitely much more overall flex in the shank however. That means the shoe is really comfy off the bike, something that matches up perfectly with their BMX/skate style looks.
While the rubber is grippy enough, it's not especially tacky. While the the honeycomb tread pattern hooks up well with pedal pins, it doesn't offer particularly good traction off the bike or in deeper mud. The rather flexy sole means that although you get great feel, pedalling efficiency isn’t particularly good. Add in a rather broad heel cup that allows a lot of lift to waste your energy and it means they’re not the shoes you’ll want to use on a longer distance ride.
The shoe itself has plenty of padding which makes them super comfy, but also soaks up water despite the moderately weatherproof outer. There’s not much in the way of toe protection either, so hard strikes onto rocks are more likely to leave your toes worse for wear. If you keep yourself mostly to the bike (or skate) park then they’re decent enough, but for mountain use there are better options.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.