The Specialized Rime looks more like a fitness model for hardcore gym-class spinners or a piece of cyclo-tour gear than a high-performance trail shoe. But if you can get past the look and US$175 price, you’ll end up with a shoe that keeps your feet comfortable all day and leaves you wanting little else.
Specialized have a stellar reputation when it comes to footwear. Their shoes almost always fit well, and the Rime, which comes in an impressive array of 15 sizes (40 to 50, with half sizes between 42 and 46), is no exception. It's also quite light for a shoe with a Vibram outsole – our samples weigh just 411g each.
We have a hard time believing that every rider needs Specialized's one-fix-for-all Body Geometry varus correction, designed to counteract foot tilt when riding. However, while this built in 1.5mm of cant is noticeable when switching between shoes, it doesn't seem to affect comfort or power, and Specialized offer a shim kit if you wish to neutralize (or enhance) it.
While the Rime has fitness looks, its performance is worthy of all-day trail rides
The Rime is said to be a ‘7’ on Specialized’s pedaling efficiency index scale, where their race-level S-Works and S-Works EVO shoes measure 10. We found the nylon sole offered a great balance of on-the-bike stiffness (enough to keep feet happy and without fatigue after four-plus hours of pedaling) and off-the-bike performance (soft enough to hike in comfortably, without hotspots on your heels or elsewhere).
The Vibram tread offers excellent hike-a-bike performance, with great grip on rocks. However, it can be a bit slippery on steep trails and loose surfaces – we'd like to see bigger, more defined toe lugs, or maybe the option of toe spikes.
One of the features that conspires to produce the ‘fitness’ look is actually appreciated both on the bike and trail – the foam cushioned heel pad. We walked away uninjured from a 'tripod' landing off a sketchy drop when wearing the Rimes; with an ultra rigid race shoe we probably wouldn't have been so lucky.
The outsole is Vibram rubber, which gives excellent grip on rock and most trail surfaces
Though super-supple, light and comfortable, the Rime’s synthetic upper has proven very durable over the course of our four-month test period. It does stretch, however, which aids comfort but prompts fine-tuning of the closure a couple times during each ride.
The two forefoot Velcro straps are accompanied by Boa’s new S2 dial closure, which winds both ways, rather than having a separate release function. It uses stainless steel cable and is mounted on the forefoot strap rather than the side of the shoe, keeping it out of harm's way.
In the event of failure, the S2 ratchet is replaceable via a single 3mm Allen bolt, for about $20. We found it to offer good retention – we can only cite one instance where it was knocked loose in a crash – and easy fine-tuning of fit.
Instead of a mechanical ratchet release, the S2 dial ratchets in both directions for easy adjustment and removal