So naturally, searching for a shoe that fits my awkward feet is not very easy. Three years ago I bought some Pearl Izumi Alp-X Enduro shoes. They fit the bill for a while, but I was surprised with how flexible they were. Ultimately, I wanted an every day shoe that could hike, dry out relatively quickly and transfer my power well. As bikepackers, we know that two of those things, good tread and ability to quickly dry, are important and not that difficult to find in a shoe. However, finding a shoe that has those characteristics on top of a shoe that can transfer my power was tough to find. I was turned on to the Specialized Rimes after a number of people mentioned their success with them.
At a $180 price point I was certainly hesitant to drop that much on shoes. While it was spec’ed with all the bells and whistles one would want, it is indeed a high price for a shoe, but I decided to give them a try. Below are the specs of the 2013 version of the shoe, there have been very minor changes since then.
- Performance-enhancing Body Geometry features in the outsole and footbed
- Vibram® rubber outsole for unmatched traction and durability
- Composite midsole plate for efficient cycling, but flexible enough for walking: 7.0 stiffness index
- New S2 Boa® cartridge closure, with improved durability for dirt and ease of use
- Incremental adjustment, braided stainless steel cable and easy 3mm Allen replaceable Boa cartridge system
- Durable synthetic upper is supple fitting with improved welded reinforcement to handle all-mountain use
- Wrap-style tongue for comfort, secure fit and keeps dirt and mud out
- 2-bolt cleat pattern, compatible with all major MTB pedals
- Approximate weight: 425g (1/2 pair #42)
The TestAfter two years of using only one shoe, the Specialized Rime, I have come to a conclusion and it is not straight forward. I break down this shoe in two ways; 1. day rides and 2. bikepacking trips. The reason I do this is because the shoe acts completely different when your feet swell. I should mention that I took the stock insoles out and replaced them with Super Feet insoles when I bought them. This year I replaced the Super Feet Insoles with Specialized Body Geometry ones. I do this in all of my shoes because I need that extra arch support even with the surgery I had – but most cycling shoes come with crap insoles anyways.
These shoes have seen a lot of use. There are a number of things you will see in the images, including the interior part of the shoe ripping and part of the insole lifting, but I would consider these to be normal wear and tear instead of a faulty product.
The Boa closure system is a great feature when you need to tighten down that heal on the fly. I did notice a slight heal lift in my rides early on, but once I broke in the shoe and tensioned it properly it no longer happened. One thing I have noticed is the shoe has a narrow toe box. Between stuffing my feet into ski boots each winter and my active lifestyle, I have developed a bunionette – a bony protuberance, or bump, on the outer side of the fifth toe. Over the years it has been getting worse, and I can feel it rubbing in my Rimes. While this is not a fault of the product, it does seem that the toe box is on the narrow side.
Bikepacking Trips: Everything mentioned above translates to my bikepacking trips – but this is where things get interesting. After two Colorado Trail trips, a Tour Divide run and countless other bikepacking adventures, I have noticed my feet swell… a lot. My foot size is 11.5 and they fit just fine into the Specialized 11.75 (45.5) size on a normal day. aAter days on end of cycling, my feet swell to more like a 12.5 size. Some trips are better than others, especially a non-race vs race situation. Overall though, I wish I bought a bigger size. My toes swell so much that my toe nails fall off, not a pretty picture. If I could go back and re-buy the shoe, I would do so in a 12.25 or 12.6 size to suite my bikepacking purposes.
The Vibram soles have held up extremely well, especially considering how much hiking they have seen on the Colorado Trail. The shoe exterior and structure has also held up extremely well considering the use, yet the interior is starting to fall apart. The left shoe near the Achilles heal is starting to rip. This area is very padded, and you can tell reinforced – it’s not a major issue yet.
The grip on the toe of the shoe is very reliable, comparatively to a climbing shoe. One other issue I did run into on the Colorado Trail last year was the Boa closure system. Somewhere in between Waterton Canyon and Copper Mountain I had broken one of the Boa cartridge closures. It was stuck closed which made for a difficult time to loosen up my shoe and take it off. Boa provides replacement parts for the life of the the product, so I got a replacement and the fix was very easy to do. While it was not an ideal situation, it was nice to have the cartridge stuck closed rather then open. While these shoes have performed extremely well as a bikepacking shoe, it just might be time to retire them for extended rides.
OverallThe Good: The Specialized Rimes have been extremely tough through the two years I have used them. The Velcro straps still have life to them, the Boa closure is actually very easy to adjust while pedaling, the stiffness is perfect for power transfer and your HAB. While I mostly used Shimano SPD’s with these shoes it also worked with my Time pedals. The shoes dry extremely fast and remain functional when wet. The Specialized Rime shoes also come with a nice reflective patch on the back of the shoe when you do have to ride roads, and an abundance of sizes will help you with the perfect fit.
The Bad: Overall I would certainly buy this shoes again, but I would get it in a larger size. The toe box is a bit narrow, the Boa closure system may have you carrying extra parts, the left shoe interior Achilles heal area has started to rip, the stock insoles should be thrown out right away, and the price is a bit steep.