I will start off by saying I do not have your average set of feet. In middle school I broke two extra bones that were located on the inside of my feet while playing football. Because of this, I had surgery to remove these bones that roughly 30% of people are born with. While the doctors were in there, they inserted a butterfly on the other side of my feet to create an arch for my ailing flat feet. To top it off, because of the butterfly they had to stretch out my Achilles tendon. This took place in both of my feet, one after another over the course 6 months.

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 Test

After 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.

Day Rides: The shoe has outperformed my expectations, even after two years of abuse. The Rime has accomplished countless day rides and held it’s own with the stiffness index of 7.0. While not the most stiff shoe out there, it was a perfect complement when I found myself hiking up a steep sections of singletrack in Colorado. While it may be hard to tell, it seems that the stiffness has not changed all that much over the years. Through rivers or creeks, the shoe tends to drain very well and it does not change in performance when wet. Sure, it adds some weight, but it drys extremely fast – much faster than the X-Alp I previously used. While it drys quickly, the downfall is that it does not have much insulation to keep your feet warm.

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.

Specialized Rime 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.

Specialized Rime 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.

Specialized Rime

Overall

The 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.

Specialized Rime

If you are looking for a cheaper option the Rime Elite is a similar shoe for only $120. Head over to your local bike shop to order yours today or take a click over to Specialized.com

9 Comments

  1. I love these shoes, they’ve quickly become the only ones I wear on the bike. I also had the material in the heel cup start to wear out, so I got some sticky backed Cambrelle fabric from a shoe repair place and cut a small section to layer over the worn area. It’s pretty durable and any time it start to break down, you can just peel it off and put a new bit on. I also carry a spare boa dial on longer trips so if there’s and issue I can just unscrew it and replace it in a couple of minutes. They’ve got rid of the boa dial this year which I think is a shame.

  2. I’m a huge Spez. shoe fan. However, I bought these shoes just before leaving on the 2012 Tour Divide and by the time I hit Antelope Wells, they were done! The top of the shoe is great! They look virtually brand new. The sole is the issue. It’s shredded. Yes, I rode singlespeed so I probably walked more than many but my two attempts at cycling shoes with Vibram soles have both met with massive failure.

    • Neil Beltchenko
      Neil Beltchenko

      No issues with premature sole wear over here. Does the tread pattern look similar to the ones in the photo? I wonder if they made any changes between years.

  3. This 2016 model Was my shoe of choice on the Black Hills Expedition, 436 miles of Rocky Single Track.. i walk over 35 miles.. almost 100 stream crossings.. Love Them.. I wear a 43.5 road shoe.. for theses shoes i chose a size 45.. no issues.
    #BarYak BarYak.com

  4. These shoes are a total and complete JOKE. The ONLY thing good about them is that Specialized stands behind their products. I’m on my third pair in less than two years. First pair the loops on the back and seams along several edges totally failing after about 3 months of riding. The second pair the inner cuff along the ankle disintegrated into nothing and the foam fell out after 7 months. My sidi bike shoes lasted over 7 years…. I’d say do not buy these. I personally won’t buy anything else from Specialized, ever.

  5. scott rogers

    NONYA ?
    7 YEARS WOW ? IN ARIZONA THAT WOULD TAKE A TON OF SHOE GOO ~IMHOP SPECIALIZED MAKES A GOOD PRODUCT

  6. I have used a pair of these for my daily commutes, some short biking packing trips and long MTB races (up to 700km), touring and the occasional short course MTB race or CX, rides with LOTS of walking – for more than 5 years. These shoes would have > 10,000km on them. I have replaced one of the BOAs. The rest are worn, but working perfectly. I will buy another pair for when they wear out.

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