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  1. #1
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    Downhill Shoes Feedback (Footwear Design Intern)

    Hi Everybody,

    I'm a footwear design intern and I am currently working on designing a downhill shoe as a personal/side project. I'm pretty new to downhill (although I've been mountain biking for a while) but I've decided to give it a try because it's something I've always wanted to do (just went up to Highland last weekend in NH).

    Anyway, I was just wondering if you guys would be willing to give me any feedback on the shoes that you ride in. As in pros and cons (ie breathability, comfort, stability, grip, styling, support, etc...), things that you wish the shoe had/didn't have, or even what your ideal downhill shoe would be like.

    I have done some preliminary research and talked to several people already, but I think that it would be far more valuable to get to hear all of your opinions. From reading other forums and talking to some people, I have been able to gather that a lot of people really love the five tens (both the impact and the freerider) especially because of their grip. It has been obviously harder, though, to find information/ feedback on some of the other shoes.

    Anyway, anybody who would like to share your opinion about the shoes you use for downhill (either past or current) or share any other thoughts on downhill shoes, I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks in advance for all of your help!

  2. #2
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    Make 5.10's with proper toe protection and you'll have a perfect shoe. For some reason all MTB shoe companies think "Gee lets put good toe protection on our XC shoes. But there is NO WAY that people riding through rock gardens at mach 10 on DH bikes would want such a simple feature".

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    ...riding through rock gardens at mach 10...
    slowpoke...


  4. #4
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    toe protection, lace covers. Maybe some sort of tread on the heel for those hike-a-biking up steep slopes?

  5. #5
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    Nitrous oxide boosters!
    The guy yo' momma "act" like she don't know!

  6. #6
    CAN YOU DIG IT??!!??!!!??
    Reputation: man w/ one hand's Avatar
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    Make the toe area a smidge wider to accommodate us old farts. You young guyz can thank me in 20 yrs.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  7. #7
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    There are hardly any DH shoes with ankle support, plus I really like the ones that have cleat option under the rubber.

  8. #8
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    +1 on 5.10 like shoes with toe protection and a way to cover the laces so they don't get caught on stuff. Better insoles with arch support. I have really small feet and therefore have only one choice in the DH shoes I can wear, 5.10 impact lows. Good luck in your research.

  9. #9
    CAN YOU DIG IT??!!??!!!??
    Reputation: man w/ one hand's Avatar
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    I wear 5.10 hellcats w/spd'z, it has a Velcro strap across th top of th foot & I tuck my laces into outside side of my foot. You can wear your laces loose if you prefer & tighten it down when riding.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  10. #10
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    I think the all-mountain shoe market is more ripe for innovation. Something with 5.10-like traction and stiffness, but breathable. I don't feel like my DH shoes need to breathe too much...
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodgerdodger View Post
    There are hardly any DH shoes with ankle support,
    THIS and I actually have the answer. Most of us have caught a rock or root at some point at high speed and twisted our ankles (Downieville sticks out in my mind). A buddy of mine has a patent on a system that supports and protects the ankle and he'd license the technology if interested. Pro athletes (especially basketball players) are already using it and I'm about to take it to Nike here in Beaverton, OR. I also have a connection at 5-10 so I'm hopeful this will take off big time.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone for your helpful feedback...I'll definitely consider all of your suggestions! If anybody else has any feedback as well, I'd love to hear it. Especially anybody who rides with shoes other than 5.10s who would like to share their opinions!

  13. #13
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    I wear the Teva DH shoes and it's dope!!
    Very confortable, good protection, fine vent and light for it's size.

    The sole could be better... It grips really well but from what i've heard, 5-10's might grip better...
    I would give him 9,5/10.

  14. #14
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    Awesome..thanks! Yeah I've heard the Tevas are supposed to be good. Do you wear them at all casually too, or just for biking? Also do you know which specific kind they were (Links or Pinners?)

  15. #15
    CAN YOU DIG IT??!!??!!!??
    Reputation: man w/ one hand's Avatar
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    The Stealth Rubber on th 5.10'z is friggin awesome!! Like being clipped in. If you wear a pr. riding, you'll hate anything else you put on your foot for biking, IMO.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  16. #16
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    I ride 5.10 Line Kings, but would really appreciate a shoe that had similar (or more) ankle coverage without being as bulky.
    Something like a padded Chuck Taylor high top would be great.

    I also find that the flat soles on my 5.10s have terrible traction when pushing up slippery slopes (i.e. slick clay), but I'm not sure how you would solve that without compromising on-pedal performance.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    I ride 5.10 Line Kings, but would really appreciate a shoe that had similar (or more) ankle coverage without being as bulky.
    Something like a padded Chuck Taylor high top would be great.

    I also find that the flat soles on my 5.10s have terrible traction when pushing up slippery slopes (i.e. slick clay), but I'm not sure how you would solve that without compromising on-pedal performance.
    Cool...thanks for the feedback! Yeah, somebody else I was talking to said that same thing about having some traction in the outsole for pushing the bike up slopes as well but I agree it may be tricky since you don't wanna have to compromise the outsoles' performance for pedaling. Maybe there could be a bit of extra traction in just the toe area.

  18. #18
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    Well, i would work in this manner. find out what the shoe is meant to do..

    1. comfortable on a pedal.
    2. less flex.
    3. grips pedal studs.
    4. looks great.
    5. last through all sorts of conditions except sending it to the sun.
    6. offers protection and stable heel support when walking with them over roots rocks etc.
    7. reliable and wun fall apart middle of a ride say ~ 40km from home.
    8. lace protection so nothing gets snag etc.
    9. cost effective. (know the price someone is willing to pay for a pair of reliable shoe.

    I have 6 pairs consisting of 5.10, nike 6.0 air morgans and teva links.

    the grips on all 3 paired with pointone or twenty6 pedals are great. i can't really tell the difference on all 3. However as the shoes are meant for mountain biking, the punishment the shoes receives with mud, water, hot humid areas, able to step on rocks and walk on unbeaten paths.

    the 6.0s looks great but the glue on then soles were least to say very horrific.. they didnt last more than 4 months.

    The 5.10s were the most comfy, nice and padded with good all round materials and the weak point was also the glue. I bought the mid and low cut versions of the desert enforcer. love the feel and look but the lips and the soles started to come apart within a month. slowly but surely.

    the Tevas do not offer the protection of the 5.10s but after 8 months of usage, nothing is falling apart yet. some 5mm paracord for laces will do justice to the toughness it has shown to have.

    My ultimate shoe would the comfort of the 5.10s, the durability of the tevas and the unlimited designs look of the 6.0s. Grip design is subjective cos not everyone has tried all brand of shoes to say which is the best. but only which may be better. I also find no benefit to vibram soles on them etc. cos the shoes are mainly flat and either one offers limited grip while walking along trails etc.

    just my 1/2c worth.

  19. #19
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    Echoing some of the earlier comments. I'm on my second pair of 5.10 impact highs.
    My ideal shoe would be similar, but with a few extra features.

    I would add the lace covers of the Carver, both to keep out the mud, and even more importantly, to keep the stupid lace bow from flapping all around. I currently stuff the bow under one of the lower laces, but it's a pain. Seems like such a simple, obvious, addition. If not full lace covers, then at least a top velcro strap over the bow, and these straps always work better if you pass the strap through a slot and then pull it back onto itself (I hope you know what I mean).

    Toe protection! The impact is advertised as having toe protection, but it's just a bit of extra rubber. It might feel solid when they are brand new, but on a well-worn set there is hardly any toe protection at all. I'm not suggesting a steel toe or anything, but maybe some hard plastic. It could be an internal layer, or even right on the surface.

    I would go high-top. Even higher than the impact high. Call me crazy, but I would even go for a boot with built in shin protection that goes right up to the bottom of your knee pads. Think moto boot built for mountain biking. I know most people won't be with me on this though, so maybe not.

    Breathability is not really an issue.

    Comfy, supportive, stable, confidence inspiring.

    A wide toe box so you can spread out.

    Good luck. Please post some designs when you finish them.

  20. #20
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    I pedal my FR bike a lot, and like others said earlier, I think a good AM shoe might be a better place for innovation. Something that is stiff soled, and BREATHES would be amazing. I don't really like to clip in anymore, but I will in the summer just because my clipless shoes breath way more than my 5.10'
    Just another redneck with a bike

  21. #21
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    Teva Links.

    I don't use them ocasionally because they are always dirty..... Otherwise I would for sure use them daily... They look great.
    I've used him the first day it arrived, and kinda 3 or 4 friends said "wow, nice shoes!" so It definitelly draw some attention because of colors and laces colors! (Black with bright blue/green laces)

  22. #22
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    i would say somthing along the lines of 5;10 impact, but maybe a bit more waterproof, maybe slightly more breathable, and better quality, so that they dont fall apart as quick as the five tens do,

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jhanney View Post
    Well, i would work in this manner. find out what the shoe is meant to do..

    1. comfortable on a pedal.
    2. less flex.
    3. grips pedal studs.
    4. looks great.
    5. last through all sorts of conditions except sending it to the sun.
    6. offers protection and stable heel support when walking with them over roots rocks etc.
    7. reliable and wun fall apart middle of a ride say ~ 40km from home.
    8. lace protection so nothing gets snag etc.
    9. cost effective. (know the price someone is willing to pay for a pair of reliable shoe.

    I have 6 pairs consisting of 5.10, nike 6.0 air morgans and teva links.

    the grips on all 3 paired with pointone or twenty6 pedals are great. i can't really tell the difference on all 3. However as the shoes are meant for mountain biking, the punishment the shoes receives with mud, water, hot humid areas, able to step on rocks and walk on unbeaten paths.

    the 6.0s looks great but the glue on then soles were least to say very horrific.. they didnt last more than 4 months.

    The 5.10s were the most comfy, nice and padded with good all round materials and the weak point was also the glue. I bought the mid and low cut versions of the desert enforcer. love the feel and look but the lips and the soles started to come apart within a month. slowly but surely.

    the Tevas do not offer the protection of the 5.10s but after 8 months of usage, nothing is falling apart yet. some 5mm paracord for laces will do justice to the toughness it has shown to have.

    My ultimate shoe would the comfort of the 5.10s, the durability of the tevas and the unlimited designs look of the 6.0s. Grip design is subjective cos not everyone has tried all brand of shoes to say which is the best. but only which may be better. I also find no benefit to vibram soles on them etc. cos the shoes are mainly flat and either one offers limited grip while walking along trails etc.

    just my 1/2c worth.
    Great, thanks so much for all of your feedback! Definitely helpful to hear from someone who has worn a variety of different shoes, and to be able to hear what you believe to be the essential characteristics of a downhill shoe. Thanks!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by evrac View Post
    Echoing some of the earlier comments. I'm on my second pair of 5.10 impact highs.
    My ideal shoe would be similar, but with a few extra features.

    I would add the lace covers of the Carver, both to keep out the mud, and even more importantly, to keep the stupid lace bow from flapping all around. I currently stuff the bow under one of the lower laces, but it's a pain. Seems like such a simple, obvious, addition. If not full lace covers, then at least a top velcro strap over the bow, and these straps always work better if you pass the strap through a slot and then pull it back onto itself (I hope you know what I mean).

    Toe protection! The impact is advertised as having toe protection, but it's just a bit of extra rubber. It might feel solid when they are brand new, but on a well-worn set there is hardly any toe protection at all. I'm not suggesting a steel toe or anything, but maybe some hard plastic. It could be an internal layer, or even right on the surface.

    I would go high-top. Even higher than the impact high. Call me crazy, but I would even go for a boot with built in shin protection that goes right up to the bottom of your knee pads. Think moto boot built for mountain biking. I know most people won't be with me on this though, so maybe not.

    Breathability is not really an issue.

    Comfy, supportive, stable, confidence inspiring.

    A wide toe box so you can spread out.

    Good luck. Please post some designs when you finish them.
    Thanks so much for all your helpful feedback! I'll definitely take all of those things into consideration. And I'd be happy to send you or post some of the finished work next month!

  25. #25
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    Something like a shimano am45 with stealth rubber would be great. I love the fit of the shimano's am (they accommodate wide feet) but grip could be improved. Breathability and lightweight are important factors for me. I hate riding with boat anchors no matter how well they grip.

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