RIDE CONCEPTS VICE MID SHOES REVIEW
SKATE STYLE SNEAKS WITH TECH
Review by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam Lievesley
The Vice came into the Ride Concepts lineup a few years ago to offer a slightly more casual and flexible shoe that still packs high performance, and Drew was a fan aside from its low cut. It turns out he wasn’t alone in wishing for the Vice in a higher cut, and in 2021 Ride Concepts released the Vice Mid to offer the same blend of performance and style with some extra protection and stability. It just so happened that my Etnies Semenuk Pro shoes were ready for retirement, so when Ride Concepts asked me if I’d like to test any of their shoes, I was quick to grab a set of Vice Mids to fill in for BMX duties. It’s safe to say I’ve got a new favorite.
The Vice Mids are the mid-top version of the Ride Concepts Vice shoe in essence – the shoe designed to offer dirt jumpers and freeriders improved pedal feel and maneuverability compared with the grippier shoes in the Ride Concepts lineup. The Vice Mid uses a mid-top construction with select padding in the most damage-prone area at the top of the cuff to provide more protection and support. This upper uses a suede material to provide their desired blend of casual styling while retaining the desired durability and performance. This suede upper is perforated for breathability, and the protection is bolstered by a TPU toe box.
The cup outsole uses HIGH GRIP rubber with the Ride Concepts Fuzion tread pattern, using 7mm to 9mm diameter inverse hexagons across the sole to tailor the grip – tighter in the pedal area, and wider at the heel and toe. There’s a 3mm EVA foam layer to offer shock adsorption and comfort, which is then topped by the insole featuring D3O High Impact Zone Technology to add further impact absorption in key areas without adding bulk. The inner is given an antibacterial mesh lining to fend off bad odor, and the tongue is fully gusseted to keep the dirt out.
The Ride Concept Vice Mid shoes are offered in a choice of three colors (grey, blue or black/white) in sizes US 7-15 (with half sizes up to size 13), at an RRP of $120/£119.95.
I think the Vice Mids look great – super clean with a subtle hint of RC styling that allows them to happily serve double duty on the bike or in the pub. Their sizing is fairly roomy but true to size, with enough volume to allow for an ankle guard to squeeze in for most or a generously cushioned sock. The mid top offers reasonable support and protection thanks to the padded rings, but I would like to see an even higher cut to further boost the support. That said, experience has taught me that a higher top can limit flexibility, so their mid top choice makes a lot of sense to retain some pedal friendliness. The laces cinch up easily and hold tight to keep the pressure where you want it, but are very long, and with no useful way to trap them I had to resort to stuffing them down the tongue. I’d love to see a little lace tidy added to the tongue to keep things in check.
Onto what is surely the primary concern for riders when looking for a shoe, the experience on the pedal. The feel of the pedal is excellent, with a fine balance of flex to allow for the classic “toe wrap” over the front of the pedal to give the extra control demanded in dynamic bmx moves, but crucially avoiding the pressure hot spots that can present themselves in a standard skate shoe. Big impacts are taken very well and I was surprised a number of times throughout the test by the ability to stomp hard on the ground during a bail without any sting. It’s very impressive how Ride Concepts have managed to combine the pedal feel and impact absorption so effectively, surely a factor of the EVA foam and D3O inserts. The toe box offers good protection without removing the feeling for precision tricks, and makes foot jams that little bit more comfortable when you’re not perfectly aligned.
The High Grip rubber and their Fuzion pattern are grippier than some of the plasticky hard rubbers you can find on many skate shoes, but they’re certainly less grippy than the likes of the Tallac BOA mountain bike shoes, instead allowing for an easier release from the pedal pins to facilitate tricks and bails easier. I’d suggest they’re grippy enough for general trail mountain biking until it got super rough or wet and muddy, but I reserved them for what I determined their strongest area – life on my BMX. I use a fairly standard set of metal flat pedals with ¾ of the pins in place and at just 3-4mm high, which offers me the best blend of grip and release. The Vice Mids offer reasonable walking traction on plywood, concrete and dirt – it’s not incredible, but better than many.
Unsurprisingly the Suede upper is not super cool, about the same as any typical skate style shoe. Compared with the more “mountain” focused shoes in the lineup they’re considerably hotter, but I’d wager that riders wearing the Vice Mids are less likely to be working up the same level of heat. They’re not stifling, but certainly not airy. I like the suede looks a lot, and while it picked up dirt easier than a smooth synthetic upper, it brushed clean after mildly grimy rides and the blessed dusty dirt sessions I squeezed in in Spain. Otherwise the Ride Concepts Vice Mid shoes have been very durable, with no delamination of the sole; stitching tears; bagging out or any of the usual failure modes that a shoe would usually suffer when subjected to BMX abuse for the testing period they’ve had. The sole is showing signs of wear, but at a very acceptable rate and with minimal problematic damage, only some of the typical crumbling away of the crests of the rubber in the spots where the pins are most prevalent.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Great pedal feel; a dialed grip blend for dirt or park; fantastic impact absorption and impressive durability. The Ride Concepts Vice Mid shoes are the best performing skate style shoes I’m yet to abuse on my BMX.
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount (exclusions apply) on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.