Proper bike shoes for kids are hard to come by. Until recently, the Five Ten Freerider Youth shoes were basically the only good option. That’s changed now with Ride Concepts offering youth sized kicks.
Both my 9 year old and I have been testing out the Ride Concepts Vice shoes, and have been pleased with them. But can they compete with the Five Tens? Find out in this review.
Review in a Nutshell
- Rubber of sole grips well
- Attractive shoe design
- Durable design
- Stiff sole for efficient cycling
- Smallest size is a size 2
- Sole not as grippy as Five Ten
Price and Where To Buy:
- $80 List
- Check price at REI.com*
- Check price at RideConcepts.com
- Price not available at Amazon.com* (Last updated: 2023-03-31 at 12:11) – More info
Comes In Adult And Youth Versions
We found a great pair of Five Ten Freeriders that my son wore for far too many years. In fact, he was unwilling to stop using them even though his feet had outgrown them.
He would jam his toes into the ends and ride all day. I can’t imagine that felt very good. We picked up a pair of the Ride Concepts Vice shoes for both myself and him to try out.
I have just started riding flat pedals again and the Vice shoes work great. They have comparable traction on pins to Five Tens (the penultimate flat pedal shoe) and are quite comfortable.
For me, they have worked for nearly a year now through long CX days, downhill days, hike-a-bikes, and everything in between. I am noticing a little wear in the inner heel from repeated movement, but that is to be expected. I can’t keep a pair of shoes for more than about 2 years before they die.
As for my son, his RC Vice shoes are much more vibrant. Where mine are black with a gum sole, his are black and gray with blue liner and laces that make for a colorful yet approachable shoe. (As of 2023, they now come in different colorways, but they are still vibrant and fun).
We did buy them a size too big, so he had time to grow in them. He has complained about the heel slipping a little but that has reduced with time and bigger feet. The heel design is cut lower than the Freeriders, so if you have child that tends to be picky (like mine) that’s something to keep in mind. There is now also a mid-high cut version of the Vice that you could choose from instead.
Sole Provides Superior Traction
The sole of the Vice shoes has a hexagon pattern that ranges from 9mm to 7mm near the pedal interface. This change in pattern sizing along with a fairly grippy rubber compound does a great job of keeping kiddo’s (and mine) feet planted firmly on their pedals.
Although my son loved his Five Ten Freeriders, these shoes offer a safe, efficient, effective connection to the pedal. It may not be the rubber of Five Ten, but Ride Concepts is doing something right.
In comparison to skate shoes or any other casual footwear, the soles are exceptionally stiffer. This provides efficient power transfer to the pedals for the uphills and a solid pedal connection for foot-to-pedal support when descending and jumping.
Moreover, the soles aren’t so stiff that they are uncomfortable. I wear mine all the time. They are definitely my favorite pair of shoes. I would even skateboard in them if it didn’t destroy the toes.
As for my son, the Vice’s work well for ride stops, excursions to the playground and for hike-a-bike segments of trail. He even wore them for some downhill days at Whistler Bike Park.
Also, in addition to a great shoe, we also recommend picking a good pedal. Our favorite is the Chromag Radar. These pedals will outlast several of my son’s bikes.
An Attractive and Durable Design
My son’s prior shoes had a Velcro closure system and that was very nice for a little one who couldn’t tie his own shoes. Now he can tie his shoes and the laces on the Vice shoes are vibrant.
They truly add some flair to the bike kit and will inspire confidence in your little ones. The saying goes “look good to feel good” and when you feel good your riding speaks volumes.
A mix of canvas and suede is durable and keeps them cleaner than some. The sole around the toe is similar to that of skate shoes and protects toes from rocks while also providing that style we all need.
A fully gusseted tongue keeps dirt out and does not slip down. This makes for a comfortable, good-looking shoe that helps reduce fatigue when riding and stays put.
As cycling parents, we know, nothing can destroy an expensive pair of shoes faster than mountain biking. A few rides a week over the course of year and shoes are done.
The durability of the Vice shoes has been stellar. With nearly a year of hard riding in them, the shoes still look new and haven’t shown any major signs of wear.
Though we purposely bought them a little big, the shoes have functioned as they should and fit perfectly within six months.
Sized For Kids Who Ride
The Ride Concepts Vice starts at a youth size 2 all of the way to a 6. Though this isn’t as small as the Freerider, sizes cover most kids who are really starting to mountain bike more avidly. Maybe we will see smaller sizing in the future.
Availability of the Vice seems to be easier to come by than that of the Five Ten Freerider which goes in and out of stock frequently. This can be a big reason to go with Ride Concepts, especially with global supply issues.
Other Ride Concepts Youth Offerings
Miraculously, the Ride Concepts Vice isn’t the only youth offering from the company. They also offer the Ride Concepts Livewire , which we plan to test in the near future. Like the Vice, it’s smallest size is a size 2 so younger kids are left out on this one.
The Vice now also comes in a mid version with a mid-height cut. Not only is this trendy but it also offers additional ankle support.
Bottom-Line: A Youth Cycling Shoe that Works Great with Flat Pedals and Off the Bike Too
The mantra printed on the insole of the Vice says “Ride Every Day”. We try to stick to that as mountain biking is our favorite family past time. A company that promotes that and creates youth sizing to accompany said rides knows the joys of the lifestyle.
The Vice shoes themselves are durable. The rubber compound on the sole provides copious amounts of grip and will keep feet planted in the rough stuff. The shoes are comfortable and will look great pedaling. If they fit your little shredder then don’t hesitate to give the Ride Concepts a try.