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Ride Concepts Tallac: Shreddy Shoetility

Meet the Ride Concepts Tallac, the ultimate "shoetility" shoe for adventurers. Merging bikepacking prowess with trail agility, these shoes impressed on every front. Dive into our review to see how they redefine off-road footwear.

Ride Concepts Tallac: Shreddy Shoetility

I've been on a lifelong quest for the perfect off-road shoe with almost unrealistic expectations for something that can handle bikepacking and mountain biking. The best pair of shoes I've ever owned were the clipless Giro Rumble VRs. I wore them day and night for two years doing any and every activity I could think of that was bike related. They began to fall apart just as Giro discontinued them. Desperate, I enlisted a cobbler to rebuild the shoe with a new sole and backing. They lasted another six months, and I resorted to duct-taping them together for an additional two. I've never recovered from their timely death.

When Ride Concepts agreed to us testing out a pair of their Tallac shoes, I was ecstatic. I had heard nothing but good things about the shoes from the guys at my local shop. Could the Tallac's be my Giros reincarnate?

Nowadays, I'm caught between wanting and needing clipless pedals and flats—it depends on what I'm riding that day. But, my favorite ride style is somewhere between XC/Trail and bikepacking. Thankfully, Ride Concepts agreed to send both the Tallac's in the flat BOA and clipless versions— that they call simply 'clip'. It is unclear if this is an intentional powerplay to rename a category of pedals, but I agree, that it may be time to revisit the word “clipless”.

Just a quick note here—I seem to get flares of imposter syndrome when reviewing MTB-specific products. I need to remind myself that what I do is mountain biking. There's no doubt, the Tallac shoes are marketed towards the enduro community. However, here at Bike Gear Database we like our gear to be a bit more agile and fit multiple needs on and off the bike. So that will be the lens that we look at the Tallacs through. If you somehow landed here looking for an enduro-esque perspective, you can check out the fantastic review at The Loam Wolf. For those of you that are still here, do I have a treat for you? They are called Ride Concept Tallac.

Ride Concepts

Ride Concepts, established in 2018, zeroes in on mountain biking footwear and distinguishes itself as a company by riders, for riders. With roots in Reno, Nevada, the brand benefits from the challenging trails of the Lake Tahoe area for testing, ensuring gear meets high-performance standards.

First Impressions

Unboxing is a pivotal moment for any piece of gear. It's the start of a new relationship and I always love seeing how much effort companies put into packaging and branding. For me, it equates to the love they put into the product and is usually a solid reflection of quality. Out of the box, both pairs of Tallac looked great. But that wasn't much of a surprise as I had seen them in every shop and out on the trail numerous times. I already knew they looked good but I wasn't prepared for how sturdy they felt in my hand.

I quickly tried the flat Tallac's on to make sure that they fit ok. I prefer narrower shoes and one pet peeve I've always had with MTB shoes is that they feel like boats on your feet—as if some designer had decided that wide and bulky was the only way to build stability in a shoe. Putting the Tallacs on, my foot fell into a cloud. These felt more like a pair of Nike walking shoes than a pair of shoes for shredding trail. The fit was also like a glove. Narrow and cinchable where I like it and loose and free where I need it.

BOA systems have never been my favorite, however, this has not stopped me from buying a few BOA-laced shoes in the past. And each time, I'm annoyed. The version of BOA on the Tallac's seems totally updated and this is the first pair of BOA shoes that seems to live up to what BOA is designed to do—get your shoes on and off easily. In fact, I've never had a pair of shoes that can get on and off as fast as the Tallacs. That's hardly a benefit to your ride, but it does feel great. So much, that when it came time to try on the laced clipless Tallacs, I was a bit disappointed and found myself craving the BOA system.

Comparing the flat and clipless shoes side by side, the difference in weight was striking, with the clipless noticeably heavier, obviously due to the stiff nylon shank. Despite the official listing of 430g for size 10 flats on Ride Concepts' site, they actually weighed just 373g, lighter than expected. In contrast, the clipless variant weighed in at 515g per shoe, placing it on the heavier side, a detail not specified on the website. But, let's see how they ride.

Flat Performance: Not Flat At All

I spent two months riding with the Tallacs on my home trails. The first thing I noticed was how wide the toe box felt. The upper part of the shoe was snug as a bug due to the BOA and with the velcro strap keeping it all locked up tight but, wow, my toes could move. I spent hours flying through the tracks wiggling my toes just because I could.

The thing I wasn't prepared for was how tacky the sole would be to my One Up pedals. Somehow the lock between the sole and my pedal was as strong as any clipless connection. It was a thrill to feel that secure when ripping the trails. My pedal strokes were strong and confident and I simply have fun every time I'm in them. Off the bike, the shoes were easy to walk in and hike-a-bikes were more than possible.

Clipless Performance: Lighter Than Expected

Getting around to testing out the clipless model took me longer than expected. I swapped out my flats for SPDs and hit some cross-country terrain in the highlands near my house. I can safely say that being able to pull up on my SPDs added some boost and that the stiffness of the shoe's nylon shank enhanced power transfer—both those things are true. I can also say that the added 200g is not an issue for a person who regularly straps 50 lbs of gear to his bike. The clipless were everything I wanted them to be and more.

A Bikepacker's Perspective

If anyone knows of brands advertising a bikepacking-specific shoe, please send them our way. As bikepackers, we require a shoe that we can pretty much live in. On any given trip, I put my shoes on first thing in the morning and only take them off at night in camp. They are long days that are extra hard on shoes. To test the Tallac's “shoetility”, I dared to wear them on a family hiking trip. Every Sunday we go out as a family and do a local 5-10 km loop over the rocks and through the root-snarled trails. I was elated to see the Tallacs fared well climbing up rocks beyond any hike-a-bike you'd have to face on a trip. Not only did they handle the hike, I wore them for the rest of the day (and one full day to work) with no complaints. As for the clipless Tallac's, I didn't exactly go hiking but found them surprisingly walkable on sidewalks and in the dirt—with close to zero cleat crunching.

There is a lot to love in the Tallac's but the magic is in their durability. These shoes feel, look, and perform rough and ready. They can, without a doubt, handle anything a proper bikepacking trip could throw at them. After a few months, they hardly have a scuff on them—and that doesn't come from trying. The Cordura mesh upper is easy to clean and takes the hose well. They have an anti-bacterial mesh lining so going all day is more than ok. Of course, only time will tell as I have yet to wear them as long as my beloved Giro's. Hopefully, I can come back and do an update on this in the future. To Do.

Wrap Up

After testing the Tallac shoes for a couple of months, I've come to realize they are more than just shoes for the Enduro crowd—they are elite-level adventure shoes and embody the essence of "shoetility”. Comfortable, stable, stylish and durable. There's nothing you can't do with them on your feet.

As a team, when testing we try our best to scrutinize and find faults in whatever products we test. However, I cannot find a singular fault with the Ride Concepts Tallacs. I will be wearing these shoes for a very long time and can't wait to get them out on a real trip on the Traws Eryri in Northern Wales this May.

✓ Pros
Versatility: From trails to town, they've got your back
Performance: Pedals stick like glue, but with wiggle room when you need it
Durability: Take a licking and keep on ticking, hardly a mark on them
✕ Cons
Nope... got nothing
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