Fresh Kicks: Teva Links Freeride Shoe First Impressions

When Teva announced recently that they were going to produce a line of freeride mountain bike specific shoes, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I knew that Teva had some killer products, but without a background in shoes purpose built for riding, I figured they had a long road ahead.

However, when the new kicks showed up at my doorstep today with a letter from Jeff Lenosky enclosed in the box, it was clear that Teva had an ace up their sleeve when it came to designing the Links. Who better to co-design a riding shoe with, than one of the most prolific, and versatile MTB and Trials riders out there?

Before you could say Teva, I had the Links out of the box, photographed, and on my feet with the intention of taking a break in the nearly incessant rain (a record 10.86 inches this month!) to get you some first impressions.

If you’re looking for a new pair of riding shoes, find out why you should start saving your pennies after the break!

Obviously, especially when it come to footwear, first impressions are extremely important. As soon as I slipped on the Links for the first time, I immediately thought this is the most comfortable pair of not just riding shoes, but sneakers in general that I have ever tried on. The Links actually have a good bit of arch support, which to me is a huge improvement from the mostly flat soled skate shoes I’m used to. When it comes to styling, the Links are definitely not your typical huge, puffy skate shoes, but seem to make it up in the comfort department thanks to Teva’s own Mush-infused insoles. Seriously, these shoes are the epitome of comfort. Even harsh bails onto pavement were shrugged off with a grin, as it seems the ShocPad heel protection system lived up to its name.

Previously, while riding DH, I have always worn 5.10 Impacts which are insanely grippy. In fact, they tend to be grippy to the point of being too grippy for anything other than DH. In my first thrash session on the Links which was mostly street riding, they performed way better than my current BMX shoes, but never felt as if I were unable to move around on the pedals if I needed too. My bunny hops had more pop, and I stuck some pretty sketchy landings that usually would have blown my feet straight off the pedals. Due to the amount of rain recently, there were mini lakes everywhere which caused me to unwittingly test out the Link’s grip in the wet. Well, what do you expect from a company that has made their name for the past 25 years in watersports footwear? I swear, I think the grip improved when they were wet. There may be slightly grippier soles, but the Spider 365 rubber outsole is hands down the most versatile. In the photo above, the purple sections connects so well with flat pedals, while the aggressive toe cap aids in traction off the bike when pushing your bike up a slick run in.

Oh, and Teva also claims the Links to have complete water protection via the ion-mask nano-coating employed on the ventilated upper. Does it work? After walking through water nearly up to my ankles, and finishing the ride with dry feet, I would think so.

It seems that when Teva set out to make their first freeride shoe, they went to great lengths to be sure that no small detail went overlooked. From metal grommets for the top two lace holes, to metal lace crimps, to the ventilated “armor”, and abrasion resistant toe cap, it is clear that these are a rider’s shoe that should handle some pretty serious riding. As long as the Links hold up in the long run (I can’t see that they wouldn’t), Teva clearly knocked this shoe out of the park.

Look for the Links to be available for retail in early June for $99 MSRP, and be sure to check out the Teva Mountain games this coming June 2-5!

 

Comments

stratosrally - 04/27/11 - 7:38pm

Nice, except I beg for other available colors!

Especially something woodsy…

Why does so much MTB gear only come in garish colorways?

ZachOverholt - 04/27/11 - 7:46pm

@Stratosrally, personally I love the bright colors that seems to be the current trend, so you could say I’m to blame, lol. But did you check out the first link back to our original post? Colorwise, the Pinner should be more to your liking, and the only features it lacks are more geared towards freeride and street riders anyways, who like me dig the colors.

stratosrally - 04/28/11 - 6:15am

Those are more to my liking, but in Austin they’re gonna be hotter! Looks like the main differences are more “armor” and a waterproof but more breathable upper on the “new-waver” model (just kiddin’). Love the sole, though.

Unless you get black, the 5.10 brand are also too bright for me. I don’t mind the Karver in black/white w/out the flap, but wouldn’t ya know it – it’s a womens only model!

Looks like I’ll stick to my olive & tan Adidas Superskate ST. They went out of production, so I ordered a black pair w/yellow stitching for backups. They are stiff-soled and don’t have as bad a pillow-top padding effect as most skateshoes.

The last time I rode MTB in neon shoes, they were early ’90s Nike Caldera hikers in grey with pink & purple trim. They matched my ’90 Rockhopper paint & anodized bling perfectly… how embarrassing!

Still have that bike, all the anodizing has faded to a pale rose. Gonna strip it and paint it someday and swap out all the QRs. And the Indy XC, the Post Moderne suspension seatpost, etc.

hamdy - 04/28/11 - 1:51pm

sweet shoes..

Luis - 04/17/12 - 12:19pm

I’ve got one teva links (black/purple) the review and description are totally true. Comfortable shoes. I like the style. Easy to clean, easy to get dirty (specially con your mtb :D ). Didn’t try them on rain. Love the teva links :)

Nurse Ben - 10/10/12 - 5:05pm

I have ridden and destroyed Five Ten Impacts, Barons, and Freerides, but the Links take a licking (dunking) and keep on ticking. Great shoes, suprisingly robust and supportive for such a small and lightweight package. I tried the mids and was dissapointed, the lows are so much better. They could use a longer tongue and I’d like to see a little more midsole support, but they are leaps and bounds ahead of Five Ten. I have the Lunar Lander, gotta love the color combo :)

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