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!