Mountain Bike Action Product Test: Leatt DBX 5.0 Clip Shoes
Over the years Leatt has ramped up its product development to deliver riders head-to-toe coverage. Starting in 2004, with its neck brace and later protection pads, riding apparel and helmets, Leatt has constantly brought new products to market. Leatt’s latest addition is a line of footwear that includes two flat-pedal shoes and two clip shoes. This month the wrecking crew put Leatt’s brand-new DBX 5.0 Clip shoes to the test.
The 5.0 Clip shoes are built tough enough to handle a rocky downhill track while offering features trail riders will love. The first unique feature of Leatt’s 5.0 shoes is a longer-than-normal cleat box that offers a wider range of adjustment. Riders can place their cleats closer to their toes for increased pedaling performance or near the middle of their foot for a more gravity-oriented pedal feel. The soles use a special blend of rubber for traction on and off the bike, and have a water-resistant outer shell for comfort during wet rides. The shoes are fastened with a pull-string that is tucked away inside a pocket above the tongue and have a cross-pattern Velcro strap to provide additional support. The shank is stiff in comparison to other gravity shoes, yet offers enough flexibility for comfort when off the bike spotting lines or loading the shuttle rig. Our size-44 pair of test shoes weighed 978 grams and had a retail price of $129.99. Keep in mind, these are the most expensive shoes in Leatt’s line. Flatpedal shoes start at just $89.99.
Field test results:
Slipping into the 5.0 clips, our test riders noticed ample protection and support with an almost immediate level of comfort. Unlike stiff cross-country shoes, the 5.0 shoes have a minimal break-in period. That said, the wide range of cleat positions means that it will take some trial and error to determine the best option. The words “pedal” and “gravity” are displayed under the cleat box, suggesting that a more forward position aids in pedaling and a rearward position aids in downhill performance. We ended up finding our sweet spot by placing the cleat under the ball of our foot. Out on the trails, the shoes performed well, offering the kind of protection one would expect from Leatt. Riders who frequently ride rocky trails will appreciate this feature most. When climbing, the shoes delivered power well and felt light for a gravity/trail shoe. All in all, riders looking for a shoe with solid protection and a wide range of cleat adjustments will be hard-pressed to find a better option. On the durability side, we can’t speak to their long-term longevity yet, but we can say they have held up amazingly well in our early testing. We predict riders will have no problem putting in a full season on these shoes.