When it comes time to bolt flat pedals to my bike I more often than not end up reaching for my Teva Links shoes for their solid pedal feel and Goldilocks’ Baby Bear grip.
A few weeks ago Teva sent us its beefed up version of the Links, the Links Mid, that features more toe protection and a higher cut.
My feet don’t generally get along with mid-top shoes. It usually takes a few days of battling blisters before I build up enough calluses to comfortably rock anything with a higher ankle. I was surprised then, when after my first day of riding the Links Mids that my feet were blister and hot spot free.
Standing on the pedals, it’s immediately noticeable that the added protection and higher ankle of the Mid does make the sole feel just a tad stiffer than the standard Links. Surprisingly, and thankfully, this didn’t seem to affect the shoe/pedal feel at all.
Kick a few rocks and its readily apparent that the toe box of the Links Mids offers more protection than the standard versions, which is a nice sense of security when riding burlier downhill tracks with greater chances of bashing your feet against stones and stumps.
After a few shuttle rides in the shoes on the dusty trails of Southern California, I packed the Links Mids for my trip up to Whistler, BC, for the Shimano Saint media camp. On the third day of riding at the Saint launch, it had started to rain, and I was happy to have some waterproof shoes with high enough ankels to tuck into my pants and keep a majority of tire splash from finding its way directly into my shoes.
Despite having waterproof uppers, these shoes aren’t likely to keep your feet dry if it is raining. They’ll fend off splashes from the occasional stream crossing, but the holes for the laces and gap for the tongue (and of course the main foot hole at the top) will let water in. The waterproofing will only delay the inevitable, but this delay made my first few runs at the bike park drier and more enjoyable. While the main shoe bodies do a good job repelling water, the laces are basically sponges. This was annoying when trying to tighten or adjust the laces in the rain. They do stay tied tightly after a full day of riding in both sun or rain, so I can’t complain all that much; and if you don’t like the laces, it’s a pretty easy after-market purchase.
So far I’ve been impressed by the Links Mid shoes. It’s hard to tell how durable they’ll be as of now, but if the standard Links is an indicator, which it should be, they should last a good long time.