Although a large majority of mountain bike trails in Marin are fire roads, there are some incredibly steep and more technical sections. Even after my Trek Dirt Series adventure last summer, I still have to get off the bike and walk occasionally. In my standard clipless mountain bike shoes, walking was a bit of a chore, but I have found the best of both worlds in the Teva Pivot.
Built like a sneaker style, downhill flat pedal shoe, the Teva Pivot hides a cleat attachment in the sticky rubber sole. The 2-bolt attachment system is compatible with all major cleat systems, including both SPD and Crankbrothers cleats. Conveniently, the bolting is done from the inside of the shoe, meaning you can more precisely adjust the alignment while the mountain bike shoe is attached to your pedal.
A big hook and loop strap keeps your laces tied and out of the chain. A stiff midsole plate ensures you efficiently transfer power through your pedal stroke but gives the toe enough flex to make for easy walking, something you don't get with a dedicated clipless mountain bike shoe. The heel is nice and snug, preventing any heel lift both when you are riding and hiking up the trail.
It takes awhile to get the hang of clipping-in, since the cleat sits low in the Pivot sole. Once you find the sweet spot, however, it becomes quick and easy. The deep cleat inset means you get a great feel on the pedal. Granted you may not see the performance of a rigid mountain bike shoe, especially when climbing, but you have something a lot more versatile.
I can see these working great for those of you who prefer Crankbrothers, where you can choose to ride clipped-in or flat pedal at any moment. Since I have to physically change out my SPD pedals whenever I want to ride flat pedal on more technical terrain, say up at China Camp or Tamarancho, I might as well switch to my Five Ten flat pedal shoes at the same time. Otherwise, I wear my Pivots for all clipless riding.
The Pivots are technically a men's mountain bike shoe but Teva has created a wide range of sizing to accommodate the female rider. Women- order two whole sizes down from your normal shoe size. I normally wear a size 9 shoe but fit a 7 in the Pivots.
Bottom Line: The Teva Pivot
mountain bike shoes offer the perfect comfort/walkability to performance ratio for those you either looking to upgrade to clipless or looking for the best of both worlds on your ride. The Pivots would also make great bike tour or commuter shoes since you can wear them off the bike without clomping around in raised cleats.