Teva Pivot All-Mountain Bike Shoes Review

Teva Pivot All-Mountain Bike Shoes Review

When Teva jumped into the all-mountain bike shoe game earlier this year, they really made a splash.  The industry was abuzz with discussion about the new technologies and innovation that Teva packed into the Pivot.  I’ve bombed around Spokane’s Beacon Hill Bike Park and hit some epic singletrack in the Ruby Mountain range with the Pivots; after many miles pedaled and walked with these shoes, it’s time to see how they did!

Teva Pivot Features:

  • Spider365 Rubber sole
  • PedalLINK Clipless outsole for all mountain riding
  • Cleat attachment is compatible with all major 2-Bolt cleat systems
  • Optional Cleat attachment from top to protect hardware (compatible with Crankbrothers® and Shimano® SPD® cleats)
  • Composite midsole plate for pedaling efficiency and walkability
  • Type 314 Stainless Steel hardware for corrosion resistance
  • Lightweight synthetic mesh upper
  • Closed cell EVA collar and tongue foam do not absorb water
  • Instep strap for foot retention
  • TPU toe and heel components for stability and protection
  • 15.7oz
  • MSRP: $150

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My Experience

Compromise is everywhere in cycling: weight versus durability, cost versus performance, uphill versus downhill.  All-mountain bikers feel this challenge more than any other category of riders – we want something that can pedal up a mountain without causing cardiac arrest, but then turn right around to really shred the trail.  Teva addressed the compromise of an all-mountain shoe that is walkable enough for pushing the bike, but provides a firm platform for pedaling and descending; Teva’s solution is a specially designed midsole plate.

This plate is smaller than many competitors and it’s designed in a way that allows for better walkability while maximizing power transfer.  The plate is full-sized underneath the ball of your foot, but narrows considerably as it goes toward the heel.  This saves weight and lets the sole flex in the right places for when you need to get off the bike and push.

This image from Bicycling.com show's the new Teva Pivot on the Crank Brothers Mallet.  The Pivot was designed in conjunction with Crank Brothers to interface perfectly on the Mallet.

This image from Bicycling.com shows the new Teva Pivot on the Crank Brothers Mallet. The Pivot was designed in conjunction with Crank Brothers to interface perfectly on the Mallet.

Teva’s other main innovation is a unique cleat attachment system that screws in through the top of the sole through a special port.  The cleat screws run through the plate in the sole, through the cleat and then through a specially made, Teva-branded corrosion-resistant plate that holds the cleat to the sole.  The benefit to this system is that the screw heads are protected within the sole where they can’t get jammed with mud or destroyed by rocks.

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My old XC Diadora X-Trail carbon race shoes had quite a problem with the screws slipping and getting loose – the Teva’s don’t have that problem at all.  The cleats are as rock-solid as the day I installed them.  It can be tricky (and possibly a little exasperating) to install the cleats from the inside through Teva’s system, since the tongue of the shoe likes to get in the way.  Teva includes a special wrench that’s long enough to reach the screws down in the shoe.

When you hop on the bike and pedal hard, you can tell that the Pivot is a cut above your average clipless all-mountain shoe.  The shoe is lighter than most of the competition, thought that takes a full day of riding to really be appreciated.  The shoe is good at hike-a-bike, and the soft rubber sole grips well all over.  Once you’re on the bike, the shoe really shines; the shoe sits well on the Crank Brothers Candy pedals (their all-mountain model) but when I swapped on my old Forte MTX combo platforms the shoes felt absolutely rock solid.  Incidentally, the Pivot was designed specifically for the Crank Brothers Mallet pedal, so if you’re running those pedals it should interface perfectly.

Teva's internal port for accessing the cleat screws, should you choose to use their attachment system.

Teva’s internal port for accessing the cleat screws, should you choose to use their attachment system.

I wish the cleat tracks were set a little farther back; I wouldn’t mind running the cleat a little further back for bigger courses, but the current setup would let you run the cleat right behind the toe.  I don’t think anybody’s going to run the cleats that far up, but some may well appreciate moving them further back.

The Teva looks enough like a street shoe that it’s tempting to wear it around town – it’s also comfortable enough to warrant that.  After six weeks of use the soles have broken in a wee bit and the Pivots are pretty comfortable for both walking and driving, though they’ll never be as comfortable as sneakers.

The Pivot is tied off by laces and a broad Velcro strap keeps the laces out of your drivetrain and holds the foot down firmly in the shoe.  The Velcro retention strap verges on dorky if you’re very concerned about the around-town side of things, but the shoes are brilliant for bike commuters that want clipless shoes that they can also get groceries in.  Fun fact for the review: while testing these shoes, I snapped the swingarm on my bike after taking a drop. If that’s not thorough testing, I don’t know what is.

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Teva’s broad velcro retainer band keeps your foot in place, but it can also be used to keep the laces out of the drive train.

The Good:

  • Good balance between walkability and power transfer
  • Unique cleat attachment system works well and protects screws
  • Fairly light for a clipless all-mountain shoe
  • Look great on and off the bike

The Bad:

  • Cleat tracks could go a little further back
  • Can be tricky to install cleats with Teva’s system

The Bottom Line

The Pivots come in at just under a pound, fit true-to-size, and are probably the hottest piece of biking footwear on the market right now.  I was pleased with the shoes throughout my testing and they really hit the balance between walkability and power transmission.  Frankly I don’t have any complaints to make, so thumbs up to Teva on nailing these shoes!

Buy Now: Visit Teva.com

Written By

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living in Northern Nevada. He hikes, bikes and backpacks where he grew up near the beautiful Ruby Mountains, not to mention a little place called Tahoe.