On a similar note, the sole of the Latch is kind of middle-of-the-road in terms of stiffness, in a good way. It’s notably more flexible than a lot of true DH-specific shoes, but still stiff enough to feel comfortable pedaling all day, and I didn’t have any of the issues with foot cramping that I can sometimes get with more flexible soled shoes when hammering them through rough sections of trail, either. And compared to the stiffest-soled shoes out there, the somewhat more flexible sole of the Latch helps with on-pedal feel, and being able to tell how your feet are positioned.
Compared to the Five Ten Freerider Pro, the sole of the Latch is a little softer through the midfoot, but the two feel very similar as you move forward in the shoe. Both feature a bit of a hinge point around the ball of the foot, which goes a long way towards improving walkability (more on that below) but on both shoes, it’s far enough forward to not be particularly noticeable on the pedals.
To continue the Freerider Pro comparisons, the upper of the Latch feels slightly more padded and protective — but emphasis on slightly. Between that little bit of extra padding and the slightly less breathable upper, the Latch is a little bit warmer than the Freerider Pro Primeblue, but it’s also a bit more impervious to splashes (though it’s definitely not waterproof), and does a respectable job of drying quickly if properly soaked.
Luke: I agree with everything David said. In the past, I became less and less interested in any shoes that didn’t have “Stealth” on their outsoles because I had repeatedly been seriously disappointed by the lack of grip from other brands’ shoes. I really don’t like my feet unpredictably bouncing off the pedals. Fortunately, I can add the Latch to the list of the shoes that are legitimate competitors when it comes to on-pedal traction and security.
In terms of outright grip on the pedals, I don’t think the Latch’s rubber is quite as tacky as the shoes I’ve used with Five Ten’s Stealth S1 rubber, but it’s by no means a massive difference. And the Latch is definitely easier to reposition on the pedals than those shoes, to the point that I think it’s much more of a personal preference thing than one option clearly being better than the other.
Overall, the Latch’s outsole feels really similar to Ride Concept’s “Max Grip” compound, which I’ve used extensively on their Powerline shoe. Neither shoes’ rubber compounds feel quite as soft and tacky as Five Ten’s grippier offerings, but the Latch and Powerline are easier to reposition and move around on the pedals (and more durable). If I was still running a pair of pedals with pretty poor inherent grip (e.g., Crankbros Stamp 1), I’d opt for the tackier Five Ten rubber. But on my fairly grippy OneUp flats and the Deity Deftrap, I actually prefer the slightly less locked-in feeling of the Latch and Powerline.