"Freeride" refers to a particular niche of mountain biking that is a cross between "Cross Country" cycling and "Downhill" racing. In addition to climbing and descending hills, Freeride usually involves successfully mastering large drops, jumps, and man-made stunts.
For safety reasons, shoes designed specifically for Freeride have flat-soles, and do not accommodate clipless pedals. Freeride shoes have a stiffer sole than a regular tennis shoe so that more energy can be transferred to the pedal during the pedal stroke. However, Freeride shoes are not as stiff as a traditional road cycling shoes because they are designed to be flexible enough to walk in.
The Dirt Divas: Friends and Freeride video from SheShreds.net captures the true spirit of women's Freeride.... enjoy!
The female foot is not just a scaled down version of the male foot. In general, a womens foot has a higher arch, narrower heel and a shallower first toe. The ball of a womens foot has a smaller circumference than a males. The circumference on the instep of a womens foot is also smaller. Both the ankle length, and the instep length are shorter than their male counterparts.
The anatomical differences in the male and female foot should be taken into consideration when purchasing cycling shoes. Women should look for shoes designed specifically to fit the anatomy of the female foot.