Skip that extra bit of carbon instead. Laces are simple to use, but you need to make sure to keep them stowed away so they don’t catch on any moving parts. That said, I’ve also experienced some comfort-related issues with the neoprene cuff. What’s not to like with the X-Alp Summit? From tackling the Whistler bike park to rocky, rooty, and steep descents, these shoes are burly and well cushioned. Cutting away weight reduces the amount of effort required to put the power down, which also helps with fatigue on long rides. We do think Shimano could have added a little more insulation for truly cold temperatures and recommend you size up to accommodate a thick pair of wool socks if your feet tend to run cold. Despite softening the rubber compound a few years ago, this is not an impressive walking or hiking option. If you prefer the Jacket’s sleek looks or it fits you better (we found it to be a little narrower than the Freerider), the Giro is a suitable option.See the Giro Jacket II. The company revamped its footwear lineup last year, and we especially like the clipless X-Alp Summit. International shipping availability and rates vary by seller. Shimano is well-known in the biking world for creating long-lasting, durable products, and the ME7 is no exception. But for bad weather conditions or if you prioritize maximum protection, there are a few mid-height designs. A stiff build underfoot is a defining feature of mountain bike shoes—it’s what allows you to put the power down to the pedals. Within the unofficial “do-everything” category, we think the Giro Cylinder and Shimano ME5 are better options, but the Foray does beat out the Shimano in price.See the Men's Bontrager Foray See the Women's Bontrager Foray. Further advancing rider protection and comfort, a new stretch Neoprene ankle collar keeps out trail debris while ample mesh ventilation throughout the front and rear of the shoe ensures ventilation even during long, hot days on the trail. If you want your feet heavily armored, no matter the cost in pedaling efficiency, the Hellcat Pro is a fine choice.
One thing that immediately stood out when trying on the shoe for the first time, however, was its wide toe box. Otherwise, the ME3 checks all the right boxes for a budget clipless design.See the Men's Shimano SH-ME3 See the Women's Shimano SH-ME3. Giro’s Ventana below is a sturdy all-mountain option, while their Cylinder offers greater versatility for cross-country pursuits. We put the GR7 through a full summer of use and abuse and came away impressed by its comfortable feel and high-quality, long-lasting build. The second Five Ten shoe to make our list, the Hellcat Pro, breaks from the mold with its clipless pedal design. A standard option for a moderately rigid shoe like the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Summit is to insert a ¾-length shank into the midsole. The Jacket II undoubtedly is a fine trail shoe, but the problem is that it’s only $10 cheaper than the venerable Five Ten Freerider above. Shoes intended for cross-country riding put a high priority on covering ground as easily as possible. … 15.8 oz.What we like: Glove-friendly closure system and insulated Gore-Tex liner.What we don’t: Expensive and not versatile. The shoe’s recently added TORBAL (torsional balance) midsole allows more natural sideways flex in the back of the sole while the forefoot stays planted on the pedal, meaning better balance and bike control on techy descents. But for piling on miles as efficiently as possible, a XC shoe is a great choice. Although the Chamber II is known to pedal quite well, it wouldn’t be our first choice for all-day slogs or XC rides. All said, there’s a lot to like about the Clan. In short, long-term durability is still a question mark, while both the Freerider and GR7 have proven themselves time and time again. What makes them popular for anyone from beginners to expert freeriders is that they offer a quick escape if you’re stretching your abilities and need to bail.
Category: XC/all-mountainPedal compatibility: CliplessWeight: 1 lb. Its polarizing looks may be hard for some to get past, although this shouldn’t be a huge issue for most winter mountain bikers who gave up on being stylish long ago (ourselves included). As a result, the classic Freerider still is the best all-around option for riding on flats. A lightweight mountain bike shoe comes with numerous benefits. In the end, both are great options, but we prefer the ME5’s burlier construction, improved outsole, and all-mountain focus. Further, it’s not the most comfortable shoe to wear off the bike. For rough downhill trails or those that don’t like being clipped in, Five Ten’s Freerider is a long-time favorite. That said, the low-top ClipLite leaves your ankle more vulnerable, is a bit too rigid for hiking, and its SlipNot sole pales in comparison to the ME7’s Michelin outsole on soft ground. The best hiking shoe often is not that great for biking—moderate flexibility is good for walking but bad for power transfer—so we look for hybrid designs that are adept at both. A quality mountain bike shoe plays a number of important roles. For the ME7, Shimano chose a single-pull lacing system underneath a Velcro-secured nylon flap and an added buckle closure. That being said, weight doesn’t get nearly as much attention in the mountain biking market as it does in the running or hiking worlds. In addition, the Giro’s Boa dial has a plastic piece along the bottom for protection, but it unfortunately makes it harder to adjust on the trail (cancelling out one of the main benefits of a Boa cinch). These lightweight systems are common on clipless XC and Enduro models. Further, the traditional outsole shape and tread pattern make it a below-average hiker (although the new rubber sole does help). Further, a sticky outsole is a big helper for walking on rocks, and decent lugs—not all that dissimilar from a hiking shoe—are important for sloppy trails. For the rest of us, a well-balanced design like the Shimano SH-ME5, Five Ten Freerider, and Giro Cylinder is a better match. Both aim to be all-rounders, although the Shimano’s burlier construction and more aggressive Michelin outsole give it the edge for the kind of rough and rowdy singletrack riding we do in the Pacific Northwest. Released last year, their Clan flat pedal model is a compelling alternative to both the Five Ten Freerider and Shimano GR7 above.
Packed with a long list of features, dive-in and check out the new kicks in the press release from Shimano, below. What do you sacrifice with a XC shoe like the Dominator? The ME7 is rated as an eight on Shimano's sole stiffness scale, compared to an 11 for their top of the line ultra-stiff XC race shoe, the Shimano S-Phyre XC9, and it doe… Another important consideration is your pedal type, and we’ve included our favorite options for those who prefer flats or like to be clipped in (somewhat confusingly referred to as “clipless”). What we don’t: Overkill and heavy for a lot of riders.
Using dual-density rubber and a strategic lug placement pattern, the design draws upon Michelin’s extensive knowledge of tread design to improve grip off the bike without compromising pedaling efficiency. However, despite choosing the correct size in the ME7 (I had to double-check, but I’m definitely a 42), I found the shoe was considerably more spacious than I’m used to.
The most flexible designs are the cheapest and rely simply on a thick midsole and rubber outsole for shock absorption and rigidity.
The shoe also has an aggressive Vibram outsole, which utilizes their tacky Megagrip compound—a common choice for trail running and hiking footwear. However, I did find myself wishing there was more adjustability closer to the toe, and found that on-the-fly adjustments weren’t possible (a Boa dial system or ratchet design is a better option). 8.2 oz.What we like: Premium features at an entry-level priceWhat we don’t: Noticeable step down in performance compared with the ME5 above. 9.8 oz.What we like: Comfortable with good protection. Where the ME3 falls short is for enduro racers and downhill riders. And if you’ll be jumping on a bike with clipless pedals, then you’ll need a compatible shoe right off the bat.Back to Our Top Mountain Bike Shoe Picks Back to Our Shoe Comparison Table. Nearly all shoes include a toe cap to take the sting out of a rock strike, but there are notable differences between shoe categories (XC, all-mountain, and downhill). Weighing well over 2 pounds, it’s more than 11 ounces heavier than the Specialized 2FO Cliplite above. If your mountain biking gear budget has been stretched thin and you’re tempted to skimp on the helmet, don’t. The Five Ten Freerider is a very comfortable shoe off the bike (although its dotty tread doesn’t grip well in mud), and leading clipless designs include Shimano's SH-ME5 and SH-ME7 and Pearl Izumi's X-Alp Summit. In addition, you get more protection all around the foot compared with a XC shoe, including marginally better shock absorption underfoot. Check Latest Price. Skip that extra bit of carbon instead. The flagship ME7 features an exclusive outsole design, created in collaboration with Michelin. First Look: Shimano ME7 and ME5 Trail Shoes, https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/18548/avatar/c50_IMG_0045_1428943983.jpg?1428943532, https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/FredLikesTrikes,18548/all, https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/FredLikesTrikes,18548/setup, Use code "MEGADEAL" for an extra 15% off an ever-changing selection of products, The World's Hardest Enduro? Far and away, the most popular flat pedal all-mountain choice is Five Ten’s Freerider line, while top clipless options include the Shimano SH-ME5 and Specialized 2FO Cliplite. We are going to finish up with this pair of Shimano MTB shoes, and we really have saved a very high quality shoe to take up this final place in our list. 10 oz.What we like: Good all-around performance for various cycling disciplines.What we don’t: The traditional outsole isn’t great for hike-a-bikes. A unique touch is the placement of the cleat pocket, which is set further inboard than most designs on the market. Whether this improves the overall ride of the shoe is still open for debate, but we applaud their innovation nonetheless. But if you’re looking for a no-compromise enduro race model, the 2FO Cliplite should be at or near the top of the list.See the Specialized 2FO Cliplite. I experienced slight discomfort on the inside of the ankle during the initial break-in period, but this has mostly subsided. The ME3 features an easy-to-use buckle system—borrowed from more premium offerings—that provides an impressively precise and comfortable fit. As in most cases, you get what you pay for, and we think the Shimano ME7 is worth it for the more aggressive riders and those that will appreciate the grippy outsole. But all things considered, I’ve enjoyed the ME7’s added protection on many muddy days. The big upside of being connected is it’s easier to put the power down and pedal efficiently. If you do a lot of pedaling on your rides or live in a warmer climate, it’s worth getting a shoe that emphasizes breathability. Thanks to its tall lugs and soft rubber Michelin outsole, the ME7 has become my favorite hike-a-bike companion, especially on steep and loose terrain (and on wet logs, too). How does the Cylinder compare to our top-rated ME5? An alternative is to wear a neoprene cover or bootie overtop of your standard shoes for a boost in warmth and water resistance (but keep in mind, these are vulnerable to tearing when subjected to trail abuse). In the end, we think plenty of riders will enjoy the Ventana, but it’s a few design tweaks away from being a top pick.See the Men's Giro Ventana See the Women's Giro Ventana. Category: All-mountain/XCPedal compatibility: CliplessWeight: 1 lb. While the Chamber II has dropped some weight from its previous iteration, there’s no denying that this is not a light shoe.