Shimano markets an enormous assortment of mountain bike shoes and at this year’s Eurobike show, has introduced some exciting new footwear.
Recognising the unique demands that committed trail and enduro riders have of mountain biker shoes, Shimano has responded with a range which is comfortable both on and off the bike.
In exceptionally steep terrain, enduro riders often dismount and push their bikes up climbs. They might even choose to hike-a-bike, reconnoitring new trail options. To best facilitate walking in steep terrain, while pushing or carrying a bike, you require a shoe that is flexible and comfortable.
The first of Shimano’s new trail/enduro shoes offerings is an evolution of the classic AM7/9 slipper. A propriety rubber outsole improved pedal and walking grip, while an improved fabric structure accelerates drying ability.
A lace shield covers the shoe’s tension interface and Shimano has increased the volume of protective padding, to ensure that an inadvertent rock strike does not have cripplingly painful consequences.
The AM9 remains Shimano’s clipless pedal derivative, while the AM7 is for riders who prefer the instant disengagement and freedom of flat pedal riding.
Shimano has improved the cleat channels on its AM9, which should enable smoother cleat engagement and allow for easier walking off the bike. There is also a touch more latitude in actual cleat orientation, which is always a potential benefit to gravity and enduro riders, with their preference for mountain cleats as far back as possible – to aid descending contact-point stability.
With a stiffness rating of only 6 on Shimano’s scale of 12, this is not a shoe for high cadence power transfer, but if you value trail feel through the pedals while descending, and dismounted walking comfort, the AM7/9 will appeal.
Available in sizes from 37-48, with black and navy colourways, these Shimano enduro shoes are set to retail for $160.