Last year Shimano went all out on the 25th anniversary of the first SPD shoes and pedals with a huge expansion of their trail and road shoe offerings. Well it certainly doesn’t look like they are slowing down a year later with even more new kicks on the way building on a lot of the same technologies.
We saw earlier today some of the classy new shoes that Shimano has in the pipeline for the road touring crowd as part of their Explorer Transit collection, but at the same time they are overhauling their mountain bike shoes with new top end version targeted specifically at XC, Trail & Enduro. That’s not to mention a new top end road shoe, and some more affordable options for men and women triathletes and winter training both on and off-road…
The big new shift this year is probably the new partnership with Michelin soles that we first saw back in 2014 in a collaboration with Northwave. Like we saw then, Shimano also kicks off with a dual-density Michelin-soled Mountain Enduro shoe. The new ME7 is designed to have the light weight and pedaling efficiency of an XC race shoe with the added grip and protection needed for more aggressive racing where you’ll be blowing through rock gardens and over obstacles. They are the new incarnation of the previous M200, and the new shoe gets reinforced armor over the toe, instep and hidden speed lacing system, and a neoprene ankle cuff to keep mud and debris out.
The ME7 gets a carbon sole for power transfer stiffness, but uses Shimano’s Torbal tech to allow the heel to twist more naturally for better balance and control on the pedals. The shoes will come in both black or gray and claim a weight of just 375g a piece.
One step below the Enduro shoe on both aggressiveness and stiffness is a new all-around trail shoe called the ME5. It drops some of the armor, the neoprene, and speed lacing and gets an opposing pair of velcro straps for retention in addition to the same low-profile cam-buckle as the ME7. It also sticks with a standard dual-density rubber set of traction lugs instead of the Michelin tread, but still uses a carbon sole and Torbal flex for a efficient trail-riding shoe at a claimed 385g.
Over on the new race cross country side of things, Shimano puts an even stiffer carbon sole into the new XC7, without any built in heel flex but with Shimano’s own Dynalast shape that claims to lead to a smoother, more efficient pedal stroke.
Intended to be a top-tier XC race shoe, Shimano combines a single Boa IP1 dial with a velcro strap at the toe to hold the foot securely. The XC7 uses a perforated synthetic upper and gets a lightweight Michelin sole to come in at just 335g per shoe. It also offers standard width and a wider last through the bulk of its whole size Euro sizing run.
The road shoe line-up gets its own version of the carbon race shoe with the same Dynalast, perforated upper, and Boa closure. Like the XC7, the new RC7 uses a seamless upper without a separate tongue that lets the shoe wrap around the foot under the Boa’s Powerzone wires for a more uniform and hotspot-free fit. Also like the cross-country shoe, the RC7 uses an ultra-stiff carbon sole to maximize power transfer. The RC7 is claimed to weigh only 245g per foot, and comes in half sizes from 38-47 and wide last options for the full size run up to a 50 to dial in that perfect fit.
Triathletes benefit from some new specialist shoes too. Sharing a similar design to the elite-level TR9 model with the same breathable synthetic upper, 3D mesh lining, and T1-quick strap for fast transitions, the new TR5 gets a more affordable vented fiber-reinforced sole that actually trims a few grams off the more expensive carbon model.. The TR5 will work with either SPD or SPD-SL pedals and claims to weigh 265g a shoe, and come in both men’s and women’s sizing and colors.
Lastly Shimano has two more reasons to not stop riding all year long. Their new Dryshield MW5 and RW5 boots offer a pair of more affordable options than their other Gore-Tex offerings like the MW81s that a few of us have ridden through several winters. Using their own breathable & waterproof membrane with a fleece liner should keep costs down vs. the Gore option and take away one more obstacle to buying that additional pair of shoes to get you through the cold, wet months of riding. Both shoes offer an easy to use speed lacing system and get neoprene ankle cuffs to keep the weather out. The mountain MW5 is SPD compatible and gets a legged outsole with the provision for toes spikes, weighing 445g. The road version RW5 drops a good bit of weight down to just 340g by forgoing pretty much all tread except enough to get you down the front steps. In addition to SPD compatibility, the RW5 adds SPD-SL so you can run whatever pedals you want on your winter training bike.
Most of Shimano’s new shoes are anticipated to be available in shops from the first weeks of September, with the winter shoes a bit later but in time for northern hemisphere winters.