Shimano’s XC racing S-Phyre XC9 and enduro racing ME7 shoes are each just under two years old. But as the top-level XTR racing groupset gets a 12-speed makeover for 2019, Shimano is evolving their mountain bike race shoes to match. The changes are subtle, but make for solid improvements to both.
2019 Shimano S-Phyre XC9 & ME7 mountain bike shoes
The design of both new race-ready pairs of mountain bike shoes are ostensibly the idea of pairing with the new XTR M9100 Race and Trail pedals. In reality the new M9100 pedals haven’t changed all that much, besides ever so slightly wider platforms, and in fact both of these new mountain bike shoes keep the identical Michelin rubber outsoles that are found on the current models. The big change is an all-new synthetic upper for both that uses more extensive laser cut perforations for better breathability, fewer different materials for improved fit, and updated reinforced protection for rough trail racing.
New Shimano S-Phyre XC9 XC mountain bike shoes
The cross-country & even cyclocross racing XC9 (now SH-XC901) shoes get a new asymmetric, perforated synthetic microfiber upper that has been optimized to let more air in, while still keeping dirt out. They also drop the previous version’s mesh panel for what is said to be a closer, more comfortable fit without unnecessary seams.
The shoes improve a bit on durability around the toe, with a broader & stronger bumper. They also add a new electric green color to the standard black & Shimano blue.
The XC9 keeps a low stack, full carbon sole with a Shimano stiffness rating of 11, and a pair of Boa IP1 dials. The shoes weigh 330g a piece and retain for $400 for the pair in a range of sizing from 38-48.
New Shimano ME7 enduro mountain bike shoes
The enduro ME7s maybe looks like a larger departure from the previous design with the simplified design. Gone is the mesh toe box, being replaced again by a single material perforated microfiber upper. Yet Shimano still claims that it has improved ventilation, while being more durable and better at keeping dirt & mud out of your shoes.
While the buckle looks mostly the same, a keen eye will notice that it is a bit lower profile, and more importantly the ratcheting lever design is reversed & chamfered to make it less likely to catch on trail debris or obstacles. In their construction, the new ME7 also uses what Shimano calls a Volume+ last that is said to better fit a wider range of foot sizes.
Shimano has revised the reinforcements around the toe & heel for improved durability. And the ME7 cleat area is now entirely sealed to keep water out.
The shoes retain the neoprene ankle for close fit & protection, Shimano’s Torbal level-8 stiffness sole that allows for controlled flex in the rear of the sole, and the same speed lacing under the covered tongue. The new ME7 shoes weigh 400g a pop, and sell for $200 for a pair in black or Shimano blue and a 38-50 size range.
New S-Phyre RC9 road shoe coming soon?!
As for the next logical progression, the road S-Phyre RC9 (SH-RC900) shared the same upper construction as the previous mountain S-Phyre XC9 (SH-XC900). There’s no new Dura-Ace groupset on the horizon, but we still expect to see a revision to Shimano’s top-end road racing shoe as well in the very near future.
The new 2019 shoes haven’t made it up to Shimano’s websites yet, even still listing the old version of the shoes as ‘New’. We haven’t even seen the pros racing on the new shoes yet, so we expect they won’t be available until at earliest the fall when you might get your hands on a new XTR 1×12 drivetrain anyway.