Two years in and the Shimano M200 introduced in 2014 is still one of my favorite shoes. It’s supremely comfortable, quite protective, and all things considered, fairly light for what it is. If there was one weak point, it would have to be the tread which has started to peel away. Fortunately, earlier this year when Shimano introduced the M200 replacing ME7 (above), the outsole happened to be one of the biggest improvements. The new shoe claims to be more durable, more protective, more ventilated, and somehow, even lighter.
We got our hands on an early sample with details after the break…
The new ME7 or ME700 which is technically the model name, starts out with a similar inner construction as the M200. Built around their Volume Plus last with a wider and taller toe box, the shoe uses Shimano’s Torbal carbon infused sole plate. Unlike other shoes which are specifically building in flex around the toe box for walking, Torbal uses a ridged sole plate that is very efficient for pedaling but allows the shoe to twist laterally for better pedaling dynamics during aggressive riding. I have to think that it actually works based on how much I like the M200. Shimano says the sole plate on the ME7 is rated 8/12 on the stiffness scale which should be the same as the M200. Weight should also be similar at a claimed 375g per shoe (size 40).
Shimano knows shoes. Michelin knows rubber. We hope that means these Shimano/Michelin outsoles will provide long lasting grip that a shoe like this needs. Part of three new Michelin rubber outsoles, the ME7, XC7, and S-phyre XC9 will all see the benefits of the collaboration. Each uses a multi-density rubber with the blue rubber representing the more durable compound and the black being more grippy (the S-phyre XC 9 is all black for both compounds). All of the rubber is a version of Michelin’s Outdoor Compound which offers high grip with high durability. Like the M200, the Me7 offers longer cleat pockets so you can set the cleats farther back if desired.
Another big change is the move to a reverse buckle mechanism. This was done not only because it looks better, but it hides the end of the ratchet strap and keeps it from getting damaged on the outside of the shoe (another small issue I noticed with the M200). The lower portion of the strap is hinged so the strap will adapt to different foot shapes and close with the best angle. Still a micro adjust, low profile buckle that is serviceable, it’s joined with the same speed lace and velcro cover from the M200.
Protection has also been improved on the ME7 with more reinforcement rubber on the toe box, and a new neoprene cuff around the ankle to keep out debris. Ventilation is said to be improved thanks to open mesh on the front and on the heel without giving up any protection. Priced at $200, the ME7 is available through local Shimano dealers now, and will also be available through REI in January with a special grey colorway.
Shimano was also showing the new MD5 which will replace the M163. This shoe still uses the Shimano dual density rubber outsole with a Torbal sole plate, but adds the new reverse buckle up top to the two velcro straps below at $150.
If you’re considering the new S-Phyre for cross, you’ll be happy to know that Shimano will soon have an option for an 18mm spike with a stainless steel tip and resin fiber base. Shimano wanted to make it clear that the reason they haven’t had one in the past was that their shoes weren’t really built to withstand a full speed impact to such a long spike at the front of the shoe. To compensate, the S-Phyre XC9 and XC7 have heavily reinforced anchor points that will ensure their durability when you clip that barrier.