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. or


  1. JBikes on

    The S-Phyre would be a perfect general use road shoe if they just toned down the lugs and eliminated the spikes. Give it a lightweight sole with a tread design like a casual shoe, keep it 2-hole. I don’t race anymore and find full-on road shoes with their ridiculous walking shenanigans tiring. Given today’s stiff soles, I don’t even notice if I’m using a road cleat or 2-hole mtb style cleat.

  2. Shafty on

    Outside of the enduro shoe(and similar shoes), these all look great! Relatively toned down aesthetics is a win for me.

  3. karmaphi on

    Thanks for pointing out the details. I went ahead and looked at the old ME7 from your IB16 coverage to get context of what changed. For folks like me who don’t keep up with these incremental changes, I would’ve just looked at the color and sole and presume nothing really changed but the look of the uppers.

    Would be cool if you relied less on words for the technical spec stuff and more on side-by-side comparison with graphics. Maybe leave text for intro, opinion, story, judgment, hype, etc.

    BTW, the Shimano XTR story was enjoyable for the content, but lacks elements like plot and climax, etc. that could’ve made me impressed by this site’s writing. If nothing else, the reporting/journalism is satisfactory.

  4. xc-fr on

    skip Boa and I would buy the xc9.
    with Boa – no way. to many issues with this fragile system 🙁
    its really annoying, that nearly all top of the line shoes uses this f?cking bad Boa system in the meantime. WHY ???

    • Crash Bandicoot on

      HUH? I’ve got BOA and Northwave dials on all my shoes (25,000 miles+ on BOA equipped Shoes) and the the only issues I’ve had with Boa dials are when I tried to wash my rain shoes in the washing machine in a tube sock and the dial got smashed, and crashing at a crit at 30 mph and smashing them and the shoes to bits, in both cases they took 2 days to send me a replacement for free. Northwave dials are good too but a huge pain in the butt to order them at great expense from some guy on ebay who ships them from italy.

  5. tazul on

    Shimano realized how inhumanly narrow ME7s were…at last! (pun intended) It took them some time but better later than never…


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