Shimano Ultread updates lighter, more durable XC, AM and Gravity MTB Shoes

Shimano has overhauled their range of mountain bike shoes, introducing three new models for XC, two for All-Mountain, and one for Gravity riding. Central to the updates is Shimano’s new proprietary Ultread rubber compound that replaces the Michelin soles of past iterations. The new blend is said to offer superior durability and extraordinary grip, two characteristics usually in competition with one another. 

Reduced weight, improved traction, and increased durability are claimed for all six new Shimano kicks. Let’s get into it.

Shimano XC902, XC702, and XC502

shimano xc902 ultread shoe

Shimano’s top-end Cross-Country Race shoe, the XC902, shaves 17% off the sole weight as compared to the XC901, now weighing a claimed 171g. Despite the weight loss, the new Ultread rubber is said to have a much higher tear strength index nearing 8, versus the 6 boasted by the previous iteration.

shimano xc902 toe spikes

It’s not just the rubber compound that is new this season; the arrangement of the lugs is updated too, optimized for improved traction off-the-bike. Low-profile toe blocks are coupled with the option to run toe spikes for particularly muddy races where you might need to dismount and run up hills with your bike.

shimano xc902 range

Tightening the shoe around the foot are two BOA Li2 dials hooked up to the Power Zone lacing arrangement.

Priced at $430 USD, the XC902 isn’t cheap, but it does weigh in at a very respectable 296g in size 42. On top of the new lightweight carbon sole, this shoe gets a surround-wrapping upper, composed of microfibre synthetic leather and a TPU mesh toe box. The shoe also benefits from an S-PHYRE anti-twist heel cup structure said to enhance power transfer.

Middle of the pack is the Shimano XC702. This XC Race Shoe benefits from heaps of trickle-down tech from the XC902, built into a much better value package for all-around riding rather than pure racing. Here, the Ultread XC rubber lugs are larger with a more flexible and heavier carbon sole. The BOA li2 dials are replaced by heavier BOA 6 dials, still hooked up to the Power Zone lacing. These one weigh a claimed 320g in Size 42, and retail at $230 USD.

shimano xc502

At the most affordable end of the spectrum is the Shimano XC502, retailing at $175 USD. Despite that, these are lighter than the XC702 model and almost as light as the top-end XC902 Shoe at just 300g in Size 42. It drops the dual BOA fastening for a larger, stand-alone BOA L6 dial combined with a velcro strap lower down. The carbon fiber midsole is replaced with a fiberglass sole, given a stiffness rating of 7/12 for all-day comfort. Women’s sizing is only available for this lower-end model (come on, Shimano).

shimano xc5

Shimano AM903 and AM 503

shimano am903 mtb clipless shoe black all mountain enduro

Designed to meet the demands of the Enduro Wolrd Series races are the new Shimano AM 903 and AM503 All-Mountain Clipless Shoes. These are essentially a clipless version of the new GR9 DH Flat Pedal Shoes (shown below), featuring the Ultread Gravity rubber around the cleat box, as well as the asymmetric ankle design with padded protection.

shimano am9

Both the AM903 and more affordable AM503 models are of a lace-up design, but the AM903 gets two additional velcro straps that add extra protection, improve durability and reduce the surface area available to provide purchase for mud. This one is the lightest, weighing a claimed 415g in size 42, and the most expensive, retailing at $170 USD.

shimano am503 blue clipless mtb shoe womens

Laces on the AM503 are left exposed to the elements. It does afford a more casual aesthetic, however. This one weighs a claimed 445g in size 42 and retails at $115 USD. Women’s sizing is only available for this lower-end model (again, come on, Shimano).

Shimano GR903 Flat Pedal MTB Shoe

shimano gr903 dh mtb shoe flat pedal

The key highlight of the new Shimano GR903 Downhill Mountain Bike shoe is the proprietary Ultread Gravity rubber that replaces the Michelin rubber of old. Shimano claims it delivers both superior durability and extraordinary grip to help keep riders planted on and off the bike for greater control when they need it most.

shimano gr903 tread pattern ultread

The Ultread rubber is arranged in a pattern of hexagonal blocks, not unlike that seen on the earlier version of Specialized 2FO Shoes, with deeper tread seen at the heel and toe regions for grip whilst walking at the trailside. 

shimano gr9

Also updated for this season was the Shimano GR9 Last, widened at the toe box to allow the wearer’s toes more freedom, resulting in more comfort and control on the bike. They also took the opportunity to increase the under-arch surface area. Protection was a priority here, too. Shimano has added a fully integrated gaiter to keep debris out as well as an asymmetric padded ankle and reinforced toe box.

The Shimano GR903 Flat Pedal DH mountain bike shoe retails at $170 USD, weighing a claimed 415g in size 42. Pick it up in Black and Smoke White colorways.

Availability

  • Shimano XC902: Sizes: 37-48, Half-sizes 41.5-46.5, Wide Sizes 40-48
  • Shimano XC702: Sizes: 38-50, Half-sizes 40.5-46.5, Wide Sizes 40-48 (Black Only)
  • Shimano XC502: Sizes: Men’s 40-48, Wide 40-48, Women’s 36-44
  • Shimano AM903: Sizes 38-48
  • Shimano AM503: Sizes: Men’s 38-48, Women’s 36-44
  • Shimano GR903: Sizes 38-48

Shimano.com

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Tim
Tim
9 months ago

I think the biggest news is the half sizes available on the 702 model. To my knowledge, previously, they only offered half sizes on the top model.

The KOM Hunter (@theKOMhunter)

Nice to see the “cheap” XC502 is “only” $175. I’ll only have to remortgage *half* the house to get those, then

Anna
Anna
8 months ago

Thanks for the review! Anyone knows, where the xc702 will be available to buy?