With so many options on the market there are a lot of “so-so” or “yeah it works” shoes. But if you know the inside scoop you will score some that are smashingly good.
I have used Sidi, Specialized, Giro and now just getting my hands on these Shimano – XC-70 m.s.r.p $269, (but you can get them for around $200). These shoes have nice sturdy looking lugs, with a sleek black upper with nice design details, fast looking not bulbous and chunky. They are lightweight and tech looking by using combinations of meshes and material details on the uppers. Slipping these on; I knew I had the size dialed, anyone familiar with Shimano’s heat moldable footbeds knows that these fit like a glove even when un molded the fit is great. The toe box is wide, much wider than Sidi and on par with Specialized which gives for a nice non cramp up feel. A bonus is these shoes come in 1/2 sizes, unlike some less expensive versions. I tried the 44.5EU version for my US 10.5, size was great. These shoes are available in a wide version, but I find that these run sightly wider than Giro which are known to run narrow.
Why everyone needs some mtb shoes:
“Your’e a roadie right, what the heck are you doing with mountain bike shoes” – well, MTB shoes are one of those multipurpose tools that are good for a wide range of activities. That’s why I love them.
From very specific tasks of mountain biking (of course) all the way to daily commuting because they are very walkable. I tend to use mtb shoes for Gravel riding, because I never know when you are gonna have to get off and walk, either to save myself on a hikeout or to take a cool picture. Then everyday life, walking in road shoes is naff and popping into the supermarket stores requires a shoe that can be walked in, has some grip and doesn’t look to space age and white and bright, then of course shoes with deep lugs and tread are a must for Cyclocross or pure MTB riding.
A few key features of the XC -70’s that immediately spoke to me
- Clean looking design, no flash.
- Stiff composite sole reinforced with carbon sections.
- Footbed based in Shimano’s Dynalast for comfort.
- Heat formable footbed should I need it.
- Custom arch and toe inserts for footbed.
- Proven buckle system (used on my 320’s for 3yrs no problem), easy to adjust while on the bike and very reliable.
- Sharkstooth heel cup grippers (easily insert your heal, but hard to slide up and out), I also have these on some other shoes and they work great.
- Toe Stud compatible if you are into muddy MTB or Cyclocross.
- Air vent placement at the end of toe.
- I was also impressed that you get a nice shoe bag included.
A few things I am eager to understand more:
- Asymmetrical velcro straps to make the uppers fit the volume of your foot better.
- Testing the lugs off the bike for grip on smooth bank floors and supermarket isles 🙂 Is this red lug material too hard?
- Understanding the off bike walking and scrambling comfort with regard to sole flex.
A few pics below to show you some of the features. I will report more back after a while of riding.
After putting 150miles on these shoes I can report of a nice fit. The airflow through the very front vents is great, also this applies to water, the water flow is great too! So if you ride in the wet a lot of the time, you may consider taping these vents over.
The insole without any thermoforming feels comfortable and supportive, I used the medium arch supports that came in the insoles.
The velcro straps feel sturdy and function well, one small frustration was the tongue is looped to the upper velcro strap, I found this somewhat cumbersome, so I pulled the loop out. The ratchet strap works great and adjusts in small increments well, it works as easy as a Sidi buckle and hopefully is more reliable, long term test will see.
After reading a few other reviews that reported the sole as being a little bit slippy on some surfaces due to the hard durometer of the red lugs I was cautious when walking through my workplace painted concrete floors, but I found I was over caution, the traction is actually ok and the lack of traction seems to be overhyped by other reviewers.
The heal cup is very grippy and the sharks teeth do a great job. Overall so far I find the shoe Comfortable, Efficient being stiff, (but not too stiff) and well fitting.
I will ride these more and report back.