Further, the snug fit that connects you so well to the pedals compromises long-term comfort and is difficult to wear while walking. Below I break down the Shimano ME7’s comfort, on-bike stability and support, off-bike traction, fit and sizing, and more. Similar to their mountain bike lineup, Scott excels in the cross-country category for footwear. An insole could help eliminate some of the empty space, but those with narrow or low-volume feet might also want to consider other options. It’s a tough call and might come down to personal preference, but at $90 cheaper, the Terraduro is a tough value to beat. The shoe feels great out of the box with generous padding and a fair amount of flex underfoot. But it strikes me that there’s an opportunity for Shimano to re-work the spot where the two fabrics meet. The company revamped its footwear lineup last year, and we especially like the clipless X-Alp Summit. And while the $300 price tag may cause many to pause, considering all the unique winter-ready features, we think the MW7s are worth it. 8.2 oz.What we like: Premium features at an entry-level priceWhat we don’t: Noticeable step down in performance compared with the ME5 above. For a slightly detuned version that’s a bit softer and heavier but still plenty powerful for race day, check out the $225 Recon 3.0.See the Specialized S-Works Recon. I’m used to a low-collared model like the Giro Terraduro, so I attributed this slight discomfort to the fact that the ME7 is one of the few over-the-ankle models I’ve worn in a while. Aimed at casual riders, the Giro Jacket II trades outright performance for a comfortable interior and easy walkability. And for years, Five Ten’s rubber has stood out from the pack. 10.8 oz.What we like: Lightweight and powerful.What we don’t: Not a great hiking shoe. Both aim to be all-rounders, although the Shimano’s burlier construction and more aggressive Michelin outsole give it the edge for the kind of rough and rowdy singletrack riding we do in the Pacific Northwest. And although we think the ME5 is the best all-around shoe in Shimano’s lineup, those looking for more protection should check out the more enduro-focused ME7. Racers, particularly those in events that require a decent amount of pedaling, will want the stiffest shoes around. All things considered, the new ME7 is one of the most confidence-inspiring shoes I’ve tested. In addition, you get more protection all around the foot compared with a XC shoe, including marginally better shock absorption underfoot. As with pedal type, most of the decision comes down to personal preference, but laces are mostly commonly associated with flat pedal shoes. Further, they’ve done something interesting with the insole of the Livewire and added impact protection on the heel and ball of the foot. They’re also less forgiving if you use poor technique—although slipping off and hitting your shins a few times will expedite the learning process. The ME7’s tall lugs and Michelin outsole provide excellent off-the-bike performance. For a versatile shoe that’s comfortable on climbs but offers good protection for descents, choose an all-mountain or enduro model. Comprised of two new models—the ME7 and ME5—the ME series features Shimano’s TORBAL (Torsional Balance) sole technology which improves balance and bike control by allowing for some lateral movement in the heel, while optimizing pedaling efficiency at the sole/cleat interface. With their legendary sticky Stealth S1 rubber and a clean look, it’s far and away the most popular choice for platform pedal riders. With its... “Do you think that rain is coming our way?” We pedal under the bright sun, constantly glancing nervously over our shoulders as if being chased by a predator... Smith’s foray into the world of mountain bike helmets began in 2014 with the release of the lightweight Forefront. A stiff build underfoot is a defining feature of mountain bike shoes—it’s what allows you to put the power down to the pedals. Finally, the dual Boa twist lacing system is one of our favorites for making micro adjustments to optimize fit. 9.8 oz. Quality cycling shoes and pedals are synonymous with the Shimano brand, and their current crop of footwear is as good as it’s ever been. Category: XC/all-mountainPedal compatibility: CliplessWeight: 1 lb. How does the Cylinder compare to our top-rated ME5? More than just about any other footwear category, mountain bike shoes are made with a wide range of closure types. Shimano’s MW7, with a high neoprene cuff and insulated Gore-Tex liner, does a great job of incorporating all these features into a streamlined and relatively lightweight package. Flat-Bottomed Shoes (“Flats”) You do compromise durability and weather resistance with a highly breathable shoe—mesh tears much more easily and doesn’t resist moisture. Released last year, their Clan flat pedal model is a compelling alternative to both the Five Ten Freerider and Shimano GR7 above. Coming from the snug Giro Terraduro, I had some concerns about my feet sliding around, but this hasn’t been the case. It’s true, mountain bike helmet prices are creeping up... Sweden-based Thule is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of car racks and bike accessories, and the T2 Pro XT is their top hitch-mounted offering. Securely attaching to the receiver hitch of your vehicle, they offer unmatched versatility and ease of use. Further advancing rider protection and comfort, a new stretch Neoprene ankle collar keeps out trail debris while ample mesh ventilation throughout the front and rear of the shoe ensures ventilation even during long, hot days on the trail. The high-volume fit left some unwanted space in the shoe (this can be a positive, however, for those with wide feet). The final category is the most demanding: downhill. Part of the reason is that many bikers stick to shorter rides, but the main factor is that most shoes only vary by a few ounces for the pair. Giro and Shimano incorporate rubber specialists Vibram and Michelin respectively, and their top models offer performance that is good but not great. And take note: if your winter months are especially brutal, it can be a good idea to size up a half to full size to make room for thick socks. And considering their recent entrance into the market, it’s hard to give a final word on the Ride Concepts brand in general. Category: XC/all-mountainPedal compatibility: CliplessWeight: 1 lb. 0 oz.What we like: Solid alternative to popular models from 5.10 and Shimano.What we don’t: Unproven long-term performance. For the rest of us, a well-balanced design like the Shimano SH-ME5, Five Ten Freerider, and Giro Cylinder is a better match. The Shimano ME7 is the brand’s premium do-everything model, and its design and comfort reflect this. Giro’s Ventana below is a sturdy all-mountain option, while their Cylinder offers greater versatility for cross-country pursuits. 9.8 oz.What we like: Comfortable with good protection. Shimano and Michelin team up to bring you the new Shimano ME7 and ME5 Mountain Enduro shoes. This maximizes stiffness for putting power down but compromises in walkability and comfort. For some, riding through cold, wet, and miserable weather sounds like a perfect day on the trail. 3.6 oz.What we like: Clipless compatibility combined with the look and feel of a flat-pedal shoe.What we don’t: Heavy design. Their $140 GR7 (GR stands for “gravity”) is a solid offering meant to balance the needs of trail and downhill riders. Leading models in this category include the Sidi Dominator, Giro Cylinder, and Specialized’s race-ready S-Works Recon. Design-wise, you have your choice between clipless and flat (also known as platform) pedals. Skip that extra bit of carbon instead. Stepping up to the Freeride Pro gets you a tougher construction as well as a stiffer sole, but that will cost an additional $50. Compromises include less foot protection than the all-mountain and downhill categories, and the stiff constructions aren’t very comfortable for walking. Category: All-mountain/downhillPedal compatibility: CliplessWeight: 2 lbs. The second Five Ten shoe to make our list, the Hellcat Pro, breaks from the mold with its clipless pedal design. Built on Specialized’s stiffest mountain bike sole—stiff enough to make walking somewhat uncomfortable and awkward—power is transferred instantaneously and effortlessly to the pedals. I haven’t had any close calls with trail obstacles yet, but I imagine the streamlined buckle won’t snag or tear. Its polarizing looks may be hard for some to get past, although this shouldn’t be a huge issue for most winter mountain bikers who gave up on being stylish long ago (ourselves included). Further, the synthetic upper material sheds light moisture and is sufficiently reinforced to handle rock kicks and the occasional spill. And even once it’s second nature, you still won’t be able to get your foot off the pedal as quickly as with a flat pedal option. Although the Chamber II is known to pedal quite well, it wouldn’t be our first choice for all-day slogs or XC rides. The ClipLite’s double BOA closure system and front Velcro strap have the edge when it comes to on-the-fly adjustments, and I prefer the less flashy styling over the techy-looking ME7. See the Men's Giro Cylinder See the Women's Giro Cylinder. Plus, they’ll cost you a fair bit more than a standard shoe and you’ll give up a lot in terms of versatility. The Jacket II undoubtedly is a fine trail shoe, but the problem is that it’s only $10 cheaper than the venerable Five Ten Freerider above. Bike of the Day: Specialized S-Works Enduro, Vitus Introduces All-New 2021 Escarpe & Sommet, Eddie Masters Thinks the UCI Is Suffocating Downhill Racing, WINNING BIKE: Greg Minnaar's Santa Cruz V10, Bike Check: Jamie Edmondson's Nukeproof Dissent 290 at the Lousa World Cup, RESULTS, Interviews, Winning Runs - Lousa World Cup DH #2. Shimano Working on a New Saint Derailleur? The most flexible designs are the cheapest and rely simply on a thick midsole and rubber outsole for shock absorption and rigidity. Depending on where you ride, wet and muddy trails can be a fact of life. How often you’ll be off your bike will dictate how important grip is for you, but we’ve found premium outsole designs to be valuable even on short (but steep) scrambles. Weighing well over 2 pounds, it’s more than 11 ounces heavier than the Specialized 2FO Cliplite above. And shoes that are easy to clean are a nice bonus—look for minimal seams, sleek fabric, and covered laces such as those on Shimano’s SH-ME7 (for more, see our in-depth ME7 review). Outliers include the crazy-light Specialized S-Works Recon (1 pound 3 ounces), which is streamlined to maximize efficiency for cross-country racing. The Giro’s average fit also has been a slightly better match for us than the moderately wide ME5 (although cinched down, the Shimano still is plenty locked in). We like their entry-level Livewire model for its grippy rubber outsole, good looks, and approachable $100 MSRP. Compared with the Freerider above, the Hellcat puts down the power better with a midsole that’s been stiffened up with a TPU shank. Options in this popular category are more flexible and have better traction than a XC build, but still are reasonably stiff for good pedal power. Additionally, the shoe goes from an exclusively Boa closure to a mix of Boa and hook-and-loop system over the toe.