Good waterproofing and comfortable enough for touring and light walking. The upper is disappointingly flimsy and combines with poor cleat clearance to make the Shimanos less suitable for trail walking. The sole has good grip but mountain bikers might want something stiffer.
- Not as ugly as some cycling shoes.
- Flimsy uppers.
- Not much clearance between cleat and ground.
If, like me, you dislike aggressive sports styling (i.e. you have taste) you’ll have trouble finding cleated cycling shoes to your liking. The Shimanos are definitely less aggressivly styled than some but are still far from what I’d regard as tasteful. However, they have a Goretex lining and are designed to be wearable off the bike so look like a decent choice for cycle touring.
The shoes are comfortable, presuming you get a good fit – it’s a good idea to try Shimano shoes on first as the sizing can be a bit eccentric. The laces secure the shoe very well and there is a large velcroe strap to keep the laces from flapping about. The straps are a bit too long if anything and occassionaly catch on things themselves and come loose. Despite the Goretex liner the shoes are reasonably breathable. This is probably because the suede leather is very thin and has lots of holes. Bear this in mind if you’re looking for a winter shoe – while they keep out the wind fairly well they are not warm.
Given the Goretex liner, the waterproofing is, as you’d expect, very good. I had thought water might come in through the cleat area but the inside of the shoe seems to be completely sealed. On long cycles rain will probably soak down through the big hole in the top where your leg goes anyway but I had no complaints at all about waterproofing and the Shimanos kept my feet dry much better than overshoes.
The soles have reasonable stiffness, though some cheaper Shimano shoes have stiffer soles. They represent a decent balance between stiffness for cycling and flexibility for walking. The sole has proven durable enough for long-distance touring but I doubt is stiff enough for rough mountain biking. For walking the shoes are fine on pavements, grass and mud with decent grip and comfort. There isn’t much clearance between the cleat and the ground though so stony tracks aren’t much fun; the cleats will scrape anything other than a perfectly flat surface. I had hoped these would double as a cycling and walking shoe but walking on rough tracks is laborious and the thinness of the upper makes them unsuitable for anything but light walking.
The shoes were a few months old when I accidentally scraped the toe on the kerb while walking. It was a pretty light scratch and I would expect any shoe to take it but it scraped right through the toe protector on the Shimanos. The toe protection is extremely thin – not much thicker than paper! In fact the entire suede upper is very thin and after a few months of wear had deformed quite substantially. Considering the price this is disappointing.
Despite the early wear the Shimanos have lasted about two years and around 10,000 miles of cycling so have worked out at reasonable value. I plugged the toes with flexible fabric glue which stopped them deteriorating further and they’re still going strong. However, because of the early wear I have only given them light use and hardly ever off-road.
There isn’t much selection in Goretex cycling shoes so if that’s something you really want these shoes may be the best you’ll get. However, it’s debatable whether Goretex shoes are really all that useful for cycling and I don’t think the Goretex is enough to justify the price. These shoes aren’t cheap and I really expected a better quality upper.
5/10 (This score ignores price. Learn more about these reviews.)