I’ve always been fond of Shimano DH shoes, but the riding we actually do the bulk of the time is more enduro than DH. So it makes sense to run a lighter weight shoe that’s more efficient for climbing up mountains in order to enjoy the descents. Fortunately, these days there are a number of shoes dedicated for a more aggressive trail rider that still provide some protection for your feet on descents. The Shimano option is the ME7 shoe. As the enduro-specific model shoe, its designed to fulfill the needs of the majority of hard-charging mountain bikers.
As it’s wet a big chunk of the year in the PNW, I practically live in the MW7, the waterproof winter model. (see our review here) Once things dry up in the spring, we’re back to charging, and I was looking forward to trying Shimano’s enduro-specific iteration — the ME7 — which carries over a number of my favorite features of the MW7.
- Stretch Neoprene ankle collar offers protection from trail debris
- Armored toe and heel
- Synthetic leather upper
- Shimano Torbal midsole with carbon
- MICHELIN dual-density rubber outsole offers traction with durability, stability, and slip resistance
- Low-profile, reverse mount buckle
- Wide cleat adjustment range
- Speed lacing system
A neoprene ankle gasket similar to the cuff on the MW7 is much appreciated if you’ve ever stopped mid-ride to take off your shoes to empty them of dirt and small pebbles. The toe and heel also provide a bit of armored protection from rocks. And while still technically a low top, the inside of the ankle is raised to provide protection for that bony bit. Having bashed that part of my ankle in the past, this protection is very much appreciated.
Installation & Fit
A few years ago we found modifications were often needed on our shoes in order to mount cleats rearward enough to avoid numbness. Those days are in the past, and in comparison, the Torbal soles have a significantly expanded cleat adjustment range. We prefer to run our cleats rearward, which puts less stress on our ankles on hard hits and impacts. Road and XC oriented riders would argue more of a ball of the foot cleat placement, but in our experience the drop in power output/efficiency is negligible. It also facilitates switching back and forth between platform pedal and clip-in pedals by maintaining a similar foot position on the pedal.
On the Trail
If I was to go off hours logged, my go-to shoe has been the winter shoe, AKA the MW7. These shoes are the rockstar workhorse of the Shimano line (IMHO, they’re probably the best MTB shoes ever made) and the pair I wrote about over two years ago is still in use almost daily (for about half of the year at least). However, I’ve wanted to get my hands on the ME7 model for some time, as it speaks more to the experiences I dream of all week — ripping trail and enduro style rides. After almost a season of pounding trails with the ME7, it’s proved to be an extremely versatile shoe. Suitable for anything from trail riding to bike park shred, they’re great whether I’m on my hardtail or downhill bike.
After a year’s worth of riding, they’re still in great shape, considering they get used hard and put away wet regularly. (I still run the AW7 for wet weather, the moisture is mostly from perspiration as I prefer thick wool socks)
A good shoe on the trail only performs as good as the pedal you pair it with; my pedals of choice are the XT trail models (PD-M8020) for distance riding. Any type of shuttling or aggressive all mountain riding though, and I’m swapping out to my favorite pedal of all time: the Shimano PD-M647.
I find Shimano shoes to run slightly wider than shoes from other brands. Fit obviously varies from rider to rider, and you’re always best trying before buying with a product like shoes. The fit is consistent throughout the line which makes it easier. With thin socks the fit is ok, but I find middleweight to thicker wool cycling socks the ideal pairing for me. I hate getting cold feet anyway, so it works out great.
Although the shoes are stiff in the cleat area with power transfer rivaling a top end XC race shoe, (Shimano rates it as an 8 on a scale of 10) they’ve very walkable for those off the bike trail excursions with a bit of flex in the toe. This bit of flex helps them feel like a regular shoe while walking. The aggressive lugs and the Michelin Rubber provide ample traction as well.
Though Shimano is best known for the components line, they’ve been offering a line of shoes to compliment their SPD system for years. Having owned a number of Shimano shoes, they’re among the best in terms of reliability and longevity. The durability (backed up with a solid warranty) adds significant value, but when you factor in the performance, they’re a top contender when you’re shopping for your next shoe.
For 2019 the ME7 has been updated, which means you’re likely to find the 2018 model at a discount, provided you can locate one in your size. The updates make the new model an appealing option, with improved ventilation, reinforced armor, and a sealed cleat. Either model you choose, it’s a solid shoe worth taking a look at.
Check them out at Bike.Shimano.com.