Though low on their price list, Shimano’s new M162 “all-conditions trail” shoe isn’t low on performance by any means. Featuring a carbon-reinforced polyamid shank plate in a rubberized nylon sole, it provides excellent traction and pliability off the bike, yet it’s stiff enough to keep power transfer quite reasonable for a trail-specific shoe.
Fit is on the roomier side, thanks in part to Shimano’s Volume+ toe box. Two slightly offset Velcro straps and a micro-adjust buckle allow ample adjustability, and give the shoe a very comfortable yet secure feel. A padded and reinforced heel cup adds to the secure fit.
Ventilation is great on the M162, so much so that it’s a bit too breezy for winter riding – great news for those in warmer climates, or who are looking for a summer-specific shoe. Holding the abundance of ventilated sections together is a synthetic leather upper with built-in rubberized protection. The protective areas have held up well to a couple of months of regular abuse, along with the rest of the shoe.
Like many Shimano shoes, there's a V-shaped channel on the sole that's designed to guide pedal to cleat and does indeed seem to help a bit in doing so. The rubberized sole itself provides impressive traction over rocks and roots. Power transfer of the reinforced sole is better than expected for a shoe in this price range, although it'll likely feel too flexy for racer types or larger riders with sole performance expectations as high as their wattage output.
Overall, the M162 is a great shoe for trail riding. There's a slight trade-off of weight and stiffness compared to more race-oriented options but overall performance rivals shoes that are twice the price.