The XC60s are a new addition to Shimano's crowded footwear range for 2012. As you'd expect at this price, these high-end, race-ready off-road shoes come highly specified, with carbon reinforced soles, ratchet fastening and plenty of bling styling appeal.
The first thing that strikes you out of the box is the classy pearl finish of the white synthetic uppers. This is offset with bold red and black accents, a plush red lining and reflective splashes on each heel.
The plentiful areas of mesh ventilation are predominantly black, with the exception of one panel which is, for some unfathomable reason, brilliant white. After a few muddy rides these sections are already morphing into an unsightly shade of beige. The rest of the shoe cleans up really well and seems impressively well made.
Closure is handled by two lower Velcro straps and a low-profile ratchet fastener for the top strap, which allows precise tightening and quick release. The carbon reinforced soles have blade style grips, similar to those on a soccer boot, designed to give good grip and shed mud quickly. A pair of low-profile studs under each toe completes the underside. Cross-head screws allow you to replace worn studs or upgrade to something more aggressive.
Fit is relatively narrow, particularly across the middle of the foot, and out of the box the XC60s had a little less support around the heel than we'd like. Of course, sizing is always subjective and personal, and after a bit of playing around with the straps we found a comfortable fit and once riding there were no issues.
The soles feel impressively stiff on the bike, with no hot spots developing on longer rides, but they're also comfortable and stable enough for the odd spot of walking. The toe box feels well protected but we resisted the temptation to kick any rocks to prove this.