O’Neal Session clipless shoes review

Comfy, weatherproof MTB shoes

BikeRadar score3.5/5

If you want comfortable shoes with loads of pedal feel and decent weather/loam protection, O’Neal’s new Sessions are really good. But they’re not so great if you want the serious start snap and power delivery hinted at by the Boa-style dial closure on the side.

The fit of the reinforced toe is wide and the whole shoe is relatively loose for a given size. While the tensioning dial and cross strap can be used to tighten things up considerably, I’d suggest you size down for a snug fit.

The upper shrugs off puddle splashes and there’s a neoprene ankle collar to stop water and roost getting into your socks. That’s ideal for colder UK riding conditions, but they do get hot on those rare warm days.

Down below, the soft, flexible ‘Honey Rubber’ outsole gives excellent trail feedback and foot mobility. The cleat is recessed just the right amount to give easy release and connection with every caged pedal I tried, without protruding obviously when walking.

They’re a reasonable weight too, at 1,048g for a pair of UK 44s with cleats.

If you stamp hard, the nylon shank does very little to stop the shoe flopping around the pedal, so riders used to more supportive designs will feel short-changed when sprinting.

The cleat slot is also centred under the ball of the foot, rather than further back, as on a lot of DH-style clipless shoes, which won’t suit everyone.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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