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.