Multiple world champion Rachel Atherton showcased the new lines of gravity and all-mountain shoes and pedals at the UCI DH World Cup in Fort William, Scotland.
Shimano has previously focussed most of its effort and engineering on clipless shoes and pedals, so this is an interesting move for the brand.
Shimano’s footwear expert Falk Schlienz explains the change: “We’ve had flat pedal shoes in our line-up for many years but we’ve found that more people want flat pedals for more difficult trails or for e-MTB riding so we’ve brought in a range of flat Gravity shoes. We designed them together with our flat pedals so we can completely focus on making the system between the foot, the shoe and the pedal as natural and as connected as possible.”
We’re still waiting for prices to be confirmed on these products, and will update the article as soon as we get that information through.
Also new is the GR900 flat pedal gravity shoe, with a tread designed for traction when walking as well as ridingShimano
All-mountain and gravity shoes
There are five platforms (excuse the pun!) in the newly-released Shimano shoe line up, all focussed on gravity or all-mountain riding. Two models, the AM901 and AM701, are updates on previous incarnations, while the GR900, GR700 and GR700WOMEN are completely new gravity shoes.
The AM901, based on the popular AM9 shoe, features a raft of updatesShimano
The updated AM901 is the ‘flagship’ shoe in the Shimano collection, and is aimed at downhill and enduro riders.
Updates include a revised upper that’s designed to reduce water ingress, while other features include a molded toe, quick lacing cord for easy adjustability, and an ‘ultra-grippy, high traction’ rubber sole.
Shimano claims these weigh in at 400g for a size 42 pair.
The AM700 is another updated shoe for 2017Shimano
The model below thid is the AM701, which is also available in an SPD-compatible version as well as flat-pedal ready.
The AM701 doesn’t have the lace shield that the AM901 features, and has a harder sole overall with a stiffer mid-sole section, and we’re interested in the ankle gaiter feature, which is designed to keep out debris.
While it is available in a stealth black, Shimano has also produced a super-bright lime green version for those riders who don’t like to blend into the background.
The GR700 flat pedal shoe comes in two colourways, and is brand new for 2017Shimano
The GR900 and GR700 have several of the same features as the AM901 line, including an asymmetric ankle collar and toe cap.
Shimano has also introduced a womens’ specific version of the GR700, the GR700WOMEN though details are scant as to what adaptations they have made other than sizing, or as Shimano puts it, “a dedicated size for female feet.”
The distinguishing features include a different ‘simplified’ sole that’s designed to be lighter and better for walking, plus the GR700 and GR700WOMEN lack the lace shield which gives them, according to Shimano, better ventilation.
The GR range is available in a grey/green or blue colour.
Shimano has also released a women’s specific version, the GR700WOMENShimano
Flats and clipless pedals
On the pedal front, there are three new flat pedal offerings and one new SPD pedal, all aimed at gravity riders.
Sitting top of the range and the only SPD offering in the pedal lineup is the PD-M820Shimano
First up is the PD-M820, a SAINT-level SPD shoe which Shimano claims is one of its “most advanced Downhill and Enduro-specific pedals.”
The pedals are double-sided and have a wide alloy body and low-profile design with four adjustable pins per side.
Shimano claims a weight of 546g.
The PD-M828 is the range-topping flat pedal, with a choice of 3mm and 5mm pinsShimano
The corresponding flat pedal is the PD-M828, another SAINT-level pedal, but this time an eight-sided concave platform flat pedal with 12 steel pins per side, in a choice of 3mm or 5mm.
A less spendier option is the DEORE-XT level PD-M8040 pedalShimano
The PD-M8040 is also a flat platform pedal and comes in two different sizes: the small/medium, which is recommended for shoe sizes 36–44, and the medium/large for 43–48.
These DEORE XT-level pedals have 10 pins on each side and, as with the pricier PD-M828, a concave platform with 3mm or 5mm pins.
Shimano claims a weight of 460g for the S/M pedal or 503g for the M/L.
The Shimano GR500 pedals are aimed at entry- to intermediate-level ridersShimano
Last but by no means least comes the PD-GR500, based on the PD-MX80.
This is a flat pedal aimed at entry-level trail and all-mountain riders, with height-adjustable pins, sealed cartridge bearings and black or silver options with a claimed weight of 533g.
Shoes matched to pedals for optimal performance
Shimano is keen to emphasise that these shoes and pedals have been designed to work together, and it makes the following recommendations for optimal pairings:
AM901 shoes with SAINT M820 SPD pedals
GR900 shoes with SAINT M828 flat pedals
Pricing and availability
Pricing on all shoes and pedals is yet to be confirmed.
The PD-M820, PD-M828 and PD-M8040 pedals are all due to be released in November 2017, while the GR500 will be available from August 2017.