Shimano has massively boosted its range of cycle-specific footwear for 2016 with additions to its performance road, enduro, gravity, all mountain and women’s-specific series.
Developed in conjunction with downhill super-family Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton, the new additions to the popular all-mountain range are aimed at gravity and enduro riders.
Joining the line-up are the AM9 and AM7, clipless and flat respectively, and the AM5, an SPD option with a more relaxed style aimed at gravity and BMX riders.
Both the AM9 and AM7 feature many of the same features that made their predecessors, the AM45 and AM41, popular. These include reinforced high sidewalls, gravity specific rubber with a tread pattern designed for maximum pedal traction and Vibram soles. The armoured lace shields, a welcome protection from the elements, also remain.
New for the 2016 models is the pedal channel. This is effectively a scooped out portion of the sole, which Shimano states will make re-engaging with the pedal while unclipped a whole lot easier. This feature also brings a weight advantage, with a saving of 217g per pair (size 40) on the AM9 over the AM45.
Weight savings are made across the range, which is a welcome improvement on the previous models which were certainly on the weighty side. Shimano gives the weights per pair on a size 40 shoe as 744g from the AM9, 731g for the AM7 and 941g for the AM5. For reference, the 2014 AM45 came in at 961g.
If you’re after any of these models, the AM9 and AM5 are set to hit the shops from October 2015, with the AM7 following in November.
On the winter riding side of things, the new MW7 boots are waterproof, insulated, fleece lined and wind resistant. The flexible ‘Torbal’ midsole allows torsional flex while retaining a stiff midsection.
Fresh women’s specific road and MTB options
Shimano has also increased the performance offering for female cyclists with a whopping seven new models for both road and mountain biking.
A new top-of-the-range WM84 shoe is aimed at the XC market, with WM64 and WM53 models completing the range of new additions. All three feature what Shimano calls its Dynalast technology, which in practice means an anatomic fit with a deeper seat for the heel. All of the women’s specific models have a narrower fit and increased instep support for comfort.
An additional feature on the WM64 is the Torbal torsional midsole, which allows the front and back portions of the shoe to flex independently.
The WR84 joins the existing Shimano women’s road cycling shoe line-up, with a carbon composite sole and synthetic leather upper.
Shimano have also released female specific versions of their new performance road range; the RP5W, RP3W, RP2W and TR9W, which feature the same technology as their male counterparts.
New unisex road shoe line
Shimano has added four new road shoes targeted at gran fondo and sportive riders. The RP line consists of the RP9, 5, 3 and 2. These shoes seek to balance, rigidity and comfort for long days in the saddle.
The flagship shoe of this new line is the RP9, which features carbon soles and heat-moldable custom fit technology on both the upper and insole.The claimed weight for a pair of RP9s (size 40) is 539g.
All four models in the RP line will be available in October.
Shoes for the tri guy (and gal)
The TR9 has been designed with an emphasis on quick transitions and power transfer. To that end, this new shoe has dual Velcro closures and an ultra-stiff carbon sole. A perforated upper and exhaust vents allow feet to dry off quickly.
It is also available in a women’s-specific TR9W version.
The TR9 has a claimed weight of 502g (size 40) and will be available in September.
Winter is coming
If you’re not one to let winter slow you down, the MW7 might be worth a look. This new winter shoe shares some traits with the trail/enduro-oriented M200 in a weatherproofed package.
The MW7 features a Gore-Tex liner paired with a fleece-lined insole to keep the elements at bay and retain heat. The MW7 has rubber studs for improved grip and a bit of extra room in the toe box to accommodate thicker socks. Fit is adjusted with a speed-lacing pull-cord tucked under the Velcro lace shield.
Like the M200, the MW7 uses Shimano’s Torbal midsole, which tunes flex to balance pedaling efficiency with an appropriate amount of heel flex.
The MW7 will be available in September.
Shoes for the trail less traveled
Perhaps the most interesting addition for 2016 is an entirely new category of footwear designed with bikepacking in mind.
The XM9 has the appearance of a hiking boot. Ankle padding provides support and keeps out debris. The XM9 features a nubuck leather upper combined with a Gore-Tex liner for waterproofness. The sole uses a half-length shank to provide a firm platform under the pedal with enough give for use off the bike. The outsole is constructed from grippy Vibram rubber.
In keeping with it’s on and off the bike functionality, the XM9 uses traditional laces with a mini Velcro strap.
The XM7 shares the similar features to the XM9 in a lower cut version. The claimed weight for the XM7 is 870g (size 40), which is 200g less than the heavy-duty XM9.
Both the XM9 and XM7 will be available in October.
For more information, visit www.shimano.com.