Shimano ME7 trail shoe
If I created a checklist of all the features I’d like to see in a pair of shoes, the ME7s have them all. They’re not only great to push cranks with, they’re easy to live with too.
Sole stiffness is ranked at eight out of 12 on Shimano’s scale, placing them just above the middle of the range (with 1 being fully flexible and 12 being a rock solid road-racing shoe), and pitching them perfectly for on-the-ball riding and occasional foot slogging.
They’re as close to an ideal compromise as I’ve come across. The effective tread meant I rarely struggled for grip when climbing up muddy banks and the use of Shimano’s Torbal tech – which lets the rear of the shoe flex torsionally – meant they did a good job when wrestling the bike through rocky descents, padding around the cafe or shouldering the bike up steep and rocky slopes, too.
They were also stiff enough to cope with skinny XC pedals without that tell-tale sole-deforming feeling of your foot wrapping around the pedal, which contributed to an impressively efficient pedalling feel – although I would recommend a platformed trail pedal where possible for a little added support.
Pedalling is a joy, with bike control seeming like second nature thanks to the Quicklace, ratchet and strap combo, which takes seconds to bind up to optimum pressure. They instantly felt like part of my feet, with no fiddly lacing.
No matter how muddy or wet they would get, getting the fit right was always easy. And when you’re jumping on and off your bike as often as I am that really makes a difference. I could get them nice and tight too.
Details such as the all-encompassing outer flap and neoprene ankle gaiter combine to make them resistant to the ingress of mud, grit and stones. These aren’t performance-enhancing, just nice touches that kept me riding more and scooping crap out of my shoes less.
On muddy rides, the flap keeps the Quicklace pristine, and, if you ride in the kind of conditions I frequent, you’ll be as grateful as I am for that.
The micro-holes in the upper mean the ME7s aren’t waterproof, but make them cool enough for year-round use, while the synthetic outer means they dry quickly too – maybe not so great when the temperature is close to zero, but for most of the year they’re ideal.
Overall, these are excellent shoes and remarkably light too, at 882g per pair, despite their extensive feature list.
The ME7s are an effective combination of performance, looks and sheer everyday practicality that completely won me over and made them a top scorer. Available in a fetching primary blue or more standard issue black, you really can’t go wrong with these do-it-all shoes from Shimano.