Most entry-level off-road shoes are ‘recreational’ – that is, they have a sole with a bit of flex in it and tread that suits walking more than running through mud. Like Decathlon’s similarly specced Rockrider 8, Polaris’ MR 3000 is different: it’s a sub-£50 shoe aimed at racers on a budget.
It’s meant for mountain bikers but is arguably even more suited to cyclo-crossers, who will get plenty of use on slithery up-slope carrying sections from the screw-in toe studs. The sole is stiff too, which aids power transfer. Comfort is good, because the width is a more generous ‘north European’ than ‘Italian’; there’s even enough room for a pair of Sealskinz socks.
Three Velcro straps over the neoprene tongue keep the shoe firmly on, even in boot-sucking mud. Tabs on the back of the shoe, for hanging them up, have reflective strips. The sole is designed to take SPD cleats so you’ll need to use those or ones with the same two-bolt fixing, such as Eggbeaters or Time Atacs.