SHIMANO XC5 SHOES
At the end of winter Shimano sent me a pair of their latest footwear. Not the flash new gravity shoes, or an updated trail boot – but the XC5. A couple of steps below the XC9 (or S-Phyre) tested a couple of issues back, the XC5 fills a different role. Shimano claim the XC5 is a multi-surface shoe, meaning they suit some mountain biking, maybe touring (called bikepacking these days), gravel riding or road if you use an SPD pedal. Lacking a full-carbon reinforced mid-sole, they're not about to be an XC World Cup race shoe. And without the support that gives, and built in protection, they don't suit all-mountain and enduro use. The surprise was, I tend to reach for the XC5 for most of my riding. Here's why.
BUILT FOR COMFORT
Because there isn't a race-stiffness sole turned up to 11 (and beyond) for pure rigidity, the XC5 is a very comfortable shoe to ride in, and spend time in off the bike. So for a social ride or casual event, or an all day out on and off bikes, you forget they are even there. The lace up closure has a little to do with this, as it does give a little, so the shoes don't have the same secure fit like a race shoe does after a few hours. But you can cinch up the laces if that's a problem. The synthetic leather is soft, and malleable enough that pressure points, even on a boat-width foot like my own, were rarely a problem.
BUILT FOR SPEED
Ok so they're not really built for speed. Laces are slow. But they have this mini power strap part which actually makes taking them off, and tightening them up faster than you think. And the built in loops keep the laces at bay. And that midsole is still carbon reinforced, just not in the same way the XC7 or XC9 are. I have happily used these in cyclocross events, and club XC races. I also used them for a day of riding at Blue Derby and even Maydena.
- Comfort on and off the bike - Plenty of traction when walking - Style for miles
- May not have the stiffness or protection you need