Shimano XC 7 MTB Shoe Review – Power to the Pedal

Rating
/10

The Shimano XC 7 mountain bike shoes are one of those powerful pieces of a cycling kit, that can literally make a ride. In fact, it’s quite amazing to see what companies can do with cycling shoes now. Gone are the days when you’d have to put up with sore and cramping feat, just to get a shoe that’s rigid enough to handle the pressure. Shimano have managed to pull their vast and reliable discoveries over the years to craft a shoe that feels powerful, not just because of its structure strength, but also because of its minimalistic design.

Instead of basing a cycling shoe design on that of a normal everyday shoe, Shimano developed, what they call, Dynalast. This system of cycling shoe design focuses on what riders need from their shoes, and then formulating a design. Essentially this means any Shimano cycling shoe is 100% optimized for cycling. The claimed improvements are more hip mobility, less tension on your feet, and 5% more pedalling efficiency.

At a Glance:

Shimano have added great features to the XC 7’s, so that you as the rider get to experience a shoe that fits and adapts to your needs. Firstly, the carbon soles are one the major highlights. They allow you to push hard on the pedals without losing watts. The more carbon a shoe has integrated, the more rigid it will be. And that’s exactly the type of feel Shimano has targeted with the XC 7 model.

While the shoe does have a great deal of stiffness, its worth noting that it also comes balanced out with flexibility. The high-density synthetic leather, that creates the outer part of the shoe, is flexible enough to re-adjust itself to the shape of the top part of your foot. And it has some good ventilation to keep your feet feeling fresh.

Boa and Michelin for the win!

To crown the comfort of the shoe off; Boa and Michelin have come on board. Boa takes care of all the adjustment – tightening or loosing. In fact, having the Boa adjustment dials on your shoe is the way to go for cyclists. Even the micro-adjustments make a massive difference. Under the shoe, Michelin rubber lines the outer part of the sole. This rubber is well known for grip and even its minimal weight. So now you can have a cycling shoe that won’t let you slip around and doesn’t compromise on weight for the racers. A perfect win-win scenario.

Running Numbers…

5% more pedalling efficient

326 grams in total weight – on a men’s size 42

SPD cleat type

9.0 stiffness index

The Ride:

Back in 2017, when I was first introduced to the XC 7’s, the design and ride feel was a lot different. The shoe, then, was a lot more plasticky and lacked a lot of ventilation. As a result, you really wanted to get the shoe off after the first 60min of cross-country racing. Fast forward to 2019, having now tested the 2020 XC7’s I can truly testify to the dramatic change the shoe has received!

My recent rides with the shoes have felt good, and in fact I can’t get enough of them. Of course, I have not yet ridden in the new XC9’s to know which is better, but the 2020 XC7’s are pretty dam close to perfection. The synthetic leather feels a lot more flexible and malleable and doesn’t put pressure on any area of your foot.

“Sleek. Fast. Hardcore.”

Riding in 30-degree heat, is also not a problem for the 2020 XC7’s. The shoe has received major improvements with its ventilation, and when riding you can feel it. My feet didn’t really overheat, although I think the shoe can still get some more ventilation. I’d say from my experience you’re good to ride in these shoes for 4 hours, before your feet really started to feel claustrophobic.

It’s not a cliché to say that the 2020 Shimano XC7’s feel like a second skin. They don’t have any bulky bits, that would otherwise feel like a nuisance when pedalling. Pedal stroke after pedal stroke, there’s no play between your foot and the shoe’s fit, which in turn puts every turn of the cranks to good use.

Another noticeable fact about the XC7’s is that they don’t scuff easily. Some other shoes in the price field, tend to compromise on shoe durability and they forget that this is the mountain biking game that they’re playing in. But not Shimano. 

Verdict:

The Shimano XC7’s left good test vibes here at our HQ. Granted, the shoes are not the ultimate XC race shoe – that seat is reserved for the XC9’s – they do raise high in terms of value. We can strongly recommend them for weekend race warriors, as they are light enough for that category. However, the rigid carbon soles are also a large persuasion point that can do well to help you secure a podium position.

Special thanks to: Amain Online Cycling Store for supplying the demo!

Shimano XC 7 MTB Shoe – RRP: $ 225.00

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Joel Meintjes

Joel Meintjes

Joel's goal is to help you become an expert in the field of cycling. He has helped many riders decide on buying new bikes and coached a handful of young aspiring riders. He's been on the bike and on the roll since 2013, and has gained bucket's full of knowledge from his tinkering with bicycles.

1 thought on “Shimano XC 7 MTB Shoe Review – Power to the Pedal”

  1. Comfort

    9

    Stiffness

    8.5

    Performance

    9.5

    Style

    9

    I have had my xc7s for 18 months and I have to say that they are superb. Very comfy, durable, light, rigid and stylish. Used for both mtb xc and gravel riding they are fantastic and highly recommended

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