The Fizik M6B Donna SPD shoes are good value women’s performance shoe built for anything from trail riding to all enduro racing. They will suit you if you like a cross country style of shoe and aren’t going to be doing lots of miles in the winter.
The M6B Donna’s draw on research, design and tech from other performance road shoes in the range with cut, size and styling made specifically for female riders. They are currently the only women’s mountain bike shoe in Fizik’s range, designed to be a one trick pony covering a range of disciplines but, I think, are ones best suited to cross country riding.
The shoe features a pretty stiff sole which has a carbon reinforced Nylon midsole, offering efficient power transfer through to the pedals whilst allowing a little toe flex for any walking. The sole has a tough rubber outsole, with chunky tread front and rear and also the option to add studs at the toe end. The rubber used is grippy with large protruding lugs each side of the cleat and at the heel which provides traction in the direst of conditions.
The cleat can be placed quite far rearwards on the sole, which is my preference, it doesn't have the largest range of positioning but it did allow me to get the cleat into a position I liked. The chunky sole tread didn’t interfere with clipping in and out of my Crankbrother Candy pedals either.
The upper is roomy, light and sturdy with a mesh portion ventilating the front of the shoe and up over the middle of the foot. The M6B’s kept my feet cool in the recent heat but I wouldn’t want them to be my full time shoe in the depths of winter. The mesh wouldn’t give a lot of protection although I can fit some mid-weight winter socks on with them.
The rear of the shoe cups the heel well although I did experience my heel lifting in the shoe when pedalling hard or walking. I found I had to pull the two offset Velcro straps quite tight over to secure my foot as the shoes are quite roomy (deep) around the ball of the foot. Fizik says the shoes feature their ‘Cycling Insole’ sculpted footbed to provide comfort and efficient power transfer, I took these shoes on a few long rides (50 miles plus) and found them to be super comfy, with no pinching felt or pressure points created even with the straps winched right over.
These straps coupled with the Boa L5 Bridge closure system provides an effective fastening setup. I’m a fan of a Boa dial and Fizik’s integration with a wide strap overlapping the upper part of the flexible tongue might just be my favourite design yet. The strap is soft and flexible with a padded cutaway portion against the ankle which prevents any discomfort even when winching the shoes up tightly. The Boa cable slides through a loop on the end of the strap and is able to move freely as they are tightened, avoiding undue pressure. The system provides a large range of adjustment in small increments which helps get the perfect fit and an even pressure distribution.
I found the sizing spot on, I’m a size 5 (Euro 38) and this was the size of shoe tested, as I mentioned above they are fairly deep at the fore of the foot so good if you have wider feet or ones that are deeper from top to bottom. I’ve used these for trail riding, long cross country marathons and gravel riding and for all these uses they are pleasingly stiff. I can’t say they would fit the bill at an enduro race but that's more down to style rather then performance, if the race involved some serious pedalling then the efficiency and lightweight nature of these shoes would be welcome.
At £109.99 the M6B Donna’s are pretty good value, they fit better and have a far superior fastening system than the more expensive Giro Manta R’s I tested earlier this year and they are a lot cheaper than the Shimano XC7’s who’s Boa dial I found difficult to adjust evenly. For the money, these shoes will be hard to overlook if you are in the market for a trail shoe with strong cross country intentions.
You might also like: