Shimano's AM5 SPD shoes sit towards the budget end of its line-up, but for the money they're great. They're comfortable and cope with wet weather surprisingly well, but for those looking for ultimate efficiency the AM5 is a bit flexy – and if you're looking to ride hard, protection is a bit sparse too.
The Shimano AM5 is a perfect case of less is more. It’s constructed with a synthetic upper, simple meshed padding for the tongue and ankle, and a mesh vent at the toe. There are perforated panels at the sides for a bit of extra airflow.
Continuing the theme of simplicity, it fastens with laces. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, they do lack any elastic keepers to stop them running free, which is a shame. However, it’s easy enough to tuck those bunny ears underneath the laces further down.
On the subject of laces, there’s an spare black pair in the box if neon green isn’t quite you.
The AM5s don’t give an awful lot of protection, but for the cash that’s understandable. What you do get is reinforced heels and soles that rise at the toe, the latter giving you some level of protection if you're going to boot something. I have, on the other hand (or foot), rather painfully struck the tops of my toes in these shoes.
The fit is really good. Unlike with some of Shimano’s past offerings, I haven't had to size up and the fit is bang on. The AM5s don’t feel snug, or too roomy either.
While there is a pretty complicated tread pattern, the sole is not massively aggressive and isn't the grippiest when walking over wet ground. On hard ground it definitely does the job, though, and proves impressive when you miss a pedal and don't clip in properly.
This is helped in part by the really long cleat channel. Even if you miss the pedal the channel keeps it central to your foot, so you’re not scrambling from side to side too much. This channel also makes it super easy to clip in.
The cleat adjustment on the AM5 is pretty respectable. I’m able to position my cleats way back, exactly where I like them.
While definitely not winter shoes, the AM5s are surprisingly comfortable in the wet, so long as you’re not full-on submerging your feet in puddles. They shrug off any spray and even the odd downpour really well.
Even so, the ventilation works really well too. Airflow is noticeable at the toes, while the perforations add a little extra to the side of the foot. However, it’s not the airiest shoe you can get, and doesn’t stack up to the likes of the Specialized 2FO. But then, the AM5 is half the price.
Downsides are very few, but they’re definitely there. Firstly, the sole is a bit flexy, so it’s not the most efficient. Then again, that flex translates into some serious pedal feel, which is great if you use pedals with larger platforms, and makes walking that bit more comfortable.
Then, as mentioned before, there’s the relative lack of protection and the absence of a lace tidy, but again these are niggles rather than complaints. Obviously you may prefer a relatively svelte shoe to a big bulky armoured one anyway.
The Shimano AM5 SPD shoes are great value. What they lack in stiffness and impact protection they make up for in comfort, slim looks and respectable weather protection. They also offer an impressive fit. They’re a very solid choice if you’re looking for your first SPD shoe, or if you’re on a budget.
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