The Shimano AM7 is a gravity-focused, clipless shoe built for comfort while pedaling. It has many of the features found on the AM9, but there’s more of an emphasis on airflow and keeping the weight down. It's slim, light and well suited to the best part of the British year, but it's not quite as comfy as some of its rivals.
Shimano has seemingly designed the AM7 as an all weather shoe with a mesh and TPU upper that absorbs less water and dries quickly. Around the back of your heel there’s a neoprene cuff to keep flying crud out, and it does a great job.
Keeping the shoes on your feet is a regular lace-up closure, plus a Velcro strap at the top. If you like to pull up on your pedals, the strap is great for keeping the shoes secure.
Contrary to Shimano's typically smaller-than-usual fit, the size 43 on test fitted surprisingly well, especially considering I usually wear 44. So it may be worth sizing down with the AM7s. Better still, try before you buy.
For a gravity-oriented shoe, there’s not an awful lot of padding, and it would be nice to see some ankle protection. On the upside, this keeps weight down and keeps the overall profile usefully slim, while the lack of bulk also keeps the shoe cool. Despite that it's very well sealed for wet weather – a couple of side panels and the tongue allow for some airflow without funnelling in gallons of water too.
Even without much padding the AM7 is comfortable enough, but it is noticeably hard on the foot compared to some.
Clipped in, the sole allows for a free float where it doesn’t grip the pedal much – if you prefer noticeable pedal contact, the AM7’s aren’t for you. However, the trade off is super-easy clipping in. Thankfully there’s a decent range of cleat adjustment so it’s easy to get a position that works, and if you struggle to engage a cleat halfway down a run, the channel along the sole helps it cling to the pedal platform.
Because of the seal, the AM7 does a good job of keeping you comfy throughout most of the British weather cycle. It's only really out of its element in proper nasty winter weather or in serious heat, and that's as true off the bike as on.
Shimano has used an original compound on the sole, and it offers more than enough grip on dryish, loose ground. I’ve not yet tried it in filthy slop – the test period was surprisingly dry – but they're unlikely to be as confident as aggressively-treaded shoes such as Shimano's own ME7. Again, the trade off is a useful lack of bulk.
While not a cushy as some of its competitors, the Shimano AM7 is a great general trail/enduro shoe. It keeps you secure, reasonably well-protected and comfortable in most weather, and should be good for years to come thanks to an excellent build.
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