- Really comfortable fit
- Well made and durable
- Sole isn't as soft and grippy as the best
- Long laces with no tidy to hold them out of the way
Shimano's GR5 flat pedal shoes are a well made and comfortable choice for anyone that's after a mid-priced offering, but they lack the outright grip that the likes of Five Ten offers and the weatherproofing isn't really up to soggy UK standards.
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The GR5s are the most affordable shoes in Shimano's flatty linup and while the more expensive GR7 shoes get a sole made from Michelin branded rubber, the GR5s do without. What you get instead is a sole with hexagonal patterning over most of the midsection and then some ridged bits at the toe and heel to provide more bit when you're off the bike and pushing.
It seems to work pretty well too. They're very comfortable off the bike and the sole has enough give to help in getting up scrambles and wrapping your foot around the pedal. On the bike, it's pretty apparent that they are nowhere near as sticky as Five Ten's shoes.
A quick stab with the durometer meter reads that the rubber hardness is around 60a for the midsection and a harder 70a at the toe and heel. Compare that to the significantly softer 40a rubber all over on the like of Five Ten's Impact VXi and it's obvious why they don't feel anywhere near as planted on the pedals.
That said, they will last an awful lot longer and Shimano has brought its usual quality to the fore elsewhere on the shoes. I got on well with the fit too; the sizing is where it should be and I quite like the slightly narrower fit compared to Five Ten's more broad fit and they're nice and lightweight too.
More of a dealbreaker is the big old mesh panel on the toe, which probably serves well to keep your toes cool in hot weather, but lets in water like it's going out of fashion in the UK's more soggy climes. The laces - of which a spare pair are supplied - are also incredibly long, meaning that there's loads spare flapping about just dying to get caught in your chainring as there's no lace tidy either.
All told, these are functional enough shoes, especially if you don't like the glued-in-place feeling of softer rubber shoes. Though best suited to dry weather use, they're well made and comfy, plus the price is reasonable too. You can get them in full sizes from EU38 to EU48 and there's a grey option as well as these blue ones.