The updated Shimano ME5 trail shoes effectively balance walking efficiency with power transfer. The sole is good for hard surfaces and wet grip is good, though it lacks real bite in mud. They're secure and comfortable, too, but ours are showing signs of early wear due to an odd material choice.
Out the box, the clean looks and smooth material give a modern look to the shoe, though the all-black colour is a bit basic and functional.
Secured with a velcro strap and a BOA L6 tensioner, the ME5s are super easy to put on and take off, with easily-adjusted comfort and fit.
The front features a raised and slightly extended front bumper that wraps up and around into a sturdy toe box. This protects the toes from rocks and roots well – I initially felt the shoe lacked a little protection, but the design is reassuringly effective.
Riding in the ME5 is a good experience, with the shape being pretty standard and the fit feeling stable and secure in all riding conditions. Pulling hard on them on punchy climbs reveals negligible heel lift, and while they're perhaps best suited to mild conditions, warm socks easily stretch their usefulness into late autumn.
Walking in the ME5s is comfortable, and Shimano uses its own rubber compound that works as well on wet rock as anything I’ve used. The cleats are recessed enough to allow the sole to do its work, yet clipping in remains easy.
The sole is quite low profile and not one for deep, slippery mud, but works well on firmer ground. They never feel heavy either, whether you're pedalling or walking.
The smooth synthetic uppers are quick to shed mud, at least, and the whole lot dries out pretty quickly after proper soakings. The uppers feel quite flexible and malleable, and there is enough padding on the tongue to be comfortable for long days. The inner soles are also up to scratch.
One area that has worn prematurely is the inside of the ankle. It's a softer material - presumably to stop crank scuff – and seems vulnerable. I don't run my cleats close in and was surprised at the wear.
At £140 the ME5s sit a little above mid-level, and they're good enough to warrant the price. They're a good trail shoe, almost excellent, offering strong toe protection, effective lacing and a sole that balances efficient pedalling with comfortable walking and decent grip. The quick-wearing inner ankle, however, is a concern – if you tend to suffer a lot of crank rub, these won't be for you.
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