The Shimano ME7 shoes are still the top dog in terms of gravity-fed trail action. Best for enduro, these provide efficient pedalling whilst being super comfy. There is one neat feature missing from this latest version though...
Made for tough all-mountain riding, the 2020/21 version of Shimano ME7 (it's technically the ME702, serial number fans) isn't a whole lot different to the last version.
This year the Michelin sole gets a bit of a redesign, with a dual-density rubber outsole for greater durability and slip-resistance.
Elsewhere the ME7 logo is missing from the top strap, and the neat velcro tab on the lace ends is gone – you can no longer stick it underneath the lace cover when buckling up, which is a shame.
Beyond this, little has changed. The shoes keep the same ventilation holes we praised last year for keeping water out for a good length of time. You also get the same lace/ratchet closure, which tucks the end of the buckle neatly under the large strap for protection.
The 'pull cord' laces are tucked under the large lace tidy, and it's simple and easy to use. It also dissipates tension evenly across the foot.
The neoprene cuff at the rear stays too, and is excellent at keeping muck and grit from piling up in the shoe.
Shimano says the stiffness rating is an '8,' which as always – given the lack of a universal stiffness index – is really only useful for comparisons among the company's own shoes. It translates to a stiff shoe that pedals efficiently though, and you still get a small amount of flex – especially in the toes – so you aren't struggling to walk uphill either.
The sole gets a decent tread pattern that grips well in the mud and doesn't slide on rock. Comfy for both pedalling and walking, these shoes feel light; certainly there are shoes with more supportive-feeling uppers.
The Crankbrothers Mallet E shoes give firmer support as the sole meets the upper, for instance, but the difference is nothing that compromises performance in the ME7s.
The ME7 has a large cleat box for a wide range of positions, to suit any style or riding or rider. I like mine fairly rearward, and its a position accommodated with ease.
Water resistant, light without being flimsy, breathable and not too hot... oh, and streamlined, efficient and stealthy... the latest version of the ME7 ticks a lot of boxes. They need to as well – at £170 these aren't cheap. It's a proven design, though, and one that should continue to work well for years.
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