The Mountain Bike Life

I have been riding with Shimano shoes for years but when my DX shoes started falling apart (after 4 years of beating on them) I started looking at some of the newer, sexier shoes in the shops. There is a lot of great competition in the shoe market right now, with Five Ten leading the way in the flat shoe market and Teva making some really nice looking shoes. Then I found someone who was selling a brand new set of Shimano AM-41 shoes on the NSMB Buy and Sell for a great deal and they were in my size, so I jumped on it. More about these shoes after the jump.

As I said, I have been running the old Shimano DX shoes for a few years now and really liked them. The AM-41 shoes share a lot of the things that I liked about the old DX’s – the lace cover being my favourite – not only does it keep your laces safe, but it keeps water and trail debris out. It may not look awesome, but it’s form over function here. They also share the inside ankle protection that I love. There’s nothing like smacking your ankle into your bike during a ride to make you appreciate this feature.

The thing that is different from the old shoe is the Vibram sole. So far it has proven to be stickier than the sole on my old DX’s, which is great. It’s not as sticky as Five Ten, but that to me is a good thing. I did shred up the sole on my old shoes, so I was a little worried that the sole on the AM-41’s would be the same and after a month of riding with them some of the treads are starting to deform…they look like they are going to come off very soon, so I’m not that impressed so far.

You can see the messed up treads on the shoe on the left near the Vibram logo

The shoes fit my feet awesome and I can put my orthopaedic insoles in them with no issues. So far these have been great shoes, but I would like to see a few changes. First off, I would like to see a better toe cap – if you have ever got your toe stuck on a rock or log then you know what I am talking about.

The second would be a better heel cup. I smacked my heel on something on my last ride and damn it hurt. The last thing is that I would love the sole to be just a little stiffer, not only for better pedalling efficiency but to protect your foot better. If you have ever had to dismount your bike quickly and landed on a sharp rock you know the pain of a bruised foot. These are stiffer than some of the competition but I would like them to be a tad stiffer.

I do not know of any flat pedal shoe that has a good sticky and stiff sole, covered laces, ankle protection, with good heel and toe protection, but these are some of the closest that I have found. I will put these through the paces during the summer and let you know how they fare and if the soles stay together.

What are your favourite shoes? Do you know of any shoes that fit the profile above? If so, share in the comments.

Originally posted on my old blog on 05/07/12.

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