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Shimano XC90

Review: Shimano XC90

scottmares's picture

We Liked

Light weight

Opposing directional strap: I would say about 99% of the mtb shoes that are out there use straps that go from medial (midline) to lateral in their direction. Well if you look at your anatomy. Your tendons and ligaments don't just run one direction. We live in a three dimensional work and we play in all fo the directions and we need support in all three as well. to me this makes perfect cense to have opposing straps on the shoe. It gives a better fit to the shoe around the foot. This equalizes the directional forces that hold the shoe around the foot. Better fit, better performance.

5 removable cleats: In cyclocross traction in running is paramount. If you slip you can fall and then some one else will run you over. Here in Portland OR this is very important because we get a lot of rain and thus a lot of mud in races. The ability to have 5 cleats is way better than any other shoe on the market in muddy conditions. Now I want to say to all of the shoe companies out there. Stop putting soccer cleats with these shoes. They don't work for mtb or cyclocross. That ends this public service announcement.

Unidirectional Heel cup fabric: So Shimano put in this fabric that is unidirectional. If you move your hand across it one direction it feel silky smooth. However, if you move you hand across it the other way it feel like your hand is stuck on Velcro. Shimano put this special fabric in the heel cup to help hold your heel in place by grabbing onto your sock or your skin if you ride with out socks. They decided to go with the fabric because its lighter than other mechanical devices and not every mechanical device will for every one. Fabric will conform and contour to everything and thus everyone heel.

We Didn't Like

Now the cyclocross market is not big enough really to make a hoe specifically just for cyclocross. There is only one company that I am aware of that is doing that. So each shoe company must strike a balance of what the general off road market will want. I live in a wet environment and this shoe breaths, this is a good thing in the summer and the dry times. However, when it rains or is cold this is not the shoe to have.

The Final Say

When its all said and done the most important things in cycling are the ones that connect you to the bike. For years we have known that a proper fitting shoe with proper support is better. You are more efficient, you have more power and you fatigue less. Getting custom shoes was and is very expensive and the next best thing is to have them molded to your foot. Custom shoes takes a long time to do. With the Shimano XC90 shoe you get the best of both worlds. It only takes about an hour to get the shoes done. The carbon sole will give you plenty of power when you are stopping the pedals in anger around the slimy fall battle field of pain. Shimano also took a little extra time to change the tread on the shoe and so its not your standard pattern. The XC90 actually has more cleats than 95% of the mountain bike shoes on the market. The only drawback that I can see is that it is super breathable and so in the wet or cold conditions. One easy option is to have water proof socks.

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