Shimano S-Phyre SH-XC901 Mountain Shoe
Shimano has made shoes for years, all with a promise of quality materials, accommodating fit, and typical Japanese sensibility to it's design. Typically, their shoes have been the definition of form over function, leading people to choose better-looking shoes even if they didn't fit as well. No longer with the new Shimano S-Phyre SH-XC901 Mountain Shoe, which combines typical Shimano fit and quality with top-level performance and good looks.
As you would expect for a top-end road cycling shoe, the updated Shimano S-Phyre XC9 mountain shoe starts with their stiffest full carbon sole, and a lightweight, supple, one-piece synthetic upper. Shimano's Dynalast fit once again makes an appearance here, which uses a flatter sole from front to back. This is done to reduce toe uplift; most athletic shoes (including cycling shoes) feature around 15mm of lift, which places your toes in a higher position than they'd normally be. Less toe spring means less tension along the calves, and more even pressure along the foot as you pedal. It's a small difference, but it's a difference that shows when you use the shoe.
Many features carry over from the previous S-Phyre XC9 shoe, include a one-way anti-slip material (called a Cat's Tongue) in the heel to create a Velcro-like hold on your sock, an external carbon heelcup, ventilation on the sole just in front of the cleat, and a return to Michelin rubber along the sole. Big updates here include a new asymmetric, perforated synthetic microfiber upper made to let in air while keeping dirt out. The mesh panel found atop the toe of the previous model S-Phyre shoes is dropped to offer a closer, more comfortable fit with fewer seams, and the shoes improve a bit on durability around the toe with a bigger toe bumper.
The shoe itself is fairly low-profile but the Michelin rubber is remarkably grippy. Use it for cyclocross, cross-country, gravel, or more; the new XC9 has it covered. Tighten the two Boa IP1 dials, and you'll feel the shoe wrap around your foot thanks to it's Surround design. Not only is it comfortable, but it offers a surefooted feeling that is welcome as you pedal mile after mile. Fit is extremely accommodating; Shimano has one of the most forgiving last shapes on the market, thanks to a wider than average toe box and slightly wider heel. With an upper as supple as this, riders are sure to find an optimal fit in this shoe.
The Shimano S-Phyre SH-XC901 Road Shoe is available sizes ranging from 36 to 48, and half sizes available from size 37 to 46. Wide widths are also available. Shimano also offers the new XC9 MTB shoe in four colors: white, black, Shimano blue, and green.