Shimano M310 Custom-Fit shoes

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shimano09_m310shoe_l (23K)

The M310 is Shimano’s current top of the range XC racing shoe, taking on that mantle from the M300. Like the earlier shoe, the M310 uses Shimano’s Custom-Fit technology. Visit a shop, choose your size and then get the shoes heated up and vacuum-moulded to your feet for a perfect fit. It’s certainly a unique retail experience…

Changes from the M300 are both few and subtle, with the official blurb being nigh-on word-for-word identical, right down to the typos – “ridged and lightweight sole”, anyone? The new shoe seems to have some additional reflective detailing and the design of the uppers is a bit different, but constructionally there’s little in it (although enough to produce a 60g weight gain over the M300).

The M300 was a fine shoe, though, so there really wasn’t much worth changing. We do detect some slight changes in the moulding and fit, though. Our freshly-fitted M300s felt a little over-snug but “gave” a little with use to become properly comfy. The M310s were comfy straight away and have continued to be so. Whether that’s down to material changes or the design of the upper we’re not sure, and we’re equally unsure as to how much it matters. We think that there might have been a slight reshaping of the heel cup too, although comparing well-used two-year-old shoes to relatively new ones is, at best, an inexact science.

The combination of ultra-stiff carbon fibre sole plate and super-comfy custom-fitted uppers is still a winner. The custom fit means less reliance on the actual fastenings – two hook-and-loop and one ratchet strap – and hence considerably reduced risk of pressure points. The footbed is also custom-fitted to accomodate the idiosyncracies of your stance – if you’re particularly wonky in the foot department there are extra arch supports that you can fit under the footbed before the heat-moulding process. Don’t worry too much if you forget, as the shoes can be remoulded several times.

What has changed quite a lot is the price. The M300 was pretty spendy at £180, but the price rises that have affected the entire bike industry have not excluded shoes. A pair of M310s will run you an eye-watering £249.99, which seems like a lot extra for somewhat minor differences. A brief trawl of the intertubes shows that there are plenty of M300s still out there, and there are some sizable discounts to be had too.

If you have to have the latest and greatest, this is your shoe. But bear in mind that you can get the key benefits for considerably less money…

Ups and downs

good Great combination of performance and comfort

bad Eye-watering price tag, a little ostentatious for some

Verdict

We loved Shimano’s M300 shoes and we love these – light, stiff yet comfortable. They don’t add a great deal over the M300, though, and indeed are slightly heavier. And the price is terrifying. With M300s still in the shops, the older shoe is clearly a better value proposition.

Ratings