10 years on: how much Shimano shoes have developed

At lot has happened in the mountain bike world in ten years. Bikes have got lighter, travel has got longer, and clothing has got more technical.

One area that has received a lot of development is the shoes we wear. The advent of the clipless pedal system has brought about a sea of development in footwear, which this photo of two Shimano shoes, separated by 10 years, shows nicely.

At the top of the photo is Shimano’s latest mountain bike shoe, the M621. It’s not the lightest or stiffest shoe the company makes, but instead is pitched as an all-mountain choice replete with a raised ankle section, reinforced sections, small bumpers and an aggressive sole. It’s a sign of the direction mountain biking has been taking recently, less race-orientated that in the early days.

And then we have the M153 at the front, unearthed recently by Roadcyclinguk.com. They’ve never been used, hence the fact that, considering they are a decade old, are in such good nick.

It was a shoe first introduced in 2001 and represented the pinnacle of Shimano’s shoe range, billed as a competition shoe with a stiff sole, a polyurethane-coated leather panels and a reinforced nylon mesh upper and triple velcro-fastening system. While it looks fairly basic and simplistic, it’s not a far cry from what many brands are offering in their latest ranges.

It does go to show how much shoes have changed in the last 10 years. The difference in weight is really noticeable, and the quality of the newer shoes is really a huge leap forward. The sole in particular shows a dramatic path of development.

But there’s something about the simplicity of the 10 year old shoes that is appealing. We particularly like the simple round blocks on the heel.

Did anyone have a pair of the M153 shoes first time around?

  1. Tim Dadswell

    This is slightly embarrassing. In fairness, I think I bought them when they had been out for a while, but I confess to having stopped using my pair this summer. Even then, this was not because they were knackered, but just because they stank, and I could not make them not stick. I tried Hot soapy water, a dettol mix, Flash floor cleaner WITH Febreze :-) and even Muc-Off. They might still be in the garage, but I’ve not smelled them recently so maybe they have gone. I would still be using them if it was not for the smell.

    1. James

      Yeah, my Shimano shoes are beginning to smell like a wet cat – although I think this might be being unfair to cats! They stink! Lucky I never wear them in social situations. Wonder if all cycling shoes suffer from this or that Shimano are particularly bad.

  2. big yinn

    Have got a pair in the shed that I havent worn for a couple of years. Used to be my main shoes before being relegated to communting duties.
    Ok shoes, but the inner heel padding had gone and rubbed my ankle, hence being lobbed in the shed.
    Not the best pair of shoes I ever owned. The previous pair of shimano shoes were bloody ace, they had a neopreme heel cuff and were very comfy.

  3. Thomas Klasson

    Well, I can only say that my old Shimano M220 stills holds upp really well. 11 year old as they are, they have a very stiff carbon sole, very good comfort even on long days of riding and they are light. Stitchings, colour etc seems good as well, so what´s alls this talk about better quality today? The same applies to my old Sidi Genius shoes. The same stuff, just older models… Buy good stuff and then use it is my recommendation.

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