- Shimano M120W shoes
You’ve probably noticed that mountain biking is a somewhat male-dominated sport. It’s something of a self-reinforcing situation – manufacturers see lots of blokes, launch lots of blokey products and continue to see lots of blokes. Fortunately, the pressure to find new people to sell things to has resulted in an ever-increasing number of women-specific bike kit coming on to the market.
Shoes are a particular area that’s been fairly poorly serviced in the past. If you’re a woman MTBer, getting past the riding-in-trainers stage has meant a lot of searching and usually some sort of unsatisfactory compromise. Not any more – most of the big shoe manufacturers have women’s shoes in the range to suit the smaller, narrower foot.
Shimano’s latest offerings are the M120W. They’re essentially the same shoe as the mid-range M120 but made smaller, narrower and more pastel-coloured. They’re a fairly straightforward summery race-style shoe, with leather and mesh uppers, rigid reinforced midsole, rubber tread, removable toe spikes and three Velcro straps. At least, we’re calling it Velcro but apparently it’s actually a “Velcro-style hook-and-loop” material…
Our female tester found that the three straps weren’t as easy to get a good close fit with as more sophisticated systems, but at this price you’re not going to get ski buckles and ratchets and things. The light blue colour got the thumbs up too, although that’s obviously fairly subjective – there’s been a bit of a shift away from “girlie” colours from some manufacturers, but these are fairly subtle and not pink.
Obviously the mesh in the uppers isn’t ideal for this time of year although it took a while for water to make its way through. Most importantly, they’re comfortable while remaining stiff enough for decent power transfer. They’re available in sizes from 36 to 42.
Positives: Proper girl-shaped shoes. Or girl’s-feet-shaped at least
Negatives: Colour not to everyone’s taste, a bit breezy
It wasn’t long ago that performance-oriented women’s bike shoes were impossible to find. The M120W strikes a good balance between features and price. Good value.