Shimano’s XC50 shoes just break the hundred pound barrier but they’re packed with features and perform so well on the trail that, really it’s hard to justify spending anymore.
You get a glass fibre reinforced polyamide sole which isn’t quite as stiff as a more expensive carbon fibre version. Unless you’re racing, the sole is plenty stiff enough and I didn’t find myself wanting for extra stiffness when pedalling.
The sole has a reasonably aggressive tread and there’s two rows of two-bolt inserts, with plenty of fore and aft adjustment, so you can get the cleats in your desired position. There are stud mounts up front, handy for riding in the winter when you might have to dismount and clamber up a slippery, muddy bank.
The upper is made from a synthetic leather that cleans up well after muddy rides, and there are a couple of mesh panels at the front. Two Velcro straps combine with a micro ratcheting strap, keeping them in place and comfortable on the feet. The fit around the heel is excellent and there’s little heel lift when pedalling, and you don't’ need to clamp the straps down all that tight to have a secure feeling.
I’ve been wearing them for a couple of months and they have become my regular go-to shoe for all rides, from trail riding enduro sessions to fast blasts against the clock. I’ve got stiffer and lighter carbon race shoes at my disposal, but I haven’t felt any lack of performance in using these shoes at all. They’re really very good.
They also look good, well I reckon so anyway, which just adds to the impressive list of features, build quality and outright performance. It would have been unimaginable ten years ago to get a shoe as good as this anywhere near this price, and shows how far mountain bike kit has come. They’re outstanding value for money.
This style of race shoe isn’t for everyone, but if you’re in the market for this type of shoe, which is ideal for trail blasting, cross-country racing and enduro, they’re worthy of serious consideration.
An excellent shoe and at great price.
More information: Shimano XC50 SPD shoes
What Shimano says:
XC50s offer a palette of Shimano trail technologies at a great value price point. The tough synthetic upper, micrometric buckle closure and glass fibre reinforced sole perform perfectly on all your off-road rides from weekend blasts to races and events.
- Tough Synthetic Leather Upper
- Micro-adjust buckle
- Dual offset velcro straps
- Flexible insoles
- Volume performance Last
- Glass fibre Reinforced Polyamide Sole
- Soft arch pad
- Dual Density PU Tread
- Ventilating Mesh inserts