Back in August, Shimano dropped the news about its brand new lightweight XC and RC shoe range. Available in road and MTB versions, the latest slipper line up is entirely new from the ground-up, but most noticeably, features Shimano’s first foray with the BOA dial ratchet system.
The brand new XC7 shoes from Shimano. Built for XC and Cyclocross.
For off-road action, there’s the new XC9 and XC7 shoes. We got our grubby mitts on one of the first pairs of the top-of-the-range S-PHYRE XC9 shoes in the UK back in late August, and with their bright fluoro yellow colour and dual BOA dial system, they look the absolute business. At a retail price of £319 however, they’re not on the cheap side. Coming in at a far more attainable price point, we have just received a pair of the XC7 shoes, which feature many of the same technologies and features, but at nearly half the price. So, are they half as good?
The Shimano XC7 is nearly half the price of the S-PHYRE XC9 shoe. But are they half as good?
Dual density rubber compounds provide the right balance of grip, durability and flexibility
Rubber anti slip arch outsole pattern
Colours: Black or Red
Sizes: EU 38 to 48 (no half sizes)
Claimed weight: 325 grams (size 42)
There’s a single BOA dial on the XC7 shoe, and a Velcro strap down the bottom of the tongue.
The BOA ratchet dial allows you to tighten or loosen the wire to adjust the shoe’s tension.
Lift the dial away from the shoe, and the BOA dial pops up to act as a quick release for the retention wire.
The XC7 features a single BOA IP-1 dial, while the XC9 shoe gets two dials. Are two better than one? Or is one easier to use?
For added snuginess, there’s a patch of sticky fabric on the inside of the heel cup that acts like a patch of one-way Velcro.
A brand new sole takes inspiration from Shimano’s recent mountain bike shoe offerings, with generous lathering of Michelin dual-compound rubber over the carbon fibre midsole.
A point of difference between the XC9 and the XC7 is the stiffness level of the carbon sole. On the XC7 shoe, you’re getting a stiffness index of 9/12. We’re thinking the slightly less stiff sole (vs 11/12 on the XC9) may actually make these a little more comfortable for running around a cross course.
For those hasty moments where you’re trying to remount your bike and clip in, rubber underneath the arch of the shoe should deliver a little more grip.
The upper uses a synthetic leather construction, with a lovely low-profile body and a generous heel cup. And the shiny surface looks like it’s be a little more slippery to help reduce mud build up. We shall be testing that theory very soon…
Our size 45 test shoe weighs in at 337 grams, which is actually within two grams of what Shimano claims the XC7 weighs for a size 42. Nice!
The new Shimano XC7 is a very shiny and streamlined shoe, and it’s packed with features that make it incredibly good value on paper compared to the £319 XC9 shoes. As for performance? Stay tuned…
With lots of ‘cross racing and dirt riding action on the horizon, we’re looking forward to putting the new XC7 shoes to the test. Aesthetically, they’re definitely more road inspired than Shimano’s previous XC70 and XC90 off-road shoes, but we’ll have to wait and see whether that’s a factor out on the trails and on the cyclocross racecourse. Stay tuned!