- Price: £139.99
- From: Freewheel
We’ve got a first look at Shimano’s new XC501 fast trail shoes and a chance to win yourself a pair. Read on for all the details.
At what point does fast trail riding cross over into cross country racing? Is it just the addition of some stripy course tape? Do you need competitors to race for it to count? Or can you go flat out on your own? It’s this world in which the new Shimano XC501 shoes are designed to flourish in.
If you look around at the non-enduro world of mountain bikes, you’ll see a lot of bikes that blur this race/trail boundary. Light and fast machines, but with rock-softening suspension and dropper posts. It’s here that these new XC501 shoes are intended.
Looking for all the world like a podium-ready race shoe, the XC501 shoes have a few nods towards comfort and all-round performance, accepting that not everyone wants speed at all costs. Underneath the sole is a glass fibre-reinforced mid-sole that offers pedalling efficiency while still giving off-bike comfort and traction. The sole stiffness rates a ‘7’ on Shimano’s 1-12 scale of stiffness. By contrast, the full-on race S-Phyre XC9 shoes are an 11.
While we’re looking at the sole, you’ll see a prominent Michelin logo. Michelin developed the sole tread and rubber that Shimano use and the results are an impressively grippy sole, with tacky rubber covering the whole sole. This includes the whole instep, so when doing unclipped dismounts, you’re still on a predictable surface.
Keeping with the slim, low-stack sole, the whole pedal area under the ball of the foot features a solid platform to stop side to side rock when clipped in. And when the time comes to shoulder the bike and leg it up a grass bank in a race, there’s provision for toe studs or spikes up to 18mm. The relatively thin sole stack height makes running (oh the shame!) in a ‘cross race easy without risking a twisted ankle.
Turning the Shimano XC501 over reveals a subtly low-fuss upper with more going on than appears at first. The heel and toe are protected by rubber bumpers and scuff-guards and the synthetic leather is perforated for breathability, revealing a mesh layer beneath.
The tongue wraps around the top of the foot from the outside side of the shoe, with the corresponding top layer wrapping in the opposite direction to give a very firm grip of the foot. This is dialled in by the BOA dial, whose transparent cover allows a pleasing view of the three sprung plastic pawls engaging, freehub like, to wind in the slim wire.
The heel cup is slim and padded, to add to the shoes’ form-fitting feel. There are single size increments from a slight 39 up to a hoofing 49.
In all, these catchily named Shimano XC501 shoes are light, stiff-enough for riding fast and overall, a good looking, comfortable shoe.
So, that’s the Shimano XC501 shoes. They’re on sale now and hopefully you’ll get a chance to get out and give them some stick soon. Otherwise you’ll have to do a winter of cyclocross racing.
Win A Pair Of XC501 Shoes!
Thanks to Shimano importers, Madison and its online portal, Freewheel, we have a pair of these shiny XC501 shoes to give away. Freewheel is a different online shop in that every purchase benefits your local Shimano dealer, whether you choose a click-and-collect option, or home delivery, your local shop still gets the commission it would have made from a face-to-face sale, which is even more important in these crazy days.
Freewheel has one pair of these XC501 shoes to give away to a lucky winner. All you need to do is answer the question below and submit your details.
The competition closes at midnight UK time on Thursday April 30th. We’ll announce the winner here and Freewheel will be in touch by email with the winner to find out what size you need to get you out and riding! Good luck!