Shimano GF8 (GF800) Gore-Tex Shoes review

by 5

The Shimano GF8 (GF800) Gore-Tex shoe is billed as ‘ultimate cold weather shoe’. Designed for not only wet, but cold days on the trails.

  • Brand: Shimano
  • Product: GF8 (GF800) Gore-Tex shoes
  • Price: £219.99 SQUIRREL_TEXT_13024917
  • From: Freewheel
  • Tested by: Ross for 4 months
  • Full members get 10% off at Freewheel

Pros

  • Excellent grip
  • Nice neutral shape
  • Generally good at keeping cold & wet at bay

Cons

  • Wetness sometimes wins
  • Not super durable
  • Expensive

The GF800 GTX from Shimano is their flat pedal wet weather shoe. Having previously made (a very popular) clipless waterproof shoe, this is Shimano’s first offering for flat pedal riders wanting wet weather protection.

The shoe features a mid-height raised ankle with padding on the inside for added protection from rock strikes. The integrated sock style upper includes a Gore-Tex lining in an attempt to keep things dry. The upper features a synthetic leather cover for durability and further weather resistance.

The toe box features some additional (light) protection from rock strikes and other trial debris. The shoes utilise a BOA fastening system, for ease of use with winter gloves, which also features a bash guard for durability.

Making it more suitable for colder weather, the outsole is made from a Ultread GF which is a low temperature specific rubber. This rubber is designed to keep optimal performance when the temperature drops, keeping pin traction no matter how cold it gets.

The sole pattern itself is a honeycomb style hexagon pattern with ore open areas at the front and rear for added off-bike performance.

The shoes are designed around Shimano’s Volume Trail Last which has the show fitting tighter around the ball of the foot for control and more volume around the toe box and heel for better shock absorption and walking comfort. The GF800’s use a system called Torbal 2.0 for the midsole which allows the heel section to  move torsionally allowing a full range of motion and increasing comfort. 

Fit

Shimano recommends that if you previously used an ME shoe then you should size down, and if you’re used to an AM shoe then stay the same.

Well, it’s a long time since I’ve used Shimano shoes so I went with my usual riding shoe size of 45, and the fit is good. I have very ‘average’ feet, and if anything I’d say they were slightly slimmer and the fit of the GF800 GTX is good.

Length is good and the width has been good with standard crew socks and also thin waterproof ones. I haven’t felt that they were too narrow, or had masses of empty space either.

Performance

As with any shoe that uses a sock style, especially with a raised ankle, getting them is a bit more involved than a standard shoe. Wearing normal cotton crew socks, it isn’t too much of a chore and both the front and back of the sock feature pull tabs which helps. Wearing waterproof socks does make it a bit trickier and I ended up squashing the back of the heel a bit when getting them on. 

The BOA system is nice and simple to use and does a good job of getting even tension across the front of the shoe. It’s also easy to adjust with cold or gloved hands and so far hasn’t lost tension at any point, and even with it being on the side of the show I’ve not yet snagged it on anything or bashed into anything. 

I’ve used the GF800 shoes with a range of flat pedals from Renthal, Hope and DMR and they are definitely up there with some of the grippiest. I’ve occasionally swapped between these and a pair of 5.0 Freerider Pro, and depending on the pedals, the GF800s have been potentially better for grip. The honeycomb pattern helps the pins dig in and really feel planted and the rubber has stayed soft and grippy even in minus temperatures and snowy trails.

The soles aren’t overly stiff and you can definitely ‘feel’ the pedals underneath your foot. This can be more prominent depending on the actual pedal shape, but they’ve at no point felt uncomfortable or developed any hot spots – whether that’s a long pedal or a rough and rocky descent. They have a nice balance of stiff and supple and have so far been properly comfortable.

Given that they have a Gore-Tex liner and are billed as wet weather then you’d expect them to excel in winter. And for the most part they do. But I have still ended up with wet feet a few times. For splashy rides they do a good job of keeping your feet dry with the inner and the synthetic leather keeping the water out, but the sock upper doesn’t seem to be fully waterproof and you can end up with ‘damp’ feeling ankles and upper feet and on properly wet rides,I ’ve ended up with moist feet.

It’s because of this that I used waterproof socks on some rides just as a ‘belt and braces’ way to keep my feet dry, although in proper downpours, as with any shoe the water can just run down your legs and fill your shoes and socks. I’ve also found that the sock cuff can ‘gape’ a bit more which also compounds this. A taller ankle may help with this, and make them a bit more weatherproof, but would make getting them on trickier. Longer leg trousers also help.

Likewise, even though they are for cold weather, I’ve not found them to be overly warm and when the temperature has been in the minus’ I’ve again used waterproof socks as a bit of an added layer. The plus side to this though is that it makes them a bit more versatile and allows you to use them in warmer temperatures without boiling your feet.

During winter, I end up doing quite a bit of pushing up in my local woods and the GF800 aren’t great when off the bike in the slop. They are comfortable and grippy enough for general walking around and are fine on rock, but on steep mud and clay, the closely spaced hexagons on the sole don’t allow for much grip.

Durability

The soles are showing minimal signs of wear and tear given how grippy they are and how much use they’ve had.Up until recently, the only real issue was a small hole in the synthetic leather on the right shoe from it snagging on something. A few days ago I managed to snag the toe area (also on the right shoe) on a pointy root in a rutty trail. This resulted in a two inch tear. The tear only seems to be in the outer synthetic leather so in theory the shoes should still be pretty waterproof but it has certainly affected their overall durability and will now allow a lot more water and trail detritus in beneath the synthetic layer and onto the inner sock.  

Overall

If you’re a flat pedal rider and want some wet weather shoes then the Shimano GF800 GTX are a decent enough option. They are genuinely, properly grippy, and also do a fair job of keeping the wet and muck out. They’re not perfect, and you will still get wet feet at times, but most of the time they do a good job of keeping your feet dry and reasonably warm in all but the worst weather. If you’re hard on your kit, or have a tendency to drag feet, or trash shoes, they may not be the most durable.

Sign up to receive awesome editorial content from Hannah every week.

Check your inbox for our confirmation email and click the link to activate your newsletter.
We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

More Reviews

Giant Stance 29 1 review

The Giant Stance 29 1 is a refreshingly affordable mountain bike. Yer classic entry level full-sus…

Cannondale Habit Carbon LT 1 review

Long story short: the Cannondale Habit Carbon LT is a great little bike. Key question: would…

The Grinder: Zefal Bike Taxi Tow Rope, Continental Argotal, Fox Dropframe helmet, Zipp 1ZERO HiTop Wheels

Is that creak me or the bike? Real-world product reviews from real-world riders.

Wolf Tooth Resolve Dropper Post review

The Wolf Tooth Resolve dropper does away with the usual IFP arrangement, that can leak air…

Review Info

Brand: Shimano
Product: GF8 (GF800) Gore-Tex Shoes
From: Freewheel
Price: £219.99
Tested: by Ross for 4 months
Author Profile Picture
Ross Demain

Ad Sales Manager

Ross pairs his childlike excitement for bikes with a complete disregard for the wellbeing of his ribs, or his rims. Best known for riding cheeky trails, his time is also spent trail building in his local woods, drinking beer, eating pies and entertaining his two children.

More posts from Ross

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Shimano GF8 (GF800) Gore-Tex Shoes review
  • oldfart
    Full Member

    Ross here’s an old fashioned tip for getting them on and off . I’ve got a pair of Etnie’s shoes with an inner sock . I was finding the heel was getting squashed putting them on so I bought a shoe horn for a tenner, job done 👍. Mines an extra long one save my 68 year old body but for young ‘uns like you a small one will do the trick.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    Thanks for the review, my 3 winters old Five Ten Trailcross Gore-tex’s are in dire need of replacing (worn out sole and torn uppers, both on the toe-box ‘crease’), and based on your review I’ll be getting another pair.

    montylikesbeer
    Full Member

    at £219.00 I will stick to my 5 10’s with sealskin socks.

     

    rootes1
    Full Member

    Been using all winter and found them to be excellent, you can get them for much less than retail if you look around.

    they are a little be awkward to put on.

    sole is stiffer than 5Ten freeriders, and grip levels much better than previous shimano flat shoes.

    sizing. I have always picked size 48 for any Shimano shoe (road, mtb etc) and went for the same in this and the fit is good. They feel nicely wide in the toe box as well.

    Edukator
    Free Member

    How do they compare size wise with 5:10 impacts/FRs?  I take 43 in both of those but size 44 Shimano road and 45 in top end Shimano MTB cleated. Ta in advance if anyone answers.

    Good review, ta.

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Our half price sub offer with code ‘HELLO50’ ends tomorrow.