Shimano’s new headline flat-pedal shoes the GR9s replace the AM7s, which, although feature-packed, lacked in the grip department.
The GR9s may look similar, but they’re different beasts on the trail. It’s hard to knock the fit and comfort on offer. Although they’re relatively broad, the Speed Lacing system delivers even tension across the top of the foot, making them feel really secure. It also makes getting them on and off easy.
On the trail, you soon notice the venting over the toes. It’s not excessive, though, and I never struggled with cold feet. While it does mean they’re not watertight, they shrug off splashes with ease and, thanks to the lightweight construction (806g, pair of EU43s), don’t get heavily waterlogged and dry relatively quickly too.
But it’s the Michelin sole I'm most excited about. Thankfully for Shimano, the GR9s deliver when it comes to traction on the pedals. While the grip isn’t as steadfast as with Five Ten rubber, the Shimano shoes have kept my feet planted over some seriously rocky terrain.
And you can still make small adjustments to foot placement, should you need to. Stiffness is good too, with enough flex and feedback to feel precisely what your pedals are doing beneath your feet but sufficient support when you’re mashing at the pedals. The sole could be better cushioned, though