Words by chris.southwood

Shimano have finally released a follow up to their more-popular-than-Shawshank-Redemption AM45 gravity shoe. We’ve seen prototypes of these shoes on the feet of the Athertons being tested on the World Cup circuit for many months, but now we’ve actually got a set in our grubby little hands and we’ll be taking them to the trails very shortly.


 

Shimano AM9 2

The AM45, despite looking (and weighing) a little bit a killer whale strapped to end of your legs, must be one of the most popular shoes on the market. They’ve always been targeted at the downhill/gravity market, but the ridiculous comfort and off-the-bike grip that they offer has made them equally popular with trail riders too. With the improvements offered by the AM9 and flat pedal version, the AM7, we think this cross-category appeal is only going to increase.

The most obvious change from the AM45 is the reduction in weight, and the addition of a Velcro strap across the upper of the shoe. The AM9s are almost 25% lighter than the AM45s, as well as being a little less bulky overall. This is great news, as weight of the AM45s always bugged us – they were a heavy shoe to lug on a long ride.

Shimano AM9 6

The Pedal Channel. Good name for a cable TV cycling show too!

The lace cover remains. It not only keeps your laces out of harm’s way, but also keeps water out of the shoe. The addition of a Velcro strap meas you can tighten them down for a more even fit, which will appeal especially to those riders who are focused on pedalling performance as well as comfort.

Shimano AM9 5

The lace cover keeps your flailing double-knots away from pedals and drivetrains.

Both the AM9 and AM7 offer good ankle protection, with a raised inner cuff, and the toe box is super reinforced too. On the AM9, the huge ‘Pedal Channel’ helps guide your cleat back into the pedal. If you’re the kind who prefers not to clip, the AM7 has a super grippy Vibram sole in a highly textured pattern for sticking to flat pedals.

Shimano AM9 4

The AM7 has a grippy Vibram sole.

The AM9 and AM7 will be available in Australia from August/September. Unfortunately we don’t have any pricing yet.

Shimano AM9 7

The AM9 in a size 43 weighs in at 450g per shoe.

Shimano AM9 8

The AM7 is a little lighter at 400g for a size 43.

 

foot orcas

The now superseded AM45 Free Willy shoes.

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