Shimano are old hands at making cycling shoes and now in the 25th year of the SPD, we are privy to a very complete lineup of great options. From quality entry level shoes, carbon cross country racing shoes, and now a trio of all-mountain/enduro shoes – the whole enchilada.
The M200 certainly doesn’t have a cool name but it packs features aimed squarely at the cool school, the growing all mountain/enduro segment. This type of riding isn’t exactly new, it’s simply just riding everything in your path and hammering descents, but lately we’ve been lucky enough to see bikes, gear, accessories and even fashion to cater for these new needs.
The ingredients for a good shoe in this segment? Riders want protection, support, pedalling efficiency, walking and traction capabilities, mud and water resistance and of course, casual looks. Getting the balance of all those aspects is the challenge, the M200 does a great job, with a focus on protection and creating a supportive and efficient shoe while still maintaining a certain level of ‘feel’ between you and the bike.
Where a cross country shoe aims to be as stiff as possible, the M200 uses Shimano’s new Torbal sole which allows the rear section of the shoe to flex and twist sideways a little, whilst still remaining supportive when your energy is pushing downwards up the front of the shoe.
On the trail we found the Torbal sole which initially sounded like a gimmick to really let our feet move in a natural way when pedalling and as the bike moved beneath you, there is a degree of freedom with a strong connection.
We’re all about pairing a less-racey shoe with a trail style pedal (like the XT or XTR Trail pedal), in this case the balance of pedal efficiency was just right. It sounds silly how Shimano describes Torbal on their product description, but that’s just Shimano and their way with words, the shoes feel great when pedalling and descending.
The shoe gets its odd looks from the protective flap that covers the laces, it does two jobs really well, keeping the laces from snagging anything whilst providing a shield from mud and water. The green colour with orange highlights will polarise, but we got used to it.
Fit wise it was a close and tight fit, the laces provide a sturdy enclosure for the shoe, but at the same time quick tension adjustments during rides isn’t as fast as a traditional velcro strap or BOA dial. In true Shimano fashion, the ratchet buckle is easy to use, slim in its shape and always functioned perfectly. They are also replaceable, if you manage to tear one off.
The sole is nice and tacky and we were able to clamber up rocks without slipping, but we did notice some of the softer orange coloured rubber coming away on one shoe, disappointing, but surely a warranty case from Shimano if it became an issue. All around the shoe there are sections of tough armour, these shoes should stay looking pretty clean after some time, no fragile fabric is vulnerable at all.
Check out some other similar shoes that we’ve tested recently:
Five Ten Impact VXi Clipless
Specialized 2FO Clip
In a competitive segment, the M200 brings a lot to the table. It’s a shoe that you forget you’re wearing, the slim and secure fit and lightweight shoe is protective where you need it and we love the way that when you’re clipped in to the bike, you gain a real feeling of the way it moves beneath you, with no noticeable sacrifice in pedal efficiency. It might look odd with the big flap, but your feet will stay drier and cleaner longer, and with the added support and scuff protection your feet will love you when you bash them into rocks on Sunday.