Select Page

Table Of Contents

Shimano XC7 Clipless Mountain Bike Shoe ReviewBest Clipless Mountain Bike Shoe Review

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 90% 90%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 70% 70%
  • Comfort and Fit 80% 80%
  • Durability 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Best Application: XC

Closure: Boa IP1

Sole: Carbon-Reinforced Nylon

Outsole: Dual-Density Michelin Rubber

Weight: 365g (size 45)

Upper Material: Perforated Upper

What We Like: Top of the Line XC Performance at Half the Price

What We Don’t: Still a Pricy Shoe for Marginal Gains Over the Giro Privateer R

Price: $225.00

The Shimano XC7 is the top of the line Shimano S-Phyre XC9’s less expensive sibling. While the XC9 is a top choice for hardcore XC racers, its jaw-dropping price tag puts it out of reach for most casual mountain bikers. For those who love Shimano shoes but don’t have trust funds with which to purchase them, there is the XC7.

Compare to Similar Products

See Our Best Clipless Mountain Bike Shoe Review!

Shimano ME7

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 80% 80%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 100% 100%
  • Comfort and Fit 90% 90%
  • Durability 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Comfortable

Versatile

Great Power Transfer

Great Off the Bike Traction

Cons

Not the Cheapest Nor the Lightest Clipless Mountain Bike Shoe

Best Application: Enduro/All-Mountain

Closure: Speed Lace System and Upper Ratchet Strap, Large Velcro Panel Over Laces

Sole: Carbon Fiber Composite

Outsole: Michelin Rubber

Weight: 425g (size 44)

Upper Material: Synthetic

Giro Empire VR90

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 100% 100%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 60% 60%
  • Comfort and Fit 70% 70%
  • Durability 60% 60%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Pros

Ultra-Lightweight

Amazing Power Transfer

Cons

Too Narrow for Many

Questionable Durability

Best Applicaton: XC

Closure: Laces

Sole: Easton EC90 Carbon Fiber

Outsole: Vibram Mont Molded Rubber High Traction Lugged Outsole

Weight: 338g (size 43.5)

Upper Material: Microfiber

Shimano S-Phyre XC9

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 100% 100%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 40% 40%
  • Comfort and Fit 90% 90%
  • Durability 90% 90%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Pros

Dual Boa Closure

Amazing Power Transfer

Cons

Expensive

Lack of Durability

Poor Off Bike Performance

Best Application: Cross Country Racing

Closure: Dual Boa IP1

Sole: Dynalast Carbon Fiber

Outsole: Dual-density Michelin Rubber

Weight: 390g (size 45)

Upper Material: Teijin Synthetic Leather

Giro Terraduro

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 70% 70%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 100% 100%
  • Comfort and Fit 70% 70%
  • Durability 90% 90%
  • Weight 60% 60%

Pros

Well Rounded

Great On and Off the Bike

Great Value

Cons

Fairly Heavy

Best Application: Enduro/All-Mountain

Closure: Replaceable N1 Ratcheting Buckle Closure at Ankle, Two D-ring Velcro Straps at Midfoot

Sole: Nylon

Outsole: Vibram High-Traction Lugged Outsole

Weight: 458g (size 43.5)

Upper Material: Microfiber

Giro Privateer R

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 70% 70%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 80% 80%
  • Comfort and Fit 70% 70%
  • Durability 70% 70%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Durable for XC Shoes

Lightweight

Good Power Transfer

Great Value

Cons

Narrow Fit

Less Durable Than Terraduros

Best Application: XC, Trail

Closure: Replaceable N1 Ratcheting Buckle Closure at Ankle, Two D-ring Velcro Straps at Midfoot

Sole: Nylon

Outsole: Co-molded Nylon and High Traction Rubber

Weight: 386g (size 43.5)

Upper Material: Microfiber

Giro Chamber 2

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 70% 70%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 80% 80%
  • Comfort and Fit 80% 80%
  • Durability 100% 100%
  • Weight 50% 50%

Pros

Well Protected

Durable

Wide Range of Cleat Adjustment

Cons

Heavy

Narrow for Riders with Wide Feet

Best Application: Enduro, Downhill, All-mountain

Closure: Laces Plus Power Strap

Sole: Tri-molded SPD Compatible

Outsole: Vibram Megagrip

Weight: 525g (size 44)

Upper Material: Water Resistant Microfiber

Shimano XC7

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 90% 90%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 70% 70%
  • Comfort and Fit 80% 80%
  • Durability 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Pros

Top of the Line XC Performance at Half the Price

Cons

Still a Pricy Shoe for Marginal Gains Over the Giro Privateer R

Best Application: XC

Closure: Boa IP1

Sole: Carbon-Reinforced Nylon

Outsole: Dual-Density Michelin Rubber

Weight: 365g (size 45)

Upper Material: Perforated Upper

Five Ten Kestral Lace

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 70% 70%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 90% 90%
  • Comfort and Fit 60% 60%
  • Durability 100% 100%
  • Weight 60% 60%

Pros

Patented Five Ten Grip and Durability

Cons

Heavy

Comfort Issues

Best Application: Enduro/All-Mountain  

Closure: Lace-Up with Hook and Loop Ankle Strap

Sole: Nylon

Outsole: C4 Stealth

Weight: 484g (size 43)

Upper Material: Polyurethane-coated synthetic

Pearl Izumi X-Project P.R.O.

  • Rigidity and Power Transfer 90% 90%
  • Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability” 90% 90%
  • Comfort and Fit 80% 80%
  • Durability 40% 40%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

Great Pedaling Efficiency

Comfortable and Grippy off the Bike

Cons

Expensive

Least Durable Shoe in Review

Best Application: XC, All-Mountain

Closure: Two BOA IP1 dials

Sole: Carbon Composite

Outsole: Molded Carbon Rubber Tips on TPU Lugs

Weight: 419g (size 44)

Upper Material: Advanced 3-Layer Seamless Composite

Rigidity and Power Transfer

Gone is the ultra stiff carbon sole of the XC9. Instead, the Shimano XC7 uses a carbon reinforced nylon sole, which still rates at a nine on Shimano’s 12 point rigidity scale. This makes it two points less rigid than the XC9 at 11, but slightly more rigid than our top overall pick, the ME7, which has a rating of 8.

What does this mean in practice? Not too much. The XC7 is still plenty stiff for a cross country race shoe, and some riders will prefer its more forgiving feel, particularly those running pedals with a platform who would like to feel their shoe connect with their pedal.

Traction and “Hike-a-Bike-Ability”

The slightly more flexible sole also makes for a shoe that is much more comfortable to walk around in off of the bike, and perhaps also a better choice for cyclocross racers who find themselves sprinting through the mud and over obstacles.

Adding to the XC7’s off the bike superiority is the fact that the sticky, Michelin rubber tread that it shares with the XC9 is more liberally applied to the sole of the XC7. The lugs themselves are still fairly sparse and widely spaced, which helps to clear mud, but a rubber coating over the entire bottom of the shoe helps add traction, particularly in soft, muddy conditions.

Comfort and Fit

The XC7 fits mostly true to size, and a bit more narrowly than Shimano’s all-mountain oriented clipless mountain bike shoes. However, it is available in a wide variant, for those with higher volume feet. Like the XC9, the XC7 features inserts, to help further fine-tune the fit of the shoe.

The Shimano XC7 relies on a single Boa dial on the ankle and a velcro strap near the toe for its closure. Boa is unbeatable for its simplicity and ease of use, but we find it is best suited to locking in the ankle, rather than fine-tuning fit over the entire foot. Shimano must agree, because the Boa dial allows you to easily ratchet the shoe down over your ankle, and use the velcro strap to fine tune the fit over your toe. Of course, this does not match the glove like fit of traditional laces, but many will take that trade in a heartbeat, for the ease with which the XC7 can be taken on and off.

The XC7’s upper is a bit stiffer than that found on the XC9, and it doesn’t comfortably mold to your foot in quite the same way. That is not to say that it is uncomfortable, just that it makes a sacrifice that a shoe at twice its price point does not.

Durability

Durability is an area where the Shimano XC7 shines, particularly in relation to other XC oriented shoes and like the more expensive Shimano S-Phyre XC9. Whereas shoes like the XC9 and Giro Empire VR90 have a large portion of their carbon midsole exposed, the durable Michelin rubber of the XC7 covers nearly the entire sole of the shoe, making it much more durable than other XC shoes.

Likewise, the slightly stiffer material of the upper that was a negative in the comfort department will be going strong after the softer $400 upper of the XC9 has worn out.

All of that said, don’t expect the Shimano XC7 to offer the durability of all mountain shoes like the Giro Chamber 2 or Shimano ME7.

Weight

Contrary to Shimano’s claims, at just 365g for a size 45, the XC7 is actually lighter than the much more expensive XC9. This makes the Shimano XC7 our second lightest clipless mountain bike shoe, behind only the premium Giro Empire VR90.

The Bottom Line

At $225, the Shimano XC7 is a great all around cross country shoe, that is extremely lightweight, and durable enough to hold up to more all mountain styles of riding than other XC shoes. We would recommend it, for the price, over premium XC shoes for all but the most demanding of riders who are willing to pay premium prices for fractional benefits. On the other hand, it is still twice as expensive as our top budget XC clipless mountain bike shoe, the Giro Privateer R, but we think it represents a happy medium between the two extremes.

Compare Prices From Retailers Below

You help support Gear Hacker by purchasing from our retail partners.