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Posted April 14, 2012 by Adam in mountain bike accessories
 
 

Cycle Shoes – XC and Race shoes reviewed


This page is all about reviews of cycle shoes for cross country and race use.

  • If you want reviews on bike shoes for FR/Trail/Enduro/Epic use then click here
  • To help you work out what mountain bike shoes you are best suited to, ask yourself these questions.
  • To learn the 4 key steps to looking after your mountain bike shoes click here

Onto the reviews…

Answer Impact

Answer Impact

Price $215
Use XC
Pros Aimed at more serious XC riders, the Impact bike shoe has a still sole and low cut design. All the panels are double stitched so it is a very tough shoe. It has both laces and Velcro so adjustment is very versatile. This shoe is also laterally stiff and has great support for the ball of your foot. These shoes also have a rubber heel cup to stop it moving around in hard sprints.
Cons The cleat isn’t deeply recessed so will scrape when walking. They are made of leather which can get very heavy if it gets wet.
Rating 7 / 10

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Answer Palisade

Answer Palisade

Price $99
Use XC
Pros 100% synthetic, this model of cycle shoe has a light construction with a stiff sole and double stitching around the heel and toe cups. The tongue is attached to stop it slipping and the cleat clearance should fit any cleat around. This shoe is breathable and will dry quickly. The tread grips well in the wet.
Cons There are only 2 straps making it hard to adjust properly. The toe spikes are not replaceable and the thin inner sole doesn’t provide a lot of support.
Rating 6 / 10

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Answer Speeder

Answer Speeder

Price $169
Use XC
Pros A tough design with double stitched toe, heel cups and trim. The speeder cycle shoe is a cut back version of the Impact and has 2 Velcro straps and laces for fastening. There is a lace strap to stop the tongue rotating. The high grip rubber sole has plenty of clearance around the cleat but may get in the way for very wide pedals. Toe spikes can be used and being synthetic, it is a breathable shoe.
Cons The cleat scraps if you walk over rocks because it isn’t recessed deep enough. On a long ride the shoe can get pretty warm.
Rating 7 / 10

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Answer XC-1

Answer XC-1

Price $225
Use XC/Race
Pros Designed for racers this cycle shoe has a lightweight design and construction and a super stiff sole. It has removable mud spikes and double stitching everywhere. With a number of breathing holes this shoe will also dry quickly in sloppy conditions.
Cons The tongue is on the outside of the shoe so the shoe becomes uncomfortable after awhile. The thin inner sole doesn’t give you much support.
Rating 7 / 10

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Cannondale Carve

Cannondale Carve

Price $190
Use XC/Race
Pros The Carve has a 3 strap Velcro fastening system and is available in both men’s and women’s versions. The sole gives fantastic mud grip and has full support for toe spikes. It is a synthetic construction with double stitched toe and heel and reinforcing for the straps.
Cons Cleat clearance is very tight but remember that these cycle shoes are aimed at racers, so clearance should be an issue.
Rating 7 / 10

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Go On Podium

Go On Podium

Price $160
Use XC/Race
Pros This shoe is very similar to Answer’s XC-1 but has slightly different trim and colours. The sole gives reasonable grip in the mud and removable toe spikes. It has an extremely stiff sole and again, lots of double stitching. A very tough shoe it has quite a few breathing holes helping it to dry quickly.
Cons The tongue is on the outside of the shoe so there is not enough support for the top of the arch. The thin inner sole doesn’t provide much support. This shoe will not fit with caged SPD pedals.
Rating 7 / 10

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Nike YVR III

Nike YVR III

Price $169
Use XC/Race
Pros A serious entry level XC shoe, the YVR has a lightweight construction and nylon and synthetic upper that dries quickly and has great airflow. It is a low cut shoe offering a slightly wide fit. There is double stitching around the toe only. The YVR also has replaceable toe studs to help traction in the wet.
Cons The hard rubber sole can be a bit slippery and with no laces the adjustability is ok but not great.
Rating 7.5 / 10

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Pearl Izumi Vagabond Mountain II

Pearl Vaga M2

Price $175
Use XC/Race
Pros The sole is very stiff and is very rigid in hard, out-of-the-saddle sprints. The tongue is attached on 1 side so it doesn’t slide around. It is made of leather but is light and has breathable side panels. Most of the stitching is double stitched and the sole is good both walking in mud and then shedding it after.
Cons Unfortunately these cycle shoes don’t have spikes and cleat room is minimal. It can be quite tight trying to get into the shoe in muddy conditions and it can’t be used with caged SPD pedals.
Rating 7 / 10

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Scott MTB Comp

Scott MTB Comp

Price $169
Use XC/Race
Pros The Comp has a double stitched toe and side panelling with removable spikes in the sole. The cleat seat is wider than most shoes and works well with wider caged pedals like the Shimano M-646. The low-cut synthetic material dries quickly and the tongue is firmly attached to stop it sliding. The shoe is also fairly light.
Cons Without spikes the shoe is slippery in mud and having only 2 straps limits the fit and adjustability. The thin inner sole doesn’t give great support.
Rating 6 / 10

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Shimano SH-M180B

Shimano SH-M180B

Price $199
Use XC/Race
Pros Low cut and made of synthetic material, the M180B cycle shoes have double stitching around the toe, heel and arch supports. It has an extremely stiff sole and low profile replaceable studs. The recessed cleat helps walking and a wide cleat seat makes these shoes compatible with just about every pedal. The top buckle has a metal ratchet and a replaceable strap that helps with the good fit.
Cons There isn’t much tread around the cleat so the shoe can be slippery in mud unless you use your toe heavily to grip.
Rating 8 / 10

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Specialized Comp MTB

Specialized Comp

Price $199
Use XC/Race
Pros This cycle shoe is full of features. 2 Velcro straps and a replaceable ratchet give a great fit. A super stiff sole and double stitching on the toes, heel and strap supports. The tongue is also secured so it can’t rotate inside the shoe. It is made of synthetic material that is very light and dries quickly. The shoe comes with mud spikes to help grip in wet and greasy conditions.
Cons These shoes are designed for racers so the minimal sole is a bit slippery when walking. The plastic ratch strap is exposed and could take a hit on the trail if you are not careful.
Rating 9.5 / 10

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Specialized Sport MTB

Specialized Sport MTB

Price $149
Use XC
Pros Similar to the Specialized Comp, the Sport cycle shoe is another in the Body Geometry line of shoes that feel more comfortable than any other. The sole is extremely stiff and the low cut shoe has double stitching around the plastic toe and heel cups. There is a strap to keep the tongue in place and this shoe has 3 Velcro straps which do a reasonable job. For entry level XC/Race shoes, they are pretty light at 900g.
Cons With no spikes these shoes are slippery in muddy conditions and they don’t shed mud well either. They have a leather upper that can get heavy when wet and these shoes can’t be used with caged SPDs.
Rating 8 / 10

Adam