From Pirellii tyres to the Michelin shoe, maybe motoring and cycling aren’t so different after all..
Shimano’s an old player in the footwear game. They’ve been making cycling-specific shoes since 1988 and Japanese engineering has kept them ahead of the game despite some of the more basic road shoes and even triathlon models still showing inspiration from the original SH-R100, at least in terms of aesthetics. However, technology has come a long way since and the game has too. The partnership with Michelin is just one example where top-of-the-line features flow down the food chain – to create a true all-rounder, the XC5.
In the near-30 years that have passed, Shimano has built up a huge closet of options but where the gaps remain, the XC5 steps in. Styled from both road and MTB models it covers both riding styles. It’s not quite beefy enough for gravity trails but it’ll fit like a glove from XC to CX.
Michelin dip their toe with an exclusive tread and in a world of collaborations, this one is the real deal. We’ve used a similar tread on the high-end XC9 and it never missed a step. The XC5 differs from the rest of the line with a higher tread and softer carbon sole designed for more ground contact. To allow this tread the XC5 is only available in the SPD system. For stiffness comparison. the RC9 road shoe has a rating of 12, the off-road race-spec XC9 is 9 whereas the XC comes in at 7 – the magic number to transfer power to the pedal and prevent blisters on the heel.
The tough synthetic leather is held together with an old-school styled lacing system with plenty of tie-down points for those more familiar with velcro. Just remember the bunny ears and there’ll be no stray laces. Stray stones are accounted for with reinforcing around the toes and heel cup. This isn’t just a lighter MTB or road-light shoe, the XC5 aims to kick some goals and there’s even a provision for toe spikes should you venture into more extreme terrain.
Lace up and get up!
A pair of XC5‘s (size EU44/US9.7) weigh in at 640 grams and retail at $199.
The XC5 is now available from all good LBSs. Head to Shimano for full product details.