Not too long ago I reviewed the Mavic Razor MTB shoe which is perfect for those who are into XC riding and want a durable, race-ready shoe without spending a lot of coin. For those who are looking for something a bit more rugged yet comfortable, the new Alpine XL is just the ticket.
The Alpine XL fills the space between shoes that can be worn all day and those that work well for clipless or flat pedal biking. These shoes offer a host of cool features including a neoprene ankle guard (perfect for that added protection from nasty elements that will be encountered on the trail) and a flap that covers the very effective lace-pull system.
The EVA tongue is meshed for breathe-ability and maximum comfort while providing a measure of support and protection. To keep your foot in place and to increase lace tension, an extra strap up top keeps you foot firmly in the heel cup during the ride. The uppers are constructed from synthetic leather for longer life with added mesh for flexibility at strategic points along the shoes for just enough give. The heel sports integrated reflective material for safety at night and the foot bed uses Mavic’s Ergo fit pre-shaped insole which is vented and treated with Agion (a silver based antimicrobial treatment) to help control moisture and odor.
The sole of the Alpine XL is all business with a full rubber pattern from front to back, which works well in all conditions. The space for the SPD-compatible cleat is near perfect with no issues fitting Shimano or Crank Brother (Time) cleats. The sole, unlike some race oriented shoes, has decent give for when you need to hike a bike or just walk into a store to grab that Monster energy drink. My two shoes plus cleats came in at 993 grams (Time cleats) which is pretty good considering I wear a size 46.
The fit on the Mavics is a bit on the tight side at first so I recommend trying before buying on this one. I don’t recommend ordering these shoes online unless you have tried a set first. The toe box is roomy enough for my fat toes and on the trails and slopes (I mostly used the Alpine XL on my bigger bikes) I really loved how these felt. With no hot spots on my feet due to uneven pressure, the shoes were comfortable on the bike. The mid height arch worked well for my slightly flat feet – the added support there was nice. I also liked the feel of the heel cup and toe box.
Riding on harsh trails and slopes I had more than one occasion to bash a rock or two with my feet. The added protection on the toe box was welcomed and did a good job at keeping my toes in tact. The sole on the Alpine XL shoe has no spikes (fine by me) so walking is not an issue with them and the 5mm of tread works well on most surfaces (mud, not so much). The neoprene does a fine job at keeping most debris out of the shoe and also means you have to pull on it a bit to get your foot in there in the first place.
If you’re looking for an everyday mountain biking shoe in the $120 – $160 range the Mavic Alpine XL is a good pair to to consider.
I would like to thank the folks at Mavic for sending these down for a review.