If you’re like me, you want reliable, high quality mountain bike gear that will last season after season. Case in point: I wore the same pair of mountain bike shoes for 7 years straight and probably notched 120 different trails in them. Of course the last year or two wasn’t pretty – stripped and rusted cleat threads, frozen insoles, and half a kilo of ground-in trail dirt – but you get the point. So when it came time to replace the old kicks I wanted to make a solid investment in a high performance shoe and I found the 2010 Time MXS Carbon shoe fit the bill to a tee.
Fit and comfort
One of the reasons I put off buying new mountain bike shoes was because I have a bit of a foot problem: wide feet. Cycling shoes are often more narrow than regular shoes and to add insult to injury, few manufacturers offer EE widths. Fortunately the new Time MXS Carbon shoes are thermoformable which allowed me to mold the shoes to my exact foot shape. The thermo shaping procedure is simple and you can do it at home with a hairdryer (ask your wife or girlfriend how to use it if you’re unsure 🙂 ).
The velcro straps and adjustable buckle on the Time MXS Carbon shoes allow you to customize the fit even further and I found that leaving the bottom velcro strap a tad loose relieved almost all the pressure caused by my wide feet. The real star here is the adjustable buckle closure that allows you to ratchet the upper part of the shoe tightly to reduce slippage. In fact, I’ll never buy another pair of mountain bike shoes without a ratcheting buckle again – it’s that important and improves pedaling efficiency and comfort dramatically.
Many high end mountain bike shoes are made from leather but the fact is that leather just isn’t very breathable, especially when it’s wet. The Time MXS Carbon shoes feature mesh on top of the toe box and along the sides for maximum ventilation, minimizing sweaty feet on the trail. Inside, the padded tongue and soft insole make this shoe feel as comfy as a plush house slipper.
The Time MXS Carbon shoe is compatible with all pedal types and during my testing I had no problems with Crankbrothers or SPD cleats. Racers will especially appreciate the replaceable toe spikes and lightweight carbon construction. Walking in these shoes isn’t too bad thanks to the continuous tread pattern surrounding the cleat recess. Extra deep tread on the heel and toe helps you get up sloppy slopes when you need it the most (’cause if your bike tires could grip the ground you wouldn’t be walking). The stiff soles are ultra-efficient at transferring power to the pedals – just don’t expect to do any trail running in these shoes in the middle of your ride. 🙂
Some riders may be put off by the gloss black finish on the Time MXS Carbon shoes and I have to admit I was a little unsure about the look myself. It’s a style you’ll either love or hate but you can’t argue with the fact that mud slides right off these shoes like butter on a hot frying pan. These shoes also seem to be sealed pretty well and the first time I stepped into a deep creek crossing I thought for a moment that they might be waterproof. After about a 3 second delay I could feel the cold water seeping in but the upshot is that general trail wetness, short of full-on immersion, won’t leave your feet soaking wet.
After hundreds of miles in these shoes I’ve discovered another undocumented feature: odor protection. Despite walking through some pretty putrid mud and having gallons of sweat drip down my legs, somehow these shoes still smell brand new. The ventilated mesh certainly helps as does the tight enclosure which keeps crud out. My mountain bike shoes are no longer the smelliest shoes in the house – running shoes, welcome to the top of the heap!
The Time MXS Carbon mountain bike shoe is a great investment in comfort and performance that will last for years to come. The unique Thermo Shape membrane allows you to get the perfect fit at home and you’ll love the efficiency you’ll get from the stiff soles and tight enclosure. And even if you do find yourself off the bike every now and then you’ll love the aggressive tread pattern that stabs through the muddiest terrain. Perhaps the only drawback to this shoe is its price but remember, the piece of gear will pay dividends for years to come. Now is the Time for the MXS Carbon.
Thanks to the folks at Time for providing the MXS Carbon MTB shoes for review.