The Shimano AM5 mountain bike shoe is a clipless mountain bike shoe that’s designed not with just pedal efficiency in mind, but also comfort in hike-a-bike situations. I’ve been testing these shoes all summer and into the fall in both wet and dry conditions, and here’s what I’ve found.
For starters, the AM5 shoes look and feel casually comfortable. The synthetic uppers are flexible and stretchy enough that my wide-ish feet aren’t squashed in the toe box.
Shimano uses a sole-stiffness scale that runs from 2 to 12, with higher numbers indicating a stiffer sole. According to the brand, these rate a five. Aside from the MT7 bikepacking shoes, this is the most flexible sole Shimano offers with a cleat. If they were much flexier unclipping would be like trying to unscrew a rubber bolt.
The AM5 shoes use a pretty simple, but tried and true closure system: cotton laces. Of course, this means you’re not going to get a super secure ankle and heel fit like with a velcro strap, ratchet, or a Boa dial. The shoes don’t have any sort of lace locker either, so you’ll have to tuck them into the cross laces before heading out to avoid getting them stuck in the chainring.
As you can see in the photos, there’s mesh on the toe and tongue, and slits on the sides for ventilation. Overall I wouldn’t call the shoe super breathable, but the upshot is that they offer great protection for the areas they cover.
Where the rubber hits the errr, trail, Shimano uses a surprisingly soft and grippy rubber. This makes it a great fit for a clipless pedal that offers a wide platform, like the XT M8020 trail pedals. The soft rubber also grips well on rocks if you do find yourself trudging uphill.
Deep tread on the heel and toe means these high-impact areas should last as long as the tread in the middle. There’s a deep cleat channel that places Shimano cleats just below the tread beside them, for a clack-free walk across hard, flat surfaces.
I wear a size 11.5 US shoe, which on most size conversion charts is a 45 EU. However, Shimano seems to be working off a different conversion chart, and they label their 45 EU a 10.5 US for the AM5s. The European size seems to be the accurate one, so be sure to order based on that rather than your US shoe size. The 45s felt true to size for my foot.
The Shimano AM5 mountain bike shoe is a great choice for both comfort and stability, and should be able to withstand many miles of trail and all-mountain riding.
MSRP: $100 (find online)
Thanks to Shimano for providing these shoes for testing and review.