The Shimano GE-900 MTB Shoes Offer Solid Protection for the Trail [Review]

The Shimano GE9 clipless pedal bike shoes pair a stiff sole with extra protection and a comfortable, secure fit.

The Shimano GE9 clipless pedal shoe is part of the brand’s recently launched, all-new line of mountain bike shoes designed for gravity riding. Looking at the GE9s, and other shoes in the line, it’s clear these aren’t just gravity shoes; they’re really designed for everyone who falls along the spectrum from trail rider to downhiller. I’ve spent a few rides breaking in a pair of GE9s, and have come away impressed with both the fit and performance.

Shimano GE9 shoe fit and construction

Starting from the top of the shoe, the Shimano GE9 (in Shimano parlance, the SH-GE900) features a neoprene ankle cover that’s attached to the semi-padded, synthetic upper. A padded tongue is attached on the sides to prevent it from sliding side to side and out of place. There are laser-cut ventilation holes over the toe box, which is itself reinforced.

A wide hook-and-loop strap is combined with a BOA ratcheting lace system to tighten and adjust the fit of the shoe.

Shimano touts their TORBAL 2.0 midsole construction featured in the Shimano GE9, saying TORBAL “does for cycling shoes what suspension forks did for frames.” This particular shoe adds a carbon shank to the midsole, along with EVA foam to absorb impacts. On the brand’s stiffness scale, the GE9 is rated a seven out of twelve, which is as stiff or stiffer than some of their cross-country shoes, and among the stiffest trail/enduro/gravity shoes Shimano offers.

The outsole features Shimano Ultread GE rubber in a medium spaced hex pattern, which transitions to a sharper, chunkier tread at the heel and toe. The cleat channel is placed closer to mid-foot than clipless pedal shoes of the past, and certainly farther back than a set of XC kicks. SPD-compatible cleats sit a millimeter or two below the tread.

My usual mountain bike shoe size is 11.5 US or 46 EU, so when the Shimano GE9s showed up in a size 10.5/45, I was sure they wouldn’t fit. But as it turns out, the smaller size is just right for me, so buyers may want to consider sizing down or choosing a smaller size if they’re in between sizes. These size 10.5s weigh 499g each with SPD cleats, so basically a kilo for the pair.

On the trail

I found a lot to like about the Shimano GE9 shoes on the trail. The carbon-reinforced sole is noticeably stiffer than my well-worn Five Ten Hellcats, providing a supportive pedaling platform that feels slightly more efficient. The stiff sole doesn’t suffer all that much when it’s time to hike-a-bike fortunately; there’s still a good amount of give toward the front of the shoe without the mid-foot and heel feeling all mushy.

Off the bike the Shimano GE9s provide excellent grip thanks to the varied pattern on the sole. The toe and heel feature a sharper, more angular tread than the middle where the shoe interfaces with the pedal and I found this provides excellent traction when hiking steep, loose terrain. The rubber doesn’t feel overly soft which suggests it should wear well over time.

My feet are on the wide side, and I found the toe box on the Shimano GE9s to be roomy enough. For those with narrower feet the BOA lace system should cinch the toe box in a bit so your feet aren’t floating inside. I keep the BOA pretty loose for maximum space at the toes, and use the strap at the top to get a secure fit.

A lot of shoes are set up this way, with ratcheting laces at the mid-foot and a wide Velcro strap at the top, and it tends to work well enough. I haven’t experienced a lot of heel slip with these shoes, though I can’t help but wonder if the GE9 (and others) would work better with the Velcro toward the toe end, and the BOA dial above that near the top of the tongue.

The Shimano GE9 shoes offer a ton of protection, and despite some pretty robust and tough materials, they feel comfortable and flexible, unlike a hiking boot. The ankle skirt is a nice touch too, and I’ve appreciated the lack of crud making its way into my shoe during the ride. Of course all that extra protection comes at a cost to the shoe’s overall weight, which is noticeable on longer rides.

Looking at the GE9s, they don’t appear to be the most breathable shoe, and the padded heel and tongue aren’t doing them any favors. So I was surprised on a recent ride when I felt a cool breeze making its way across my toes while on a descent. The laser-cut holes aren’t the biggest, but they’re clearly strategic and allow some air to get in and out of the shoe. Otherwise the finish tends to shed water and mud well and keeps the elements at bay longer than most shoes I’ve tested.

The Shimano GE9 shoes sit at the top of the brand’s new clipless gravity shoe line, with more affordable options available minus the BOA and carbon shank.

Pros and cons of the Shimano GE9 mountain bike shoes


  • Stiff sole for pedaling, but still fine for hike-a-bike
  • Good tread pattern for off-the-bike grip
  • Protective upper and ankle sleeve for keeping crud out


  • Sizing seems to be off by a full size
  • Heavy

Bottom line

I don’t consider myself a gravity rider, but I really like the Shimano GE9 shoes for their stiff platform, grippy sole, protective padding, and comfortable fit.

  • Price: $225
  • Buy from Shimano retailers.

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