Before I get to the shoes- in case you live under the proverbial rock, you need to know that Matt, Kenny (former co-worker and still one of the best mechanics in Memphis), and myself record a podcast every Monday night for Mountain Bike Radio. It’s been going on for just over two years now, and, I’m happy to report, that the Just Riding Along show is has grown to be of the more popular ones on MBR. If you’re a podcast-listening person, I’d highly recommend downloading it (there are several different ways listed on the page if you click the JRA link above), or you can listen straight from the website itself.
Disclaimer- we just recently switched from a live Blogtalkradio recording to a pre-recorded then uploaded show, so the sound quality on the older episodes isn’t the best. They’re worth listening to, though, because you’ll learn about important things like the McNugget currency exchange as well as our special relationship with the armadillo. Once you’ve listened to them all, check out the t-shirt you can pre-order right now on the Mountain Bike Radio Store page. There’s also a post on the Mountain Bike Radio Facebook page to determine if interest warrants the printing of Just Riding Along mugs. The logo is pretty sweet, though I’m a little biased since I came up with the basic idea while trying to entertain my mind on the long and hilly drive to the USARA Nationals a while back. Some time and a million revisions later, the good folks at S2N Design here in Memphis put my idea into action:
Anyway… enough about that. In Monday’s post, I mentioned that I’d post later this week about the Shimano M200 shoe. I’ve had 3 rides on them now, and I am already a big fan. I’ve been riding in the Mavic Fury, and it is a really nice shoe (aside from the fact that it’s a shoe retailing for over $300 and it comes with the most pitiful excuse for an insole I’ve ever experienced. I have a nice set of Fizik insoles, though, so it works out). The M200 retails at $180 (full disclosure- I bought these, so I have no obligation to say anything nice about them)
I was attracted to the M200 because I do, on someone regular occasions, need to get off my bike and walk to navigate something extremely steep and/or very rocky. The Mavic shoes weren’t totally terrible for that- unlike a LOT of XC shoes out there, the soles have a really grippy rubber lugged sole. I commend Mavic for that because it means they aren’t super light. However, the lugs aren’t just there for show like they are on something like a SIDI (the smallest/most useless/plastic-y lugs I’ve ever seen). In my search for something both stiff and walkable, I’d also tried the Pearl Izumi X-Project, which made my feet really angry because the fit was just… weird. I wasn’t alone in that, either. Both Ryan and Matt had similar experiences.
So, when I saw the M200, I was mad stoked (bro), because I know that Shimano shoes generally fit my foot well. I was also intrigued by the extra cleat adjustment area. I generally wear my cleats as far back as a shoe will allow, and, while I ended up starting out by setting them up very close to what I’m used to, the extra space is there if I want to try working the cleat back further. They come with a set of red plastic spacers that install into the cleat area to take up space you aren’t using for cleat adjustment.
The closure system is pretty cool, too. I like my shoes to be as loose as possible across the top of the foot (don’t ask… my feet are temperamental to pressure), and having loose-ish velcro straps on top of my feet becomes a tripping hazard. I wear the pull-cord on the M200s just how it is in the photos, and everything is cozy and covered. The extra side coverage is nice in that sense, because it not only gives ankle protection (obviously), but it somewhat distributes the pressure from tightening the top strap up enough to compensate for how loose I wear the bottom.
On top of the cool, unique stuff I’ve pictured here, as far as I can tell, they pedal like a cross country shoe, and indeed, they are easier to walk in than a cross country shoe due to both some built in flex (which Shimano calls the “Torbal” sole) as well as the additional rubber. The extras make them approximately 30g heavier per shoe than the Fury (I’m not a weight weenie when it comes to contact points, so I’m really just putting that in there for you weirdos who are). Icing on the shoe cake- The insoles are also not just a “here’s some foam to cover the cleat holes” afterthought like the Mavics.
The only downfall to these is how much Matt makes fun of how they look. He called them “storm trooper boots,” which is really a knock on how much he doesn’t know about Star Wars.
I’m hoping to get to Arkansas this weekend and really put them to the test.