Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Product Review - Shimano SH-MT20 shoes

I've had these for more than a year now, so I guess it's as good a time as any to tell you what I think. While I was off the bike for a while last year (after The Face Plant) I bought clipless pedals, a new helmet (the old one was cracked) and these shoes.

Knowing that I wasn't going to be doing a lot of mountain biking, it seemed kind of silly to look at mountain bike shoes, but the more I looked around, the more these appeared to be perfect for my situation. I was facing some longer rides and potential full-commutes (almost 50 Miles round trip at the time) and I was starting to do a lot more utility cycling. I wanted a shoe that would click into my SPD pedals, but would let me walk around the grocery store or coffee shop without sliding around on the cleats or without having to prance all over the place in bright, shiny, slick roadie kicks.

If I had it my way, ALL shoes would use a ratcheting strap system to fasten. It's actually my favorite shoe closure mechanism. Wearing shoes with ratchet straps isn't exactly normal in public, though. I personally can't stand velcro for primary closure on shoes. Shoelaces fall right in between in functionality, but score high marks for looking normal and being easy to replace or repair when worn out. Try repairing ratchet straps or velcro on shoes. Not so easy. Therefore, the SH-MT20's shoelace closure strikes a great balance of utility, functionality and style. Some cycling shoes might earn you a couple of "George Jetson" comments. These? No one will even notice them.

On the road, the Shimano MT20 offers a moderately stiff sole for good foot support, ample ventilation on top, and enough room around the cleat so that you can get good, positive pedal engagement without fumbling around.

On the ground, faint cleat rub can be heard, especially on concrete. You don't lose traction or slide around, though. SPD cleats actually engage on the top part of the cleat, so you can get away with quite a bit of walking around without affecting how the cleats engage. They look much like plain old tennis shoes from the top, and the sole has enough flex in the toe so that you don't need to stomp around flat-footed in order to walk.

These shoes are almost as at home strolling between vendors at the farmer's market as they are when you're hammering out miles getting there. For commuters and utility cyclists that want the flexibility to get off the bike and walk around, need positive pedal engagement, but don't like other methods (toe clips, power grips, etc), these are a great choice. Retail price: about $50.

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WildcatAl said...

I use a similar shoe, a Shimano m21, which is perfect for commuting as you described. Highly recommended. I tried some "LOOK" compatible pedals,but returned them because I liked these shoes and the SPD pedals system for on and off the bike.

Sirrus Rider said...


Noah! Gimme my Shoes back! LOL! I've been using the same shoe for the past year and a half. They have been awesome! Once or twice at work I even dispensed with changing shoes and stayed in them all day long.

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