Excellent value, durable and tough
The stealthy, minimal O’Neal Pinned SPD is excellent value, durable and tough. It also has the bonus of class-leading waterproofing that’s a bonus in UK.
Like the Chamber IIs, another leading downhill athlete (Greg Minnaar) has helped optimise this shoe for DH racing. The Pinned sole is stiffer than most, thanks to a rigid nylon insert between the dimpled, waffle-style outersole and the inner footbed. The underneath uses ‘Honey’ rubber, which O’ Neal designed to be sticky for grip and specially tuned to absorb impacts and hits. A thicker wraparound rubber bumper and solid toecap provide good protection against hits without either making the overall shape too clumpy.
The stiff sole drives power efficiently and stops any hot spots or pressure, even on really rough terrain. One drawback though, is the shank stiffness means this isn’t the best off the bike as it’s clumpier to walk in.
On top of superb resistance to splashes and rain, the synthetic upper and interior also dries out very quickly. This interior comes up quite roomy and is secured by laces that hold the foot securely, but an extra bungee or lace stash might help keep flapping laces out of the way better.
O’ Neal’s waffle rubber sole isn’t the grippiest against platforms if you unclip accidentally or have to tackle extended hikes, and a deeper, stickier heel and toe tread would definitely be better if your local trails involve frequent walking up slippery surfaces.
Despite these minor reservations, this is a super comfy shoe with a direct pedalling feel that’s also excellent value for money. In fact, at some of the prices we’ve seen online, you can nab yourself a well functioning clip shoe for amazing price if you shop around.