The classic AM9 shoe gets an update, and it doesn't scrimp on comfort, durability and weather resistance.
This AM9 (903) shoe is the latest in a long line of burly DH/enduro clip-in shoes from Shimano that goes back to the iconic white and black ‘Stormtrooper’ shoe of the 2000’s. This DX model was a favourite of almost every gravity-focussed rider at the time, leaving this modern AM9 with big boots to fill, ahem.
Built to take the knocks and to give some protection to the feet and ankles, the AM9 features a robust toe-cap and a raised, padded ankle collar on the inside edge of each shoe, and a flap over the laces to keep out dirt and debris.
The shoe is well-padded throughout, and as such is very comfortable – almost slipper-like, save for the weight.
Fastening is taken care of by a speed-lacing system – pull the Velcro tab to tighten the speed-lace through the clasp and then secure the tab onto another Velcro patch on the tongue to stop it flapping about. You can really crank these up as the tongue is quite thickly padded. A broad instep strap over the top keeps everything super-snug.
The midsole has a stiffness rating of 5 (out of 12) so has plenty of flexibility when walking around, but is stiff enough to feel like energy isn’t being wasted as you pedal. The outsole is Shimano’s own compound and has plenty of grip when walking over rocks and roots, although the tread pattern is more akin to a flat-pedal shoe than a deeply-lugged XC shoe, so it doesn’t dig into soft mud particularly well. The cleat pocket is long and roomy and allows the cleat to be mounted quite far back for added on-bike stability.
These have been my go-to shoes for the best part of a year now, I’ve always found Shimano shoes fit me well and feel super comfortable, and these are no different. They’ve stood up well to regular abuse (although since this pic was taken the tip of the sole of one shoe has peeled away and come off – Shimano offer a two-year warranty on these against manufacturing defects so at least I can get them replaced) and are stiff and efficient enough for the kind of trail riding I mostly do. The tough upper and minimal ventilation means they resist water quite well, making them good for winter riding. Conversely they do run quite hot in summer.
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As a trail/enduro shoe for riders that like to clip-in on the roughest tracks these are a great option, only the lack of ventilation and the way the sole has started to pull apart stops them getting top marks.