The gravity-focussed Shimano shoe has had an update, and now features a new rubber sole and redesigned upper. So how does this flat pedal mountain bike shoe perform in action?
Since the last time we tested Shimano’s flagship flat shoe, the company has made a couple of changes. This shoe has now been renamed the GR9, it has a new rubber sole, and has also gone up in price by around £30.
The older GR7 used a dual compound rubber – hard at the front and back, soft in the middle – that was made by Michelin. This new rubber is called ‘Ultread’ and Bibendum is nowhere to be seen. It’s also a more consistent durometer all the way across, and is also a lot softer at 65a. It doesn’t quite match the tackiness of the Five Ten Freerider Pro or Specialized 2FO Roost Canvas, but the GR9 is a lot more locked in.
The overall design and look haven’t really changed, this shoe still has a neoprene collar that Shimano calls a ‘rubble cuff’ to keep out the dirt. It only has laces for battening down the hatches, but there’s a neat holder to stop them from flapping. The toe and heel get wear-resistant coatings, and while there’s a little bit of perforation above the toe for breathability, the upper is well sealed, and the shoe works okay in the wet. The tongue is nicely padded and the insole is supportive.
The new GR9 generally feels more comfortable, and that’s due to the sole feeling a bit more damped and the rubber compound having a slower rebound. Our feet were not getting bounced off the pedals as much on rough tracks riding in the latest version. The mechanical grip off-the-bike is better too, as Shimano’s hex grid sole is cut away at the front and back to create a bite point.
Looking for more choices? We’ve tried and tested loads of shoes so you can pick from the best mountain bike shoes out there, both flat and clipless options. And to go with the shoes, look out for the best mountain bike flat pedals to maximise your grip and control.
When we tested the GR7 previously we craved a softer rubber, and Shimano has delivered, but the grip is still not quite as good as our test winner. We can ride all day in this shoe without issue, but if you’re looking for a first-time flat there are better and crucially cheaper options out there.