Grippy, comfortable, tough and durable.
This is Shimano’s top-of-the-range enduro/trail shoe, an update of the M200 shoe that mbr rated highly back in 2015.
Like the M200 it features a Torbal carbon reinforced midsole that offers plenty of stiffness around the cleat for efficient pedalling, but allows for torsional flex towards the heel for increased manoeuvrability when riding hard. Unlike the M200 it features a new dual-density rubber sole, developed by Michelin, to provide better grip on and off the bike.
Protection for the rider’s feet is well provided by a solid toe bumper, coupled with a neoprene ankle cuff.
A lace flap keeps debris and knocks at bay. The mesh toe area allows for plenty of air/water ingress, which can be a good/bad thing depending on the time of year.
The ME7 is really comfortable with a neutral to slightly narrow fit. Fastening is via a speed-lacing system, which sits below the flap, along with a low-profile, reverse-mounted buckle attached to the tongue with the ratchet strap attached to the main body of the shoe. This arrangement supposedly makes it less vulnerable to damage. With the laces and buckle clamped nice and tight there are no restrictive spots, just a good, snug fit that feels really efficient.
The Michelin sole proved very grippy when off the bike. The tread was good in the mud and the rubber also gave a lot more security when walking around on rocks compared to previous SPD shoes I’ve tested. Plenty of flex in front of the cleat area (with extra-long mounting slots that enable you to slide cleats really far back) meant pushing up steep climbs was a doddle and there was zero heel-lift.