The imaginatively named Shimano SH-AM902 is the top model in their gravity range, and this year sees a couple of improvements over the older 901.
The new Shimano SH-AM902 shoe still gets the asymmetrically-raised padded ankle collar and sidewall protection of previous AM9 series shoes, but Shimano has increased the amount of toe protection and added some extra perforation to boost ventilation.
The front of the shoe tapers in a bit more, but the sole is stiffer and the weight has gone up, although it’s still one of the lightest clip-in shoes that retains a claim to being one of the overall best mountain bike shoes available.
To secure the laces, and provide protection against the elements, there is a big cover over the top of the shoe, but we found if you have a high instep, it only just fits across onto the Velcro and this part of the shoe is going to be a bit too tight for you. There is a secondary strap on the top, but it is on the narrow side. Underneath these is a Speed lace system; a sort of drawcord that’s simple to use although we still never seemed to be able to get it that tight.
That said, the SH-AM902 is one of the very best shoes for riding in foul weather – there’s a ton of protection, the new upper is easy to keep clean and dries quickly. Even the medium-density sole has plenty of grip in slippery conditions. It has a large, extended cleat box to help guide the cleat into the binding and also stop gunk compacting in this area, and Shimano has also extended the rearward cleat adjustment by an extra 18mm, so you can easily duplicate the foot position of a flat pedal.
The forward taper of the Shimano SH-AM902 may not suit every foot shape, but the high level of protection is perfect for a UK winter and the quality is right up there too. For a shoe costing just over £100, the construction and durability are excellent.