Review: Shimano XC1 shoes

Pros: supportive last, stiff sole. Cons: slightly short straps
Cycle magazine’s technical editor Richard Hallett reviewed these sensibly priced comfortable recessed-cleat shoes

Shimano XC1 shoes £62.48

Shimano’s cycling shoes invariably offer sound performance and a comfortable fit at an affordable price. The XC1 is no exception. Pleasantly styled, in a choice of black or white, the shoes fitted my feet snugly and without pressure at any point, while the glass fibre-reinforced midsole is stiff enough for vigorous pedalling.

As with any MTB shoe, the moulded rubber outsole bears large blocks designed to provide traction in muddy conditions. There’s no provision for the screw-in toe studs found on some high-end MTB or cyclocross shoes, but the forefoot section does have a pair of small blocks spaced well away from those further back to give plenty of mud clearance.

Indeed, the entire outsole is sparingly provisioned with blocks, which besides enhancing grip has the desirable effect of keeping weight down. The two-bolt pedal cleat is, as ever, recessed between the two most substantial tread blocks under the mid-foot.

The nylon midsole, which provides the shoe’s stiffness, has much smaller, diamond-shaped, weight-relieving cutaways on the foot-side surface than its predecessor design. This reduces (to nil, going by the riding experience) the tendency for the sole of the foot to bulge into the cutaways under the force of pedalling, which can cause discomfort at pressure points.

The curvature of the midsole’s upper surface, which supports the foot, features Shimano’s ‘Dynalast’ concept; the upward curve of the toe section is neither too great nor too small to promote a ‘smoother, more energy-efficient upstroke’. It feels comfortable…

Liberally perforated, the upper is a synthetic leather composite material of considerable stiffness when new, although this softens quickly in use. In any case, the excellent fit of the last means the shoe’s initial overall stiffness simply means it provides exceptional support when pedalling. While fine for walking around off the bike, it is a bit too stiff for extended pedestrian activity.

Closure is by three hook-and- loop straps, which pass over an integrated ‘tongue’ on the opposing side and are offset laterally in an effort to reduce pressure at the foot’s highest point.

Weight (size 42): 334g/shoe.


Lightweight, stiff, snug and supportive, and with a smart, understated appearance, the XC1 ticks many boxes for the performance-minded cyclist on road and off.

Other options

DHB Dorica Shoe £70.00

Lace-up shoe with chunky, reinforced nylon MTB sole for two-bolt cleats, and a perforated synthetic upper. Weight: 330g per shoe.

Giro Rumble VR MTB Shoes £99.99

Another lace-up MTB shoe, the grippy Vibram outsole gives it better walkability than most cycling footwear. Weight: 425g per shoe.

First published in Cycle magazine, April/May 2022 issue. All information correct at time of publishing.

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