Pete’s feet have been racking up some serious miles and altitude this summer. Keeping them attached to the pedals have been Shimano’s top of the range AM9 SPD shoes.
How did the updated AM9 shoe fare in the Scottish Highlands and the Alps of the Haute Savoie?
A frequent rock-kicker, Pete has always preferred a shoe with a bit of clout. Did these revised AM-series Shimano slippers stand up to the warm, wet Scottish summer and a week in the French and Italian Alps? In a word, yes!
There has only been one minor gripe with the AM9s over three months of big miles, several vertical kilometres of climbing and descending in all conditions. That gripe might well not be solely the fault of the shoe, however.
Mated to a HT Components X1 pedal, which, have also been flawless, the raised forward part of the engagement mechanism appears to be exactly the same width as the Pedal Channel on these shoes. In some instances, they front engagement has been known to jam in the shoe, leaving my foot far further forward than desired. This has lead to some exciting moments on the trail but nothing that caused anything but a minor inconvenience.
A small glitch in what has otherwise been a case of fit and forget. Living in Scotland, I have long been used to shoes that go back on your feet wet even after overnight stays on the radiator. The AM9’s EVA construction not only keeps the weight impressively low, but also doesn’t suck up or hold onto water that well. Bonus.
A Euro size 40 is what the shoes says and is, reassuring in an age of odd sized shoes despite the numbers reading right. I am a slim fitting in the foot department and these didn’t feel too wide or too tight. Anyone with round feet might struggle though.
I have yet to kick a rock in these that hurt any more than the bombproof, if no massively overweight 5:10 Hellcats. Despite the minimal construction, protection for both foot and ankle is impressive.
The lace flap does a solid job of keeping clart and water of the laces and your foot. In some instances the velcro failed to close when jammed full of Scottish slop, but that’s not something I haven’t experienced on other shoes. Only a velcro-less system would prevent this.
On the bike, the sole is stiff without being rigid, offering solid power transfer and a good feeling atop the pedals. Off the bike, the not-so-stiff sole lends itself well to hike-a-bike missions and the toe and heel grips help you up the slippiest of slopes without resorting to CX studs.
Build quality is good and there isn’t any real signs of the hammering they’ve had this summer. They’ll survive the winter no doubt better than most shoes I’ve used in the past and will be dry the following morning as a result.
A penny shy of £100 might not be cheap for a shoe, but it’s not expensive going by what else is on offer. Definitely a sound investment for anyone racing downhill, enduro or just fooling about and needing a decent SPD shoe.