Does Shimano's latest version of the ME7 live up to the standard set by previous iterations?
Words: Sebastian Jayne
Photos: Matt Rousu
The Shimano range has developed over the years to have now reached a peak with the return of the mighty clipless sandal! For those of us unable to have our feet so free, there is still a wide range of shoes to choose from including the ME7 for enduro trail riding in tough terrain.
The enduro/trail category sits between the all-out gravity shoes and lightweight XC models. The trail series features the top ME7 model tested and the ME5 along with two insulated versions of both models for when it gets really cold and wet. The ME5 is a lighter mode that foregoes some of the extra protection the ME7 offers and is more geared towards general trail riding at a slightly cheaper price point.
The ME7 is designed for rough enduro riding and comes equipped with extra features to keep your feet safe when you’re smashing through rock gardens. Starting underneath is the Michelin compound rubber which has some great deep grooves and very sticky rubber. Out on the test the rubber held up on loose rocks and wet trails well when it came time to walk.
The midsole features the ‘TORBAL’ torsional midsole that allows the shoe to twist to some degree when you’re clipped in to allow some agility but is still plenty stiff as a pedalling platform. The toe section has some flex which helps keep things natural when you’re walking around.
The toe box is a great part of the ME7 as it features a reinforced section to keep your toes safe when you decide to kick something. We thankfully don’t usually test the safety features on test items but on my first ride I did end up stuffing a section and kicking an embankment when I stuck my foot out to keep me from crashing. The protection around the toe helped immensely and took the impact.
The main buckle works well and paired with the speed lacing under the tongue it held my feet in place without any problems. The speed lacing was a little redundant and I never really touched it after the first ride. The protection cover probably helped here by keeping the laces protected and not flapping around. Speaking of the cover, the look is a little odd at first, but it is a classic Shimano look and it does do its job well-keeping dirt out and your laces in.
Overall the ME7 offers a good amount of protection but in a sleek package. The upper breathes relatively well and I never had any problems with heat. The ankle guard is designed to keep rocks and dirt out of your shoe, and it did keep a good enough seal on the back of the ankle to do this. The ME7 is a comfortable shoe that foregoes super lightweight for added protection but in a sleeker package than the all-out gravity line. For general trail riding, and even enduro riding, the ME7 would be a good pick.
From: Shimano Australia
- Good Protection
- Grippy tread
- Toe Box
- Low profile
- The Look