Riding uphill or down, your contact points with your bike are more important than whether your housing matches, your rear derailleur, or even whether your kit is current season! But seriously, how you connect to the bike, and feel what it is doing, is crucial for riding comfortably, fast and safely. And after extensive work with their supported riders, Shimano have released a new range of gravity shoes and pedals. Whether you're racing the clock in a World Cup or battling mates in a local Enduro series - you need to know your shoe and pedal combination will provide the grip, balance, stability and support you need.

While Shimano released the AM range with the AM9, AM7 and AM5, the latest AM901 takes the range further. Thanks to a revised upper on the shoe, it lets less water in, has more protection, and dries faster. Quick lacing cords and a new toe bumper have been added to the upper.

The AM901

The pedal channel is ultra-long to make engagement easy, and the rubber is tacky.

The AM701 is an SPD shoe (unlike the AM7) and does away with the alce cover and quick lacing, but does get extra protection and an ankle gaitor like the ME7, to keep trail grime and dirt out of your shoe. The AM701 is also slightly stiffer than the AM901. It's aimed more for trail riding while the AM901 is aimed at downhill and enduro racers.

The AM701 does away with the armoured lace cover.

All-new gravity shoes

Totally new from Shimano are the GR900 and GR700. The top GR900 shoes carries much of the protection of the AM901, like the moulded toe cap, asymmetric ankle protections and laces shield. But the Michelin rubber sole is super grippy, and made specifically for flat pedals - it's also about 35g lighter than the AM901.

The all-new GR900

The GR700 ditches the lace shield in favour of ventilation, plus there is a women's model available as wll. The GR700 is also flat-pedal specific.

The women's GR700

Shimano claim that flat pedals are often the footwear of choice for riders using E-bikes to tackle technical terrain, and this shoe will suit those riders, plus those who want a performance flat shoe.

Shimano's new gravity pedals

As we said, it's about the shoe and pedal combination, and Shimano have revised their line, with new clipless and flat pedals, to suit the new shoes. The Saint level PD-M820 is a notable shift from Shimano's previous caged clipless pedals as the centre doesn't pivot.

The wide alloy body has been designed to match the AM901's sole and the low-profile design of the dual-sided pedal should provide good clearance. There are 4 pins for extra grip if you're not clipped in. The PD-M828 is the flat-pedal brother, and has a concave shape with 12 stainless pins each side, which can be 3mm or 5mm.

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The sole

Thomas Vanderham has been part of the testing team of both the shoes and pedals.

“I’ve been testing the PD-M828 flat pedal with the GR900 at shoe and I’m really happy with the developments. These pedals are bombproof. The support under foot is excellent due to the large platform and my feet feel really well connected to the pedals. They’ve handled everything I can throw at them and really live up to the SAINT name.”

“The GR900 shoe is a perfect match. The new sticky rubber compound from Michelin provides a ton of grip and we worked a lot on the sole stiffness to nd the right balance of support and pedal feel. Additionally Shimano incorporated some nice features like a rubber toe cap for added protection and quick drying construction so that you don’t wake up to wet shoes!” 

The sole is Michelin rubber on the GR900.

For those running on more of a budget, the M8040 is an XT level flat pedal coming in two sizes to suit rider's shoe size. 10 pins each side can be 3mm or 5mm, and it is aimed squarely at trail and enduro riders.

Lastly, Shimano also have the PD-GR500, a run on from the MX80, and it has height adjustable pins, low maintenance cartrideg bearings and is available in one size.

The GR500 also come in silver.

All the shoes and pedals should be available from Shimano Australia in Semptember and November respectively.