Shimano's AM5 shoes are an exercise in simplicity, aimed at riders who are looking for a simple, no frills pair of SPD-compatible kicks. There aren't any ratcheting dials or straps to be seen, or even any velcro for that matter – it's only the cleat channel and mounting area on the bottom that separates them from a skate-style casual shoe.
The uppers are synthetic, with a mesh panel above the toes and perforations on each side for a little extra ventilation. The shoes also have Shimano's expanded cleat adjustment range, which provides extra room for riders who prefer to mount their cleats further back, behind the ball of the foot.
Shimano AM5 Details
• Intended use: trail / enduro / DH
• Expanded cleat adjustment range
• Weight: 538 grams (per shoe, size 45)
• Sizes: 36-48
• Colors: black, olive
• MSRP: $100 USD
The AM5's sole gets a 5 on Shimano's own stiffness ranking scale, which is stiff enough for everyday trail riding, but quite a ways off from the cross-country race oriented XC9 model – those receive a Spinal Tap-approved 11.
Available in size 36-48, the AM5 shoes come in either basic black or olive, and sell for $100 USD.Performance
Shimano's shoes tend to fit my average width, fairly flat feet well, and the AM5's were no exception. They stayed comfortable on long rides, and although they're not the stiffest, that didn't cause any issues with the XTR and Saint pedals that I alternated between while wearing them.
The flat sole and soft rubber compound makes it easy to trudge through the woods without needing to worry about slipping on every little root and rock, and there's also enough flex that it doesn't feel like you're wearing wooden clogs.
These shoes have seen all sorts of conditions during the five month test period, starting with a bunch of wet and sloppy rides, and finishing with the arrival of dry and dusty summertime weather. They can get a little toasty on hot rides – there's not much ventilation other than that mesh over the toes, and riders who live in warmer climates may want something a little lighter and cooler. They're pretty average when it comes to drying speed, too. The tongue and the area around the ankle soak will soak through relatively quickly, and they'll gain some water weight if you ride through a creek or deep puddle, but I'd say it's on par for this style of shoe.
Once feature that's missing is a little elastic loop to stash the laces, or the velcro strap that was found on the previous version of this shoe. It's a minor detail, but one that's nice to have – no one wants to have their laces flapping around and playing chicken with that spinning chainring. Durability
The AM5's have survived the last five months of use quite well, except for an area on the left shoe that somehow got sliced open. I don't remember when that happened, but somewhere along the line I must have ridden too close to a razor-sharp rock. I'd rather tear fabric over skin, and the rest of the shoe has survived without any issues.Shimano AM5 vs Shimano AM7
The AM5 shoes retail for $100, and the AM7 shoes
are priced at $130. If you're able to scrounge up the extra dough, the AM7's are a superior shoe all around. They're lighter and better ventilated, plus they have a protective toe bumper, neoprene ankle gaiter, and velcro lace strap, all features that are missing from the AM5. The AM5 shoes get the job done, but if you're riding more than a couple times a week all of those extra amenities found on the higher end model do make a difference.
Plenty of room for cleat adjustment
No lace holder -
Not a ton of ventilation for hot days