Review: Shimano's AM5 Shoes Deliver Comfortable Simplicity

Jun 20, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  
Shimano AM5 shoe review


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
www.bike.shimano.com

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.


Shimano AM5 shoe review
There's plenty of room to slam those cleats back if that's your style.
Shimano AM5 shoe review
Laces are fine with me, but I do wish there was a little elastic holder, or maybe a velcro strap to keep everything contained.


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.



Shimano AM5 shoe review
I don't remember being stabbed, but something managed to slice through the synthetic upper.
Shimano AM5 shoe review
The rubber sole provides a little protection for the front of the foot, but there's nothing keeping the top of those toes safe.


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 shoe review
Shimano AM5
Shimano AM7 review
Shimano AM7


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.


Pros

+ Comfortable
+ Plenty of room for cleat adjustment
Cons

- No lace holder
- Not a ton of ventilation for hot days



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesFor riders looking for a comfortable, bare bones shoe that doesn't attract any unwanted attention with garish colors or extra straps and dials, the AM5 hits the mark. Mike Kazimer








54 Comments

  • + 19
 For all the features the AM7 has over the AM5, the extra $30 is an easy thing to justify.
  • + 3
 Agreed. A couple weeks ago I picked up a pair of AM7 shoes in black. The ankle strap on the AM7 helps keep the heel locked. Shimano shoes fit my wider feet better than any other bike shoe I’ve worn.
  • + 0
 The 2018 AM4 have a strap and £40 on CRC. But don't look as good as these.
  • + 3
 For an extra 30$ you get a big dose of extra uglyness, I'll stick with AM5s thanks
  • + 11
 @Balgaroth: they are ugly, but only my wife cares.
  • + 1
 The am5 is a bit more of a casual look tho. I can see the draw if someone wanted to go riding and then stop out for some drinks without people wondering what sorta neoprene space lace kicks you’re rockin. Personally I would still take the am7s tho haha
  • + 2
 The AM7s come with grey laces too... Way less futuristic. Boy are they comfy though.
  • + 1
 @rockhammer: Lucky, I have the XC7s in Wide and they still don't fit my feet very well. Couldn't even get the AM7s on. maybe my feet are wider than I think.
  • + 1
 I got the am9. 3rd season and still mint. Everything from DH at whistler to xc
  • + 0
 @bobthestapler: wow... You're feet are special. I wear a 3E wide shoe and the AM7s slip on comfortably. Not too many shoes fit me well. AM7s are the exception.
  • + 5
 I bought the AM7s over the 5s for the very reasons Kazimer mentions. They're so comfortable I started using them to commute too. I have two years of daily use, roughly 25mi a day, and they have held up incredibly well. They barely look broken in two years in. Simply the most comfortable, durable shoes I've owned, ever.
  • + 1
 I agreed, the AM7 are brilliant. Had mine same length of time and they still feel new. Best kicks I've ever owned.
  • + 3
 I have the previous version of the AM9. I've done thousands of kilometres on them every year I've had them. Thousands of XC and Trail miles, plus some DH and enduro days. Only now has one of the top straps finally broken. When I saw the latest model here on Pinkbike I wasn't impressed so I rang my LBS and ordered the old version so I still have a new set waiting for me under my bed. After almost 30 years of MTB, the AM9 is the best clippy shoe I've ever had. The cover for the laces is worth the extra. A great wet or cold (Australia cold, that is, -4 C this morning) shoe. Spend the extra money if you can. In five years you won't remember what else you didn't buy.
  • + 0
 What year model? I have the 2017 model and they are still like new!
  • + 1
 @makripper: They seem to be the 2017 (black and blue) but I swear I've had them longer than that.
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: yeah same hah they take a beating
  • + 2
 Since i got a nice little metal part in me, and its end rests on my ankle bone, sadly I cannot use any shoes with ankle protection. This is why I bought the AM5 instead of the 7. And this is one of the best shoes i have ever had. I'm switching between a Saint SPD and a flat DX, because of my ankle doesn't really like long term clippings. Currently I'm using it with the DX, with the middle pins remove cause of the clamps, and this way it sticks perfectly. Not like my 510's, but never had any problems with it so far.
I use it as my everyday shoe too, and its really comfy all day and looks 'normal'. No fancy colors, ratchets, velcro. Just a good lookin' black shoe.
I think this is a great buy, if you want a budget SPD that works on the trails and in your normal life too... Smile
  • + 1
 The ME7s are a much better all mountain shoe. I had some AM7s and fell out of like with them after 2 months. I always could feel the cleat channel under my insole even with that little sticker they include. The MEs also have a 100% better sole for grip/walking.
  • + 1
 I am not a big fan of Shimano products tbh. However, their AM series (and the DX prior) clip in shoes have been on point. I have two pairs of the previous AM5's and it seems the only real difference is that they got rid of the velcro strap that served to lock down both your laces and provide more resistance to movement across the top of your foot. I may look into 5.10's offerings (Hellcat) or those from Ride Concepts when mine wear out, however there are a few of the old ones still floating around on closeout so I may likely snatch up a pair.
  • + 1
 The AM5's stiffness rating is a 5, which sounds like what im after.....
Does anyone know what the AM7's rating is, and how does it feel ???? Id like to run spd's but I hate how stiff all the spd shoes iv tried feel.
  • + 1
 AM7 has a stiffness rating of 6, according to Kazimer's 2018 review.
  • + 3
 AM7's are a near perfect trail shoe.
  • + 1
 How are they for waterproofness?
  • - 2
 Except for their ugliness..
  • + 0
 @fartymarty: for that you should probably go for the am9, mine old up really good to water, only have a smal vent above your fingers witch can easily be covered for the water not to enter.
also shimano shoes come with a sticker that water proofs the cleat are, i ended up taking that off on mine, because when the shoe ends up full of water, it wound't drain
  • + 1
 f*ck, I want to make my own bicycle shoes. Every time I see one I'm like, "they f*cked that up". The face when you have no interest in something, but you want it, "better".
  • + 1
 I own the AM7 for about 6 months now, the only annoying part is the loose Front, because of crank rubbing. Theyre much more durable than any Giro shoe I owned prevousely.
  • + 1
 I looked at these but ended with the AM9 shoes as I'm in the UK and big mesh vents aren't great for 11.5 months of the year and I prefer to have laces tucked away.
  • + 2
 I'd say all vents suck for people riding in the cold and wet. For DH, are people's feet really roasting so much as to require venting on a DH shoe???
  • + 1
 @MikerJ: riding the lift up in the sun, yeah my feet get hot as heck in my Sam Hills...
  • + 1
 @MikerJ: Windrock in July...yup.
  • + 1
 I think it's a good thing that pictures don't capture the smell of a scene. My imagination is filling in the blanks more than I prefer.
  • + 1
 Yeah, it's probably for the best that Scent-O-Vision wasn't enabled for this article.
  • - 2
 Looks to me like the AM5s Do have an elastic loop to hold down the laces. It's midway down the laces and works fine if you use it for that. My Five Ten Freerider Pros have something similar and it works great to hold the laces away from drivetrain et al.

That said, I like the looks of the AM7 and its features/lightness way better than the AM5s.
  • + 0
 Are you high?
  • + 1
 @jddallager, that's not an elastic loop - it's just a strip of material that's not stretchy at all, and can't be used to hold the laces.
  • + 1
 Great shoe, not such a great price point. They should be cheaper.
  • + 1
 Frickin hell - when are they gonna make shoes solely for platform pedals!
  • + 1
 SO much better than Srams offering
  • + 1
 Anyone have input on the GR5 and GR7? How's the rubber compare to 5.10?
  • + 2
 Pros: comes in Black.
  • + 0
 @seraph yeah definitely. These don't look great for $100.
661 Filters are better value too and regularly on sale.
  • - 1
 At times like this, the Shimano bashing of late seems a little churlish... I cant imagine the marketing cost you´d need to add to these for an equivalent shoe from scam.
  • + 0
 I HATE LACES ON BIKE SHOES!!!!! there, i said it. AM9 with boa for me. love them
  • + 1
 I prefer laces over boa, laces let you tighten up the shoe where you want it tightened and leave it a little loose in the toe box for better comfort.
  • + 0
 OH MY GOD a clipless cycling shoe that looks good!!! How am I supposed to handle this?!
  • + 7
 I don’t think you can so we should just abuse Shimano for the delay they caused on 12 speed
  • + 0
 Check out some of Shimano's other colourways for their AM flats and clip shoes...that will bring you back to reality! I just picked up a lime green and grey pair of Shimano flats (GR7?)...ugly but effective and AU$85 delivered.
  • + 2
 Lol. Tbh I got the AM5s instead of the AM7s pretty much just because they look better
  • - 1
 @Sam-g: totaly agreed. They have always been the most acceptable out of Whole Shimano line up. I actually run their old base model which I bought solely because it looked ok. These here are my next shoes for sure. But those top models are screaming “I’m such a mountain biker!!!” Or simply “dork”. It looks so ridiculous when you finish a ride, want to get into a restaurant to eat something, have a beer, coffe, icecream whatever, and everything you have on you, including shoes is just fkng weird. Yo such a serious mountain biker, how about you have energy bar outside
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: that was actually quite funny I think you are wasted on the PB yoof with no (understanding) sense of humour
  • + 1
 I'll stick to my ME3's. Light, cheap, and GREAT off bike grip.
  • + 0
 Looks like a rad shoe, wish it came in US sizes.

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