The ME7 is Shimano's top-of-the-line trail/enduro shoe, designed to meet the needs of riders looking for something that's stiff and comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time while also providing traction for tromping over unrideable sections of trail.
Available in sizes 38-48, the ME7 weighs in at 455 grams for a size 45, which puts it on the lighter side of the spectrum for this style of shoe. MSRP: $200 USD.
Shimano ME7 Shoe Details
• Speed lacing system, lace cover
• Ratcheting strap
• Michelin rubber outsole
• Stretch neoprene ankle collar
• Weight: 455 grams (per shoe, size 45)
• MSRP: $200 USD
The ME7's synthetic upper has an asymmetric cuff that helps provide protection for those vulnerable ankle bones, and a small, stretchy cuff is in place to keep pebbles and other trail debris from ending up inside the shoes. The fit is adjusted via a speed lacing system – just slip your foot in, cinch down the drawstring, secure the ratcheting buckle and you're good to go. There's also a velcro cover for the laces, which adds a little bit of weatherproofing and provides another layer of protection against mud and grit.
A large vent is in place over the top of each foot, and the shoe's cuff is also made from a perforated material which helps to make sure those little piggies don't cook on hot summer days.
Shimano gives the ME7's sole stiffness an 8 on their rating scale, where their stiffest XC race shoe gets an 11 and the DH-oriented AM9
receives a 5. The outsole was developed in conjunction with Michelin, and the result is an aggressively lugged tread pattern that uses two different rubber compounds for maximum grip.Performance
As with any cycling apparel, it's always best to try before you buy, but I did find that compared to Shimano's AM9 shoes the ME7 seemed to run a little bit smaller. They do break in and stretch out slightly, but riders that are in between sizes may want to size up.
The ME7 shoes are extremely well ventilated – the mesh panel over the front of the foot allows for a generous amount of airflow, and even on the hottest summer days I didn't have any trouble with overheating. On the flipside, that does mean that there are better options if you're looking for something for riding in chillier weather; at the very least you'll want to search out some toe covers.
The past four months here in the Pacific Northwest have been even wetter and sloppier than usual – fenders, goggles, and mud spikes have been the name of the game – giving me ample opportunities to test the ME7's wet weather capabilities. While they're definitely not waterproof – that big vent over the toes makes sure of that – I was pleasantly surprised by how well they resisted getting fully saturated, even after splashing through deep puddles. The shoes' construction allows them to shed water well, and the lack of any unnecessarily thick padding on the inside helps keep them from turning into soggy sponges.
Shimano did an excellent job dialing in the ME7's sole stiffness – it never felt like there was any undue flexing or folding during hard pedaling, but they allow for enough movement at the front of the foot that walking around still feels relatively natural. The deep and well padded heel pocket also helps to prevent any unwanted heel lift while hiking, and the meaty lugs provided plenty of grip, even in slippery, greasy mud. The protection around the toe box also came in handy on multiple occasions - the rubber bumper at the front helps to ward off stubbed toes.
After over six months of use the ME7s are still going strong, and other than some scuffing and wear marks around the ankle there's no other signs of the punishing conditions they've been subjected to. Most of my moments of hiking have been on fairly soft ground, so it's difficult to say how the tread would fare for riders in really rocky terrain, but all the lugs are intact and there's no peeling or sole separation. Pinkbike's Take