You may not be familiar with the DMT brand, but this E1 shoe may well change that. How does this clipless compatible shoe stack up against the established competition from Shimano, Giro and FiveTen?
Seen on the feet of the Marin Stan’s enduro race team, these clipless (SPD) compatible shoes missed our recent review but look like a promising choice for all year round use. The mixed conditions that the UK always seems to suffer with asks a lot from mountainbike footwear – will these E1 shoes have what it takes?
DMT are a European brand and although they’ve made footwear for mountainbike use for many years, the focus has mainly been on XC riding and racing and therefore have not been on our radar here at Dirt. We’ve got two pairs of the E1 shoes in for long term test (they are available in all black if you want a more stealthy option) and we’ll be trying them with variety of clipless pedals and reporting back.
What’s on offer with the E1 shoe?
There are some very well sorted trail and enduro SPD shoes on the market now, with a good fit, plenty of support and adjustment, and good detailing. The Giro Chamber is our current pick for harder charging in more technical terrain, but equally Shimano have a good few options as do Fiveten with the evolution of their Kestrel range. Plenty of choice.
Weighing in at 579g each (for a size 46 shoe), these are no lightweights, but they have a reassuringly robust feel to them that suggests they’ll go the distance. The design is not a world apart from the latest AM9 shoe from Shimano (but without the big lace cover) – a popular choice here in the UK from trail through to DH use. The SPD compatible sole is stiff, with a touch of flex at the front and is made from Vibram’s Megagrip rubber compound, designed to be both very hard wearing and sticky enough to grip wet rock. The sole extends up and around the whole shoe, giving additional impact protection and increasing the durability of the upper material. Toe and heel bumpers will shrug off trail debris nicely, but the sole lacks deep lugs so traction when pushing on muddy inclines may be an issue.
The cleat box has a cover you unbolt before you fix the cleats on giving the impression these could be used with flat pedals – not the case, they are a dedicated shoe for clipless pedal use. We tend to run our cleats a long way back (allowing us to dip our heels when descending, as with flat pedals), will these E1 shoes allow the adjustment we want? Many brands are now considering this and giving a wider range of cleat adjustment.
The upper looks to suitable for dealing with all weather and track conditions. A textured synthetic microfibre material has areas of perforated holes in the toebox and on the sides to aid breathability but without letting in too much water – a good move. The adjustment (as with the original FiveTen Kestrel) is via a Boa dial, which tensions a wire across the front of the shoe and is easy to tweak when on the move. This dial is very effective but there’s an almost redundant lower strap, which does very little at all.