SPD shoe choice can sometimes be a bit of tough one. Options have always previously been between a XC race style disco slipper or a downhill skate shoe with cleat compatibility.
DIRT ISSUE 132 – FEBRUARY 2013
Words by Will Redmond. Photo by Will Redmond
Shimano changed things a few years ago with their MP66 SPD offering and more lately the AM45. Five Ten (kings of sticky rubber for flat pedals) now also have a number of SPD compatible options. The Mavic Alpine XL SPD has taken this more gravity biased clipless approach, shed a load of weight, and added a few features to make a truly all–round option.
Retention comes in the form of a cordlock lacing system with a velcro cover strap which functions well. The sole is the business, with plenty of grip when hiking, but no pedal/cleat interference. Stiffness is spot on also, responding well under pedalling, but giving enough pedal feedback and give to allow you to get the heal down on descending. The airy upper certainly keeps them cool in the drier months, the payback (especially in the UK) is that they do let in the elements pretty quickly. Durability has however been excellent, easily shrugging off many a bike–a–climb–a–hike trip with barely a scratch.
All in all a well sorted (if slightly on the expensive side) pair of SPD boots that manage to look purposeful without resembling a pair of Ronaldo’s rejects. If you are looking for a more weather–proof year–round offering then there are more protective options out there. If however you don’t mind getting a little soggy on occasions then these could have made that clipless shoe choice a lot easier.