For more than twenty years, Shimano have put a lot of work into their clipless shoes and pedals. It’s easy to see why, the SPD system is easily the most popular platform out there and is the first choice for many riders.
It’s probably fair to say that this has come at the price of their flat pedal range. The old AM9 was clumpy and wasn’t really even that grippy – not when compared to the competition from our favourites FiveTen. The SPD shoes were much better but they absorbed a lot of water and could take four or five days to dry out.
Shimano is hoping to change all that with its new Gravity Alliance range of pedals and shoes that were developed in parallel to provide the best footwear for their athletes. There are both SPD and flat pedal options.
The shoes share basically the same body but just with different soles for flat or clipless options. The shoe itself has been slimmed down and lined with a far less absorbent material so they don’t take on board so much water.
The traditional laces have been replaced with speed laces on the top model and the velcro lace protector remains. The only real difference is the top velcro strap that is not on the flat because Shimano aren’t expecting riders to pull up as much.
The top spec models (pictured here) are aimed purely at downhill racers, but there are versions with a stiffer sole, better ventilation and an ankle gaiter to stop debris getting in for enduro and trail riders.
The flat pedal uses a rubber compound developed with Michelin. Shimano admit it may not be the most grippy out there but they reckon that if it’s combined with their pedals there should be enough grip there, this of course means it should be more durable than the competition at least.
The SPD of course features the same channel as Shimano’s other shoes to slide the pedal into, or to rest it in if you need to unclip for a certain section.
AM 901 clipless – 401 grams
AM 701 clipless – 408 grams
GR 900 flat – 365 grams
GR 700 flat – 366 grams