There is a raised and padded inner ankle protector and a protective pad over the laces to keep water, mud and rocks from beating you up.
Shimano is also using an exciting new material for the outsole. Vibram, an Italitan sole company long used in hiking boots, partnered with Shimano to produce the IdroGrip – a super sticky compound that secures riders on wet rocks, mud and matted grass as well as their pedals. IdroGrip was derived from Vibram’s expertise manufacturing climbing soles.
On the bike, the grip and feel contact to the pedals is second only to FiveTen Impact 2 Low and Freerider shoes – which is quite an accomplishment. They cost about ten bucks more than FiveTen’s, but they might perform longer. Shimano might be the answer to the wet rainforests of the North Country, eh?
In addition to that sticky outsole, shoe stiffness can be altered with two different inserts slid in under the insole. I decided that the more flexible insert, or none at all, gave the best pedal control. However if you are headed to the groomies at the jump park and want some speed you can feel a power increase with the stiffer insert.
While Shimano’s AM40s are very supple and offer armored shield protection from flying debris and rocks, but maybe not from your friend’s jokes and laughs.
Sizes: 36 – 48, whole sizes
Weight: 837 grams (size 40)
Price: about $100-$110 online