For a long time there were two kinds of shoes to ride in: super-stiff race-type clipless shoes and skate-type flat pedal shoes. Luckily, the big brands have caught on that most of our riding falls somewhere in between. Shimano is the latest to offer a line of trail and enduro shoes that offer enhanced protection, traction and comfort while still providing an excellent pedaling platform.
The Torbal line (named for Torsional Balance) allows the outsole to twist, allowing for a rider’s lateral movement, while keeping the forefoot aligned with the pedal. Shimano says it gives riders greater control on technical descents without sacrificing pedaling performance.
The Torbal line also includes a new, dual-density, extra-cushioning insole and an armored rubber sole that wraps around to protect the heels and toes.
There are three models in the lineup:
The SH-M200 is the premium model, with an asymmetric collar that protects the inside of the heel from contact with the crankarm and increases durability. It has a speed-lacing system rather than straps, and a protective cover over the top of the foot. The expanded SPD cleat adjustment range lets riders move the cleat further back as well. Look for it to go on sale this fall for $180.
The SH-M163 offers many of the same features but jettisons the extra armor protection for a lighter, more trail-oriented shoe. The tough, synthetic leather upper uses a Cross-X Strap which has the two Velcro straps oriented in opposite ways for a better fit and more comfort. It is also built around Shimano’s Volume+ last for a roomier toebox. It will also be on sale this fall for $150.
Finally, the SH-M089 brings many of the same features to a lower price point. It still packs the adjustability and Torbal fit system of its siblings, but without the extra armor protection. The high density rubber outsole will help boost traction on slippery roots and rock, while being durable to resist wear from the pedals. It too will be on sale this fall for $120.
Unzen 4 Enduro
Shimano also continues to expand its line of hydration packs, with the new Unzen 4 Enduro packing several features that cater to today’s enduro racers and trail riders. Like all of Shimano’s Accu3D packs, the Unzen 4 Enduro packs a variety of clever features such as a tool and pump organizer, eyewear holder, zippered fleece pocket, reflective details and a loop for light attachment. It can also carry a full-face helmet, goggles and pads for transfer stages in an enduro race.
The side-access pockets make it easier to get items out of the pack without taking it off.
The hydration reservoir compression cord helps keep the pack from shifting while riding.
Like most Shimano packs, it is built around the X-Harness strap system, which joins the two straps in the middle of your chest. It also features a removable waist strap for extra stability when needed.
The limited edition black and yellow model will be available this fall, while the standard black and blue model will be available in January for $90.