When Shimano announced the XM9 and XM7 earlier this year, I couldn’t have been more excited. These shoes looked to be perfect for cool fall, winter and spring riding. Now with a couple weeks of riding in these shoes, I’m stoked to report the XM9 is every bit as good as I had hoped.
This is the most rugged offering within Shimano’s “Tour” footwear lineup. The mid-height construction extends up over your ankles to provide coverage, support and protection. The Nubuck upper is made waterproof and breathable with Gore-Tex; a rubberized toe protects against impacts and scuffs. A plastic heel cup pairs with a mid-foot strap to ensure a secure fit as the laces are tightened up.
The XM9 is constructed on Shimano’s Volume Performance Last, which offers ample volume and E-size width. A half-length shank provides stiffness at the pedal interface, but allows the sole to flex for walking. On Shimano’s 1-11 stiffness scale, the XM9’s sole registers a three. A Vibram outsole provides great walking traction.
I’ve been riding the XM9 non-stop since receiving them for everything from mountain bike rides to commuting and I’m happy to report they’ve been nothing shy of awesome. For all-around use, the sole stiffness is a great balance of flexibility for walking and stiffness for all but the most aggressive riding. For longer, more performance-oriented rides, Shimano’s M647 pedals provided additional support thanks to their outer cage. This combo would be my recommendation for more aggressive riding, or any application where you want to maximize on-the-bike stability.
Folks in cold climates will need an insulated winter boot for the coldest months as the XM9 is not insulated. On the warm end of the scale, I found these shoes to be comfortable into the lower 70s.
Overall, the XM9 is my new go-to shoe for cool weather riding. They offer versatile performance and excellent comfort on and off the bike. Historically, Shimano shoes have held up very well for me over the long haul. Assuming the XM9 hold up similarly, they’re well worth the asking price of $250.