Tester: Jon Pratt
More info: Louis Garneau Nickel
Louis Garneau classifies the Nickel as a cycling shoe that is designed for a recreational weekend ride or your relaxed commute. From my experience it is just that. The Nickel’s sole is fairly rigid, providing for good power transfer, but it does have a bit of flexibility for getting off the bike and walking around a bit. It is pretty stiff, so extended walks become slightly uncomfortable.
The sole is SPD compatible and has enough material surrounding the cleat so that it doesn’t click on hard surfaces when walking. The cleat was able to engage and disengage on several pedals without issue. While the lack of any lugs on the sole limits this shoe in hiking situations, there is sufficient grip for most wet or dry urban surfaces.
The shoe features three ventilation holes on the bottom of the sole which pass through to the interior of the shoe. While this can let water in, I did not experience any wetness when cycling in mildly inclement weather.
That ventilation is extended to your foot through roughly 70 holes in the insole. It continues through small holes along the front and sides of the synthetic leather upper. This makes the Nickel a good cool to warm weather shoe, but I could see it getting a bit hot on those sunny summer days. I found it to be very comfortable during my test, where temps ranged from 20-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reflective logos on the heel and side provide decent visibility, along with those loud laces. Personally I like the look of the neon against the black, but for those who don’t, the Nickel ships with a set of black laces.
The Nickel is available in black, periwinkle (light tan) and truffle (brown). There is also a women’s version called the Opal which comes in black, asphalt and magenta.
DZR has long been known as the “causal clipless” shoe brand, with a variety of very normal looking shoes that pack performance and a cleat behind that sneaker looking exterior. The Shift is DZR’s first attempt at a casual shoe for platform pedals.
If features a stiffened mid-sole for more support while pedaling, and a pedal-pin friendly sole. The Shift maintains a low profile to slip into toe-clips, for those select few still using them.
The Shift can be found on DZR’s website. Retail price is $79.
There is an artist tie-in here, as well:
“The Shift line of footwear is a natural extension from DZR’s existing offerings of the original clipless urban bike sneakers. The design is rooted in urban street style, yet still maintains all performance elements that are non-negotiable for the urban dweller. The Shift has been co-designed among three world-renowned artists, Burrito Breath, Wakako and D Young. Each artist has designed the interior of the shoes in order to complement the exterior design of the new Shift silhouette.”
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.
With its high-ankle protection and walking support, the XM9 takes on the appearance of a hiking boot rather than a traditional cycling shoe. Strategic ankle padding prevents debris from entering the shoe and offers more ankle support than a regular cycling shoe without interfering with pedaling movement.
Further protection from the elements comes in the form of a durable rubber toe cap, natural nubuck leather and a breathable, waterproof Gore-Tex liner for optimal climate comfort. Traditional laces provide the closure system with metal hook eyelets for lacing, combined with a Mini Power Strap, TPU heel, and cupped and grooved insole to secure your foot in the shoe.
Designed for riders who are likely to spend as much time off the bike as on it, the XM7 delivers the best of both worlds. Natural Nubuck leather and a reinforced rubber toe box provide protection and durability, whilst a Gore-Tex liner allows your feet to breathe. Much like the XM9, a Vibram outsole provides grip and a flexible half-length shank plate and shock absorbing EVA delivers outdoor walkability in all conditions. The lace closure system with its Velcro cross-foot top loop-strap provides a snug fit and allows laces to be tucked away.
Both the XM9 and XM7 come with a screw-in plastic cap for the recessed SPD cleat. This multi-functional cap is designed for use with flat pedals but is designed to fit an SPD pedal for those who want to get used to the cleat entry and exit action before committing. The cap simply unscrews when you’re ready to add Shimano’s SPD cleats.
A new addition in Shimano’s off-road shoe line-up, these insulated and waterproof boots are fleece-lined for protection from rain and cold. They have a waterproof Gore-Tex insulated comfort liner and heat-retaining fleece lined insole as well as Shimano’s Torbal torsional midsole giving you a stiff instep section and an independently flexible front and back section. This gives the foot a natural flow for descents and also provides you with efficient power transfer to the areas of the foot that need it most. Meanwhile high-traction rubber studs on the outer edges of the sole ensure excellent traction on a wide variety of terrains and conditions.
For mountain biking, the MW7´s molded toe cap and ankle support, cupped high sole and instep, and tough, padded synthetic leather surround protects the foot from on-trail rocks. Lacing is taken care of with speed-lacing pull-cord and Velcro armored lace shield to ensure a quick and secure fit.
Pricing and availability
The MW7 shoes will ship in September. The XM series will ship in October. Pricing has not been set.
The lines between performance cycling and casual commuting have blurred so much so that a lot of new products have quite a crossover appeal. The new DZR Mechanic shoes are a perfect example, with a subdued look that doesn’t draw attention while still having the clipless performance to keep you moving.
Part of the brand’s Street Collection, the Mechanic has a variable flex shank that splits the difference between comfortable walking and powerful pedaling. The synthetic leather toecap is perforated for breathability and the ballistic nylon side panels should be plenty durable. The outsole is capped with a natural gum rubber for a classic look.
Right now they’re available in men’s sizes from 41 to 47 for $99.Tweet Print