Words Lester Perry
Image Henry Jaine
RRP $249
Distributor Shimano NZ

If the shoe fits, wear it.

The GE7 is part of the latest range of redefined Shimano shoes. Much like the flat pedal- focussed GF6 we reviewed in our previous issue, the GE7 has received a new silhouette and last, as well as incorporated a host of Shimano’s latest tech and buzzword features.

Striking a healthy balance of inspiration from skate, MTB, and outdoor shoes, I’d say there are equal parts of each included in the design; the GE7’s styling doesn’t delve too far into any one category. Internationally. I see there’s a light grey colourway available with some nice earthy-toned accents – certainly in line with current fashion trends, but unfortunately this appears to be unavailable in NZ. If you like black then these will be right up your alley. And, fortunately, black goes with everything! Want some colour in your life? You can step up a level to the GE9 – essentially the same shoe but with a BOA tensioner.

I’m roughly three months – and a tonne of varied rides – into my time with the GE, and I’m stoked about these kicks. The synthetic leather upper is showing few signs of wear, although just like a glossy black Audi, it’s tough to keep them looking clean. Sturdy laces keep the shoe secure on foot and, rest assured, there’s nothing mechanical to worry about breaking when you’re in the back blocks of nowhere. The chunky Velcro strap at the top of the shoe can be cranked down as tight as you’d like, providing a super secure heel hold if that’s what you’re after. Laces can be tucked tidily under the strap for snag-free riding or hiking.

If you’ve ever kicked your toes into a rock while foot out drifting through a turn, or clipped a root while rodeoing through a section of trail, you’ll appreciate the robust cap over the front of the toe box.

I’m roughly three months - and a tonne of varied rides - into my time with the GE, and I’m stoked about these kicks.

There’s a substantial amount of fore and aft adjustment in the cleat bed, so regardless of your beliefs on cleat positioning, you should find your nirvana with these shoes. While clipping in, there’s no interference from the sole with the pedal and, in classic Shimano fashion, the cleat glides right on into, and out of, the pedal unhampered. Honestly, I’ve had a hard time with shoes over the years, and I’m always nervous to try anything new.

I’m after a reasonably stiff sole for pedalling but want a shoe that’s equally as walkable; the holy grail, Goldilock’s porridge sort of vibes. I’ve had gravity-focused shoes from Shimano that were plenty comfy, but too flexible while pedalling for my liking. Utilising Shimano’s Torbal 2.0 midsole, the GE7 offers what I reckon is edging on the perfect level of stiffness for trail and gravity endeavours, ticking all the boxes for me. I’ve been impressed by how solid they feel on the pedals, there’s minimal flex under power – there is some but it takes some watts to really feel it, and there’s enough flex that they feel quite natural through the transition from heel to forefoot while walking.

The Volume Trail Last gives a snug fit through the midsection up to the ball of the foot, then widens significantly towards the toes. This shape is ideal for us jandle-wearing Kiwis or anyone with a wide foot. The roomy heel cup doesn’t strangle your Achilles but is secure enough for minimal heel movement while on the gas, and even while walking the heel remains pretty well locked in place.

The midsole has an EVA foam section running the length of it, providing a comfy level of cush for walking – plus it noticeably dampens vibrations while clipped in. Shimano have nailed the rubber outsole by utilising their new ULTREAD GE rubber. While unclipped, there’s a stable platform and traction to stop you from getting too sketchy on the pedals in those situations when you just can’t get clipped in. Scrambling up steep inclines is sure-footed thanks to deep knobs under the toes. These, combined with compliance at the toes, give the shoe an almost hiking boot feel while tackling hike-a-bike sections – impressive for sure.

These are hands-down the best all-round MTB shoes I’ve used. I’ve struggled to find any fault or weak point and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pair for general trail use. I don’t make that statement lightly: they really are that good.

This article is taken from:NZ Mountain Biker, Issue #113

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