SHIMANO GR9 PREMIER DOWNHILL / ENDURO SHOE FOR FLAT PEDALS WITH SUPERB GRIP, ENHANCED PROTECTION, AND WALKABILITY
Words and photos: Jason Beacham
After testing these shoes for the past 2 months, here are my impressions.
First of all, I'd like to let you know how I "Tested" these shoes. I used them for general trail riding in mostly dry condidions, but also for a few hike-a-bike missions, multiple river crossings, and a few muddy days. I also did quite a few days in a workshop on the tools (with a few spills).
My initial impressions out of the box:
- The shoes are very light compared to many other flat pedal shoes on the market (Shimano claims 365g in size 42)
- The flexibility of the sole seemed VERY soft
- I liked the slightly higher inside ankle padding
- The Michelin sole seemed soft, but not as soft as some of the competetors
- Toe cap didn't seem to offer much extra protection
- I love the quick lace and lace cover
- The shoes seem to fit wider than Shimano shoes of the past with quite a square toebox.
- The walkability of the shoes is amazing. It almost feels like a standard pair of trainers or mountain running shoes.
- Heel Support is greater than expected
- The quick lace holds your foot super secure and the cover keeps any exposed laces protected
- Pedal grip - The Michelin sole has yet to slip on a pedal
- Walking grip - No matter the conditions, you can trust where you put your foot. Fully submerged, dusty, moist rocks, mud - it didn't matter what I put my foot on, the grip was amazing
- Support - This was the thing that surprised me the most. Even though the shoe felt soft, it has a strong pedalling platform. I never once got the feeling of a "Warehouse Shoe" or "Pair of Vans Slip-ons"
- Water Resistance - When it comes to wet grasses and a bit of or splashes, the shoes rarely felt wet. It was only during a full dousing or walking through a creek did the shoes feel soaked. Remarkably, Shimano's claim that "Materials absorb less water and dry quickly" seems to be TRUE!! The shoe drained and dried quickly and never felt super heavy after geting soaked. Well done Shimano.
- Sole rubber wear - virtually 0 wear on roughly 30 rides, including 8-10km of off road walking on rough terrain. Also including being an every day shoe on concrete floors and withstanding workshop fluids with almost no staining.
- Lacing area - Still going strong with almost no wear signs due to the lace cover. Note - the velcro is still sticking!
- Soft Material wear - only a few nicks, but no sign of the shoe falling apart, no sole separation, and no nicks getting bigger.
- Outer material still looks as strong as the day it came out of the box.
Overall impression and recommendation:
- Would I recommend the GR9 for someone looking for a new platform shoe? YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I WOULD!! In all honesty, I have always prefered 5.10 shoes for my flats, but after spending time in these? The 5.10's are collecting dust while these are the prefered pick on a daily basis.
As a full blown DH race shoe, it may not be for everyone, as other shoes out there offer a bit more protection (although I never got toe bang from smashing rocks with my toes).
As for everyone else looking for a more versatile flat shoe for trail riding, DH or just an everyday shoe that is rad to ride in, this is a sweet choice!