Shimano XC90 Shoe Review

Shimano XC90 Shoe Review

 

Shimano XC90 Shoe Review

 

Peter Cole

 

Review of the Shimano XC90 cyclocross and xc race shoes

 

My initial impression of Shimano’s flagship cross-country shoe, the SH-XC90, was that they are surprisingly ordinary. A plain and simple, almost minimalist appearance, if such a thing could be said of a pair of cycle shoes emblazoned with bright blue flashes, and a large Shimano logo.

 

Shimano XC90
Shimano XC90 shoes

 

Whilst most of the Professional cyclocross racers seem to be sporting the more marketing-friendly bright blue colour option, my pair were of a more traditional black leather variety. The most immediately obvious features of these shoes being an eye-catching blue anodized aluminium ratchet buckle, a clear polyurethane coating wrap-around under sole, and some exposed carbon weave.
 
Shimano XC90

 

The carbon on the mid-sole is covered with a transparent, non-slip, bumpy-surfaced polyurethane moulding
The carbon on the mid-sole is covered with a transparent, non-slip, bumpy-surfaced polyurethane moulding

 
My second impression was that these shoes have a slightly uncanny level of technological artificiality. The perfectly-smooth soft black “leather” uppers, are actually a heat-mouldable synthetic-leather material called Rovenica, the lack of any natural imperfections in this material provide that uncanny effect of making the shoes look like they have been computer rendered, whilst the thick transparent polyurethane under sole is moulded over the heat-mouldable carbon resin mid-sole and nylon studs, making the shoes appear to levitate 5mm above any surface they are placed.
 

Shimano XC90's heat mouldable insole
Shimano XC90’s heat mouldable insole

 
Fitment wise, the XC90 comes in normal and wide foot lasts, with twin contra directional Velcro fasting at the toe, and the aforementioned aluminium ratchet buckle at the mid-foot, the shoes are a snug fit to put on and the heel cup features an anti-slip lining of one-way-grip fabric that is slightly unpleasant to touch, as I discovered when I used my index finger as an impromptu shoe-horn.
 
Shimano XC90's heat mouldable insole and arch supports
Shimano XC90’s heat mouldable insole and arch supports

 

Continued overleaf…

 

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