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Hands-on Gear Review

Shimano XC31 Review

Price:   $90 List | $66.99 at Amazon
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Pros:  Inexpensive, lightweight
Cons:  Poor traction, not durable, poor power transfer
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Shimano

Our Verdict

The Shimano XC31 is an entry-level clipless mountain bike shoe. Geared towards cross-country and mellow trail rides, the XC31 competes against the Sidi Dominator Fit and the Giro Privateer R. Unfortunately the XC31 lacks stiffness and durability.

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Score Product Price Size Tested Weight Upper Material
Editors' Choice Award
44.5 1lb 10.8oz Synthetic seamless
Top Pick Award
44 2lb 1oz Microfiber
44 1lb 10oz Microfiber
Best Buy Award
44.5 1lb 11oz Microfiber
10.5 2lbs 9.3oz Synthetic Leather
10.5 2lb 2.65oz Polyester Synthetic Textile
44 1lb 8oz Synthetic Leather

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Curtis Smith
Senior Review Editor

Last Updated:
October 1, 2015

The XC31 is one of the least expensive clipless mountain bike shoes Shimano makes. Its low price point makes it attractive to riders unsure about making the jump to clipless pedals and shoes. Despite the low price, we feel most riders would be better served by purchasing a more durable and capable shoe, such as the Giro Privateer R.

Performance Comparison

The outsole on the Shimano XC31 is very hard and slippery on rock.
The outsole on the Shimano XC31 is very hard and slippery on rock.


The Shimano XC31 is the only shoe we tested that exclusively employs Velcro straps for retention. We found it to be difficult to properly adjust tension using the Velcro straps. Once we wore the shoes a few times, the straps developed a crease and would always migrate back to the preset position of the crease during rides. The ankle cuff provides a moderate amount of padding, but due to the strap tensioning issues, we had issues with heel slip when the shoe loosened up. A thin insole and unpadded tongue round out a rather underwhelming experience when it comes to fit and comfort.

Shimano XC31 out on the trail.
Shimano XC31 out on the trail.


This is one area that the XC31 shines. It is the lightest shoe we tested at 1lb 8oz. While we love a lightweight shoe, especially at this price, we have to note that the weight savings comes at the cost of a reliable retention system. If a ratcheting strap were added to replace one of the Velcro straps, the shoes would likely be heavier than some of the other cross-country shoes we tested, such as the Sidi Dominator Fit and the Giro Privateer R.

The Shimano XC31 was the lightest shoe we tested.
The Shimano XC31 was the lightest shoe we tested.

Power Transfer

Shimano calls the midsole material glass fiber/polyamide. Unfortunately, we do not feel that the XC31 offers adequate power transfer when used with clipless pedals that lack a platform. The sole of the shoe flexes under pedaling load and feels very inefficient; this coupled with the poor retention system does not make for good power transfer.

Traction, Walking, Running

These shoes have one of the hardest outsole materials of all the shoes we tested.
The hard silver colored plastic on the sole of the Shimano XC31 does not provide good traction.
The hard silver colored plastic on the sole of the Shimano XC31 does not provide good traction.
The hard polyurethane lugs are very slippery on rock and wet surfaces. The lugs are reasonably aggressive, but the lack of traction on smooth surfaces makes navigating rocky sections of trail very challenging. The flex in the sole is noticeable when walking but still does not allow for a normal gait or stride.


The outsole of the Shimano XC31 is very hard and does resist abrasion well. The upper, however, is very prone to abrasion from rocks and impacts with other objects. The Velcro straps are also prone to rapid wear, especially when used in muddy conditions.

Best Applications

The XC31 is best suited to cross-country riding and commuting use.


Despite being the least expensive shoe we tested, the XC31 is not a great value. Purchasing a more durable and capable shoe such as the Giro Privateer R is your best bet.


The Shimano XC31 is a bargain entry-level shoe. It is simple and lightweight but does not measure up to the competition when it comes to quality and performance.

Other Versions and Accessories

Shimano offers a range of mountain bike shoes as well as components. For more information on Shimano products, see our clipless Mountain Bike Pedal Review where the Shimano M530 model takes the Editors' Choice award and the Shimano M520 takes our Best Buy award.
Curtis Smith

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Most recent review: October 1, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
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3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 100%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)

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