Even though the Five Ten Freerider Contact edged out the Shimano AM7 for the Editors' Choice Award, it was a close battle. Shimano's AM7 is designed as a flat pedal driver for all mountain and downhill riders who need a capable do-it-all shoe. In terms of functionality the AM7 is similar to the Five Ten Freerider Contact, but does have some notable differences, including ankle protection, lace cover, velcro strap, and an upper more suited to wetter and colder climates.
The shoe has good dry weather pedal grip and solid power transfer through a Vibram sole and shank plate while still retaining flexibility for walking and running. Not quite as heavy duty as the Five Ten Impact VXi, the AM7 is still a high-level downhill performer that is more than capable for general riding and lengthy climbs. Shimano has done an excellent job in designing a shoe for all mountain and enduro riders who choose not to clip in.