Shimano AM7 Women's Review
Cons: Hot and clammy in warm conditions, cleat makes walking on rocks a bit tricky
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Shimano AM7 Women's
|Price||$112.00 at Backcountry||$130 List|
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|Pros||Good foot protection, good trail dampening||Lightweight, good power transfer, easy to walk in||Comfortable, excellent protection, excellent power transfer, easy to clip in and out of, great for hike-a-bike||Comfortable, stiff, good power transfer, large cleat opening||Lightweight, very good power transfer, breathable|
|Cons||Hot and clammy in warm conditions, cleat makes walking on rocks a bit tricky||Not the best lateral stability||Heavy, not waterproof||Not waterproof, velcro strap too long||Lacking side protection on the mid-foot|
|Bottom Line||A protective shoe best suited for cool weather riding with good trail absorption, but average power transfer||This unassuming shoe combines on and off the bike performance with good power transfer and walking comfort at a relatively reasonable price tag||A high-performing shoe that offers comfort paired with excellent stability, protection, and walkability||This shoe offers a shock-absorbing sole and breathable uppers that deliver exceptional comfort, even when on technical hike-a-bike sections||A solid performing shoe packed with features typically reserved for shoes with a much higher price tag|
|Rating Categories||Shimano AM7 Women's||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Ride Concepts Traverse||Five Ten Hellcat -...||Scott MTB Elite Boa...|
|Stability And Control (20%)|
|Specs||Shimano AM7 Women's||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Ride Concepts Traverse||Five Ten Hellcat -...||Scott MTB Elite Boa...|
|Measured Weight (g)||375g||322g||450g||437g||351g|
|Outsole||Shimano Original compound rubber and EVA||SlipNot FG||DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber||Stealth C4 rubber||Sticki rubber|
|Closure||Laces, Velcro strap||Laces||Laces/Velcro||Laces/Velcro||Boa, Velcro strap|
|Upper Material||Mesh and TPU||synthetic leather||Synthetic & D30||Synthetic weather-resistant micro-perforated, EVA||Microfiber, 3D nylon air mesh|
|Footbed||Shimano AM/MT insole||Body Geometry||EVA Foam||EVA Foam||ErgoLogic|
|Sole||Glass fiber reinforced nylon||Soft Lollipop Nylon Composite Plate||D30 High Impact Insole||Three-quarter dual-density TPU shank, EVA midsole||Fiberglass-reinforced nylon|
|Size Tested||EU 39||EU 39.5 / US 8.5||EU 39.5 / US 8.5||EU 40 2/3 / US 8.5||EU 39|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Shimano AM7 Women is designed as a downhill/enduro specific shoe and provides a fair amount of foot protection thanks to a rubber toe cap and asymmetrical neoprene ankle collar. In comparison to other shoes made for downhill and enduro, the AM7 falls into the lighter-weight end of the spectrum. The shoe's midsole has average power transfer and good trail dampening properties, helping to alleviate foot fatigue over the course of a ride.
Our testers noticed the shoe's lack of breathability, especially in the forefoot, in hot and humid conditions. Simply put, our toes were hot. The shoe's narrow toebox seemed to amplify how warm our toes were and we did not have much wiggle room. The cleat is not quite recessed enough for rocky hike-a-bikes and we experienced some slipping on the rocks while wearing the AM7's. When considering the performance of the AM7 in comparison to other enduro and downhill shoes, we feel there are better performing options with better comfort, stability and control, and walkability at a similar weight.
Stability and Control
Shimano uses a glass fiber reinforced midsole with a rubber and EVA foam outsole on the AM7 and rates it a six on a scale of 1 - 12 for stiffness. This means it combines comfort with performance. Our testers would agree that the AM7 is not an ultra-stiff, high-performance shoe, nor is it super flexible. During our testing, we felt that the power transfer was in the middle of the road and did not stand out positively or negatively.
The AM7 does provide good trail dampening and soaks up trail vibrations fairly well resulting in very little foot fatigue at the end of a ride. This shoe has a somewhat narrow toebox, and its overall volume is neither narrow nor wide. Our foot did not move inside the shoe at all and we had good lateral stability thanks to the narrower fit. However, we did not have much space in the forefoot to wiggle our toes, so those with a wide forefoot may find this shoe too narrow.
The cleat adjustment range is shorter when compared to other shoes made for downhill and enduro applications and does not extend as far towards the midfoot. For those who prefer a more midfoot cleat placement, the adjustability range on the AM7 is a bit less than ideal.
As other reviewers have noted, the sizing for the AM7 is off. When looking at Shimano's sizing charts, it shows that a US8.5 women's is a EU41, which is far too long for our feet. We had to size down to a EU39 which is between a US7 and US7.5 to get the proper length.
In our testing, we frequently wore different shoes on each foot to discern differences between shoes. The AM7 has a decidedly narrower fit than other enduro/downhill shoes we tested, especially through the forefoot. Our testers have a slightly wide forefoot and the toebox felt a tad snug, and we would suggest those with wider feet try this shoe on for size as the toebox may be too narrow.
We tested the AM7 in temperatures from the upper 40's with no humidity to the mid-80s with high humidity. In warmer temperatures, our toes felt uncomfortably hot. The toe box is covered in rubber for foot protection and has no ventilation. There are mesh panels on both sides of the midfoot for ventilation, but it did not help our forefoot breathe. This was not an issue in cooler temps, but we found the lack of forefoot ventilation combined with a neoprene ankle collar made the AM7 uncomfortable for warm weather riding.
The sole of the AM7 flexes comfortably at the forefoot when walking. The sole is Shimano's Original Compound rubber, which is not as grippy on rocks as other compounds tested, but has a varied tread pattern with widely spaced lugs allowing them to shed mud more easily.
During hike-a-bikes our Shimano SPD cleats slipped on rocks and rock slabs. We did not use shims with our cleats and found that they sit at about the same height as the shoe's outsole and are not recessed.
The AM7 is one of the more protective shoes in our lineup. The toe box is reinforced with rubber and there is an asymmetrical neoprene ankle collar that helps keep debris out of the shoe and provides additional ankle protection. The neoprene collar does need to be pulled out of the way when you put on the shoe, otherwise, we found that it can roll inwards onto itself as you put the shoe on.
We appreciate the length of the laces on the AM7 which are the right size for the shoe. Shimano also places a pull tab on the lace retailer, which makes tucking in the laces a bit easier, a feature we would like to see on more shoes. Overall, the AM7 offers a fair amount of protection, especially given its weight.
The Shimano AM7 Women weighed in at 375-grams per shoe on our electronic scale for a size EU39. The AM7 is the lightest enduro/downhill-specific shoe in our testing by a few grams.
The Shimano AM7 does not have many standout features or exceptional performance when compared to the competition in this test. That said, these shoes are relatively reasonably priced, and could be a good value to riders in cooler climates who seek a lightweight gravity shoe with a moderate sole flex.
The Shimano AM7 is best suited for someone who is testing the waters of enduro or downhill riding who desires additional ankle coverage or who will be riding in sloppy conditions. The shoe performs adequately and has good protection, but does not stand out in comparison to its competition.
— Tara Reddinger-Adams