I was looking forward to trying the Shimano M163 model shoes, as most of my shoes run to the XC or DH side of the spectrum, with not much in between. As the M163 was listed as a trail-slash-enduro shoe, I was all over it, as I was looking to replace a set of less and less dependable set of Giro Terraduro shoes. While the Giro model had the Vibram rubber sole I was seeking, the shoe was on the heavy side, and after months of use I experienced a number of durability issues.
- “TORBAL” Torsional midsole
- Stiff rubber pedal contact blocks
- Glass fiber reinforced midsole for power transfer
- Super low-profile micro-adjust buckle and Cross X-Strap securely holds foot
- Variable-density, durable rubber outsole
- Listed weight: 364g (size 40)
- Intended use: All conditions trail/enduro
On the trail
The M163 fits the bill as a solid performing trail riding shoe light enough for dabbling in XC or cyclocross racing, and the rubber sole makes them great for fast paced commuting. I find them a bit light for enduro though; because they’re relatively lightweight, I’ve mostly used them for long trail rides on moderate terrain. When it comes to enduro-style riding, I’d prefer a bit more support and protection; after all, enduro is basically riding downhill courses on a trail bike.
That said, I found the level of stiffness to be inline with what I was looking for in a reliable trail shoe. They’re stiffer than BMX-style shoes, but still comfortable when off the bike with ample power transfer. Note that I’m personally not a fan of uber stiff shoes, as comfort and functionality (ie, being able to walk around) is a priority.
For comparisons sake, the XC specific version of this shoe, the SH-XC51 features traditional nylon lugged sole and weighs in at 343 grams (size 42).
This is where the M163 shines. A long cleat positioning slot makes the M163 a great option for riders that prefer or require a rearward cleat position. While a rearward position can reduce power output, it provides a more stable platform for hard hits. As someone that rides both platform and clip-in pedals, I prefer a cleat position that is simliar to my flat pedal foot position.
It also can reduce or even eliminate issues with foot numbness aka, hot foot.
Shimano shoes are known for their longevity. I still have a pair of the DX models lying around somewhere. I’m expecting the same level of durability with this model, though I’ll be keeping an eye on the inside area that has a bit or unusual wear and tear.
The Shimano SH-M163 SPD shoes list for $150. As they are a 2016 model, you can currently find the street price is to be considerably less. For 2017, the M163 looks to be replaced in the line up with the M089, which adds a bit more material on the inside, and addresses any concerns we may have with durability on the M163.
Check them out at Shimano-lifestylegear.com