If the SH-XC9 is Shimano's shoe equivalent to its superlative XTR drivetrain, then the SH-XC7 is analog to XT, borrowing a heap of inspiration from its top-tier sibling to bring industry leading function to those of us on a bit more of a budget. Given that the XC7 is a race-ready shoe, the carbon-reinforced midsole is the most important of these layers as it places the XC7 near the top of Shimano's stiffness hierarchy. It clocks in at nine out of 12 on Shimano's stiffness scale, and the only Shimano XC shoe that's stiffer is the XC9 S-Phyre at 11 out of 12. This places the XC7 firmly into race-ready territory, with highly efficient power transfer and just a hint of forgiveness for increased utility when running over barriers or climbing steep embankments.
Though it's not as stiff as the S-Phyre, the XC7 does feature a more robust complement of lugs, so it's better suited for navigating sloppy run-ups or trails on foot. The rubberized outsole also includes toe spike mounts for days when not even the lugs are enough, and the compound comes from the experts at Michelin. Michelin uses two different durometers throughout the soles, targeting different qualities of grip and durable depending on how the lugs will contact the ground—just like with the brand's tires.
Shimano builds the last with its proprietary Dynalast construction, a design that increases pedal efficiency by a claimed .56% on each stroke. While that doesn't seem like much at first, any cyclist who's ridden for longer than two hours understands the importance of marginal gains like this. They can be the difference between finishing at the front or struggling to hang on. Dynalast involves lowering the toe-spring and heel section in relation to the arch and metatarsal areas to create an optimal pedaling angle on either side of the up-swing to shorten inefficient dead spots.
The upper is secured with a BOA IP1 dial and a single hook-and-loop strap over the forefoot, letting you quickly dial fit across the midfoot while leaving ample room for metatarsal expansion while mashing out of corners or jockeying for position during a bunch start. It envelopes your foot rather than simply strapping it down, creating more uniform support and further reducing pressure points.
- A cyclocross and XC race shoe
- Stiff, efficient carbon-reinforced sole
- Dynalast construction increases pedaling efficiency
- Dual density rubber outsole blends grip and durability
- BOA IP1 dial buckle provides a customizable fit
- Finished with reinforced toe spike mounts