The SH-XC7 Men's Wide Cycling Shoe isn't the top model in Shimano's cross-country line, but it does represent the greatest leap forward in a function to price ratio. In this regard, it's similar to the XT M8000 groupset, sacrificing a few grams of weight and some high-end features to XTR M9000 but so far ahead of the next closest competitor that everyone from seasoned racers to aspiring recreationalists find that it's just the right fit. By making the SH-XC7 available in a wide last, Shimano also ensures that the versatile shoe's appeal is more all-encompassing than ever.
Wide last aside, the XC7 Wide is the same as the standard XC7. That means it rides atop a sole comprising multiple strata of different materials. 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 S-Phyre (11/12). This is made all the more impressive when you realize that only three of Shimano's road-specific shoes are stiffer and the next stiffest XC shoe ranks a lowly five.
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 features 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.
As with its standard model, Shimano builds the wide 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 blush, 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. This creates an optimal pedaling angle on either side of the up-swing, so the dead time spot is shortened.
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. This is especially important for cyclists with wider feet. It envelopes your foot rather than simply strapping it down, creating more uniform support and further reducing pressure points.
- A mountain bike and cyclocross race shoe
- Wide last provides comfortable space for big feet
- Carbon-reinforced sole puts a premium of stiffness
- Dynalast construction increases pedaling efficiency
- Rubber outsole features dual-density Michelin compounds
- BOA IP1 dial buckle provides road-worthy fit adjustment
- Finished with reinforced toe spike mounts