Most things in life are a mix of compromises. However, if you own the Shimano SH-XC90 Shoes, this will be one time that you will not be required to compromise on anything. They will simply be the most comfortable, high performance XC shoes you’re ever likely to wear.
If you are looking at the XC90 Shoes and trying to decide whether it is worth the extra scratch to spring for these over the XC70L Shoes from Shimano, there are a few things you should know. First of all, the outsole is epically rigid with a carbon double whammy. It is made with an ultra-stiff carbon fiber reinforced midsole and carbon fiber composite outsole plate. This means you can apply that overused but still clever “turn it up to 11” reference since this sole gets the eleven out of twelve on the Shimano rigidity scale. And similar to the XC70L, Shimano devoted themselves to developing the lightest, low profile outsole that will be stiff and provide an especially low stack height to enhance power transfer to the pedal. But you won’t have to worry about slipping around in the dirt once you do have to take a runner up a ravine, since the mud-shedding polyurethane lugs effectively clear the grim you might be picking up and give the traction you’ll need for those moments you need to hoof it. You’ll have access then to replaceable metal toe spikes to give you increased traction in extremely muddy conditions. These soles are pre-drilled and threaded to accommodate the Shimano toe spikes, or any toe spikes) that come packaged with the shoes as well as a tool to add or remove the spikes. The spikes and tool are in a small bag in the shoes box and do not come preinstalled. A threaded blank is put in the place of the spike when the spike is not used. Shimano has also integrated the heel cup with the sole in order to stabilize the heel and hold your foot firmly in place whether running or furiously pedaling. Shimano recommends for the perfect shoe/pedal combo, that you go with their PD-M9000, though they are compatible with any pedal that uses two-hole mountain cleats. And like the road shoes, they have increased your range of adjustment from between an extra 5mm to and extra 9mm, depending on the size of shoe.
But the advancements don’t stop there. The uppers have received the Custom-Fit treatment which starts with Shimano’s use of Rovenica. Rovenica is their strong, lightweight, and supple synthetic leather. Durable and able to retain the desired shape, the Rovenica becomes moldable once professionally heated. Keep in mind, they are perfectly comfortable out of the box, but if you do struggle with bunions or similarly bumpy feet, then it is something to consider. The low-profile micro adjustable ratchet and the off-set Cross X-Straps then allow you to customize just how snug you want your shoes to feel. The Cross X refers to the fact that of the two hook-and-eye Velcro straps, one opens toward the bike, and one opens away from it. The idea being that you will be able to customize the hold much more effectively with this sort of configuration without cutting off circulation to your toes. The synthetic leather uppers will be formed to every curve of your feet to eliminate gaps, reduce friction and stabilize the foot. All that will translate into greater comfort and power transfer. As for the insoles, they feature an ergonomic, heat-moldable base with a rigid high-density EVA support structure that provides instant support, comfort, and stability. And you can count on having sweet-smelling feet even after the hardest workouts since the insoles have been treated with an anti-bacterial, mint aroma.
The Shimano SH-XC90 Shoes have been designed to help you deliver your top speed no matter the conditions. These are the ultimate XC or cyclocross shoes. Weighing 627 grams in size 40, there is no compromise when it comes to performance.