First look: 2009 Shimano SH-MT32L shoes
Trail shoes that double up as ideal commuter choice too
Billed as a mountain bike/touring shoe the MT32Ls are also ideal commuting kit. This is a trainer-type shoe that you can genuinely walk around in without hearing the cleat scraping on the pavement or digging up the floorboards as you do so.
Over the past few years this has been our big gripe with so many of these types of shoe - they aren't as easy to walk in (without fouling the cleat) as they should be. It wasn't always so, the first generations of trainer-styled SPD shoes were extremely comfortable and easy to walk in. The problem was that as more versions of the SPD came on stream and ever more look-a-likes it became harder to produce a shoe that would allow the various different cleat types to engage successfully with the pedals without making the cleat bed on the shoes shallower. That, of course, made the shoes less effective when it came to walking around cos the cleats very often stuck out.
That's not an issue on the MT32Ls, the cleats are noticeably more recessed than on my usual pair of Specialized shoes. If they were any further in there might be some doubt as to whether they would engage with my Shimano 525 pedals. Be interesting to see how they cope with a platform style SPD pedal. I'm sure Shimano will have thought of that…
Clip in and start pedalling and performance is top notch, the other drawback of making a cycling shoe you can walk in is often that some sole stiffness is sacrificed - so you get a less efficient pedalling platform. Not here though, not if our initial impressions are anything to go by. The EVA midsole is plenty stiff enough.
There's supposedly a "shoe lace keeper loop" to keep laces neatly out of the way when pedalling but the laces on our shoes aren't actually long enough to reach it - so they are unlikely to get stuck in the chain should they come undone.
Happily pedalling efficiency is not at the expense of comfort, so far the MT32Ls have proved very comfortable to wear ( mind you, I've only had them on since yesterday) the reinforced toe box means they should prove durable too, I'll let you know when we post our longer review.
If you ride to work and you can wear trainers all day, then these shoes might be just what you're looking for.