Shimano XC5 (XC501) SPD Shoes
The Shimano XC5 (XC501) SPD shoe is a mid-pack mountain bike design that is incredibly comfortable, easy to walk in, good for more than just cross-country riding and punches above its weight performance-wise.
Closure is taken care of by a single Boa L6 ratchet dial which tightens a wire crossing in a figure of eight over two hooks across the top of the foot and a small Velcro strap towards the toe.
The synthetic leather used for the upper is supple yet sturdy enough for off-road scuffles. It's essentially one piece of material, with just an added reinforced section to secure the strap across the toe. It's incredibly comfortable as the shoe wraps over the entire foot with no pressure points or seams to rub.
Venting in the upper is supplied via a network of holes with a mesh liner rather than the larger open mesh areas common in other shoes. It doesn't necessarily make them a warm shoe as these were worn in temperatures in the mid-20s and they were fine, although they do get toasty when you stop.
The XC5s have a glass fibre-reinforced nylon sole that’s stiff enough for riding while being a little flexy for walking.
The tread on the bottom of the shoe is supplied by Michelin in what Shimano says is an exclusive high-traction, mud-shedding tread pattern outsole, and it does its job very well.
As for the fit, a standout feature is grip at the heel which is amazing for pedalling efficiency. In contrast, the front of the shoe is incredibly roomy.
For a mid-range SPD shoe that can be ridden hard and then be happy to be walked about in, they're great.