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The Shimano MT5 SPD MTB shoes are a functional, well-priced option for riding on or off-road, or on trips short or long where you're likely to be walking about and don't want to look like a bike-shoe-clad freak. There's a grippy sole, and a perfectly functional lacing system that tidies away well. For the money, I think you'd be pressed to find better.
Shimano's mid-tier 'multi-use/touring' shoe sits below the £120 Boa-dialled MT7 and top-spec £170 MT7 with Gore-Tex and Boa dial, and is a tenner more than the fractionally-heavier base model MT3, with basic laces. They're much closer to the MT3s than the MT7s, the only real differences being the addition of a speedlacing lock, lace-tidy clip-hook thingy, and a Velcro strap.
Available in Grey/Orange or Black/Yellow, the MT5 features a moderately-aggressive gravel/mud/grass-capable tread and a walkable yet stiff-enough-for-hard-rides glass fibre sole, rated 4 on Shimano's arbitrary, proprietary scale.
The SPD cleat area has an extra 15-18mm of rearward cleat adjustment possible depending on size, to allow the foot to sit further forward over the pedal axle for more confidence and control if you're just learning about SPDs, or if you want the foot more centred.
The '4' on Shimano's sole stiffness scale is up to the job of transferring power efficiently, as I learned on numerous occasions hauling a 40x42 1x geared bike up long 20 per cent inclines.
Wearing the MT5s about the house for a day I didn't notice any discomfort, and they will do well for long expeditions as your only footwear. As ever, I found Shimano's dimensions to be a bit narrow for my feet, particularly in winter-weight socks, so had to size up.
The sides of the MT5 are perforated with a breathable yet strong mesh, so no, these aren't going to keep water out. The lower edge of the perforated area is 4cm off the ground so you should be OK for shallow puddles. The vents will keep your feet cool in warm weather while giving protection from trail detritus. I wore them in low-to-zero snowy-trail temps with the fabulous Dexshell Ultra Dri socks and was perfectly happy.
The main thing differentiating the MT3, 5 and 7 models is the lacing technology, and the traditional-with-a-twist MT5 lace closure works really well. The thin synthetic laces slip easily through the holes to distribute the lacing load across the top of the foot, and lock fast using the toggle. This slides freely up the laces to tighten and lock, and releases with a squeeze to undo. The toggle is well designed, and I never felt them come loose unbidden.
At the end of the laces there's a black plastic hook that clips over the bottom of the lace to stop things flapping about and getting caught in your chainring. Further tidying things up and supporting the feel of the shoe is a Velcro strap over the top of the foot. The fluffy Velcro on the underside runs all the way along the strap, so if your foot needs to be really cinched down it can be tightened as much as you like.
In terms of value, the overall package – particularly the lacing system and grippy sole, with Shimano's high quality – is pretty good. You're getting plenty for your money, particularly when you appreciate that most folks could use these shoes for pretty much all their cycling needs on or off-road.
For a similar price, Matt liked the Giro Gauge MTB shoes, which look a bit more like a sneaker. They're a tenner less than the MT5s but don't have the Shimanos' Velcro strap or sliding lace-retainer.
We haven't reviewed them, but the Muddy Fox Tour 100 looks a similar-ish shoe for the same RRP, and not much cash at all on sale.
Over a few months of testing alongside the top-spec MT701 Gore-Tex model, waterproofing aside there really wasn't much in it. The MTs use the same stiffness sole, and with my eyes closed I couldn't tell the difference (yes, I did this). So if you don't need waterproofing and are happy with laces over a Boa dial, save yourself about £100 and go with the MT5. Looking online, the MT5 is often heavily discounted, so hunt around for a bargain that will do you for the daily commute as well as much longer adventures.
Very good almost-do-it-all shoes that are happy in town or on the trails
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Shimano MT5 SPD MTB Shoes
Size tested: 47
Tell us what the product is for
They are for people on a budget, who want a great shoe for all-day riding, commuting and walking about.
Outdoor-style inspired cycling shoes combine the walkability of light hiking shoes with the performance of a MTB shoe.
Speed lacing with top strap for fast and easy fit adjustments.
Glass fiber reinforced shank plate for optimal sole rigidity.
EVA midsole rubber outsole for pedaling efficiency and walking comfort.
One-piece upper ensures secure fit, increased durability, and lighter weight.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Color Gray, Black
Size Standard: 36-48
Cleat type SPD
Last type VOLUME TOUR
Stiffness index 4
Best match pedal PD-T8000, PD-EH500
Closure 1-strap, Speed lacing
Upper Material Mesh, Synthetic leather
Outsole Material Rubber+EVA
Midsole Material Glass fiber reinforced nylon
Standard insole Flat insole
Men's Actual weight (Size: 42) 348 g
High build quality.
Sole is more than up to the task of hard power transfer.
Still look like new.
Reasonably happy with the fit, once in the larger size.
Bit narrow, so I had to go up a size and a half to fit in a thick winter sock.
For the price I'm surprised how light they feel.
I wouldn't say they're the most comfortable shoes I've worn, but perfectly good for long days.
The Giro Gauges are cheaper but don't have the slidey lace-retainer or the Velcro strap.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Being synthetic they scrubbed up quickly and cleanly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty happy with everything, even in the middle of winter with the right sock.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The speedy lacing that stayed put.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fit is a bit narrow for my feet.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
For the money these are cracking shoes. On sale, even more so. The fit (once you size up if needed), the lacing, grip and feel all make for a happy day out on the bike, and you can walk around without falling over.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is: Velocite Selene
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, Dutch bike pootling.