New kicks – Shimano GR9

A couple of years ago I decided to ride flat pedals on my mountain bike for a solid month. That month turned into about a year, until I killed my shoes. So I went back to clipped in mountain biking.

…but resolved to go back to flats – one day! I love riding in flats – it’s so dynamic, more physical  than riding in clips, and I feel like my skills just grow when I’m not clipped on.

And that day arrived two rides ago, with some shiny Shimano GR9’s turning up on my doorstep. Here’s what they look like:


I bought GR9s after a looong decision process around 5.10 freerider pro, or shimano GR7, or GR9s. I didn’t really consider any other shoes – I’m historically happy with shimano riding shoes and 5.10 climbing and approach shoes.

And making this decision was tough enough even between this limited range!

What won for the GR9 in the end was the lack of tie up laces, the funky lace cover and some to protection. The GR9 looks fantastic also, but has laces. As does the freerider.

I didn’t want to deal with tying shoelaces. Sorry. I can do that on my approach shoes.

Here’s another look showing the flat, knurled-ish michelin sole. Plenty of little spots for pedal pins to hook into.


So far, they’re riding great!

After a couple years off of flats my technique has awfulised again – so I’m losing a foot every so often when I mistime a jump or forget to dynamically weight the bike properly in rock gardens.

When it counts, they’re plenty grippy.

They’re also light, breathable and comfortable! I’m normally a size EU46 in pretty much everything (Scarpa and La Sportiva make their size 46 shoes to fit my foot exactly, bless ‘em); and these fit on point. If you have a high volume arch you might struggle to get into them – I usually struggle with fixed lace shoes (or, for example, climbing slippers); and I can get into these OK, but they don’t slip on like clogs. Once on, they’re perfect. Snug heel and a little toe box room to keep the rocks from punching my toes too hard.

I look forward to a long relationship with these kicks… and will report back after summer about how they’ve done!

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