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Shimano Ultread XC shoes add serious grip

New rubber technology and lug design elevates off-road shoe line

Shimano is overhauling its cross country race shoe line, building around a new lighter and more durable rubber tread called Ultread.

The new Ultread compound is lighter and with better tear risistance, letting Shimano completely re-design the sole for all three cross country shoe models. All three shoes use what the brand is calling “vector shaped” lugs for better grip. There’s also scaled rubber grip over the arch and smaller toe lugs (with the option for removable toe spikes for mud grip) to keep traction high and weight low.

New rubber isn’t the only change. There’s also more dedicated women’s model and the XC7 and XC5 benefit from features that roll down from past generations of SPhyre race shoes.

2022 Shimano XC shoes

Shimano S-Phyre XC9

S-Phyre returns as Shimano’s top-end race shoe for cross country and cyclocross racing. The Ultread compound lets Shimano redesign a more intricate tread design for more grip at a lighter weight, tipping the scales at 262g (size 42) with optional talon-shaped metal spikes for added grip.

The race shoe uses dual BOA Li2 low profile dial closures to securely lock the foot in place. The microfiber synthetic leather upper uses a surround-wrap design for comfort and race-fit. S-Phyre anti-twist heal cup structure makes its way from road to mountain bike shoes, optimizing power transfer in combination with the stiff carbon fibre sole and harder SPD contact blocks.

2022 S-Phyre XC902 shoes run in sizes 37-48 with half-sizes from 41.5-46.5. Wide sizes run from 40-48.

Shimano XC7

Still very much a performance shoe, but without the S-Phyre price, the new Shimano XC702 borrows design features from its high-end sibling. The all-round shoe still uses the proprietary Ultread XC rubber but with a different lug design aimed at longer off-bike durability and a slightly less stiff carbon fibre midsole than the XC9. This adds a bit of weight, with the XC702 coming in at 320g (size 42).

The XC7 uses the same surround-wrap upper construction but a different synthetic leather and lightweight mesh/TBU upper. Twin BOA L6 dials hold the foot in place. Again, the XC7 is designed to be able to race cross country, cyclocross or gravel but also to survive all the training days in between events, too.

Shimano XC7 comes in sizes 38-50 with half-sizes from 40.5-46.5. There’s wide fit options in sizes 40-48, but only in the black colour.

Shimano XC502

Finally, the XC5 rounds out Shimano’s XC line. The mid-level shoe still uses Ultread XC sole design with a similar lug pattern to the XC7. A synthetic leather and mesh upper connects to a fiberglass midsole that is less rigid, a 7/12 on Shimano’s scale, than the purely race-focused shoes. A single BOA L6 dial works with a velcro strap to keeps the XC5 weight down to just 300 grams.

The Shimano XC502 runs in five colours. Men’s and wide-foot sizing both run from 40-48. The two women’s colours are available in sizes 36-44.

2022 Shimano shoes: pricing


XC902 599.99
XC702 329.99
XC502 229.99