Detailed Shimano GR9 Shoe Review (Photos Included)

Highly detailed review of the Shimano GR9 mountain biking shoe. I've had these shoes for 4 months and have ridden with on trails and the road dozens of times. Lots of photos. No detail overlooked.
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Wearing Shimano GR9 mountain biking shoes

Before I bought my Specialized Levo electric mountain bike I didn’t think mountain biking shoes would be necessary.

Then I test rode my buddy’s electric mountain bike on a fast ride through some North Vancouver trails.  After 1.5 hours, my shins were a bloody pulp and I suffered a gash on my ankle (nothing permanent).

While my feet weren’t injured, I realized that I could seriously injure my feet trail riding without proper mountain biking shoes.

So I hit the cycling stores looking for the perfect pair of mountain biking shoes.

I ultimately decided on the Shimano GR9 shoes for two reasons:

  1. They fit really well
  2. I liked the velcro flap both aesthetically and functionally.

Since I bought these shoes, I’ve done many epic trail rides as well as road rides commuting to my office.

Moreover, I like these shoes so much I wear them occasionally when not riding.  They look cool and are insanely comfortable.

Shimano GR9 Overview
  • Style
  • Comfort
  • Quality
  • Price
  • Performance
4.3

Here’s what I like about these shoes:

Very comfortable

Aside from gripping pedals well and providing protection, my favorite feature is how comfortable these shoes are.  They’re well cushioned and roomy.  If you have narrow feet though, these may not be for you.

Great for wide feet

When looking for mountain biking shoes, I tried some Five Ten shoes.  They were really narrow and tight.  I didn’t want to have aching feet after riding for an hour or two, so I chose to keep looking.  I’m glad I did because I stumbled upon the Shimano GR9s which fit wide feet really well.

Let feet breathe with perforations

The sides and top have perforations which allow your feet to breathe.  It adds to the comfort.  I’ve worn these shoes all day to work and riding to work with no moisture issue.

Look good

I should say they look unique. They’re a cool-looking shoe that I enjoy wearing as a casual everyday shoe in addition for riding.  However, the design may not be for everyone.

Good tread for gripping pedals

Shoe tread and grip for Shimano GR9 shoes

Before buying these shoes I used some Converse shoes for riding.  They slipped pretty bad.  When I rode with these shoes for the first time, I immediately noticed how much better they grip and stay put on the pedals.  It’s a huge benefit (and obviously a big reason to buy shoes for trail riding).  They’re also great for our steep driveway when its wet.

Fast to put on with speed lace and velcro tab

Speed lace and velcro flap for the Shimano GR9 shoes

While I wouldn’t choose a shoe because it has a speed lace, I do like it.  It laces up super fast.  The Velcro tab gives it the unique look I like.  The velcro adheres very strong.  I’ve not once had it come undone while wearing it.

Decent foot protection when riding

There’s a strip of soft plastic on the front of the shoe to protect the foot from crunching between the pedal and a hard object such as a rock or tree root.  This protective feature has already protected my foot.

The synthetic leather is thick and also offers protection to the entire foot.  It’s not like steel-toed boots, mind you, but it helps.

Check out the front top below.  You’ll see the strip of soft plastic.

Side view of Shimano GR9 shoe with protective plastic strip at front

Repels water (but not waterproof)

The synthetic leather does a good job repelling water, but they’re not waterproof.  I’ve gone through enough 4 inch puddles at top speed to know that.  During one of my early commuting rides to the office, I ripped through a huge puddle assuming my feet would stay dry.  They didn’t.  Until then, water had never been a problem.  The moral of the story is they repel water reasonably well, but they aren’t waterproof.

Here’s what I don’t like:

Split at the seam very quickly

About 1 cm of the seam glue split on the front toe after about 1 month. While it hasn’t been a problem and it hasn’t spread, it’s disappointing given these aren’t the cheapest shoes around.  Check it out:

Split seam in Shimano GR9 mountain biking shoe

Feet slide around a little bit

They are roomy, which is what I wanted.  The bottom is cushioned but also feet slide on it a bit.  I don’t really mind this, but some people might.  I don’t like my shoes overly tight because my feet have a high bridge and when constricted, aches badly.

Not waterproof

While these shoes repel water, they aren’t waterproof.  I’m not sure waterproofing is possible, but it would be nice for when ripping through big puddles.

Do I regret buying these for trail riding?

Not at all.  I wear them all the time.  They provide the necessary protection when riding.  They’re comfortable.  They look good.  They’re holding up okay despite a small split seam.  I do recommend these shoes, especially if you have wide feet.

Learn more about this shoe here.

More photos

Top-down view of label and interior of the Shimano GR9 shoe

Top-down view of label and interior of the Shimano GR9 shoe

Rear view of the Shimano GR9 mountain biking shoe.

Rear view of the Shimano GR9 mountain biking shoe.

The Shimano GR9 shoe with jeans

The Shimano GR9 shoe with jeans

Full view of the velcro flap for the Shimano GR9 shoe.

Full view of the velcro flap for the Shimano GR9 shoe.

Learn more about this shoe here.


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