Mini Clipless Shoe "Shootout": Mavic vs Shimano vs. 5.10- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Mini Clipless Shoe "Shootout": Mavic vs Shimano vs. 5.10

    I just got through trying out a couple of clipless shoes, so I thought I'd share what I learned in case anyone else is thinking about the shoes I tried. I know everyone's feet are different, so take my opinions within that context. I wear a size 9.5/43.5mm in street shoes.

    Background: I started riding clipless earlier this year with the Mavic Crossmax XL Pro shoes. They're heavy but they fit me well, the sole has good grip and stability, good stiffness, and the quick lacing plus the ratchet is great. Due to use they started to feel loose though, so I went looking for a shoe with better fit and that was lighter and less bulky.

    Here are the ones I tried:
    Mavic Crossmax SL Pro Carbon
    Shimano M200
    5.10 Kestrel Lace
    5.10 Kestrel Boa

    Mavic Crossmax SL Pro Carbon
    Good: Lightweight and easy to put on/off. Great ratchet system with fine adjustments. A lot of ventilation panels. If you like a traditional XC shoe, then this is it.
    Bad: I was between sizes so couldn't get a good fit. The sole is very stiff but the lugs are very tall, felt like I was wearing soccer cleats. Expensive shoe.

    Shimano M200
    Good: Good protection, quick lacing and ratchet system for easy on/off. Better range of cleat positioning. Good weight, and looks like an enduro shoe but feels agile like a XC shoe. No break-in required. Good value if you buy them on sale.
    Bad: I was between sizes, so i settled for the larger size and put an insole in. Not a lot of ventilation so they'll get hot in the warm weather. Sole thread pattern kind of slippery but cleat channel makes it easier to clip in. The ratchet isn't as good as on the Mavics in that it has less finer adjustments.

    5.10 Kestrel Lace
    Good: Fit was great, very stiff grippy sole. Much better look than other 5.10 shoes. Laces if you like that over straps.
    Bad: Didn't like the laces, felt like I couldn't get the shoe tight enough. The velcro strap is too high in the foot and puts weird pressure on top of your foot. I did feel heel lift when walking. Weight is just ok, not the lightest but not as bad as other 5.10 shoes like the Freeriders. Expensive shoe for what it offers

    5.10 Kestrel Boa
    Good: Fit was great, very stiff grippy sole. The boa system is great, quick on/off and lots of fine adjustment. Weight is pretty decent and looks are good too.
    Bad: Very stiff shoe so some break-in is needed. The grippy sole makes clipping out harder if you run pedals with any kind of platform cage. Not a lot of ventilation. I wish it had two boa adjustments instead of just one for an even better fit. Expensive shoe. The sole is wide at the heel, so they'll mark your seatstays if they rub while on the bike.

    In conclusion, I kept the M200s because they were a Xmas gift and bought the Kestrel Boas myself since the fit was so good and had some gift cars to offset part of the cost. I'm a big fan of the speed lace plus ratchet system, and Boa is awesome.

    I run Mallet pedals, and the pins plus walking on rocks tore into the soles of my old Mavics. The shimano sole seems sturdier but slippery at the same due to harder rubber and a thread pattern that digs in less into the ground. I really like the Kestrel boas, but the upper is stiff so I still need to break them in. They're the most stable since they have a traditional sole shape but I've been rubbing the heels on my chainstays which did not happen at all with the Mavics or the Shimanos. The boa system takes a little while to get used to but feels great once snug and the micro adjustments are awesome.

  2. #2
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    Nice write up and comparison. I did a very similar shoe shoot out this year as well so I'll add my thoughts if you don't mind.

    Background: previously owned many normal/XC type clipless shoes, most recently Shimano M230 and some laces only Shimano mtb/urban shoes. Also have 5.10 Impacts for flat pedals and Diadora winter shoes. I wanted a shoe with actual grippy rubber on the tread. As far as I am concerned, any shoe with hard rubber or plastic soles (like the M230) are worthless for mtb.

    I wear a size US 12/ EU 47 in most shoe brands, but have narrow feet. Many shoes are just too wide for me. I test fit Giro Terraduro, Bontrager Rhythm, Specialized Rime, and a few others without success.

    I ended up buying:
    Mavic Crossmax XL Pro
    Shimano M200
    5.10 Kestrel Boa

    Mavic CM XL: I've used these the least so far, but they fit very well on my feet and are comfortable to wear due to being soft and cushiony like a sneaker. Tread is grippy in most conditions. Buckle seems like it could get damaged easily but works well so far. Ventilation is pretty good. I haven't got them wet yet, but it seems like they could hold water more than other shoes.

    Shimano M200: Fit is good, but they are widest of the bunch. I have to cinch up the pull laces quite a bit. They are comfortable to wear and have a reasonable amount of cushion, but still feel like a typical XC shoe. The tread feels soft, but isn't as grippy on wet roots and rocks as I would like. Ventilation is pretty good and they dry out quick when wet. They look cool and have a bit more inside heel protection than the other shoes.

    5.10 Kestrel Boa: Fit really well, possibly the best of the bunch. The material is less cushiony than the other shoes, so they need more break in time and aren't so comfy feeling, especially if walking around on really uneven surfaces. The sole is definitely the grippiest on wet roots and rocks, but not quite as good on muddy hills due to lack of lug height. The BOA laces are a bit finicky, and I have to tighten them up during the first part of each ride as they settle into place, but it's easy to do while riding. Ventilation is not great in hot weather, but this also makes them a good cool weather shoe.

    None of the shoes are perfect, but I like the Mavics and 5.10's the best, as they fit my foot very well and have grippy tread that feels more like a hiking shoe than your typical XC mtb shoe. The Shimanos fit isn't as good for me, and the tread is not quite as grippy as I was hoping it would be.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for adding to this. Good to know that I'm not the only who thinks the Kestrel Boas need some break-in because they're pretty stiff out the box.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by matadorCE View Post
    Thanks for adding to this. Good to know that I'm not the only who thinks the Kestrel Boas need some break-in because they're pretty stiff out the box.
    Yeah, and even after a year they are still not as comfy as either of the other shoes I tried. The material is just very stiff, but it's not really an issue while riding.

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