Shimano Flat-Shoe Shootout

Shimano Flat-Shoe Shootout

Out where the only thing you’ll find is peace and quiet. Just you, your thoughts and whatever just darted behind that bush. What was that thing? GR5 vs. GR9

When it comes to riding flat pedals, the shoes you wear are just as important as the pedals underneath them. Shimano offers three different levels of flat-pedal shoes: the GR5, GR7 and GR9. The GR9 is their top-of-the-line model with all the bells and whistles, while the GR5 is the entry-level shoe with a more competitive price. Our wrecking crew decided to shoot out Shimano’s shoes this month to see if it’s worth spending the extra dough on the high-end shoe or if it’s possible to save your hard-earned cash for post-ride burritos.

Tech features:

Before we get carried away with tech jargon, let’s talk price, because, after all, that’s likely the biggest factor in your buying decision. Shimano’s GR9 shoes sell for $150, while the GR5 shoes retail for $100. So, what does that extra 50 bucks get you? Well, the GR9s’ most notable features are their Michelin rubber soles, “speed-lacing” system and armored lace shield. Meanwhile, the GR5 shoes offer sticky-rubber soles and traditional-style laces. The GR9s offer additional protection, thanks to a molded toe cap and raised ankle guard on the inner side of the shoe. Even with the added protection, Shimano managed to keep weight at a minimum. In fact, the GR9s weigh less than the GR5s. The GR5s, on the other hand, offer a more classic skate-shoe look that might make them a more attractive option for some riders. Weighing in at 410 grams for a size 44, the GR5s are about 30 grams heavier than the GR9s. Both shoes are claimed to have the same stiffness rating and are constructed from synthetic leathers. Looking at the tech side of things, the GR9 shoes have a clear advantage.

Field test results:

We headed for the hills with our new kicks to determine the winner of this shootout. We stomped on quite a few different pedals to ensure a fair test, and after a solid day of riding, hiking, driving and heading to the taco shop, the results were in. First things first; let’s talk traction. For the GR9s, Shimano teamed up with Michelin—yes, the same company that makes tires for your car—in order to provide the best traction possible with your pedals. The GR5s, on the other hand, use a secret blend of sticky rubber. On the trails, the Michelin soles reigned supreme over the rubber compound used on the GR5 shoes. The weight difference between the two shoes was marginal but noticeable, further giving the lead to the GR9s. Both shoes felt stiff, but protection was far superior on the GR9s. Some of our testers preferred the GR5’s traditional laces, as they made it easier to fine-tune the fit of the shoe, but the “speed-lacing” system is a bit, well, “speedier.” The GR5s had a more fashionable look at our local watering hole, but at the end of the day, these are biking shoes, so we decided that the GR9s are well worth the additional $50, even if that means giving up a few post-ride burritos.

GR5 Hits

  • Classic look
  • Easy-to-dial-in fit
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