MTB XC Shoe recommendations

In the endless search for gains I’m after some new XC shoes (current shoes 10yrs old)

Mainly ride XC / mtb marathon so need to be comfortable
Don’t need them to be warm in the winter
Light rider (70kg)
For use with Crank Bro Egg Beaters pedals
Currently going down the weight saving rabbit hole so need to be light

There are too many choices on google so any recomendation?


I really like my xc9s but it will come down to personal preference also on the width of fit.

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XC9, XC7, VR90, Fizik X1.

Shimano, new shoes seem a bit tighter than the older ones. I use wide now, normal seems a bit tight compared to older shoes.

VR90, tight toe box, half size up.

Fizik seem fine, a bit larger than normal, but also narrower, so similar to half size up of Giro.

Another option, if you don’t need to walk. Shimano RX8. Gravel shoes, not as reinforced, but light.

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XC9’s seem to be a good bet, thanks :+1:

I had good previous experience with Shimano but as earlier post said the new models the toe box is not as wide as those from say 10 years ago. I currently use a pair of Bontrager XXX which are a good fit and very stiff. I’ve used them for longer races though as well as XCO type stuff and comfort is good. They’ve lasted well, standard insole is a bit thin so I swap it out with the Shimano one with extra arch support from my road shoes. Worth trying for size though to check fit or at least doing the home measuring thing they have on their site.

Just retired a pair of XC7s that lasted me 10k miles with lots of abuse. Brilliant shoe. I will either be getting another pair of those or the XC9s.

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Do NOT buy S-works Recon. The most uncomfortable shoe I’ve worn. When I finally got them comfortable enough to wear (soaking them and using a hair dryer to remold the heal), they hurt my feet after 2 hours.

I’m going back to Lake:


I have both the RX8 and XC9. The XC9s run better because the external heel cup and boa config (loose top, tight middle) lets your foot move INSIDE the shoe. The RX8 let you walk a bit better because of the more compact/centric lug config under the shoe, making the shoe more tippy. I would rather walk in the RX8 than the XC9. The XC9 has more rubber (square area) under the shoes, so you can walk up boulders better. I would rather stand on a hill in the XC9. The RX8 takes toe covers a bit better. The RX8 has more support near the interior ankle.
Otherwise, they’re pretty comparable. Both are overly stiff north of the cleat. BOth use the same shoe shape (last). Both feel about the same overall.

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Thanks, looks like I need find somewhere to see how they both fit.

Both are much lighter than my current 550g shoes so assuming the fit is OK I can save another 1lb :grin:

Have Giro Empire V90s.

Fit is nice but I really miss Boa dials. If you like laces, they are an option and tend to come up on discount fairly often.

Maybe check out the Bontrager XXX mtb shoes. I love their xxx road shoe and that is very light.

Just ordered a pair of Giro Techlace’s. They mix laces with Velcro and a Boa dial to, from what I’ve heard, create the perfect fit. I mainly bought them because I have narrow, low volume feet and I have heard that Giro run narrow. Very eager to try them out. They apparently come with 3 different insole styles for various foot arches.

Sworks XC? Most comfortable ive had (CX use)

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I have a pair of the VR90s and although they work for me, they are incredibly narrow. I ordered my normal size and it was clownish trying to fit my feet in them, so I had to size up. I used to think I have narrow feet but Giro really put that to the test.

That said, they are awesome when I’m riding. I love lace-ups, since I have low volume feet I can actually get the shoe tight enough.

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Wondering how people are going with their Shimano XC/Gravel shoes?

I’ve just torn some small holes in the side of my Giro Sector shoes and am on the look out for something to replace them with (the Sector’s will have to last through my A-Race in one month - hopefully - to avoid last minute change).

I’ve been super comfortable in the Giro and the sizing seems spot on. I can’t find them at a reasonable price anymore though, I believe I got them at a heck of a deal in hindsight (or the price has jumped a fair bit).

Currently looking at the XC502 and RX8. The RX8 is stiffer but has smaller lugs. Both have one boa dial and appear to be the same weight (on paper).

The XC502 is a bit cheaper due to the nylon sole.

I’m currently using size 47 R300 shoes on the trainer that are quite large but don’t feel as comfortable due to the stiffness of the upper. Is the quality and feel of the Shimano uppers noticeably better on the higher models?

Does anyone have any advice?

The only thing to note about the RX8 is that the glossy interior failed on mine after about 2 years. I also think the adjustments on the XC9 (two up top) fit my higher volume foot better than the RX8 single (the velcro strap at the bottom is useless - I assume it’s just for manufacturing). If you’re on rocky terrain or there are roots, get the XC series shoe for sure. Consider the RX6 as well.
The XC9 has a less stiff upper than the RX8, but that will vary shoe to shoe. I’ve never thought a shoe was too stiff on top, that’s probably a symptom of something else on your end. When you say too stiff - in the ankle or above the toes? Is that soles toe curve wrong for you (either left/ right or up/down)?

I wouldn’t knock the XC5 for the nylon sole until you try it. They say it is a “7” stiffness, which will be quite stiff. If it’s only stiff in the mid-shoe, that’s an advantage over the infinitely stiff water skis the higher end models are. The symptom of a shoe sole being too floppy is a sore mid-foot/arch - I suspect the RC3 with the “6” value is plenty stiff.

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My n=1 is the Shimano shoes don’t hold up. had XC7, sole started to fall off quickly, upper got holes. Couldn’t stand up to regular trail riding, would not buy again. YMMV. Have a new pair of specialized, mid range not sure of model but they appear to be a much better shoe

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I have a pair of Lake mx332 wide. Comfortable, heat molded, and very stiff.

Shimano XC901 (NOT 902)… but they just released XC903 and they look promising

SWorks - Seems like I keep coming back to mine as well. At first they were stiff, but they also fit really well. Now that I’ve put some time in them, they feel nice.


Do you have a link to the new 903’s? I’m not seeing it anywhere. Hopefully that means last season’s 9/7/502’s go on sale just in time for this season.