Shimano is known for making superb cycling hardware. And cyclists who’ve been around the block a few times knows the company also makes some great footwear.
But many of even the most seasoned cyclists don’t know they bought clothing brand Pearl Izumi a few years back and are clearly harnessing that connection to improve the apparel they’re selling under their own label. Here’s a quick look at what we like most that they debuted in Germany yesterday at the Eurobike trade show. Prices are still TBD, and most of this won’t drop until later this year. Still, it’s exciting to see Shimano bring their precision focus to clothing for 2018.
Transit Plaid Shirt
Shimano debuted a cartload of high-performance roadie-focused clothing at Eurobike, which is nice, but it’s also a very competitive space. What we’re happier to see is Shimano bolster its Transit line of commuter and adventure-focused apparel. Take the Transit Plaid Shirt. It’s a straightforward button-up, but it’s athletically cut, with stretch shoulders, an antibacterial treatment to fight funk buildup in the polyester material. There’s a stealth zippered pocket for your cash at the back, and another at the chest that’s designed specifically for oversized smartphones. Shimano also included headlight reflective bits of trim to keep you safe, and if you roll up the sleeves and you’ll reveal yet more reflectivity.
SH-XC500 Gravel Shoe
For gravel-grinders (and, by the way, for anyone who commutes and wants more walking grip, with a stiffer sole than skate designs), the new XC5 multi surface shoe is very intriguing. Most people who ride gravel are using mountain bike shoes, which aren’t necessarily ideal, since they’re a bit too heavy and over-armored for the use case. The new XC500 might be the better option, since it gets traditional lacing instead of ratchet straps, a carbon-fiber midsole, for power transfer, and a walkable Michelin outsole. And another key difference: It’s not as heavy as most mountain bike footwear
CT-500 Commuter Shoe
If you’re a more mellow commuter, you’ll dig the new CT500, which basically looks like a casual street shoe. The difference, however, vs. commuting in your adidas Sambas, is that the CT’s get a stiffer midsole, because a standard sneak midsole that flexes is going to make your feet exceptionally tired. (And of course your casual kicks don’t have a cleat mount like these do.)
Shimano isn’t known as an eyewear brand, but they’re bringing a huge range of roadie performance shades out for 2018. Which is great, but again, the cooler stuff they’re doing is more casually targeted, like the Meteor. Yes, it’s a rip-off of Porsche design’s shape, but with a modern, Grillamid TR90 frame that’s going to work better than the heavy wire design of those vintage gold 1970s jobs you found on eBay, and ultralight polycarbonate lenses with hydrophobic treatment designed to shed sweat. Likewise, the X-Series Square specs are a chunky looking frame, that’s actually super light, again thanks to very light material construction particularly focused on cycling comfort, not just steezy street style.
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