Soggy feet are detrimental for most outdoor activities, especially when midway through a bike ride in sub-40-degree weather with another 10+ miles to pedal. To eliminate such scenarios, Shimano has released the SH-GF800 GTX shoe. The Shimano GTX has all the makings of a Pacific Northwest winter-worthy shoe, featuring a Gore-Tex waterproof upper and a tight-fitting ankle cuff to keep out debris.
- Waterproof upper and Gore-Tex liner
- BOA closure w/ bash guard
- Grippy ULTREAD GF rubber sole
Sizes: 38 (M5-5.5) - 48 (M12.5)
The fit of the Shimano GTX Flat is what you'd expect, given the sock-like appearance of its ankle cuff. Resembling the profile of a high-top sneaker, the Shimano GTX fits snugly with no visible gap at the ankle. Despite their appearance, don't expect a massive increase in ankle support from these shoes. Instead, the cuff does a fantastic job of keeping out debris and moisture. The Shimano GTX Flat runs true to size, so riders shouldn't worry about sizing up or down.
BOA Fit System
Often seen but rarely perfectly executed, many manufacturers have recently released shoes utilizing a BOA system. From my experience, BOA-equipped shoes are only as good as they are reliable, and fortunately, Shimano has hit all the marks with their latest BOA-equipped GTX flat shoe. The system functions well, without any unwanted pressure points across the foot, and is immensely secure once properly cinched down. Shimano has also built a slight amount of protection around the BOA dial to ward off any unwanted rock strikes that could damage the system. The BOA has proven reliable over multiple months of use on our test shoes and has made removing mud-covered shoes post-ride a breeze compared to trying to untie soggy laces with cold fingers.
Performance / Grip
Defense against the elements is all fine and dandy, but a mountain biking shoe is generally only as good as the grip it offers. I’d opt for less weatherproofing if it meant knowing my feet would stay on the pedals for the duration of a descent. Thankfully, riders won’t have to sacrifice any aspect of their ride with the Shimano GTX flat.
On the bike, the Shimano GTX offers some of the best grip we’ve seen to date from the Shimano, with a sole that offers ample grip. The Hexagonal pattern found on the majority of the sole is designed to interlock with the pins, providing secure footing. Horizontal ridges across the toe area offer fantastic grip for the occasional hike-a-bike, especially on steeper inclines. Shimano claims that the ULTREAD GF rubber compound is designed specifically to perform in cold temperatures. However, our testers found them to be fantastic no matter the temperature. Generally speaking, we found the ULTREAD GF sole slightly softer than the industry benchmark of Five-Ten rubber but not so soft that it impacted the shoe’s overall durability.
A few of our staff have been putting the Shimano GTX flat through its paces to determine if these shoes could stand up to the elements. Both avid cyclists, co-workers Sam and Blake, have been unabashedly running these shoes in the grimiest mud-littered days to see if they truly stand up to Shimano's claims. I caught up with them to hear their thoughts on the shoe and how they felt it performed in the sloppy winter conditions.
Blake // Buying Department
How did the ULTREAD GF rubber compound impact your confidence and control on technical trails, especially in low temperatures?
For how thin the shoe feels, and how lightweight it is underfoot, how “slipper-like” they are, they offer fantastic grip. I’d put the grip up there with the Five-Ten Impact Pro’s that I usually wear. The grip is there, I was never concerned with slipping a pedal.
How convenient was the BOA system for you in cold weather, and did it live up to its claim?
I’ve never been a huge proponent of the BOA just because I’ve had other products where the BOA tightens unevenly or has weird pressure points. However, I found that the BOA system on the Shimano DTX worked well, and I haven’t had any reliability issues. No news is good news on that front.
Sam // Customer Service
How have these shoes performed for you in wet weather?
Great, they’re super solid. I could go out with the goal of getting soaked, and the only dry part of my kit would be my feet.
Have you been impressed with the grip these shoes provide?
These are my first Shimano flat shoes, and I haven’t noticed any decrease in grip with the Shimano GTX compared to the Five-ten or Specialized shoes I’ve used in the past. They generally feel good, and I can trust them not to slip a pedal.
The Shimano SH-GF800 GTX flat shoe emerges as a formidable solution for cyclists seeking uncompromised performance in challenging conditions. Priced at $220.00, this shoe's waterproof upper and Gore-Tex liner create an impenetrable barrier against moisture, crucial for tackling outdoor adventures in sub-40-degree weather. The BOA Fit System, executed with precision and complemented by a bash guard, ensures a secure and pressure-point-free fit, while the grippy ULTREAD GF rubber sole surpasses expectations, offering outstanding traction regardless of the terrain or temperature. Shimano's thoughtful design, coupled with reliable performance, positions the GTX flat shoe as a reliable companion for cyclists who demand both comfort and durability during their rides.