As a rider, we’ve got two key points of contact to the bike: the hands and the feet. Both are responsible for making sure we have fun while keeping us on the straight and narrow. With the SH-M200, Shimano claim to have developed the optimal riding shoe for aggressive trail riders. Is there any truth in it? After several months of testing, let’s pool our thoughts.

Man sieht es ihnen an: Die 189,95 € teuren Shimano SH-M200 Schuhe wurden mehrere Monate intensiv getestet.
It’s pretty evident that the 189.95 € Shimano SH-M200 shoes have been intensively put through their paces over the past few months.

Designing modern clipless mountain bike shoes is a demanding task, and there’s a very fine line to tread between being lightweight yet stiff and stable. The sole needs to be stiff in order to be efficient, but it can’t be too uncomfortable on long sections of pushing or carrying. Naturally, it also needs to provide protection for your foot and guarantee a secure bond to the pedal. While Shimano have seriously aced on all these factors when it comes to the SH-M200, our testers are still not happy.

A closer look at the SH-M200

Tipping the scales at 762 g, the lightweight SH-M200 comes in two colours (black/army green) and retails at 189.95 €. The sole is the shoe’s irrefutable show-stealer, featuring Shimano’s so-called TORBAL (torsional balance) technology. The idea behind TORBAL is to make riding easier, keeping control of the bike by guaranteeing torsional flex at the back of the shoe while the front is slightly stiffer so that pedaling remains efficient.

Die TORBAL-Sohle soll den perfekten Kompromiss aus Steifigkeit und Flex bieten. Der Verstellbereich der Cleats überzeugte auf Anhieb.
The TORBAL sole is reputed to offer the perfect compromise between rigidity and flex. The cleat’s adjustment range impressed us immediately.

But all the excitement isn’t just hidden on the underfoot – the upper material is crammed with clever details too: the ankle protector, reinforced toe area, the Speed Lacing system and the ratchet buckle closure are not just features that the pros want to see on their shoes, but are also hugely valued by all mountain bikers.

Die Kombination aus Lacing- und Ratschensystem funktioniert hervorragend und erlaubt eine schnelle und sichere Anpassung des Schuhs.
Having both laces and the ratchet system is a brilliant design, meaning it’s quick and easy to get the right fit.
Den erhöhten Knöchelschutz wussten alle Tester zu schätzen.
The ankle collar is a design feature that got a nod of approval for each rider in our team.
Trotz der massiven Kappe über dem Lace-System ist der Schuh erstaunlich gut belüftet.
Despite the massive tongue over the laces, the shoe doesn’t suffer any ventilation problems.

The SH-M200 on the trails

As soon as we’ve put it on, tightened it and done the first pedal stroke, the Shimano SH-M200 is already close to stealing our hearts. Thanks to the Speed Lacing system, it’s a rapid process to secure the shoe and the ratchet allows you to change the tightness while riding too. Despite appearing like a minimal shoe, it still gives you a real sense of security, capably protecting you from any wandering rocky trail debris and stray roots. While the ankle protector, designed with a raised asymmetrical collar, is a standout highlight, it’s hard to judge whether the TORBAL system really provides more control. However, the shoe has nailed the perfect compromise between rigidity and comfort. Pedaling sections and uphills don’t feel futile, as power travel is direct yet manages not to be overly hard and inflexible on the descents. Even those long sections of hike-a-bike aren’t an issue with this Shimano trail shoe, which provides a ton of grip on many different terrains and doesn’t have any discomfort-causing design features.

Egal ob Sonne, Regen, Schlamm oder Staub, während unseres Tests musste sich der SH-M200 bei allen Bedingungen behaupten.
Come sun, rain, mud or dust, the SH-M200 was tested in all manner of conditions.

The SH-M200 in the long-term

Over the past few months we’ve had multiple SH-M200s floating around ENDURO, with several riders out testing them. However, not one single shoe has lasted more than three months – a feat that’s down to two particular weaknesses: the sole and the ratchet. The testers who frequently had to push their bikes up the climbs saw rips develop in the rubber sole after just a few weeks. Those whose sole survived, then suffered defects with the ratchet system.

Defekt Nr. 1: die Sohle. Bei insgesamt drei Schuhen riss der Steg und die Sohle klappt nach außen.
Defect #1: the sole. The rubber tread ripped off and the sole was exposed.
Defekt Nr. 2: Die Ratsche. Auch hier gab es bei insgesamt 3 Schuhen im Test Probleme. Immer wieder riss der Führungsstift aus der Halterung – und das ohne Außeneinwirkung sondern nur aufgrund der Spannung der Lasche.
Defect #2: the ratchet. A similar situation with three broken pairs of test shoes: the pin that keeps the ratchet in place kept tearing out of the bracket – without any external influence, purely because of the tension of the strap.


If we could look past the problems we had to go through, then the Shimano SH-M200 would definitely be the current best shoe around. It fits brilliantly, has a clever design for the upper and features the TORBAL sole. Out on the trails every rider loved the shoes. But the fun just couldn’t last, as the issues with the sole and the ratchet brought a premature end to our satisfaction. A 3-month lifespan for a shoe that costs 189.95 € is unfortunately a no-go.

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Text: Christoph Bayer | Photos: Christoph Bayer, Nathan Huges

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