First Impressions: Shimano MO-88 Trail Shoes

We walk all over Shimano's budget do-it-all kicks.

By Kevin Rouse

Shimano M0-88 Shoes
$120 / bike.shimano.com

I didn’t exactly need a pair of new shoes. Then again, I wasn’t about to turn a pair down either. So when a pair of Shimano’s latest budget-friendly SPD trail shoes showed up on my desk for review just before the Interbike trade show, I wasn’t exactly overtaken with excitement.

Fast-forward to the present however, and we’re in Fruita, Colorado, testing a standardized sh*t-ton (who says we need to convert tot he metric system?) of bikes and gear for the 2013-edition of Bike’s Bible of Bike Tests issue. I’d decided to break out the $120 kicks for what was sure to be a few weeks of serious abuse.

As it turned out, abuse would end up being quite the understatement.

To be truthful, I brought the MO-88’s along in order to save my own shoes from what was sure to be certain destruction as I’d been tasked with collecting gigabyte upon gigabyte of riding footage—and that was sure to mean I’d be hiking nearly as much as I’d be riding. And knowing the rugged terrain Fruita is famous for—paired with my penchant for destroying footwear of all persuasions—I was expecting the worst.

Simply put, it was looking as if a naked dude in a bar brawl would have an easier time than the M0-88s. And, being Shimano’s budget-friendly, all-of-the-above shoe, I wasn’t exactly setting my expectations sky-high.


The Shimano MO-88′s, soaring well above of my expectations on Raven’s Ridge, part of the Tabaguache Trail system just outside Grand Junction, Colorado.

Call me an idiot. No, seriously. Albeit my expectations weren’t the highest to begin with, to say I’d underestimated the MO-88s would be a massive understatement. As far as durability is concerned, I’d put the MO-88’s up against any other shoe on the market. And that’s not a statement I’m making lightly—these things are tough.

After two-and-a-half weeks of daily abuse the Shimanos show little signs of wear, and show little inclination of behaving any differently further along down the road.

So what’s the caveat? Surely not the price; at $120 they represent one of the best values on the market. Pair them with a pair of Shimano’s M530 pedals, and you have one of the most durable, bang-for-your-buck pedal/shoe combinations out there—all at a retail price that slots in safely under $200

Unfortunately, value and durability don’t exactly always play nicely with light weight. Accordingly, the MO-88’s are bit heavy. Okay, at 676 grams (Size 40), they’re more than just a touch heavy. But then again, they certainly don’t profess themselves to be a pair of cross-country race shoes.

A fiberglass-reinforced polyamide midsole plate on the Shimanos ensured proper power transfer, but didn’t make the shoes so stiff that hiking was a chore.

The rugged outsole on the MO-88 offered surprising grip on a variety of surfaces, and saved yours truly from slipping down numerous near-vertical sandstone slabs with some pricey electronics in tow.

Featuring Shimano’s Volume+ last the MO-88′s were host to an invitingly comfortable toe-box, while the rest of the shoe offered a reassuringly snug fit that kept heel slippage to a minimum.

Bottom Line


If you’re in the market for a solid pair of shoes that offer plenty of performance in just about any trail application, look no further than the Shimano MO-88s.

If you’re in the market for a pair of shoes that promise to offer some serious durability, look no further than the Shimano MO-88s.

If you’re in the market for a pair of shoes that represents one of the better values out there…hell, you get the picture.

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