The ME7 is a new kick from Shimano, the letters standing for 'Mountain Enduro' and the 7 indicating that this is the top-of-the-line offering. It sits in between the 'XC Race' and 'Gravity' categories in Shimano's 16-model off-road shoe line. Positioned to capitalize on the whole enduro gestalt, the ME7 comes in black with subtle blue highlights, features a carbon-composite sole with a dual-density Michelin rubber outsole, a neoprene ankle cuff, covered speed laces and a svelte ratcheting buckle closure.
Lighter than most gravity-oriented footwear, and only giving up 40 grams to Shimano's similarly positioned XC-race-specific XC7 shoe, the ME7 is a great balance between light weight, protection, pedaling performance and off-bike traction.
It pedals like a really good, stiff-pedaling shoe, but still has enough toe flex and grippy rubber to make hike-a-bike duty tolerable. The closure is snug and offers enough adjustment for tall arches, but my tall arches weren't entirely happy with the ankle-high cuff of the shoe, where it felt a little bit constrictive when new. As the shoes broke in, this got more comfortable, but they still aren't going to displace your favorite lounging slippers for Sunday crossword duty. By that token, your favorite lounging slippers are useless on a bike. The ME7 is anything but; it's a rugged, well-thought-out, purposeful shoe that's all business.