Shimano Touring Shoe and Pedal Review
The perfect combination for cycle touring
When searching for which shoes to buy for cycling touring as you can imagine it was a bit of a minefield.
Most of the information was the sales pitch by the brand, or some review where someone wore them for 1 ride. I didn’t feel this gave me much hope when selecting my shoes and it was ultimately a bit of a hope and see with an educated guess.
Add onto this I was changing the pedals at the same time going through the same problems I didn’t have a huge amount of faith it was all going to be OK.
So this review is of the Shimano MT3 SPD touring shoe and Shimano PD-A530 pedals after over 3 years of use. That’s right – a well and truly tested product.
Let’s start with the shoes.
Shimano MT3 SPD Touring Shoes
The MT3 touring shoe is designed for riders who want a practical shoe on and off the bike. They allow enough stiffness on the pedal to maintain efficiency, but enough flexibility that when walking around for them to be comfortable.
These shoes are designed to look like a pair of normal outdoor trainers, with a simple lace-up across the front and a one piece upper of simple design. I think they manage this well. I would happily wear these shoes when out and about after a days touring and don’t feel they stand out as particularly cyclist or sporty. On the bike I think the simple look keeps them smart. On the rear of the heel cup is a strip of high-vis fabric that shines bright in headlights which is a nice little safety feature. If the blue option was available when buying I would have preferred that than the black - but that's just a personal preference.
The tread is reasonable in terms of depth in that it can tackle most terrain thrown at it. As the cleat isn’t completely sunken, cobbles can cause a little clicking of the metal on the pavement but you don’t skid about. Because the cleat isn’t completely sunken it allows easy clipping in when on the bike – which is handy! It’s only when using road bike specific shoes do you notice the difference in rigidity. Generally though even on long days you don’t feel there is any excessive flex in the sole. I haven’t suffered from any sore feet because of the shoes either compared to other shoes I have used.
The only point which I was concerned about was the breathability of the upper. In the sales pitch online it claimed the breathing holes would allow cooling of your feet in hot conditions but I wasn’t convinced. However on the first time we used the shoes when we did our Camino Quest trip through France and Spain, the super hot summer temperatures didn’t seem to make our feet sweat any more than any other road bike shoe we have used in the past.
One point that is a great advantage is the water resistant ability of the fabric. It won’t keep your feet bone dry in a down poor or with heavy puddle drenching, but compared to normal road bike shoes which have a lot of vents, these repel modest water splashes well. Which if it is a cold day is a bit of win.
I also feel that due to the more durable upper compared to traditional road bikes they keep your feet warmer on cold days – which is another great advantage.
These can simply be the one shoe you take with you on a day ride or a multiple week touring trip. They are comfortable and adaptable to the elements. They click in/out with ease and I can use them around towns/cities with no issues. They consistently have good reviews on Google and Amazon, and this long-term review would agree with that. I would recommend these to friends who want suggestions of touring shoes, and simply put I would get them again should my current ones ever wear out enough!
Shimano PD-A530 pedals
Dual use SPD pedals to be used for touring or everyday use. Part of the Tiagra series with single side click capability and flat platform on the other side.
Those of you who have read my previous reviews understand how important robustness is to
me within a product. So I have had these for 3 years and they are still going strong. The only
wear and tear visible is the black wax/plastic that is at the end of the laces has come off…….
The sole still has plenty of tread, the cleat still has plenty of life and the upper has no cracks
This rather unflattering photo was taken in October 2021. Clearly too lazy to even tuck the
laces in, but thankfully the rainbow coloured socks make up for it!
If I can get three years out of a shoe where I wear it as much as I have I think that is
amazing. In comparison my running shoes cost double this and I have to renew them
every year. So it's great bang for your buck so to speak.
My aim for buying these pedals was so that in towns or cities, I didn’t need to worry about clipping in when trying to get away from the lights quickly. I am confident with clipping in and out, but wanted to have that option of a nice flat pedal on one side. I was also future proofing my bike set up that I could use the bike for popping to the local shops when I got home and didn’t have my Shimano MT3 shoes on which I used when touring.
These pedals allowed exactly what I wanted. They were super easy to clip in and out of, and when I needed to get away quickly I could pedal with decent power without having to click in.
They have also been designed that the clip-in side of the pedal rests at the top, so when you are trying to clip in everything is set up ready to go. No faffing having to flip the pedal around and then time it right to clip in.
Again these were bought at the same time as the shoes and still show no signs of wearing. For the vast majority of our riding in 2020-2022 I used my Marin Nicasio+ which had these on. For 2019 they were on my Marin Gestalt that I cycled to Germany on – along with all the training for that ride as well. So to make it clear, they have been used a lot in recent years. Whenever I go to change them from one bike to the next I expect them to disintegrate, or for the bearing play to be noticeable. But there is never a problem. If you check out our Instagram and Facebook posts you will see them sporadically in use throughout the years as proof of their longevity.
They are reasonably priced and for that you get a good return on your investment.
If you are looking for a dual pedal with click-in capability one side and a flat pedal on the other – these have to be considered. You’ll get a long use out of them as they seem to be indestructible and they are very practical for they are designed for.
My one point to consider would be that if the flat pedal aspect is really important to you, perhaps the PD-M324 may be a more suitable option. I didn’t want something that big or heavy so opted for the A530. Another very similar option is the PD-EH500
Similar to the shoe, when these do start to break (I still can’t quite believe they haven’t!) I will get the same pedal again – go with the known and trusted.