I recently got myself a new pair of shoes to replace my ageing Shimano VTT shoes.
It took me a long time to find the pair I thought would be good and now that I have these I am pretty sure I have made the right decision.
For a while now I have been using the PD-M324 peddles from Shimano. These have a flat side and an SPD allowing me to have the advantages of SPD when needed but also the flat peddle for some more technical descending
What my old shoes lacked was a way for me to be able to get enough grip on the flat side of the peddle while still allowing me to use the SPD.
These shoes from Pearl iZUMi solve this issue. The have a nice flat Vibram sole which grips into the peddle very well and has a totally recessed SPD clip. You can walk around in these shoes on any surface without the annoying Clack Clack that most other VTT shoes will make.
I was also really impressed with how well the Vibram sole worked with the flat side of the peddle. I didn't have any moments when I slipped from the peddle even after going through water.
There is a downside to this flat sole though, it can be a little smooth in case you are need to ascend on foot. In these cases, especially in the wet, you will find that the sole is just a little too smooth. This however is the price you pay to have a nice solid grip on the flat peddle.
While the shoe is not waterproof it does keep most splashed out and is easy to clean (although I had not cleaned them for the photos).
The sole it firm enough to allow for efficient power transfer to the peddles but maintains is comfyness.
I found the shoe to be a little skinny on my foot. I normally wear narrow shoes and they were uncomfortably narrow, just something to be aware of in case you foot normally needs a wider shoes.
I am very happy with these shoes and glad I purchased them for my own use. I would recommend them to those looking for a versatile shoe that can excel in most situations.
We have put the shoe on sale in case you find yourself in the market for a shoe.