Gearing up for gravity days usually includes a full face helmet and big body armor to protect you from major hits, but don't forget about properly equipping your feet as well. Don the Shimano Sh-AM9 Bike Shoes for a little extra toe protection, in a build that's lightweight and breathable, so you don't feel weighted down or end up with a wicked case of hot-foot mid lap. The SH-AM9 is built to be tough and stand up to stray branches, grabby roots, and chunky rocks, with a tacky sole for when hiking a bike is a must, and a recessed clipless platform that stays out of the way when walking, but allows you to snap in for maximum power when its pedal time.
Made from synthetic leather uppers, the SH-AM9 is durable and repels the elements. It naturally keeps water rolling off so you can stay dry, but features laser cut perforations to boost breathability. It uses a quick lace system that's easy to slide on and off, and features a large, hook and loop lace cover to keep your instep and laces protected from trail debris. At the ankle you'll find another hook and loop strap that adds just a bit more support, so you don't have to worry about heel slip on the ride, plus asymmetrical padding to protect you from hits on the inside from crank arms or frames. Your toes also stay well protected in the AM9's, first with a molded toe cap that provides armor against rocks and roots, and second with a lighter weird shield that moves from the toe to sides of your foot, providing protection to the widest points that might be more likely to catch a branch.
On the bottom, the shoes use Shimano's AM sole for aggressive downhill riding. This uses a 3-layer construction, with a stiff midsole for support that keeps from over-flexing on the pedal, and tacky rubber on the outsole to keep you locked in when walking is a must. The outsole features direction specific tread patterns, with tread to propel you forward at the toe box, and opposite direction lugs at the heel to help with braking when moving downhill. As mentioned before, the sole features a recessed cleat channel in the center, which enables you to run flats with full rubber to pedal contact when needed, or opt for any 2-bolt mountain cleat you want when it's time to clip in.