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Shimano - SH-XC9 S-PHYRE Cycling Shoe - Men's

Shimano SH-XC9 S-PHYRE Cycling Shoe - Men's

49% Off
$214.95 - $340.00 Original price:$425.00
Changing the size selection, or changing the selected color after selecting a size, may change the associated price

Item #SHI00KB




Tech Specs

Upper Material:
Teijin synthetic leather
dual BOA IP1 dials
Dynalast carbon fiber
Michelin rubber
Cleat Compatibility:
2-bolt mountain
Claimed Weight:
[size 42, single] 11.6oz (330g)
Manufacturer Warranty:
1 year
cross-country, cyclocross

Why We Like The SH-XC9 S-PHYRE Cycling Shoe

When we glance at the starting line of a World Cup cyclocross or cross-country race, we often notice the flashing silver or bright blue Shimano SH-XC9 on various rider's feet, eagerly waiting to clip in when the whistle blows and head to the front to string the field out. It's for good reason too, because if you've ever gotten a pair of these shoes in your hands, or better yet, on your feet, you'll experience that world-class fit, low weight, and efficiency that the pros count on to earn a paycheck. No doubt, these shoes are designed to help you pedal at your best to get you across the finish line faster, however it means nothing if your feet are in agony. Shimano shoes are perennial favorites here in the office and these XC9s receive some light updates since Shimano first launched its S-Phyre lineup—notably a more perforated upper that improves the fit and breathability, and then beefier armor at the toe box.

On the rear of the shoe, Shimano uses an external cup that covers the carbon sole and the back of the heel. This design supports the heel, preventing twisting and rolling, stabilizing it for more efficiency. Inside the shoe at the heel a cat tongue-like gripping fabric further bolsters the foothold, providing a solid foundation for dishing out the big watts at the race start and on the pedaling upstroke while trying to maintain traction on a slippery surface. Shimano reached out to the French rubber wizards at Michelin to create a grippy compound for the lugs for off-bike traction, and we find it works well for quick dismounts to hop a barrier and sprint back up to speed to remount our bikes. The ability to run toe spikes comes in handy too when we're scrambling up steep, loose, or muddy terrain.

  • Shimano's premier cyclocross and XC race shoe
  • Stiff, efficient carbon-reinforced sole for power transfer
  • Increased perforation on the upper improves breathability and fit
  • Dynalast construction aids with smoother, more efficient pedaling
  • Dual-density Michelin rubber outsole blends grip and durability
  • Dual BOA IP1 dial buckle provides a customizable fit
  • Beefier toe armor improves durability and saves toes
  • Finished with reinforced toe spike mounts

Best XC shoes going*

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 46.5

*but not for super skinny feet

I have super skinny, narrow feet and I am trying to find a replacement for my 10 year old narrow fit Sidi Dominators after the soles recently started to feel super flexy. I bought a size 46.5 my for US 12/B width men’s feet.

The best features of these shoes are:

-the last shape and fit of these is super anatomical compared to a lot of bike shoes with pointy toe boxes. The heel pocket and the ankle opening lock you in but the forefoot allows your feet and toes to spread out so you can stomp.

-the upper is super supple around the ankles and over bony spots, yet supportive and secure thanks to the solid closure and boas that provide a ton of adjustability

-the sole is ultra stiff and well-outfitted for walking, at least compared to other stiff XC shoes

The obvious combination of these three factors out of the box led me to buy a pair. They felt really good for five rides including a 6 hour ride. Unfortunately at that point the upper stretched out just enough that they became too big for my super skinny feet, so I returned them. But I think the shape of the last and the closure system should allow these to work for a wide variety of foot shapes and I doubt there’s a shoe out there that blends comfort and performance like these.

Beautiful but expensive

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
  • Fit: True to size

This is a really pretty shoe (I tried silver!) and it seems like a great shoe for pure XC or Gravel riding. This fit was nice and fits similar to Shimano road shoes - nothing weird, nothing felt too cramped. This shoe, the Xc9 weighed in at 327g for one shoe, size 43 whereas the Xc7 weighed in at 329g, just 2g heavier. The fit and feel of both shoes was pretty similar, perhaps slightly better on the xc9.

If you're in the market for a more durable, trail or all-mountain shoe, this probably isn't it. The upper didn't seem like it could take a beating from rough riding and the toe wasn't as hard as more trail oriented shoes. I ended up opting for something more rugged, but this would be a top contender for shoe that would take less abuse.

Note that this is just a try-on review; I didn't ride it, so your mileage might vary .

Comparing to RX8....

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 45

Although shoes differ from each person, here are my thoughts - I’m Size 45, med- high arch and regular width. Shimano fit has always worked well for me. For road I use sphyre and love them. I bought the rx8 last year for “gravel” and they have been excellent, but there are some differences between them and xc 9, but I don’t think you will be disappointed with either of them. (Although I would definitely use the xc9 if it’s going to double as a straight mtb shoe as the rx8 is too stripped down I think. )
Xc9 Upper feels better/ more security and comfort, while outsole is more substantial and better walkable feeling but still not heavy or clunky. Dual boa on the xc9 is just a better setup. Toe box width and height is slightly roomier IMO, I can get thicker socks in without going wide version. Stiffness is good, but I swear xc9 has a tiny more amount of flex over rx8 or even rc9 road shoes. Another thing I can notice is the rx8 felt like the outsole has a very slight upward curve from ball to toe, feeling like you are further up on the cleat regardless of its position. The Xc9 feels more flat or ‘normal.’ Overall luxurious feeling shoe that I would not be disappointed in even if I had not snagged them on sale.

A road shoe with a rubber sole attached

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

I have been wearing Shimano shoes for years. Have never complained and have always like them. This is by far the most delicate shoe I have ever owned. This is not a shoe that was made for mtbing. It's a delicate road shoe they slapped a mtb sole on. It's probably not even a good cx shoe. Maybe it's a good shoe if you ride wide fire roads and there is not chance of ever hitting the side of shoe on anything at all and you will never walk on them! I am saying as I have two rides with these and the side of the shoe where the upper meet the sole of the shoe is already badly damaged. Two rides! No crashes, no severe bail outs, just a couple of minor dabs while riding. Maybe it's because in Northeast we have rocks and roots, but i have never had a shoe where I need to use left over frame protector tape to beef the sides of the shoes to make sure they are going to last me just this season.

Further more the heel lugs are so small, even without the delicateness of the uppers, they aren't going to last more than a season.

Buy these shoes if you like to spend $400 on shoes every four to five months.

A road shoe with a rubber sole attached

A comparison of S-Phyre and Sidi Tiger

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 41

I tried the S-Phyre for a couple hundred miles and sadly had to admit that it didn't quite fit my toe box. Numbness in spots. Switched to Sidi Tiger and fit was fine. But it gave me a chance to compare.

S-Phyre - slightly stiffer, slightly lighter, and the dials are simpler to adjust on the fly than the Sidi, especially when you need to loosen them one click. I think they get the nod for power transfer.

Tiger - Much easier to get on and off, slightly wider toe box, aesthetically more pleasing to this MAMIL, and they feel more durable (though only time will tell).

I think they are both great shoes and both deserve a 5 star rating as a high quality product.
Also, the folks at Competitive Cyclist were excellent about an exchange. They very reasonably gave me a credit for the S-Phyres since I was not happy with the fit after several rides. Thanks!

Best cycling shoe I’ve owned

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 41

Yes, they’re absurdly expensive. I’ve got some road shoes (not Shimano) that tip the $400 mark and just weren’t game changers, so I resisted buying these for a long time. After a couple hundred miles in them, however, I can enthusiastically say I waited too long to buy these. Unlike my road cleats, the Shimano feels like I spent a small fortune on my shoes (and looks the part imho, that blue is sexy).
The fit is spot on. I’m a 41 in most footwear and these were great out of the box. The dual boa closure is as secure and comfortable as anyone could ask for. And that carbon sole is a thing of beauty. Since I bought these as a gravel shoe, I was hesitant to go with such a rigid shoe but very glad I did. Not sure if it’s witchcraft or really good engineering, but these shoes pedal like a high end road shoe, and walk like a trail shoe. The “customizable” arch support/ footbed is a nice touch, but should probably be expected in this price range.
In a final act of sorcery, Shimano has built a shoe that as a whole significantly outperforms any of the outstanding individual components. Best shoe I’ve ever owned.

Love it!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 40

I literally want to do everything in these shoes! I love the basic eliteness of this shoe. Definatly a must have for any cyclocross racer and xc mountain biker! This is something that I want to wear everyday.

Love it!

Heel not as snug for me

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Most top end cycling, xc shoes have similar sole stiffness so fit and comfort are the difference. My previous Giro Empire shoes fit well in the heel but felt compressive in the forefoot. These shoes are wider in the forefoot for my triangular-shape (heel more narrow that forefoot) foot as opposed to an oblong shape. Still, I felt that the heel on these shoes were not snug so that is something to be aware of if you have a very narrow heel. The rubber on the bottom holds up well to walking, but the two circular plastic/rubber pieces at the front of the shoe wears out quick (in all fairness, I had this same problem with other shoes as well which may be due to walking/climbing uphill on one's toes) and I switched them over to the metal round spike that came with the shoe. Other than that, this is an excellent shoe which I probably would buy again. Also note that shimano shoe sizing is unique so look at their own sizing chart.

What shoes have you found that are narrow in the heel!

Worth it

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 45

Lately all of my riding is on a Wahoo trainer. I had been using my 5 or so year old Mavic Furys but they had really deteriorated. That had been my second pair. I am strictly a roadie but have used mtb shoes to make walking easy. The Shimano SH- XC9's are the best investment in biking I've made in a long time. They are super comfortable and adjustable. The 45's fit perfectly. I've noticed improved metrics that can only be attributed to having these shoes. With nothing else changed, my personal bests on many rides are falling. No longer do I have any slip/slide shoe issues and can climb using a complete stroke. It is possible that other factors are involved but I'm sticking with my shoe opinion. Gonna order a back up pair!

Best shoe for Xc and Gravel needs

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Size Bought: 43

Ive been waring this shoe for the past year and it has been my favorite shoe for All my xc and Gavel riding needs. The Rubber lugs on the bottom part of the shoe have held up very well considering I've used then all over Utah (Salt lake, Moab, St. George, Park city). I really love the boa dial closer system on this shoe because unlike some other brand you can pop the boa fully open without twisting it. This makes it super easy to take off! In all is a fantastic shoe is and is made well!

Awesome XC Shoes

  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 46.5

Shimano shoes never disappoint. This shoe is incredibly comfortable, light weight, and stiff. They look awesome too! Best XC Mountain bike shoe I've ever had thus far.


  • Fit: True to size

You get what you pay for with these shoes. They check all the boxes. Weight, comfort, stiffness, durability (so far), adjust-ability and good looking. These are true to size for me 45 = 10.5 US mens. I've put 350 miles on them with lots of mud, water and some hike a bike. The soles are scratched, but duh I've walked up rock garden descent sections in them. Great shoe!!

Excellent fit and finish

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 44.5

High quality build. Easy to dial in the perfect fit with the BOA system. Also easy on and off. Stiff sole which is what I want. I use Speedplay Frog pedals.

Excellent, comfortable

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

Great alignment marks for cleat installation. Comfortable, nice boa set up. Toe box is wider vs Sidi. Glad I switched from my old sidi spider that were giving me blisters on my big toe.

Overall a good fit

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

I purchased these after my Drakos just didn’t work. I tried and I’ve worn Sidis for 20 years. If the Drakos were about 3mm wider it would be no contest. I wear a 44 Sidi in wires, Drakos and Drako 2’s. The 44.5 Sidi just didn’t work, either. I have the newer size 44 xc9 s-phyre 901 version in black and find them to fit well. They are “comfy” but efficient. As any Sidi wearer knows, they tend to be stiff, but to me, the most efficient shoes. The Shimanos just don’t quite have that but the fit overall is why I prefer them. Also thanks to Kyle my gear head for shipping about 8 different shoes - Oh, and my son also rides these-

Great shoes, with one caveat.

  • Fit: True to size

These shoes fit my 275mm long, 105mm wide, average volume feet very well in size 44 regular. The heel hold is not as good as Specialized S-Works shoes, but the width of the Shimano shoes across the metatarsals is wider than Specialized and Sidi (regular) and better for most people's feet. However, the placement of the rear Boa cable did not work for me. In order to get it tight enough to keep my heel in place, I had to tighten it to the point where it would cause problems farther up my foot. Disappointed that these otherwise excellent feeling shoes had to go back.

Good review. Thx!

Agree great review! Wish everyone would include their foot dimensions and where/how the shoes differ on their feet for the other big brands the way you did, especially since my current S-Works shoes are too tight in the metatarsal region. Much appreciated!


Cycling Footwear
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41 7.5 8.5
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42 8.5 9.5
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43 9 10.5
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44 9.5 11
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