In order to perform your best during the cycling portion of a triathlon, you need shoes which fit, well, like a glove. The Shimano SHMT34V Multiuse Touring shoe for men has a unique design which includes rubber tread and an EVA midsole support. While they don’t look like a traditional biking shoe, there’s a lot to like here.
Uppers combine synthetic leather with flexible mesh to create a shoe which is durable but still breathable. A steady, mild airflow keeps your feet comfortable even during long rides.
The classic string lacing system lets you customize the fit for an even tension across your entire foot. Plus, classic lacing generally provides the most comfort of any fastener.
EVA foam midsoles and rubber soles help provide support where your foot makes contact with the pedal, allowing for easier, more efficient pedaling. Additionally, the fiberglass-reinforced polyamide shank plate enhances sole rigidity for a comfortable walking experience.
The cleat-positioner cap helps ensure correct foot/pedal placement, which is especially useful for riders new to a clipless system.
Shimano Pedaling Dynamics is a clipless pedal system where a small cleat fits into a recess in the shoe’s sole. Although they’re not technically the inventor of the clipless pedal, Shimano has been an industry leader in this area since the first SPD pedal was released in 1990.
Let’s take a look at what makes these shoes stand out from the crowd:
The overall quality of construction is extremely impressive. The upper sections are made from synthetic leather and mesh, a combination which provides plenty of protection without sacrificing breathability.
The rubber sole is reinforced with fiberglass. An EVA midsole does provide plenty of needed support and comfort.
The trekking-style rubber tread at the bottom really contributes to the hiking boot look.
These shoes are designed for a two-hole cleat. They’re what’s commonly referred to as “mountain bike style” cleats. Note that they won’t work with three hole cleats.
Ready for a big surprise? The SHMT34B use traditional shoelaces which lace up like a pair of tennis shoes. But they actually work pretty well. Laces allowed for a snug, even fit without sacrificing comfort.
Laces have the potential to be a hazard on a bike. Fortunately, the lace keepers were well constructed. Even in rough conditions the laces never became tangled into the drivetrain.
The shoes also have a heel pull loop. This was a nice touch when putting shoes on. In our experience, the shoes were sized true, but others suggest selecting a half-size smaller than your street shoe size.
Shimano is a well-known manufacturer of bicycle parts. Not only do their shoes work with their own pedals, they’ll also fit into the pedals from almost all over major bike manufacturers, too. No matter what type of bike you have, Shimano gear is usually a safe choice.
Plus, they offer a two-year warranty on all of their products (source). With a solid warranty from a well-established company, any Shimano purchase is usually risk-free.
The SHMT34B is SPD cleat compatible. Note that your feet might be uncomfortable if you decide to wear these shoes without cleats. Works with two-hole mountain bike pedals.
The synthetic leather upper was stiff at first but loosened up after just a few rides.
The mesh section of the shoe provides great ventilation. The ventilation system uses front-facing mesh vents, and is really no different than a ventilation system found on a standard running show. Keeping your feet cool when riding is the main way to prevent foot swelling.
Another issue worth mentioning involves the knees. Do your knees hurt after even short bike rides. This is often caused by stiffness in the toes of the biking shoe.
Fortunately, the toe of this shoe is flexible enough to allow feet to move with the legs. If riding gives you unexplained knee pain, these shoes might provide relief.
Clipless biking shoes aren’t ready to ride right out of the box. You’ll need to install pedal cleats into the bottom of your new shoes. This small bit of metal then clips into the pedal on the bike to provide a secure fit when riding (source).
First, you need to find the best point on the sole to place the cleats. This means you’ll want to hop on your bike and ride around. Pay attention to where your feet naturally fall on the pedals. This location will be slightly different for everyone based on foot size, pedal size and other factors.
You want to place the cleats under the ball of your foot as that’s where most of the power will come from.
Using waterproof grease, screw the bolts through the plate and into the shoe. Once the cleats are in the basic area, you’ll then make finer adjustments based on your foot position. Most riders place their feet either heel out or toe out. Finally, you’ll want to adjust the tension on the pedals.
Fitting your shoe in and out of the pedal should be an easy, hands-free operation. Insert your shoe into the pedal heel-first. You’ll hear a click confirming the shoe has been successfully engaged. To disengage, move your feet side to side.
Engaging and disengaging worked with no problems. During triathlons, you’ll be able to quickly lock into the pedals and ride. Disengaging was similarly easy. Quick stops help avoid urban obstacles like pedestrians and pets.
The Shimano SHMT34B is a high-performance, durable touring shoe with the classic lace style. It’s competitors in this product review are:
The Shimano SHMT34B comes in either light or dark blue. The internal lining is a light lime green.
The Pearl iZUMi also has a colorful Lime Punch design, which is black and neon green. The rest of the shoes listed are limited to various black and grey styles.
While the Shimano isn’t the cheapest shoe available, it’s priced lower than many of its competitors at $70. Only the Gavin is cheaper at $50. The iZUMi is a bit more expensive than the Shimano at $87, while the Danny MacAskill is the most expensive shoe at $120.
The SHMT34B’s uses a mesh and synthetic leather upper to provide foot protection while also allowing for breathability. Plus, the classic laces give you plenty of control over fit. The iZUMi’s also use a classic lace, and the synthetic and mesh upper is very similar to the SHYM34B. The main difference is the iZUMi’s running-shoe-like beveled heel.
The Gavin uses three hook-and-loop fasteners. While that does making putting on and taking off the shoe much faster, the shoe doesn’t conform to the contours of your foot as neatly.
The Five Ten is made from suede leather. While this shoe is probably the nicest looking of the bunch (or, rather, the shoe which looks most like a dress shoe), the suede is much less breathable than mesh.
The Shimano SMHT34B is a multiuse touring shoe for racing, mountain biking and touring. While this is a high-performance shoe, it’s also suitable for new riders looking for a shoe suitable for many different types of terrain.
The Five Ten is a shoe primarily designed for off-road and mountain biking.
While the Gavin will work for road racing, they’re also built for indoor fitness cycling. So they’re not quite as durable as the others, which are mainly outdoor shoes.
Finally, the iZUMi is a racing shoe designed for fast-paced training.
If you’re looking for a tough but durable biking shoe, the Shimano SH MT34B is a trusted name at an affordable price. The versatile design works great for touring, mountain biking, urban riding and more. Plus, the classic laces, EVO midsole and other feature ensure custom ventilation which keeps your feet comfortable even in hot conditions.
This shoe is a solid choice for new to mid-level cyclists who don’t always stick to one type of riding. Plus, the price is suitable for just about any budget.
Some cyclists might balk at the classic lacing system. While lacing up the shoes can take a bit longer than hook and loop fasteners, laces also provide a secure, flexible fit.
Even though the shoe doesn’t look much like a traditional biking shoe, smart riders will appreciate the lightweight durability and custom fit of the Shimano SHMT34B.
Hey there, my name is James and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been doing Triathlons for a while now and am competing in 70.3 Ironman's as well come this year. I created this site to help those new to the sport and to share my journey with other athletes.