AM shoes, which are the points to consider when you want to buy them? Well for me, it depends on your local trails and their characteristics. The roughness, the difficulty and length of the climbs, the way you pedal to the top…
There’s a wide range of choice when it comes to shoes. From Dh oriented to Xc racing, the more casual so called “sport” ones, and also the AM versions that most brands are starting to develop, so if you can’t afford two pairs of shoes – like one for the more aggressive and Dh oriented rides when probably an uplift transport exists (yeah it’s not enduro but everybody loves them, admit it!) or the others for the enduro sessions – the right choice is the key for having the protection feeling that the Dh shoes have and the light feeling and breath ability of the Xc that makes them perfect for pedaling up the hill, and the new enduro AM versions that combine all of that. The stiffness of a XC shoe but with a softer and larger contact area in the sole that really makes the difference when you have to step aside the bike and climb on your own.
So, apart from being warmer and heavier, Dh oriented shoes are the winner when you prefer comfort, protection and you like to have the chance of – for some reason – resting your foot unclipped when descending or other scenario where pedal efficiency is not the main issue.
But if you want your legs to deliver full power transfer to the pedal to get you to the top, and you don’t worry about falling and having your (almost bare) feet to hit the rocks and hurt yourself, just go for those hard and light Xc racing oriented shoes.
Dedicated Enduro/AM shoes, even though you’re not as comfortable descending as with the DH ones and not efficiently pedaling as with the racing ones, they combine the best of both worlds, giving you an above the average level of protection and a much higher level of power to the pedal than most soft “sport” shoes (or Dh specific versions).
Anyway, don’t forget to wear a nice pair of cycling socks, these are almost as relevant as the type of shoes you use and they can provide different levels of comfort and even some protection to your ankle if you are a fan of “high tops”.