As you would expect for a top-end road cycling shoe, the updated Shimano S-Phyre XC9 mountain shoe starts with their stiffest full carbon sole, and a lightweight, supple, one-piece synthetic upper. Shimano’s Dynalast fit once again makes an appearance here, which uses a flatter sole from front to back. This is done to reduce toe uplift; most athletic shoes (including cycling shoes) feature around 15mm of lift, which places your toes in a higher position than they’d normally be. Less toe spring means less tension along the calves, and more even pressure along the foot as you pedal. It’s a small difference, but it’s a difference that shows when you use the shoe.