Twenty-five years ago, Shimano unveiled the world’s first clipless-compatible sandals, which combined the efficiency and confidence of clipping in with the maximum breathability of an open design. The idea was outside the box back then, but it seems less crazy these days, when many folks have taken to bikepacking with sandals. While the practical applications of a clipless sandal as an everyday shoe are undoubtedly limited, they actually make quite a bit of sense in environments where extra ventilation and quick drying are important. A route like the Baja Divide comes to mind.
Today, Shimano is commemorating the 25th anniversary of their SPD sandals with a special edition throwback model. They feature vintage Shimano logos on each strap and a retro design that takes cues from the company’s second-generation SPD sandals, which was introduced back in 2000. It’s hard to say if these are more or less stylish than Shimano’s regular SH-SD5 clipless sandals, but they’re endearingly dorky nonetheless. They’re built with a synthetic leather upper atop a wide rubber sole with a glass fiber reinforced shank for added rigidity. The SD-501A sandals are compatible with all 2-bolt SPD cleats.
The Shimano SD-501A SPD Sandals are available now in sizes 38-48. They retail for $130 and can be ordered through your local Shimano dealer.