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Yeah, I definitely didn't mean to do a sales job on the insole. Stock insoles are actually a common complaint from me so maybe my expectations are just so damn low. I do agree that the XC7 is kind of like XT here: all the performance minus a few small differences that most won't notice, at a much better price. And back in the day, all clipless shoes looked like that, so my old self doesn't think it's so out of place. I wouldn't wear these for full-on AM/DH riding, but mostly because I'd prefer a little more protection on the front of the foot and ankle, and a little more sole for hike-a-bikes, but as far as on the bike performance goes, they're excellent. The ME7 really does give you all of that with a slightly softer sole that hikes better, but that added protection and material on the sole does add weight.
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