The RX8 does what a gravel bike does. It takes what was a road thing, for smooth paved surfaces, and it makes it into a rough road, dirt road thing. Gravel riding is not mountain biking, (despite the cross-over at some points), and the demands of road riding are a bit closer related to what we do on gravel “roads” than what people need to have for single track. Therefore; it is my opinion that a slightly modified road shoe is what will do the job best, and Shimano has knocked it out of the park with the RX8
As is often said, the best apparel and components simply “disappear” while riding, leaving you to enjoy the ride. The RX8 shoes from Shimano are the definition of such an apparel item. While either walking a gnarly, muddy dirt road or riding up and down hill and vale, the RX8 just got out of my way and let me do my thing.
Finally, remember that “kickstand” knob at the end of the toe? Well, I laughed out loud when I read the marketing copy about this “feature”, but while commuting to work in the RX8’s the other day I found myself at a stop sign waiting on a traffic light, and you know what? I noticed that little knob was actually kinda nice to have.